I have greatly enjoyed the 3 movies in the Lord of the Ring trilogy. These movies tell an epic story of good verses evil. Throughout the movies, there are many battle scenes where the conflict between good and evil are graphically portrayed. In most of these battles, the outcome often seems uncertain and it is only at the last moment when good rises up and overcomes evil. This theme of good verses evil is common in our culture and is often expressed in our media.
However, the picture drawn for us in the opening chapters of Job is not a battle of good verses evil. It is not a picture of God and Satan battling it out for supremacy. It is a picture of one who is supreme (God) and one who is subservient (Satan). These chapters tell of times when the sons of God (the angles) were required to appear before God, and this included Satan. In these encounters, Satan is always the subject and God the supreme.
What is important to understand is that there is no real battle between good and evil, at least in the classical sense. Good has already won. Evil has already been defeated. The battle is not between two equally powerful forces for dominance, but rather it is a battle for possession. The battle that rages is the battle for the hearts, minds, and souls of mankind. Good and evil are warring, but they are warring over men.
The battle in the book of Job was not over who was more powerful, God or Satan, but rather who would win possession of Job. God was boasting to Satan, and all the other angels in attendance, about Job's righteousness and how he was one who "turns away from evil," while Satan insisted that he could easily turn Job's heart if God would give him access to Job. In the end, we find that God's boasting in Job was not empty.
The point is that we can have confidence and good hope as we face each day knowing that God has won the victory. The future of the kingdom of God is not uncertain. We know who wins in the end. At the same time, however, we must be aware that there is a battle in the spirit realm for our soles. This is why Jesus says to "devote yourselves to pray, keeping alert in it" (Colossians 4:2). We must not be unaware of the battle that rages around us, but we must be watchful over our own lives and the lives of our brethren in this world. Along with being vigilant in prayer, we must also encourage ourselves in the Lord and not let our hearts become faint. We must remember that, though the battle is great, the Lord is greater. We must remember the scripture that says that, "To his own master a servant stands or falls, and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4). We can have confidence that, no matter how sever the affliction and pain, God is able to make us strong and help us emerge victorious with Him.