Some Lessons from Job

Some Lessons from Job


Lesson 14December 24–30Some Lessons From Job

Memory Text:“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11, NKJV).

We’ve come to the end of this quarter’s study on Job. Though we might have covered much in the book, we must admit that there’s still so much more to cover, so much more to learn. Of course, even in the secular world, everything we learn and discover simply leads to more things to learn and to discover. And if it’s like that with atoms, stars, jellyfish, and math equations, how much more so with the Word of God?

“We have no reason to doubt God’s word because we cannot understand the mysteries of His providence. In the natural world we are constantly surrounded with wonders beyond our comprehension. Should we then be surprised to find in the spiritual world also mysteries that we cannot fathom? The difficulty lies solely in the weakness and narrowness of the human mind.” — Ellen G. White, Education, p. 170.

Yes, mysteries remain, especially in a book like Job, where many of life’s most difficult questions are raised. Nevertheless, we will look at some lessons we can take away from this story that can help us, like Job, to be faithful to the Lord amid a world of troubles.

SundayDecember 25By Faith and Not by Sight

Read2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.

7. We walk. That is, live, as Christians in this present life (Rom. 6:4; 8:1, 4; 13:13; 1 Cor. 7:17; Gal. 5:16; Eph. 2:2, 10).

By faith. Paul’s confidence in the resurrection (vs. 6, 8) has faith for its basis (see on ch. 4:18). In this life the apostle walks by faith, as in the life to come he will walk by sight.

Sight. Gr. eidos, “external appearance,” “form,” “shape.” Eidos refers to the thing which is seen, not to the faculty of seeing (cf. Luke 9:29, “fashion”; John 5:37). We believe in the Lord without having seen Him. Until the time when we do see Him face to face our manner of life as Christians rests on our belief in the unseen. There are two worlds, the visible and the invisible, which would be one except for the entrance of sin. A person walks by sight when he is under the influence of the material things of time, but he walks by faith when he is under the influence of things eternal. The decisions of the unregenerate man are made, his conduct determined, by external appearances. But the Christian has so firm a conviction regarding the realities of the eternal world that he thinks and acts by faith, in the light of things visible only to the eye of faith (see on Matt. 6:24–34; 2 Cor. 4:18). Those who walk by sight instead of by faith thereby express doubt concerning the invisible realities and the promises of God. By faith the kingdom of God becomes a living reality, here and now. Faith comes by “hearing,” and “hearing by the word of God” (see on Rom. 10:17). See on Heb. 11:1, 6, 13, 27, 39.[1]

and 2 Corinthians 4:18. “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seenaretemporary, but the things whicharenot seen are eternal.”

18. While we look. Paul now explains how it is possible to see the afflictions of this life in their true perspective and to view them as of only momentary consequence. His gaze was fixed upon the glories of the eternal kingdom (cf. Heb. 12:2). Whatever gains the fixed attention of the mind determines how one will endure trial, whether with hope and patience or with dissatisfaction and bitterness. The former comes from contemplating the unseen things of the eternal world (Phil. 4:8), the spiritual realities of Christ; the latter from looking at such visible, transitory things as wealth, pleasure, and fame (see on Matt. 6:24–34). By fixing the mind upon the character and life of Christ we become like Him (cf. Heb. 11:10, 26, 27, 39, 40; 1 Peter 1:11).

What crucial truths are revealed in these texts? A Possible Answer: What is being revealed here is that the Believer conducts his/her life in the light of eternal realities and further, views all life based through the eyes of faith.How can these truths help us as we seek to be faithful followers of the Lord?A Possible Answer: Those truths help us in that they leave us a model to follow. They suggest a method of interpreting life and its oddities while pointing us to the Christian’s higher motivation... Hope in an unseen God and His promised glorious future of fellowship with God, Angels and loved ones in a sinless environment.

The immediate context of 2 Corinthians 4:18 is eschatological, talking about the end times, when we are clothed in immortality, a great promise that we don’t yet see fulfilled. That’s a promise we have to take by faith and not by sight, because it hasn’t come to pass yet.

