Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 171

From Handbook to God’s Promises


God’s Invisible Fence
(Job 1:1—2:13)

Imagine you’re out for your daily jog in your neighborhood when a huge black and tan dog—teeth bared, ears back, haunches flexed—comes racing toward you off the porch of a house. You break into a sprint and prepare for the impact—but it never comes. Two feet before the curb, the four-legged meat processor screeches to a stop. An “invisible fence”—wires buried along the perimeter of the yard that signal an electric shock through a receiver on the dog’s collar—has saved your day, and perhaps a good portion of the skin on your right leg.

The invisible fencing that defines a dog’s freedom in a yard is a picture of the limits that God puts on Satan’s activity in our world. When we read verses in the Bible like 1 John 5:19 (“The whole world lies in the power of the evil one”) and 1 Peter 5:8 (“Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”), we might conclude that Satan is like an unleashed dog, free to roam and attack at will.

But another portion of Scripture gives us a more complete picture. In Job chapters 1 and 2 we read of Satan’s attempts to induce this righteous man to blaspheme God. God wanted to demonstrate to Satan that Job would remain righteous even under the most severe test, and so He gave Satan permission to attack Job—but within well-defined limits.

First, Satan was allowed to attack only Job’s children and his property (1:12). When Job remained righteous, God expanded Satan’s boundaries to include Job’s person and his health, though not his life (2:6). In all this, however, “Job did not sin” (2:10). The point is clear: Satan does have power on the earth, and he does roam the planet with evil intent. But he is never free to destroy at will; he is always constrained by God’s hand.

Children of God should not live in fear of Satan. He is not a free agent roaming the universe like a vicious dog escaped from his leash. He is our adversary, to be sure. But while his bark is intimidating, his bite is constrained by the invisible fence of God’s perfect purposes.

God’s Promise:
Those who fear God have no reason at all to fear the devil.