God singled out Satan and said, "What have you been up to?" Satan answered God, "Going here and there, checking things out on earth."
God said to Satan, "Have you noticed my friend Job? There's no one quite like him - honest and true to his word, totally devoted to God and hating evil."
Satan retorted, "So do you think Job does all that out of the sheer goodness of his heart?
Why, no one ever had it so good! You pamper him like a pet, make sure nothing bad ever happens to him or his family or his possessions, bless everything he does - he can't lose!
"But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He'd curse you right to your face, that's what."
God replied, "We'll see. Go ahead - do what you want with all that is his. Just don't hurt him." Then Satan left the presence of God.
Sometime later, while Job's children were having one of their parties at the home of the oldest son,
a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing in the field next to us
when Sabeans attacked. They stole the animals and killed the field hands. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."
While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Bolts of lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and fried them - burned them to a crisp. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."
While he was still talking, another messenger arrived and said, "Chaldeans coming from three directions raided the camels and massacred the camel drivers. I'm the only one to get out alive and tell you what happened."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)