ð When is a time you remember receiving bad news as a child?
ð Why do bad things happen to good people?
Today’s study will start on the book of Job. It is a book of incredible suffering of a servant of God. The overall purposes of the book are
– Examine the nature of God’s glory, goodness and grace in the midst of human suffering
- many passages describe a high view of divine sovereignty
- Mysteriously, God seems too close (Job 7:19) and yet too far away (Job 9:11).
- Summary judgment by God is that He desires to be spoken about accurately (Job 42:7-8)
– Explore the reasons for God allowing human suffering (Who is on trial – God or Job?). Common view of the day is questioned – righteous prosper but wicked suffer.
- Is God just?
- Does God care?
- Where is God and when will He intervene?
– Explore the reasons for humanity following and trusting God (selfish or divine); this calls the reader to evaluate their own heart.
- Wealth, Health, Happiness – worship God as a means to a selfish end
- Personal – worshiping God as the goal and gift of life
Features of Job
– Book of wisdom
– Job likely existed in early Patriarchal era, preceding or contemporary of Abraham. Job is mentioned in Ezekiel 14:14, 14:20, so before this writing.
– God is rarely identified in covenant name of Yahweh or no mention of “Israelites” or “the law”.
– Job’s friends become counselors with the question if they are truly comforting (2:11) or cruel (21:34).
– Job never gets a full or final answer to his suffering, only that God is God and Job is human.
– Job needs an intercessor or mediator (Job 5:1; 9:2-3, 27-33; 16:19-22; 19:25-27; 23:3-16; 33:23-24)
– Multi-Generational blessing and faithfulness concludes the book (Job 42:12-17)
– Key verse: Job 1:21 “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The Lord gave (Job 1:1-6).
Job was a blessed man (In the Hebrew the word “man” is in emphatic position to emphasize Job’s human ordinariness). Job’s uniqueness was not in himself but in his faith. He was blameless, upright, feared God and turned from evil. He had a great family (7 sons, 3 daughters), great wealth (7k sheep, 3k camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys and very many servants). It says that he was the “greatest of all the people of the east”.
Material possessions are frequently used as a standard of greatness. Certainly, Job’s possessions placed him in an elite category surpassing his peers and even regions (perhaps Job was some sort of king or vassal).
ð What impresses you most about Job?
ð What does it mean to “fear God”? Allow the text to define your answer: blameless, upright, turn from evil, consecrate family to the Lord, rise early & sacrifice to pray for family.
- Eliphaz says to Job “Is not your fear of God your confidence and the integrity of your ways your hope?” (Job 4:6)
ð What is the purpose of material possessions (cf. Mark 8:36)? Is it always a sign of spiritual blessing? This world will be as close to heaven as unbelievers will ever experience. Likewise, this world will be as close to hell as believers will ever experience.
The Lord tests (Job 1:6-12).
The sons of God (created beings – angels?) and the Adversary (Satan) presented themselves before the Lord. Satan roams the earth (1:7; 2:2), this is his dwelling and no longer resides in heaven. The idea is that Satan is looking to overtake people or places whereas the Lord presents to him Job; in other words saying, “Satan, you are no match for Me and you can’t even overtake My servants – here try Job.” Satan proposed that the only reason Job worshiped God was because of God’s protection and provision of blessing, if these were removed then he would no longer stand strong. The Lord gives permission to remove Job’s wealth but not attack Job himself.
ð Is Satan a real individual? Where is Satan today?
ð Why did the Lord present Job to Satan? Do you think Job wanted to be presented to Satan… think this one through!??
ð Do you think God does this with believers today? Does this scare you or cause you to strengthen your relationship with God?
- cf. Luke 22:31-32 of Peter
The Lord takes (Job 1:13-19; 2:1-8)
Everything that Job was blessed with is now removed, except his faith. Job’s oxen and donkeys with the servants were struck down. His sheep and servants were struck by lightning and died. His camels and servants were captured and destroyed. Job’s ten children and many servants were killed in a tornado-like windstorm. All is gone or dead.
ð You may have heard the saying, “when it rains, it pours”. Why does it sometimes feel like bad news accumulates in our life?
After some days (unspecified), Job is tested further in that he loses his good health. The Lord allows Satan to strike Job with loathsome sores on his entire body. Job itches his sores with broken pottery as he sits in ashes.
ð So far in chapters 1-2, what is the source of suffering, the Lord or Satan?
ð When trials or tragedy strikes, what is your first thought:
- God did it.
- Satan did it.
- What did I do to deserve this?
- God, help me to trust even when I don’t understand.
The Lord be praised (Job 1:20-21; 2:9-10)
In all of Job’s experiential loss he trusted God. He did not understand why but he understood how. God gives and takes. It is God’s sovereign choice to bless to His measured proportions. And Job understood this without complaint or criticism of God; Job did not sin.
ð Why is it wrong to blame God for our problems?
ð If Job did curse God, what would that prove about God?
ð What are 2 or 3 practical ways to help you learn to praise God in the midst of suffering?
ð What thoughts are action steps is God bringing to your mind in your relationship with Him?
ð If you were one of Job’s friends, how would you have responded to him? We will examine this further next lesson.
ð How can our group pray for one another?