Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word ~ Job 1

job 1 21

Job 1

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said,“The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said,“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. Read verses 1-5. Reflecting on this passage, what are some words you would use to describe Job, his family, and his life? Does the word “blameless” (1) mean “sinless”? How does your description of Job match up with God’s description of Job in verse 8 and what Satan says about Job in verse 10?

2. Why does Satan think Job loves and fears God? (9-11) Is he correct? (20-22)? Is it biblical to follow God in order to receive material or temporal blessings? Can you think of any churches or Christian celebrities who teach this? What should be our motivation for following Christ?

3. Was Job privy to the conversation between God and Satan (6-12)? Did he know why all these terrible things happened to him? Did he know that God would eventually restore what he had lost? How is Job’s situation similar to the blind man’s in John 9:1-3? Was Job being punished for sin? (8)

4. Make a list of all the things Job lost (13-19). Consider the repeated phrase, “while he was yet speaking.” What does this phrase tell us about the timing of these events?

5. Which three actions did Job take in verse 20? Which two indicate to us that Job was upset? Was Job’s grief sinful or an indication that he didn’t trust God? (21-22) How would you summarize Job’s response to tragedy? How do verses 20-21 correlate to Philippians 4:11-13? How are Christians to respond to suffering?

Idolatry, Old Testament, Sin, Sunday School

The Benefit of Israel’s Experience ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 8-31-14

Benefit of Israel's Experience

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 35 ~ Aug. 24-30
Jeremiah 51-52, Lamentations, Ezekiel 1-15
The Benefit of Israel’s Experience

For weeks now, we have watched Israel and Judah sink farther and farther into idolatry and other sin, and now they are facing God’s wrath for it. It’s easy to look back thousands of years later and think this is an ancient story that has no bearing on us today. But Israel was God’s people, like we are. They were prone to sin, like we are. Among the many things we can draw out of Israel’s story is that we as God’s people don’t want to go down the same road to sin that they did. What can we learn from what they did wrong, and how do we keep from becoming like them?

Ezekiel 14

It’s a slow fade (Exodus 14-17,32)
That’s the title of a Casting Crowns song. Another line of the song says, “People never crumble in a day,” and that is certainly true. In the same way that someone doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to have an affair, Israel didn’t just wake up one morning with Asherah poles in their back yards and prostitutes in the temple. We’re in about 593 BC here in Ezekiel. The exodus occurred around 1445 BC, with the golden calf incident occurring not too long after that. Give or take, we’re talking about 800ish years that Israel has been involved with idolatry. This depth of depravity didn’t happen overnight.

But even back in Exodus, there were “smaller” sins leading up to idol worship: they didn’t trust God, and they weren’t satisfied with God. They coveted fleshly security. At the Red Sea, they doubted God and wailed and moaned that they were going to die. They didn’t trust God for water or bread. And, finally, they grew impatient and distrustful that God would ever bring Moses down from Mt. Sinai. All of that culminated in the making and worshiping of the golden calf.

What can we learn? (2 Timothy 2:22, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Matthew 5:27-30)
There is no such thing as a little sin, because little sins always lead to bigger sins. Ever watch the Animal Planet show, Fatal Attractions? It was all about these various crazy people who adopted baby tigers, chimps, bears, etc. into their homes and then were shocked when these animals grew up and ripped their faces off (sometimes literally).

That’s what a “little” sin will do to you. It starts off looking cute and cuddly and harmless and then you embrace it and nurture it and think you’ve got a handle on it, and it grows up to rip your face off or kill you.

“Small” sins have to be dealt with swiftly and decisively. We must immediately turn from them and ask God’s forgiveness. We can’t play around with them even a little bit. That’s why the Bible tells us to “flee” (2 Tim) from sin and to take even our thoughts captive to obey Christ (2 Cor.). Hey, poke out your eye or cut off your hand if you have to, is what Jesus said (Matt.).

Lip service is a lie
The elders in 14:1 were not genuinely seeking to worship or obey God. It had been a long time, if ever, since they had done that. They were making a pretense to make it look to the people of Judah like they were actually following God and that God was pleased with them. And God answered that fake inquiry with real judgment.

What can we learn? (Isaiah 29:13-14)
Merely going through the motions doesn’t cut it. Putting your body in church once a week, reciting memorized prayers, giving offerings out of habit, mindlessly singing the hymns does nothing to make you godly. In fact it can help lull you into thinking you’re good with God and have nothing to worry about with regard to falling into sin.

Isaiah said about the Israelites:

“…this people draw[s] near with their mouth and honor[s] me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me…” (Is.)

and look what happened to them.

