Summary: How not to counsel those who are suffering!
JOB- When Life hurts!
Theme of the Book: How should righteous people suffer?
Key Word: Trials
I. Prologue Job’s test 1:1-2:13
II. False comfort of his three friends. 3:1-31:40
III. Elihus’ speeches 32:1-37, 24
IV. God’s discourses 38: 1-42:6
V. Epilogue - Job’s restoration
Historical background: Poetic Book - Unger
Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Genesis was not written first, but Job. The time described in Job fit the Patriarchal period of the days of Abraham 2,000 years before Christ. Many believe that the author is Elihu who penned this drama shortly after it occurred.
Job is not a book of answers but rather a revelation of human experience. Job is an everyday man facing circumstances of which he has no control over. They are ordinary life tragedies of human life. Norman Vincent Peale notes:
Everyone, at one time or another, suffers a crisis, or even a defeat. “You can’t win them all, “ someone said. What, then, do you do about the challenges you don’t win? What about the harsh defeats that come? Physical defeats, for example, when you have trouble with your health, when your body begins to give up on you. What do you do about pain, sorrow, suffering, and hardship? What happens when you are defeated in some objective, or in some ambition? Or when you see that some fond hope, cherished for years, is not going to be realized? What happens when life seems to flow away from you, rather than toward you; when things get mixed up and become unhappy; when you are having trouble with yourself, and trouble with everything else? What do you do? The greatest measure of a human being isn’t how he handles himself when things are going well, but how he handles himself when things are going badly, when defeat comes. The attitude a person has in defeat is a great issue in life, for it determines whether one is able to overcome difficulties and be victorious again (In God We Trust, Nelson 1994, page 5).
Job gives us insight into not the why, because we all face trials in life. Friend there are no exceptions to this reality. Job was penned for us to convey insight into how to handle the tragedies of life. It also reveals how to help others who are suffering and teaches what not to do as counselors and care workers. The focus of the book is not on the why Job suffers but how Job handles adversity. Norman Vincent Peale adds this thought:
What are you going to do with defeat? Are you going to let it defeat you? Or are you going to make it a positive, creative experience from which you can extract much know-how and wisdom and from which you will gain strength to proceed? The individual who has placed at the center of his thinking the wonderful affirmation, “I can do all things through Christ” can recover from any defeat and can handle any situation (7).
T.S. The First part of our series will look at how not to counsel our friends and others in time of trouble. Next week in part 2 we will explore “How righteous people should handle suffering” But today lets look at the three friends of Job and learn what not to do to someone who is suffering. (Job. 2:11)