Summary: Discover four characteristics that make you unforgettable in the mind of others and in the mind of God
This morning, we will look at the book of Job, chapter 2. Job, as we saw several weeks ago, is an epic poem. An epic poem is a heroic story recorded in poetry form
Although the book of Job deals with the problem of suffering, we will not find easy answers to the problem of suffering. Nevertheless, we will find lessons in encouragement, examples that inspire faith and correction to false assumptions.
Job chapter two is a continuation of the prologue, which gives us the setting and introduces Job’s friends for the dialogue between Job and his friends and eventually between Job and God.
This morning, I want to highlight three observations from chapter two and then identify four characteristics of comforters displayed by Job’s friends. These are not the only characteristics, but they are significant characteristics of good comforters.
The word comfort comes from two Latin words, "com" and "fortis" to mean "strengthen by being with." To comfort someone is not only to help him or her feel better but also to help him or her become stronger, in order to handle the hardships of life. We all need comforters, because we all face disappointment, loss, hardship and suffering in life. Yet few of us know how to comfort others effectively.
Before we look at the characteristics of comforters, let me highlight the three observations from Job chapter 2.
First, we observe that faithfulness requires more faithfulness. Verses 1-3
If you remember, Job proved his faithfulness at the end of chapter 1 by praising God even after losing his livestock, properties and children. You would think that such faithfulness, or ongoing trust in God, would be rewarded with wealth, health or spiritual intimacy with God. Instead, we read that God permits Satan to test Job again.
Rosa, Amy, Kathy and my wife helped at the Vacation Bible School this week. My daughter for the first time attended school. The first day, she was thrilled to go. She only whined a little when she saw my car drive off. The second day, she cried much more when she saw Mommy walking by with other kids.
On the third day, she was reluctant to go to school. So I asked her why. She answered, "I already went to school." She didn’t know that faithfulness requires more faithfulness.
Our parents, because of our faithfulness in middle school, required us to go to high school. And because we were faithful in our study in high school, our parents required us to go to college.
If we dropped out of middle school, we wouldn’t need to be faithful anymore. Faithfulness requires more faithfulness. The alternative would be unfaithfulness or dropping out.
You thought that by faithfully forgiving your husband five times for the same offense, that God would change him. What you didn’t know was that faithfulness requires more faithfulness.
You thought that by faithfully serving the church for 20 years, God would let you rest after retirement. What you didn’t know was that faithfulness requires more faithfulness. The alternative would be unfaithfulness or dropping out.
Second, we observe that Satan respects God’s boundary. Verses 4-7
We may not be thrilled about where God draws His boundary for Satan, but we can be confident that Satan cannot do anything to us unless God permits for His purpose. This means if you have put your trust in Jesus Christ and belong to God, you don’t have to be afraid of Satan or evil spirits.
John wrote to Christians in 1John 4:4, "... the one who is in you [God’s Spirit] is greater than the one who is in the world [Satan or evil spirits]."
Before I sat down on Friday night to work on this point, I checked my email and received the following forwarded by Rosa from another of our missionary in Japan, Katie Cole. Katie wrote, "I called the Kuratas at 7:10 this morning and Grandma told me that there has been no word from Mr. Kurata yet. [Mr. Kurata has been missing.]
Katie continued, "Thought I should tell you that last night when I was sending out our prayer request I felt very much that Satan didn’t want you all to be praying. First I had a problem with my computer switching into Japanese and not switching back to English. Usually it is a simple push of a button. I had to close AOL and start over. Then when I was ready to send the message, it wouldn’t go. So I closed the program again and started over again. This time the message started to go out but got stopped part way through. My computer said it hadn’t gone out yet. So I prayed over my computer and pleaded with God to get this prayer message out. I said, ’Lord, you are greater than my computer and can get this message out even if my computer can’t do it.’ So I tried to send it one more time and again it was stopped half way through. I went to bed discouraged, but knowing that God could call people to pray in His own way."