The same can be true of us. We must ask the Lord to hold us close and help us cling to Him. We must daily run to God’s word and prayer, humble ourselves and remember our dependence on Him. We must celebrate the gospel every day, remembering the price Christ paid for our sin, His love for us, and our love for Him.

Repentance is always the answer
Even at the brink of destruction, God’s message to Israel (14:6) is repent. He had brought all these calamities upon them to bring about their repentance. But the people and their leaders would have none of it.

What can we learn?
We’re going to sin. There’s just no way around it. But when we do, the answer is always to turn to Christ in repentance. One of the verses we have talked about so many times in this class is 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

While the idolatry the Israelites committed was a grave sin, what was even worse was that they refused to repent.

Sometimes, the cheese stands alone (Genesis 6:8, Daniel 6:4, Job 1:8)
Noah, Daniel, and Job- what do we remember about these guys? Each of them stood for righteousness surrounded by a sinful culture, and they all stood alone or nearly so. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Gen.). Daniel was “faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.” (Dan.) God Himself said Job was “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (Job)

And yet, God said that even if these three men had been present at Ezekiel’s time, their righteousness would have saved only themselves, no matter how hard they prayed or preached, because Israel refused to repent.

What can we learn?
Daniel, Job, and Noah were not righteous in and of themselves. They didn’t find favor with God because they were good deed doers, but because they believed God, walked in repentance, and were faithful to Him– some of the things we’ve already discussed today.
It seems simplistic to say that the lesson here is “Be like Daniel, Job, and Noah, not like the Israelites,” but sometimes it really is that simple. We must be faithful to God like they were even when no one else around us is.

I’ll take you back
If you could boil it down to one sentence, what would you say was God’s end goal in hitting Israel so hard? Check out verses 10-11:

And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike— that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God.”

No matter how far they had strayed or what they had done, God still loved His people and wanted them back. His desire was never to destroy them but to reconcile them to Himself.

What can we learn? (Luke 15:11-32)
As the parable of the prodigal son so beautifully demonstrates, we may fall into all kinds of horrible sin, but when we come to God broken and sorrowful over that sin, He wraps His arms around us in love and welcomes us back. That’s what He wanted to do for Israel, and that’s what He wants to do for us. That’s the reason Jesus came. The reason for the cross. The reason for the empty tomb.

For some purpose, known only to Himself, God loves us and wants us back.

Forgiveness, Gospel, Salvation, Sunday School, Types and Shadows

Joe & Moe: Delivery Boys ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 2-2-14

sunday schoolThese are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week.Click here for last week’s lesson.

 Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 5 ~ Jan. 26- Feb. 1
Genesis 41 – Exodus 9
Joe (Joseph) & Moe (Moses): Delivery Boys (Part 1)


→         ┼     ←→    II
Old Testament                     Gospels         Acts-Revelation    (Christ’s Return)

All of the Old Testament points to Christ. Throughout the OT, we see Israel, a people in need of deliverance, and throughout the OT, we see God use men as types and shadows of Christ, each pointing out a facet of the way He would deliver His people from their bondage to sin.

Let’s look back at some of the people we’ve studied so far and how they are types of (symbolize) Christ. Look at these people through the lenses of Jesus’ life.

Adam– One Man (Romans 5:17)
As sin entered the world through the first/only begotten son, so salvation entered the world through God’s only begotten Son.

Abel– Death of the innocent (Hebrews 12:22-24)
We see the good, obedient, innocent shepherd, betrayed by his brother and killed for no crime of his own.

Noah– The only righteous man (Genesis 6:9, 1 Peter 3:18)
We see salvation take place through the only righteous man on earth, scorned by sinners. We see the death of sin, the burial (at sea), and the resurrection to new life.

Job– The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:3,10)
In Job, we see Christ, the innocent, misunderstood and accused by those who should have been His friends, suffering, not for His own sin, but for God’s greater plan: that God might be glorified.

Abraham– The Obedient Son (Philippians 2:5-8)
Abraham left the comfort and position of his homeland in exchange for a life of sojourning in a land not his home. He was obedient to God whatever the cost to himself. So, Christ emptied Himself of His position and comfort in Heaven to sojourn on earth and live in obedience to God, whatever the cost.

Isaac– The Promised Son (Genesis 3:15) and The Lamb of God (Genesis 22:8,14, John 1:29)
God told Abraham He would send him a son, and after many years, the promise came true. The son of the Abrahamic Covenant was born in a miraculous way. In Genesis, God promised to send His Son, and after many years, and many reminders of God’s promise to Israel, the Son of the new covenant was born in a miraculous way.

