Summary: An overview of the book of Job and the uncomfortable things it teaches about suffering
This is my first attempt to preach a whole book, something I have been thinking about since New Wine in the summer of 2012. It was preached at 'Come Together', our monthly evening service at Christ Church, Billericay
Aim: To look at what Job learns from his suffering
Job 1:6-12 – The situation
Job 1:20-22 – Job's reaction
Job 2:9-13- wife and friends
Job 27:1-6 – Job final response to his friends
Job 38:1-5; 31 God speaks to Job
Job 40:1-2 God speaks to Job
Job 42:2-6 Job's final response to God
I'm going to look at the book of Job. I'll do this by using some of the book to tell the story, and then look at what it says to us about God.
The story of Job refers to a time, probably before Abraham, certainly before the establishment of the Kingdoms. We have no way of knowing whether this is a cleverly constructed story or that Job was a real person who really experience the disasters that we will see were brought upon him. We can be sure that the telling of the story is very well constructed, it consists of a prologue, followed by a series of poems in which the causes of suffering are debated, and an epilogue which provides us with a startling answer.
Why this book – because it is written like a parable.
Let’s start with the first reading.
Job 1:6 One day the angels 1 r came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan 2 s also came with them. t
Job 1:7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” u
Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? v There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God w and shuns evil.” x
Job 1:9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” y Satan replied.
Job 1:10 “Have you not put a hedge z around him and his household and everything he has? a You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. b
Job 1:11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, c and he will surely curse you to your face.” d
Job 1:12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has e is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” f
Disaster follows. Immediately we hear of the death of his 7 sons and his daughters and the loss of his wealth. Satan, though is not satisfied, so at another meeting of the Angels, where God is even more proud of Job, Satan asks to be allowed to affect Job as well. Then Job is covered in boils.
I expect we have all experienced some disasters in our lives, but probably not of that magnitude. Today it would be something like: Your children have all been killed in a road accident, when you went to the bank someone had withdrawn all your money, but the bank were convinced that it was you. Then you found you credit cards were maxed out and again the companies said that it was definitely you. Then your house was destroyed in a fire.
Well I've never experienced anything like that, and I hope you haven't, but we have all had bad things happen to us. Think back a moment and remember a time when something awful has happened.
I think the worst thing that happened to me was while my Mum was in the hospital, shortly after she'd been told that the leukemia was terminal. Dad was visiting her and had a massive heart attack. It felt as though both my parents were going to die within days of each other and was a horrible shock.
My reaction wasn't that great, in my shock I buried my head in the sand and mechanically went about my business, with just the odd pleading to God that they wouldn't die at the same time.
I hope that you react to better to your disaster?
Job's reaction was very different, after his first disaster he
Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
Job 1:21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. 3 The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; w may the name of the LORD be praised.”
Job 1:22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Later on he asks “Why is God tormenting me?”