Chess analogy with Job
by Michael Hume 12/30/2011 / Christian Living
Imagine Job’s trial is a chess game, with God playing with and for him. God invites Satan to a game of chess. He said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil?" Job 1.8
Satan points out that God has a strong defensive shield around Job. So God lowers the shield, but Satan will not be allowed to go all the way and kill Job. "All that he has is in your power, only upon himself do not put forth your hand." Job 1.12
God fixes parameters before the game begins. God is playing for and with Job and Satan against. Job plays white and has been enjoying success, but the game is about to take a turn. Satan is really like a novice playing a supreme grandmaster though for a while Job looks like a novice. The pieces Satan controls are scoundrels, murderers, and thieves. Also, the wind and fire. He begins taking many of Job’s main pieces. Oxen and asses are taken and servants killed. Sheep and servants are burned with a fire from heaven. Job suffers more defeat as camels are taken and more servants die at the hands of marauders. His losses peak when at least some of his children die as the house collapses in a strong wind. Maybe Satan has taken a bishop or two, a rook, a knight and some pawns.
But God has the game well in hand, and thinks many moves ahead, to the end. He is a brilliant tactician. Satan is really the novice.
Sometimes a chess player sacrifices a few valuable pieces because he has a clever plan, and his opponent is simply walking into a trap. God has a far-sighted plan for Job. The game is not over yet. Satan now hits Job with sores, putting him in check. Job is down but not out. Satan "afflicted Job with painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head." Job 2.7
Then comes the end game. Satan runs out of moves. There is still inner reflection, though the outward onslaughts of Satan are ended. The mopping up is still messy as his three friends can't interpret his loss accurately to him. Satan still is complicating things putting up a confusing smokescreen. Chess games are often timed, and in this one Satan is only given so much time to harm Job. Though trials like Job’s are confusing to the person going through and to his friends, I believe that God will give accurate insight to those who ask.
Finally God removes Job's trials. Job wins, checkmating Satan. Satan goes away defeated, saying "It was only a game." God replies, "Yes, but you still lose."
Now for the winning prize. Double the animals he had before the game began. In his latter years Job had 14 000 sheep, 6 000 camels, 1 000 yoke of oxen and 1 000 female asses. Huge riches by any standards. He also had 7 sons and 3 daughters, same as before.
If you feel like you are in the middle of mind games and a bad trial, don’t worry. God is playing with and for you, be sure of this; He will win and so will you.
Don't under or overestimate the enemy. He is what he is. No more, no less. With God we will win for we have a far greater power with us than all that is against us. God deepened Job's faith, gave him endurance. Through the book of Job, he is able to provide sympathy to millions of readers going through similar confusing and terrible trials.
Michael Hume. Christian since 1987, and in a daily personal relationship with Jesus. A freelance writer. abelongs to author.