Lamb of God- He was the only acceptable sacrifice. He took the wood for the sacrifice upon his back and walked up the hill to his place of death. “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” That mountain, Mt. Moriah, turned out many years later to be Calvary. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Jacob– Cornerstone (Matthew 19:28)
Jacob through his twelve sons/tribes, was the foundation of God’s people, Israel. Jesus, delegating through His twelve disciples, is the foundation of God’s people, the church.

Joseph– Deliverance Through Forgiveness (Genesis 50:20, Acts 5:31) (Genesis 45:5,7-8; 50:15-21, Luke 23:33-34, 1 John 1:5-9)
Joseph was a deliverer, as was Christ. His life shows us one aspect of Christ’s delivering us from our sin: forgiveness. I did a study on this a while back and wrote a blog article about it. It’s like one of those optical illusion pictures where if you look at it one way, it’s an old, ugly woman, but if you look at it another way, it’s a young, pretty woman. This is a “story optical illusion.” See if you can see Joseph and Jesus at the same time.

QueretaroCrossShadow1In the Shadow of the Son

And after all this: hating him, taking him away from his family and all he knew, selling him as a slave, working his way up only to lose everything again when he was falsely accused of rape and imprisoned for years for a crime he didn’t commit, forgotten by the cupbearer for two years, unsure how his brothers were treating Benjamin or his father, not even knowing if his father was still alive, Joseph forgave his brothers and gave them a new start, a new life.

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, foram I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Genesis 50:15-21

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.  And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Luke 23:33-34

As Jacob forgave his brothers and Christ forgave his executioners, this is exactly what Christ does for us. We repent, and He forgives us for our sin. He gives us a new life.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:5-9

The story of Joseph is a beautiful story of a man rejected, betrayed, and done away with, only to live again victoriously, and forgive and save his betrayers. Just like Jesus.

Sanctification, Sovereignty of God, Sunday School

Ishmael and El Roi ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 1-19-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 3 ~ Jan. 12-18
Job 32-42, Genesis 12-21
Ishmael and El Roi

What does “Ishmael” (Genesis 16:11) mean? El Roi (16:13)? Ishmael means “God hears.” El Roi means “the God who sees me.” Today, we’re looking at God’s sovereignty as displayed in the passages we read this week.

What do we mean when we say God is “sovereign”? Omnipotent? Omniscient? “Sovereignty” the way we use the word in the church today, means that God has authority and control over all things, people, and circumstances. He is omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing). Nothing in the universe happens without His knowledge, causation, or permission. We’ll see how God defines His sovereignty towards the end of today’s lesson. Because God is sovereign, we can TRUST Him.

Elihu (Job 32-34, Focal Passage- 33:29-30): God’s knowledge is perfect and complete. Ours is not. Elihu (as well as Job’s other three friends) thought he had God’s reasons for Job’s suffering all figured out: God brings suffering in order to lead men to repentance. Since Job was still suffering, he must still be in unrepentant sin. Elihu (and the others) were partly right. Sometimes, that is why God allows us to suffer. But not in Job’s situation. Each of them had a small piece of the puzzle, but none of them had the whole picture. Job wisely trusted God, who was the only one in this situation who knew the whole story, instead of his friends’ counsel.

42:7-9– Because our knowledge is incomplete, we must be extremely careful what we say about, or on behalf of, God. (Acts 20:26-27; Revelation 22:18-19, 2 Timothy 2:15) We are not to go farther than Scripture, nor stop short of declaring the full counsel of God. We are not to add to nor take away from God’s word. We are to handle God’s word rightly. We are to believe what God’s word says in context. Otherwise, we risk slandering the character of God.

Abram (Genesis 12-21): God isn’t just sovereign over the “big” things. He’s sovereign over the “small” things, too. He can be trusted in all things.

Abram trusted God’s sovereignty in the “big” things (Genesis 12:1-4; 15:1ff; 17:1-14)… Abram trusted God in a lot of “big” things. When God came to him and told him to leave his comfortable home and surroundings for a life of being a nomad, and didn’t even tell him where he was going, Abram went without question. When God told Abram He would give him innumerable descendants even though Sarai was barren, and that He would give Canaan to those descendants hundreds of years later, “he believed the Lord, and [God] counted it to him as righteousness.” (15:6) When God introduced the idea of circumcision to this 99 year old man, Abram didn’t try to talk God out of it or suggest a different way, he trusted God and obeyed.

