Many scholars believe Job is the most ancient of Biblical texts. If this is true, the story of Job serves as a kind of preface to the rest of the text. It sets the stage, as it were, for creation and the prophets and the nation of Israel and the life/death/resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It seems a poetic possibility. Because Job addresses some fundamentally tough questions. Why does God allow bad things to happen? Why do the innocent suffer? What benefit is there in all this for humanity?
When reading Job, it is hard not to feel a cringe of familiarity when Satan is allowed to play a part in the circumstances. His allowance to alter Job’s settings feels very close to home.
Perhaps the reason for all of this is that God wants to communicate in this preface that the battle for humanity will play out in the arena of circumstance. Satan and his dominions will be there, including the inclinations of the flesh. So will the Spirit. And the mysterious Creator of all things. But central casting in the drama is humanity. And the drama’s tension is this question: “What choices will they make?”
It is a question as relevant for us as it was for Job. The world has been created. The board has been set and the players are in position. What choices will we make in the midst of the arena, in the world of opportunity set before us?