Summary: Faith and trust do not come from understanding.They come from an awareness of God’s character.
1. There are many mysteries in life: things that we cannot comprehend no matter how hard we try. Many of these mysteries lead to questions about God and his ways, particularly when he does not make sense?at least to our level of understanding.
A. Perhaps the most often asked of these questions is “Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow evil at all?
B. It seems to us that if God is all powerful, he should be able to prevent us from any form of evil, thereby making trials, calamity and tragedy extinct.
C. If that is so, why doesn’t He? There are several canned responses, none of which comfort the one suffering.
D. Another question is “How should we respond to God when tragedy strikes?”
2. There may be several reasons God allows his people to experience suffering: some we understand and some we don’t. Of one thing we can be certain; God’s people are not exempt from suffering.
3. When we think of suffering and human response, one character stands above all others?JOB.
A. Job knows suffering on a level most of us cannot imagine. The losses he incurs are staggering by anyone’s definition. But the story of Job is not merely a tragic tale; if it were only a tale of woe, it would have no place in scripture.
B. One of the primary purposes of OT scripture is to provide insight into God’s character, omnipotence and love for his creation. That purpose is evident in the story of Job, as we will see in the next few weeks.
C. We will study Job’s character; the suffering that entered his life; his response to family, friends and to GOD! We will see him at his best and his worst!
D. Our goal is to discover insights that help us understand suffering in our own lives, and how we should respond in the face of adversity.
4. Turn with me to Job chapter 1. (Job is thought to be a contemporary of Abraham; This book is thought by many to be the first OT book written).
II. JOB’S RESUME AND NET WORTH (1:1-8)
1. A man of impeccable integrity; writer (Solomon?) states this as a matter of reputation (1:1)
2. Prosperous: 10 children; 7,000 sheep; 3,000 camels; 500 teams of oxen; 500 female donkeys; employs many servants. Represented as the richest man in the entire area. (1:2-3)
3. Righteous: concerned about his children’s sin; offers prayers on their behalf (1:5)
A. Noticed and commended by God for righteousness?finest on the earth (1:8)
B. God is so confident of Job’s allegiance to him that he allows Satan to test him.
LESSON #1: Trials and suffering are not necessarily the result of sin. God may choose to allow suffering in a believer’s life for reasons other than disobedience.
[Faith and trust do not come from understanding.They come from an awareness of God’s character.]
III. TRAGEDY STRIKES – JOB’S SPIRITUAL CHARACTER IS TESTED (1:13-2:7)
1. Four messengers bring bad news; loss of children, servants, livestock. Each new one arrives while the previous one is still speaking! The great PILE ON!
A. Job’s response is “The Lord gave me everything, and has taken everything?praise the name of the Lord”! This is not a foolish statement, or hysteria.
B. Job acknowledges God’s absolute control and finds peace and trust in God in the face of calamity.
2. Satan attacks Job’s body; the case of boils
A. Claims Job will turn on God when he suffers personally
B. God allows him to afflict Job, but must spare his life
LESSON #2: God alone determines the extent and outcome of the suffering his people are exposed to. Satan’s power is under the control of God.
IV. SATAN ATTACKS JOB’S MARRIAGE (2:9-10)
1. The stress breaks Job’s wife; in her anxiety, she lashes out at Job: “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die”! (v.9)
2. If you have ever experienced this level of despair, you won’t be quick to pass judgement on her; even though her statement is clearly a sinful one.
3. Job’s response – “Should we accept only good from God and never bad”? Job is faithful in his misery, and trusts God to deliver him
LESSON #3: Suffering may cause others to doubt your faith. Don’t allow their insecurities to cloud your vision of God’s power to deliver you.
4. There will always be those who use your suffering to diminish your commitment to Christ.
V. JOB’S FRIENDS ARRIVE TO SHARE HIS ANGUISH (2:11-13)
1. When his friends heard of his tragedy, they came to comfort and console him
2. They hardly recognized him, his condition badly deteriorated from physical and mental anguish he was experiencing
3. They sat silently with him (initially), because his suffering was too great for words.