…but sometimes he had trouble trusting God’s sovereignty in the “small” things (Genesis 12:11-13, 20:1-3; 16:1-2, 17:15-21; So did Lot’s daughters- 19:1ff; Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6) Abram trusted God when He rearranged and relocated his entire life. He trusted God to give him a myriad of descendants when he didn’t even have one child. He trusted that God would give thousands of square miles of land to his greatgreatgreatgreatgreat… grandchildren, yet when it came to protecting him and his wife, Abram gave in to fear and lied not once, but twice, about Sarai being his wife. Then, instead of trusting the God who had made all these great promises to him to cause Sarai to conceive on His timetable, he and Sarai took matters into their own hands with Hagar and violated God’s plan for marriage. Abram “listened to the voice of Sarai,” not the voice of God. (Just because bearing children “through” a handmaid was culturally acceptable at the time and Scripture doesn’t record God’s verbal disapproval of it doesn’t mean it was OK with Him.)

We see the same thing later with Lot’s daughters. Instead of trusting the God who sovereignly protected them from gang rape and the destruction of Sodom to give them husbands and children (or that it was OK with God for them to remain single and childless), they took matters into their own hands in a vile way. It is never God’s will for us to violate God’s word in order to bring about what we think are His purposes.

Hagar (Genesis 16:1ff, 21:8-21): God is sovereign over all circumstances, even the bad ones. His sovereignty brings comfort and shows He is trustworthy. Hagar was a slave. No one asked her if she wanted to sleep with Abram or bear his child. She had no choice. She was a victim of Sarai’s and Abram’s disobedience. But see how tender God is with her in these two passages! God comforts her personally and shows her she can trust Him by telling her a little about how He is going to use her circumstances in the future, and by His provision of the well. She can trust Him because He is sovereign over her situation. He has heard her cry (Ishmael) and is the God who sees her (El Roi).

Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 13:13, 18:22-19:29; Ezekiel 18:23; 2 Peter 3:9): God is gracious and patient, yet sovereign over sin, and sovereign in judgment. We learn as far back as chapter 13 that “the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord,” yet it isn’t until chapter 18 that we learn of God’s imminent plan to destroy the cities. We can’t be sure of the precise timing, but we do learn in chapter 12 (right before chapter 13 when God states that the men of Sodom were wicked) that Abram is 75 years old, and we find in chapter 17 (right before chapter 18 when Abram intercedes for Sodom) that Abraham is 99 years old. If the events are in chronological order, it appears (not knowing how long they had been “wicked” before chapter 13) that God mercifully spared his judgment against Sodom for at least 24 years. We see in other places, such as with Egypt (Exodus 12:40-41) and in our own day (since Christ’s ascension) that God waited hundreds or thousands of years before bringing judgment.

God is kind, gracious, and patient, because of His sovereignty over sin and judgment. He knows the kind of judgment that’s required and what it will be like. Over and over He provides ways for people and nations to repent, escape the penalty for their sin, and turn to Him. But when the time of His patience is fulfilled, He faithfully and righteously executes judgment.

God says, “ Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” and “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” He has provided a way for us to escape judgment- placing our faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to pay the penalty for our sin.

What does God have to say about His sovereignty? (Job 38-42; Focal Passages: 40:1-2,7-14; 42:1-6)

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Or who shut in the sea with doors?
Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Have you entered the storehouses of the snow?
Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you establish their rule on the earth?
Can you hunt the prey for the lion,
    or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
Do you give the horse his might?

Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

“Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
Have you an arm like God,
and can you thunder with a voice like his?

“Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity;
clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
Pour out the overflowings of your anger,
and look on everyone who is proud and abase him.
Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low
and tread down the wicked where they stand.
Hide them all in the dust together;
bind their faces in the world below.
Then will I also acknowledge to you
that your own right hand can save you.

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

Discernment, False Teachers, Sanctification, Suffering, Sunday School

When Bad Things Happen to Blameless People ~ Sunday School Lesson ~ 1-12-14

sunday school

These are my notes from my ladies’ Sunday School class this morning. I’ll be posting the notes from my class here each week. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Through the Bible in 2014 ~ Week 2 ~ Jan. 5-11
Job 6-31
When Bad Things Happen to Blameless People

One of Job’s main stances in this section is that he is “blameless” in God’s eyes. What does it mean to be blameless? (Job 6:24, Psalm 15:2, 18:23, 19:13) It carries the connotation that no one can accuse this person before the Lord of current, willful, unrepentant sin. A blameless person is one who loves the Lord, desires to please Him, and has a track record of good fruit- he avoids sin, repents of sin and asks forgiveness from those he has wronged, and does good works.

What does “blameless” NOT mean? (Romans 3:10, 23, Psalm 51:5) Blameless doesn’t mean perfect or without sin. We are all sinners from conception.

