Only Christ can make sense of our suffering!
Health, Death, abuse, neglect, relationships, financial ruin… In the book of Job we get a glimpse of the spiritual realm.
The book of Job is one of five books in the Old Testament that we call the “Wisdom books”: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs are full of beautiful and expressive poetry. Trees clap their hands. Hills sing for joy. God’s enemies melt like wax. And God himself rides upon the clouds. The Psalms are filled with the love and liveliness of an individual relationship with God, while Song of Songs celebrates these things between husband and wife. Proverbs guides us with its practical advice. And Ecclesiastes draws us into humility and awe as it considers some of life’s most difficult mysteries.
Job was called a righteous man by Ezekiel (14:14), along with Noah and Daniel.
One of the most personal books of the old testament.
Many believe the Book of Job to be the earliest book of the Bible.
Job lived about 140 years after the events of this book took place (42:14). Therefore, his life span must have been around 200 years. Abraham lives 175 years.
Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Job is the priest of his family and offers sacrifices.
There is no reference to- Israel
Job mentions Adam, which is evidence that the story of Adam and Eve was recognized long before Moses’ birth and the book of Genesis was written (Job 31:33).
Science in Job:
Light waves and radio waves are mentioned in Job. This wasn’t discovered by science until 1864 (Job 38:35).
The book mentions that air has weight, however science did not discover this until the 1600’s (Job 28:25).
At a time when it was believed the earth sat on a large animal or on a giant 1500 years before Christ, the Bible spoke of the earth’s free-floating space (Job 26:7). Science didn’t discover that the earth hangs on nothing until 1650.
Overview of Job
Chapters 1-2 Give the foundational story. They tell us who Job is and the trials he endures.
Chapter 2 (end), three of Job’s friends come to “comfort him”, and they sit with him silently for a week.
Chapter 3 Job pours out his complaint.
Chapters 4–41—all but the last chapter—are a series of dialogues. (Most of the book)
Chapter 4–31 contain three cycles of dialogues between Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
chapters 4–14 Cycle 1 - In cycles one and two, Eliphaz speaks and Job responds. Then Bildad speaks and Job responds. Then Zophar speaks and Job responds.
chapters 15–21 Cycle 2
chapters 22–31 Cycle 3 - The same thing happens in the third cycle, except the last guy, Zophar, doesn’t talk anymore, because the debate is over.
Job makes his final protest and almost demands that God show up so that he can talk to God himself about his suffering.
Instead of God, we hear from a young man named Elihu, who appears in chapter 32 and speaks all the way to 37.
Chapters 32-37 Elihu is a fascinating characater… he says he has been listening for some time but has not said anything because he is younger and does not want to be disrespectful to his elders.
Finally, in chapter 38, God himself enters the discussion and criticizes those who have spoken “words without knowledge” (38:2). In one of the most remarkable descriptions in the Bible of God’s work in creation, God paints a picture for Job and the others of his unique and sovereign power. As he says at one point, “Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?” (38:36).
Then in chapter 40, God asks Job directly, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let the one who accuses God answer him!” (40:2).To which Job’s response is simple: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more” (40:4–5).God replies,“Would you discredit my justice?Would you condemn me to justify yourself?Do you have an arm like God’s,and can your voice thunder like his?Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.Unleash the fury of your wrath” (40:8–11a).
Chapters 40 and 41, God continues to instruct Job and the others about who he is: “Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me” (41:10b–11).In chapter 42, the last chapter, Job makes his final confession:“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;I will question you, and you shall answer me.’My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (42:3b–6).
Chapter 42 God tells Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar that they have been wrong. Then he blesses Job. That’s the summary of the book of Job.
Comparison Between Job and Jonah:
There are contrasting differences.
Jonah is an incredibly short book, Job is a very long book. 42 chapters filled with poetry and wordy reading after the first few chapters.
In Jonah the affliction of his life is attributed to his sinful disobedience. In Job, it is attributed to the testing of his sincere righteousness.
There are striking similarities.
In both you see the sovereignty of God involved in the affairs of thier lives… even the “worst case scenarios” that they experienced.
