Summary: Disasters and personal tragedies may be concern for doubt, but they may also be cause for trusting God.
Title: When Life is Troubling
Text: Job 1:1 and 2:1-10
Thesis: Disasters and personal tragedies may be cause for doubt, but they may also be cause for trusting God..
The story of an innocent religious person who endures grievous suffering and emerges from that experience scathed, but with his faith intact.
The symbol of American ethics is Lady Justice: She wears a blindfold as she weights the law on her impartial sale. Yet, life isn’t fair.
I was amused this week when I read about the tax plan of one of the leading presidential candidates. It was a plan that boasted something for everyone… everyone got a tax cut. However a closer reading indicated that some would receive greater tax breaks than others. It reminded me of the old adage: Everyone is created equal but some are more equal than others. Life isn’t fair.
On the African Serengeti the wildebeest get to eat grass but practically everything else… the lion, hyena, cheetah and the crocodile, get to eat them. I doubt the wildebeest thinks that is fair.
An article posted on online Forbes several years ago put it, “Life Isn’t Fair – Deal With It.”
At first glance it seems our text is about a man who experienced the unfairness of life. We begin with this premise:
I. Neither suffering nor blessing are necessarily deserved, Job 2:10
Everyone knows good people experience bad things and bad people experience good things.
We have no control over our origins. We are born into a set of circumstances and that is that. However we believe that we do have control over the outcomes in our lives. We overcome obstacles and challenges. We make choices that influence and determine what we achieve and attain. That is only fair.
Recently Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker James Harrison came home to find that his 6 and 8 year old sons had been given participation trophies, which he promptly returned. That father is convinced that participation awards make a child feel entitled just for having participated.
You could surmise then that fairness is an entitlement concept… everyone participates so everyone gets a trophy. It’s only fair. However that father believes the one who works hardest and achieves the most is more deserving than the one who does not. That’s fair.
The main character in our text today was one of those deserving kinds of guys for whom life had been fair. He had worked hard. He was a good father. He was a good and God-fearing man. He deserved what he had… that was only fair.
A. Job was Deserving, Job 1:1-5
“There once was a man… he was blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” Job 1:1 and 8
2. Ten children
3. Massive herds of livestock
4. Many servants
5. Richest man in the entire area
Job was a deserving man. Life was fair for Job. There is an implied relationship between blessing and obedience. The amount of blessing Job receives seems to be directly proportional to the amount of obedience he offers to God. Job was good for God and God was good to Job.
Beginning with verse 6 in our text, a rather bizarre conversation took place between God and the Accuser, Satan. There is some kind of meeting between God and heavenly beings… among them was Satan. God asked Satan what he had been up to and Satan said he had just been patrolling the earth. We assume he was looking for someone to mess with. Amazingly, God asked him if he had noticed what a good and godly man Job was.
Which raised the question…
Did Job (and do people) believe or trust God without regard for either reward or punishment as a result of their faith? Satan posed the question, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Or “Job has good reason to fear you God. You have always put a wall of protection around him…” Job 1:9-10
In verse 6 there is a radical shift from the Job who was deserving of all the good that come into his life to the Job who did not deserve all the bad that came into his life.
B. Undeserving, Job 1:6-22; 2:1-9
“Alright, you may test him. Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence. Job 1:12
Job had three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zopahr who came to comfort him when he lost everything. They wasted no time in informing Job that the innocent do not suffer. They told him that he was in fact undeserving of the good things in life and therefore it was only fair that those things be taken away. He lost:
1. His possessions, Job 1:6-17