Verse 26. "I was not in safety " - If this verse be read interrogatively, it will give a good and easy sense: Was I not in safety? Had I not rest? Was I not in comfort? Yet trouble came. It is well known that, previously to this attack of Satan, Job was in great prosperity and peace. Mr. Good translates, I had no peace; yea, I had no rest. Yea, I had no respite, as the trouble came on; and refers the whole to the quick succession of the series of heavy evils by which he was tried. There is a similar thought in the Psalmist: Deep crieth unto deep at the noise of thy water-spouts; all thy waves and thy billows have gone over me; Psa. xlii. 7. One evil treads on the heels of another. IN this chapter Job's conflict begins. Now, and not before, Satan appears to have access to his mind. When he deprived him of his property, and, what was still dearer, of his sons and his daughters, the hope of his family, he bore all with the most exemplary patience, and the deepest resignation to the Divine will. When his adversary was permitted to touch his body, and afflict it in the most grievous and distressing manner, rendered still more intolerable by his being previously deprived of all the comforts and necessaries of life; still he held fast his integrity; no complaint, no murmur was heard. From the Lord's hand he received his temporal good; and from that hand he received his temporal evil, the privation of that good. Satan was, therefore, baffled in all his attempts; Job continued to be a perfect and upright man, fearing God, and avoiding evil.
This was Job's triumph, or rather the triumph of Divine grace; and Satan's defeat and confusion. It is indeed very seldom that God permits Satan to waste the substance or afflict the body of any man; but at all times this malevolent spirit may have access to the mind of any man, and inject doubts, fears, diffidence, perplexities, and even unbelief. And here is the spiritual conflict. Now, their wrestling is not with flesh and blood-with men like themselves, nor about secular affairs; but they have to contend with angels, principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickednesses in heavenly places. In such cases Satan is often permitted to diffuse darkness into the understanding, and envelope the heavens with clouds. Hence are engendered false views of God and his providence, of men, of the spiritual world, and particularly of the person's own state and circumstances. Every thing is distorted, and all seen through a false medium. Indescribable distractions and uneasiness are hereby induced; the mind is like a troubled sea, tossed by a tempest that seems to confound both heaven and earth. Strong temptations to things which the soul contemplates with abhorrence are injected; and which are followed by immediate accusations, as if the injections were the offspring of the heart itself; and the trouble and dismay produced are represented as the sense of guilt, from a consciousness of having, in heart, committed these evils. Thus Satan tempts, accuses, and upbraids, in order to perplex the soul, induce skepticism, and destroy the empire of faith. Behold here the permission of God, and behold also his sovereign control: all this time the grand tempter is not permitted to touch the heart, the seat of the affections, nor offer even the slightest violence to the will. The soul is cast down, but not destroyed; perplexed, but not in despair. It is on all sides harassed; without are fightings, within are fears: but the will is inflexible on the side of God and truth, and the heart, with all its train of affections and passions, follows it. The man does not wickedly depart from his God; the outworks are violently assailed, but not taken; the city is still safe, and the citadel impregnable. Heaviness may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning. Jesus is soon seen walking upon the waters. He speaks peace to the winds and the sea: immediately there is a calm. Satan is bruised down under the feet of the sufferer, the clouds are dispersed, the heavens re-appear, and the soul, to its surprise, finds that the storm, instead of hindering, has driven it nearer to the haven whither it would be. The reader who closely examines the subject will find that this was the case of Job.
The following chapters show the conflict of the soul; the end of the book, God's victory and his exaltation. Satan sifted Job as wheat, but his faith failed not.