Job’s story is a lengthy & difficult one…
I. The Disasters of Job (1:1–2:13)
– Job’s Circumstances… see Job 1:1-5
When we suffer the consequences of bad decisions, it hurts. But, when we seem to be suffering for no apparent reason, it hurts worse.
Job was a VERY successful man; with 7 sons, 3 daughters, and a wealth of livestock. In fact, the Bible says “he was the greatest man among all the people of the East“. The Bible also makes very clear that Job was a righteous man.
– Job’s Calamities… see Job 1:6-11,12-22; 2:1-6,7-10
In a single day, nearly everything Job knew was taken away… snatched from him; all his animals were either stolen or destroyed, and every single one of his children died in a terrible tragedy. Yet, “in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing“.
But, Job’s sufferings did not end there. He himself was stricken with terrible sores from head to toe, and even his own wife encouraged him to give up God (Job 2).
Job 2:6 reminds us God is in control!
The opening chapters of the book of Job show us much about the person and work of Satan. He is depicted as a real being. He has access to God. He roams the earth. He has specific knowledge of those who love God (and, we assume, all people). He questions the motives of God’s servants and accuses them. He is given permission (within limits) to afflict the followers of God. He is ready, willing, and eager to cause suffering and grief.
Since Job never mentions Satan, it’s possible he was unaware he was the source of Job’s suffering. But, we have the complete Bible. We know Satan is real, and we know he likes nothing more than wrecking our lives. So, how are we to respond to that?
1) We can realize Satan uses sneak attacks much more often than frontal assaults.
2) We can take comfort in the fact God is, ultimately, in control.
3) We can rest in the fact God defeated Satan at the cross, and will, one day, crush him under His feet (Rom. 16:20).
4) We can put on the armor of God daily (Eph. 6), and be on the alert for the temptations from Satan.
* Satan is limited by the power of God and the faith of believers!
See Job 2:10; what can hard times teach us? Suffering is never fun, especially when we don’t understand why we are suffering. But, even in the worst of times we can learn something from our dreadful situation:
1) Hard times remind us how much we really do need God.
2) Hard times build character if we respond to God with trust & obedience.
3) Hard times can teach us how to comfort others who might be faced with similar problems.
* Suffering can work for our benefit and God’s glory!
– Job’s Comforters… see Job 2:11-13
Finally, some of Job’s friends come to mourn with him; but, in the end, each of them spend most of their “comfort” time trying to convince Job he had caused his own suffering by some hidden sin.
II. The Dialogue with Job (3:1–42:6)
III. The Deliverance of Job (42:7-17)
There are 5 major themes threaded through the book of Job:
– Suffering can be – but is not always – a penalty/the consequences for sin.
– Prosperity is not always a reward for being good.
– Those who love God are not exempt from trouble.
– We may not fully understand the suffering we experience, but it can lead us to rediscover God.
2) Satan’s Attacks
– Because Satan cannot exceed the limits God sets, we have no reason to fear Satan’s attacks.
– We must be careful not to allow any experience to drive a wedge between us and God.
– We cannot control how Satan attacks, but we can choose how we will respond when it happens.
3) God’s Goodness
– Although God is present everywhere, it may sometimes seem He is far away.
– This might cause us to feel alone… and to doubt His love & care for us.
– We serve God for who He is, not for how we feel… or for what we can get from Him.
– God is never insensitive to our suffering.
– Because God is sufficient, we should trust Him.
Job’s friends were certain they were correct in their judgment of Job. But, in the end, God rebuked them for their pride and arrogance.
– We rarely know as much as we think we know.
– We must be careful not to judge others who are suffering.
– We must not give in to pride.
In spite of all the pain, loss & suffering, Job never once gave up on God. He never placed his hope in his experience, wisdom, friends, or health. Job focused on God.
– Job showed the kind of trust we are to have.
– When all is stripped away, we need to recognize that God is all we ever really had.
– We should never demand that God explain everything – or even anything – to us.
– Remember that this life – with all its pain – is not our final destiny.
You can read Job’s story in the book of Job.