Skin For Skin


Job 2:4 (ESV)
Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life.

Does God turn us over to Satan to test us?

In a rare conversation between Satan and God, there comes a deal. In the midst of the conversation Satan exclaims, “Skin for skin!” Biblical scholars recognize this phrase to originate in a bartering system familiar to the ancient readers. It is understood to arise in the trading animal skins. In present day vernacular, it may be like me saying, “You’ve got a deal!” Satan and God were trading time for power. Satan got time to test Job. God got Satan to limit his power over Job, “Behold, he is in your hand, only spare his life.” In the end, God knew he would retain Job’s devotion. Satan was hoping to prove God to be wrong. It is a wonderful story from our Old Testament. Of course, God is right and Job remains devoted to God. Since the first reading, readers have wondered if God allows Satan to test each of us. There are days when it sure feels that way. Despite our experience, there is no evidence in the Bible that God gives Satan such reign over us. The bad news is that we give Satan such access, over and over again. The good news is that “with the temptation [God] will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”[1] One writer illustrated this with the story of a man being tempted in a bar while turning his back to the bright red sign over the door reading, “EXIT.” Does God turn us over to Satan to test us? No, but we do a fine job of it all on our own. Jesus came to save the world, not test it.

“Temptation is not a sin but playing with temptation invites sin.” Fulton J. Sheen, 1895-1979, American Catholic bishop

Stephen L. Hodges © 2021

[1] 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

About Pastor Steve

Pastor Steve Hodges is an ordained minister, pastoring a church in central Virginia.
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