This is a summary of our class discussion on Job. Many people ask, “Why do good people suffer?” Suffering, trials, testing come for various reasons and oftentimes we don’t always understand why.
Job was a righteous man. However, the evil one sought God’s permission to test Job. God permitted this testing but put a limit on what Satan could do to Job. A major calamity befell Job and he lost everything including his children all in one day. In the midst of this trial, Job worshipped and acknowledged God’s right to give and take. He did not charge God with any wrongdoing.
As if things were not bad enough, Satan asked permission to afflict Job with painful sores from his head to his toes. When Job’s friends heard about his troubles, they visited him and sat with him for seven days without speaking. They comforted him with their silence.
However, as time went on, Job’s anguish was too much for his friends to bear. They confronted him and asked him to fess up! The assumed that Job’s suffering was because of sin. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar assumed in their limited view that trouble only comes to people as a result of sin. If Job would confess, perhaps God would forgive and restore him back to his place of honor in the society. They went to great lengths to accuse Job of sin. With time, Job became extremely frustrated with his friends but maintained his innocence. At the height of his pain, Job cursed the day he was born and later asked to meet God so that he might plead his case with him.
Eventually God answered Job out of the storm. It is interesting to note that Job’s kids were killed in a storm. Perhaps this was a sign to let Job know that God was with him in this storm all along…he upheld Job even though he was not aware of it. God did not answer directly the reasons for Job’s suffering. Rather God asked Job a bunch of questions about his creation such as the galaxies, light, darkness, stars, oceans, animals etc. God’s description of the Leviathan in chapter 41 is fascinating. Only God can subdue such a ferocious animal. There are many aspects of God’s creation that we simply cannot comprehend. God‘s response to Job was to redirect his thinking that God is in ultimate control and he did what was best for Job.
With these questions, God gave Job a vision of himself that transformed Job forever. In response, Job declared that God can do all things and his plans cannot be thwarted. Here is where Job’s transformation really happened….Job 42:5; my ears have heard of you (i.e. I knew you in my head) but now my eyes have seen you (translated…..I have now experienced you in a new way…that has transformed my thinking about you).
I believe Ephesians 1:17-18 captures Job’s new understanding of God…..he now has the spirit of wisdom and revelation to know God better. Another related verse is Psalm 40:5; “Many O Lord are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you. Were I to speak of them, they would be too numerous to declare.”
Job repented of his ignorance, prayed for his friends and God restored and gave double portion of all that he had before his suffering. God also blessed him with 10 children. His daughters were the most beautiful in all of the land. Job lived 140 more years after his affliction and saw his children and great, great grandkids up to the 4thgeneration.
In Summary, Job’s trials deepened his character, his knowledge of God, and his dependence on God. Job came to gain a better understanding of God through humility, tears and brokenness. Although Job did not find immediate relief in his suffering, he got a deeper and higher perspective of God and a more humble view of himself.
- What trials or afflictions are you facing? In what way is God trying to give you a new perspective of himself? Are you cooperative or uncooperative?
- Good comes out of our trials but we must choose to trust God. God uses all of our trials for good, sometimes not in the way we expect.
- We do not always need to know “Why” if we know God. As with Job, God welcomes our questions because he is with us through the storm.
- God’s grace is sufficient when all life’s props disappear. The basis of our relationship with God is GRACE. God owes us nothing.
- God is in control even when we don’t sense that He is there. God is Sovereign, Omnipotent and a caring Father. His ways are perfect.