Likewise, the book of Job shows us that there’s so much more to reality than what we can see.This should not, though, be so difficult a concept for people living in our day and age to grasp, not when science has revealed the existence of unseen forces all around us.

A preacher stood before a church in a large city. He asked the congregation to be quiet. For a few seconds there was no sound. He then pulled out a radio and turned it on, running the dial across the channels. All sorts of sounds came out of the radio.

“Let me ask,” the preacher said. “Where did these sounds come from? Did they originate in the radio itself? No, these sounds were in the air all around us, as radio waves, waves just as real as my voice is now. But the way we are wired, we don’t have access to them.But the fact that we can’t see or feel or hear them doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, right?”

What other real things that we can’t see (such as radiation or gravity) exist around us?A Possible Answer: Air, evil and purity. The great controversy betweenSatan and his angels/demons and that of Christ and His angels. Feelings and emotions. Faith and hope. Heaven, values, love, virtue and morality.

What spiritual lessons can we draw from the fact that these unseen forces not only exist but can impact our lives?A Possible Answer: 1. Because something is not seen it does not make it unreal. 2. Behind the view of an inactive vision there is warfare going on that is a matter of life and death. 3. Many times that which is not seen is of a more permanent nature than that which is seen. 4. That which is unseen tends to be indispensible to all life irrespective to race, nationality, religious connections or socio-economic affiliation.5. Generally, how we respond to these forces have a long-term effect on one’s life and wellbeing.

As the book of Job showed, none of the people involved really grasped what was going on. They believed in God and even had some understanding about God and His character and creative power. But outside the bare facts of reality that they could see—i.e., Job’s calamity—they didn’t have a clue as to what was happening behind the scenes. In the same way, might we not at times be as clueless as to the unseen realities around us? A Possible Answer: Yes, most definitely so.

The book of Job, then, teaches us that we need to learn to live by faith, realizing our weakness and just how little we really see and know.

MondayDecember 26Evil Being

One of the great questions that has challenged human thinking deals with evil.Though some philosophers and even religionists have denied the existence of evil or think we should at least abandon the term, most people would disagree.Evil is real; it’s a part of this world. Though we can argue over what is or is not evil, most of us (to paraphrase a U.S. Supreme Court justice in another context) “know it when we see it.”

Evil is sometimes put into two broad classes:natural and moral. Natural evil is defined as the kind that arises from natural disasters, such as when earthquakes or floods or pestilences bring suffering. Moral evil results from deliberate actions of other human beings, such as murder or robbery.

All sorts of theories, ancient and modern, attempt to account for the existence of evil. As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that the Bible teaches that evil originated in the fall of a created being, Satan. The popular culture, aided by materialistic philosophical speculations, has denied the idea of Satan. But one can do so only by rejecting the clear testimony of Scripture, which depicts Satan as a real being out to do humans as much harm as possible. This is a truth especially revealed in the book of Job.

ReadJob 1:1 to Job 2:8. (Omitted for brevity) How do these two chapters help us understand the role of Satan in the evil that’s so prevalent in the world?A Possible Answer: They help us understand the role of Satan by informing us that evil originates with Satan and that which is outside the will of God as evidenced in pain, evil and sin originates is perpetuated by him.

In Job’s case, Satan was directly responsible for the evil, both moral and natural, that fell upon this man.But what we see in the book of Job doesn’t necessarily mean that every example of evil or suffering is directly related to demonic activity. The fact is, as with the characters in the book of Job, we just don’t know all the reasons for the terrible things that happen. In fact, the name of “Satan” never even came up in the dialogues regarding Job’s misfortunes. The speakers blamed God, they blamed Job, but never Satan himself.Nevertheless, the book of Job should show us who is responsible in the end for the evil on the earth.

What do these following texts tell us about the reality of Satan? Revelation 12:12Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”A Possible Answer: Satan is real. His evil presence is felt on the entire earth in the form of anger.

Matthew 4:10Then Jesus said to him,“Away with you,Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship theLordyour God, and Him only you shall serve.’”A Possible Answer: Jesus viewed him as a real entity that could understand and desired worship but who could be kept at bay by the use of the Scriptures.