In the End of both books, God vindicates himself, and teaches us some very helpful lessons for us to make sense of God’s sovereignty and the suffering of human beings.
In Both you see a type of Christ: Job and Jonah are types of Christ. To be a type does not mean that everything lines up, but that there are key features that line up...all pointing forward to Christ.
Job suffers as an innocent man
Jobs sacrifice turns away gods wrath
Job suffered then saves his friends.
A few reminders from Job that help make sense of our suffering...
1. Suffering is part of life...
Who is Job?
v1 - Job was a God fearing man:feared God and turned from evil
v2 - Job was a family man: seven sons and three daughters
v3- Job was a man of powerful man: fame and fortune: 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 oxen, and many servants…he was the greatest of all the men of the east.
v 4-5Job a man of spiritual man: faithful intercession…rise early and offer burnt offerings for them.
It doesn't matter who you are affliction is part of life...
we can be afflicted for a number of reasons:
Bible gives reasons for affliction:
Affliction is a feature of a fallen world (Psalm 25:16; 1 Peter 1:6; John 16:33).Affliction can be the result of persecution for Jesus’ sake (2 Timothy 3:11–12; Psalm 69:6–7; 1 John 3:13). In the World you will have affliction...
Affliction can be a direct consequence of sin (Galatians 6:8; Proverbs 11:18).Affliction can be a judgment from God (Ezekiel 36:18–19; 39:24; Romans 1:18–32; 2:6; 6:23).
so he corrects our behavior, and our direction...
Affliction can be the result of a direct attack from Satan (Luke 22:31; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8).
But God uses Affliction to help us grow us and help us develop endurance (Daniel 12:10; James 1:3; 1 Peter 4:12–13). can result in strength. Rom 8 all things for good...
Acts 20:21–23 (ESV)
testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.
Affliction… await me… but really(speaking of something of a higher significance, a deeper reality being shared in a comparative way)… these afflictions have served to advance the Gospel.
Affliction: trouble that inflicts distress, and oppression, tribulation… these are inward affects due to outward circumstances.
Joseph was rescued out of his affliction. Ac 7:10
Through many afflictions we are going to enter the Kingdom of heaven: Ac 14:22
2 Cor 2:4 “For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.”
In all of the Bible the clearest place this reality is seen, is in the life of Job. This is where the curtain is fully drawn back…
Jer 18:6-10 ““O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.”
When affliction comes is there somthing for me to learn?
is there sin from which to turn?
are there crowns for me to earn?
2. There is no part of my life off limits to God.
Financial: all of your security is taken away.
“The lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord...”
Ill: in my trial i saw how much i love my family: my wife is gold, my kids… Ansley
2:5Stretch out your hand and touch his bone and flesh…and he will curse you to your face.
2:7 loathsome sores...
Shall we receive the good from God and shall we also not receive the evil?”
Ill: I was so numb…i thought i could actually die…i’ve been in war… People helping with my house....humbling...
Examine myself, am i holding on too tightly to the things of this world? Is there anything in my life that is more important the Christ?
3. Friends can play a great role in affliction.
They did three things:
They came to comfort
They came and sat with him...
(no one spoke a word…)
If they would have stopped there, they would have been the perfect example of friends… but they opened their mouths… and their theological flaws were exposed.
Remember the disciples: could you not stay with me one hour?
Remember Paul said? i went through affliction, and nobody stood with me...
Why is this Book important?
Personally: so that you can make sense of your circumstances, and know that God has a higher purpose that merely the surface of your suffering. It really helps to cope with it. otherwise, you are left without any sense in the universe..
Apologetically: this is part of the answer to why there is evil in the world. The skeptic asks “if God is all good then why does He allow evil.” If God is all powerful why cant he stop evil?” When you see behind the curtain, you see that affliction has a purpose.
Evangelistically: Although It seems inconsistent that a righteous man be caused to suffer. Sometimes the suffering of the righteous can set sinners free.
"There are times in our spiritual experience when human counsel or sympathy... fail to comfort or help us. Why does our gracious God permit this? Perhaps it is because we have been living too much without him, and he therefore takes away everything upon which we have been in the habit of depending, that he may drive us to himself." —C. H. Spurgeon
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).