Thesis: Will man remain faithful to God even though he gets nothing in return?
1. Illust. It's easy to blame God. Sometimes we think of God as the author of everything that goes wrong in our lives. A man was once having one of those days when everything goes wrong. One thing after another. At end of day he's laying in bed exhausted. Cries out: "Why me, God? What have I done to deserve this? Why does everything always go wrong for me?" Suddenly the ceiling opens up, a huge hand with a pointed finger began thumping him in the chest, and a loud, majestic voice boomed: "Because you bug me!"
2. Have you ever felt that way? Job must have felt that way!
a. Job is an extreme example of human suffering.
b. Yet suffering is a smokescreen of sorts, to what is really the message of the book of Job.
c. Illust. Job is really two stories--an earthly one and a heavenly one. A story within a story. It's helpful to think of Job as a "whodunit" detective story that you already know the ending of. Or a rerun of "Murder She Wrote." We get the "inside scoop" in the first two chapters.
I. THE STORY.
A. The Righteousness of Job (1:1-5).
B. The First Test (1:6-22).
C. The Second Test (2:1-10).
D. Job's Comforters (2:11-13).
E. Three Cycles of Speeches + Elihu (chapters 3-37).
1. Eliphaz (4:7-8) ... Job <6:24-30; 7:17-20> ... Bildad (8:1-6, 20-22) ... Zophar (11:1-6) ... Job <13:3-5; 27:1-6>.
2. Elihu (32-37)--Not being punished, you're being purged!
F. God's Turn-38:1ff.--In essence God says: "I'm God and you're not! Until you know more about running the physical universe, don't tell me how to run the moral universe!"
1. Job, who finally gets his chance to talk to God, declines (40:1-5).
2. Job wisely decides to let God run the universe (42:1-3).
3. Then just as quickly as everything was taken away, it's given back. Twice as much as before!
4. Job lives "happily ever after."
II. THE MESSAGE.
A. The book of Job is not about ...
1. Patience of Job (rabbi: "God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, & Job!")
2. Why do the righteous suffer (bottom line: "I'm God, you're not!")
3. Not even about God.
B. The book of Job is about a question.
1. Satan asks God a question and the whole book is about finding an answer to that question (1:9).
2. Will anyone remain faithful to God even though they get absolutely nothing in return?
a. That's the tension that drives the book!
b. Will Job curse God or cling to him now that he has nothing? At one point all he has is a piece of broken pottery that he uses to scrape his boils. Still he clings to God.
C. Satan still asks the question-"Does a man obey God for nothing?"
1. Will we obey God when it appears to be getting us nowhere?
2. Will we obey God when bad things happen to us?
3. Will we obey God when blessings are nowhere to be seen?
Conclusion: Job passed his test. Will we?