Matthew 13:39The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.A Possible Answer: Satan is real, he is to be viewed as an enemy and is responsible for sowing evil.

Luke 8:12Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.A Possible Answer: Satan is also called the Devil and is intentional about nullifying the effects of truth in the hearts of all who heard the Word of God.

Luke 13:16So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”A Possible Answer: That Satan has the ability to bind human beings.

Luke 22:3Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.A Possible Answer: That Satan has the ability to literally enter into a person who gives him/herself over to him.

Luke 22:31Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial31And the Lord said,“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may siftyouas wheat.A Possible Answer: While Satan is real, he has to seek permission to have a person who is especially dedicated to God and further, his aim is to sift such a person.

Acts 5:3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep backpartof the price of the land for yourself?A Possible Answer: Satan has the ability to feed a person with perverse thoughts.

1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; becauseyour adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.A Possible Answer: Satan is to be viewed as an adversary who cunningly seeks our destruction.

More important, what examples do you have of Satan’s influence in your life? A Possible Answer: 1) Enticement to sin. 2) Negative thoughts and emotions. 3) The use of family and friends to draw one away form the path of virtue and right. 4) The appeal to move away from that which is eternal. 5) To please anyone other that God Himself and to negate the building up of the kingdom of Christ. 6) The use of his instruments to discourage, hurt and inure.

How can you be protected against him?A Possible Answer: 1) Praying for the presence of the Holy Spirit. 2) By not placing myself on Satan’s ground. 3) By being obedient to the Truth as it is in the Bible and the revealed will of God. 4) By putting on the entire armor of God.

TuesdayDecember 27With Friends Like These . . .

All through the book of Job, the three (and then four) men who came to speak to Job did so with good motives. They had heard what had happened to him, and they came “to mourn with him and to comfort him” (Job 2:11). However, after Job first started speaking, bemoaning the tragedies that befell him, they apparently felt it was more important for them to put Job in his place and set his theology straight than it was to encourage and uplift the spirits of their suffering friend.

Time after time, they got it all wrong. But suppose they had got it all right? Suppose all these things came upon Job because he had deserved them? They might have been theologically correct, but so what? Did Job need correct theology? Or did he need something else entirely?

ReadJohn 8:1–11. 1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.2Now earlyin the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.3Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,4they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caughtin adultery, in the very act.5Now Moses, in the law, commandedus that such should be stoned.But what do You say?”6This they said, testing Him, that they might havesomethingof which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground withHisfinger, as though He did not hear. 7So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself upand said to them,“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”8And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.9Then those who heardit,being convicted bytheirconscience,went out one by one, beginning with the oldestevento the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.10When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,“Woman, where are those accusers of yours?Has no one condemned you?”11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her,“Neither do I condemn you; go andsin no more.”

What did Jesus reveal here that these men were greatly lacking?A Possible Answer: Jesus revealed here that it is more important to help a person not to sin than to condemn them for the sin that they have committed.

In this story, there is a major difference between the woman taken in adultery and her accusers on the one hand and Job and his accusers on the other. The woman was guilty. Though she might have been less guilty of sin than those accusing her, there was never a question of her guilt, whatever the mitigating circumstances. In contrast, Job was not guilty, at least in the sense of guilt that his accusers had claimed for him. But even if he had been guilty like this woman, what Job needed from these men was what this woman needed, and what all suffering people need: grace and forgiveness.

“In His act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness. While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope.” — Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 462.

What the book of Job should teach us is that we need to give others what we would like were we in their shoes.There is surely a time and place for rebuke, for confrontation, but before we consider taking on that role, we need to remember humbly and meekly that we are sinners ourselves.

How can we learn more compassion for those who are suffering, even suffering from their own wrong courses of action?A Possible Answer: A) By asking for the heart of Jesus through prayer and service. B) By endeavoring to put our selves in their place and asking the question... “What would I need most”? C) By studying Biblical examples, especially the life and example of Jesus, and endeavoring to be an example of the same. D) By remembering that it is a biblical mandate to care for those who are suffering, period.