Why Job is suffering? (1:8, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) We know that it’s BECAUSE Job is blameless that he’s suffering (1:8- Compare to Paul in 2 Cor.), but Job and his friends don’t know this. Job doesn’t understand why he’s suffering, but his friends think they do.

Why do Job’s friends think he is suffering? Job’s friends start from the false assumption/conventional wisdom that suffering is always a direct result and punishment of sin, and that blessings are always a direct result of good/godly behavior. Notice, they all come from the same line of thinking, but bring up slightly different points to Job.

Bildad (8:5-6, 18:5, John 16:33, Matthew 6:9-13): “You just need to ‘get right with God’.” Bildad says Job needs to repent of his sin. If Job would just “get right with God” everything would be fine. Jesus says to his disciples: In this world you WILL have tribulation.

Bildad is partially right. We can suffer for sins we’ve committed. If you have an affair, you will probably suffer the loss of your marriage. If you don’t, you won’t. If we are walking in constant repentance (as in the example of the Lord’s Prayer) and communion with the Lord, our consciences are sensitive to sin, we’re more alert to temptation, strengthened to avoid it, and more likely to be, as Job was, blameless.

Job responds (9:2-3, 14-15; 12:9): “Nobody is sinless, but I am walking blamelessly.” Nobody can stand sinless before God. Job is as right as he knows how to be. He can’t think of any sin in his life he hasn’t repented for, and he has a track record of walking with the Lord. God knows all of that , and still, He is the one who is allowing all this calamity, so what Bildad is saying can’t be true.

Zophar (11:4-6; 20:29): “These calamities are proof that there is sin in your life.” Zophar takes the attitude that the calamities themselves are proof that Job not only has sin in his life, he is lying to cover up that sin by saying he’s blameless. Therefore, Job deserves even worse than what he’s getting.

Job responds (13:15; 27:1ff, John 6:66-69): “I don’t know why God is doing this, but I’m not going to give up hope in Him.” Job will not abandon his hope in the Lord. Even though he doesn’t understand God’s ways right now, he knows he’s right with the Lord. Besides, there’s no hope in anything else. Compare to Peter’s confession of Christ.

Eliphaz (15:20, 2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:18, Jeremiah 12:1): “Only evildoers suffer. Godly people prosper.” What does Jesus say about that? “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?”

Job responds (21:7,16; 2 Corinthians 11:24-28): “Our own daily experience tells us that’s not true.” We all know, or know of, people who live very godly lives, yet suffer with illness, deaths of loved ones, financial ruin, family problems, and evil people who have everything they could dream of. Compare to Paul.

If this were true, what would motivate people to come to Christ? (1:9-11) Greed. Selfishness. A “What can I get from God?” mentality. This is exactly what many popular “Christians” teach today. Come to Jesus for healing. Come to Jesus for wealth. Come to Jesus for success. Never, “Come to Jesus for His tender mercy and the forgiveness of your sin.” Come to Jesus for stuff. That’s what they teach, and that’s what Satan assumed Job was serving God for (1:9-11). God showed through Job that that’s not why His true children serve Him.

Jesus (Matthew 5:45, Job 29-31, Romans 8:28): “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” This is exactly what Job is saying in chapters 29-31. He has walked blamelessly all these years and had good circumstances. Now, he’s still walking blamelessly and he has bad circumstances. He hasn’t changed. His goodness didn’t earn God’s blessings as payment, and his badness (remember, he wasn’t perfect and still sinned during the “good years”) didn’t disqualify him from them. Only his circumstances have changed.

All things, bad or good, come through God’s hands, and they come because He loves us. Romans 8:28 says “for those who love God all things work together for good.” All things- the good and the bad. The good things may be for comfort, joy, provision, testing our faithfulness or obedience, to allow us to help others, etc. The bad things may be for some Heavenly reason (as with Job) that we know nothing about, to draw us away from the things of the world, to teach us obedience or dependence on Christ, to allow us to know Him as Provider, Healer, Comforter, Peace. We can’t know Him experientially in those ways if we never walk through times when we need provision, healing, comfort, peace, etc.

As parents, sometimes we give our child ice cream to eat and sometimes we give him Brussels sprouts. Do we give ice cream because we love him and Brussels sprouts because we hate him? No. Both are done out of love, the ice cream because it brings him joy, and the Brussels sprouts because it has the nutrients he needs to be strong and healthy. It would not be loving for a parent to give only ice cream OR only Brussels sprouts. In the same way, it would not be loving for God to give us only blessings or only difficult times.

Let’s ask God to help us walk with Him blamelessly so we can say, as Job did (23:10-12):

But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.