Summary: When Calamity struck the house of Job, his friends came at great trouble and inconvenience to counsel him. Job’s friends held to the traditional thoughts of their day, which in many respects are still the thoughts of our day. They believed that God alwa
Title: Is There a Connection Between Sin and Suffering?
Text: Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:11-13, NKJV).
Scripture Reading: Job 2:11-13
When Calamity struck the house of Job, his friends came at great trouble and inconvenience to counsel him. Job’s friends held to the traditional thoughts of their day, which in many respects are still the thoughts of our day. They believed that God always rewards righteousness. And they believed that God always punishes wickedness. They supposed that righteousness always pays off with peace, prosperity, and popularity; and that it always leads to eternal life. Job’s friends saw God as a judge. They understood Him somewhat in terms of His being a prosecuting attorney or a policeman. They believed God to be an executioner. They believed that God’s law was self-operating and self-executing, and that if you found yourself in great pain and suffering, it was proof that you were a great sinner.
The writer of the book of Job challenges all of our simple solutions to the complex questions that plague us when we are faced with pain and trouble. The easy answer is usually the incorrect answer. While we recognize that sin ultimately results in suffering, when you study the book of Job, you cannot help but to conclude that not all suffering is the direct result of sin. Job is an excellent illustration of this truth.
Our Scripture reading is Job 2:11-13. Let me read those verses to you.
11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him.
12 And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven.
13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.
As we begin our lesson, the first thing that we should understand is that Job was a very good man who did not deserve to suffer as he was suffering.
He suffered the loss of all his worldly property.
He suffered the tragic death of his children.
He suffered the absence of a sympathetic wife.
But in her case, perhaps we need to cut her a little slack, because she may have been suffering from deep depression when she came to him and advised him to commit suicide and escape his pain.
But Job also suffered the misunderstanding of his sincere friends. And he suffered the loss of his health-boils covered his body from head to foot. He suffered indescribable pain.
Is there a connection between sin and suffering? The answer could be yes, and the answer could just as well be no.
The second thing to consider about his situation is that Job’s suffering is attributed to Satan (Job 2:7-8).
In Job 1:6, we learn that, “there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” He came into the presence of God to accuse Job of having evil intentions. The word “Satan” in Hebrew means “the adversary.” And he is certainly that, for he does all that he can to hurt us and keep us from coming to Christ. In the Old Testament, Satan wanted to bring out the worst in mankind. And in the New Testament, His character is revealed as the aggressive tempter of man and hated opponent of God. Satan revealed his brazenness in his speech with God and his unreasonableness in the way he attributed evil motives to Job.
Because he is a created being, Satan, unlike God, is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. Although his powers are impressive and far-reaching, he acts only with the permission of God, who puts definite limits on him. Satan is always subordinate to God and ultimately will be defeated. But until then he roams the earth like a king’s spy, seeking disloyal subjects. However, a believer does not need to fear Satan.
The actions against Job were attributed to the hand of God who permitted the actions, even though Satan was the one working against Job. The Lord was in the end responsible for what happened to Job. This confirmed that God’s authority extended over Satan and his fallen angels. There is nothing Satan can do that falls outside God’s domination. The God of the Bible is clearly the unequalled, matchless Creator who is superior over all His creation. Satan acknowledged God’s sovereignty by his own words. He said, “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land” (v. 10) He is admitting that he can’t touch Satan, because God is protecting him. God gave Satan power over Job for a purpose, but Satan’s power and action were limited by God. Job 1:12 says, “And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord; and he is the one who brought all the pain and suffering into Job’s life.