Old Testament Spotlight: Job on Trials

Bible Study on the Epistle of James

This is part of a Bible Study series on the Epistle of James. You can find more information on the complete series by going to the Series Overview.

This Week: Job 1:1-2:10
Date: January 24, 2016
Series: Shoe Leather Theology: Study of James

This Week’s Resources:


This Week’s Lighthouse Lesson

Overview of this Lesson

The Book of Job is a difficult narrative to read because it tells us of the complete destruction of a Godly man–his family, fame, fortune, and health are destroyed in two swift Satanic attacks. All that is spared is his life.

Yet, in spite of the tremendous tragedy Job experiences, he remains faithful to God.

In this week’s lesson, we will look at the tragedy that befalls Job and his response to it, while at the same time learning how we can respond when the storms of life hit, and hit hard. It is by no means an easy road to walk, but by God’s strength, the Book of Job shows us that the servant of the Lord can walk the difficult path and remain faithful to the Lord.

Memory Verse for This Week

Job 1:21 (ESV) – 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.”

Core Doctrine: God the Father

God the Father (Psalm 121:1–2): We believe God is personally involved in and cares about the daily lives of His children.

Introduction

  • Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
  • Who would you say is the most celebrated, well-known person of our generation who has fallen from the greatest heights to the lowest, most humiliating place of disgrace.
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?

This Week’s Take Home Truth

Trials, God’s gift to mature us, can become a temptation, Satan’s tool to deceive us, if we stop trusting God under it and start blaming God for it.

Read the Text (Job 1:8-22)

Job is perhaps the oldest book of the Bible. Set in the period of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph), it tells the story of a man who loses everything—his wealth, his family, his reputation, his health—and wrestles with the question, “Why?” The book begins with a heavenly debate between God and Satan, moves through three cycles of earthly debates between Job and his friends, and concludes with a dramatic “divine diagnosis” of Job’s problem. In the end, Job acknowledges the sovereignty of God in his life and receives back more than he had accumulated before his trials. Read Job 1:8-22.

Job 1:8–22 (ESV)

8And 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?” 9Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10Have 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. 11But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12And 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.

13Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15and 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.” 16While 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.” 17While 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.” 18While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19and 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.”

20Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21And 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.” 22In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Digging Deeper

In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions.

  • Let’s get a picture of what is happening to this man Job.

Job: The Picture of Health, Wealth, and Prosperity (Job 1:1-5)

God and Satan: The First Dialog in Heaven (Job 1:6-12)

Satan Attacks: Destroys Job’s Family and Fortune (Job 1:13-19)

God and Satan: The Second Dialog in Heaven (Job 2:1-6)

Satan’s Second Attack: Destroys Job’s Fitness and Fame (Job 2:7-8)

In the midst of all of this tragedy, what is Job’s response?

  • Based on what we learn from Job on Trials, how do we respond when trials overwhelm us?

In spite of everything, trust God.

In the midst of trials, embrace living without answers.

Instead of doubt, focus on what is knowable.

Someone once said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.” According to Philip Yancey,

For Job, the battleground of faith involved lost possessions, lost family members, lost health. We may face a different struggle: a career failure, a flounder­ing marriage, sexual orientation, a body that turns people off, not on. At such times the outer circum­stances-the illness, the bank account, the run of bad luck-will seem the real struggle. We may beg God to change those circumstances. If only I were beautiful or handsome, then everything would work out. If only I had more money–or at least a job–then I could easily believe God.

But the more important battle, as shown in Job, takes place inside us. Will we trust God? Job teaches that at the moment when faith is hardest and least likely, then faith is most needed. . . .

. . . Every act of faith by every one of the people of God is like the tolling of a bell, and a faith like Job’s reverberates throughout the universe.

Concluding Thoughts

These questions are given to prompt both reflection and learning on a personal level, and should likely be completed individually and apart from your regular group time.

  • Take a few minutes and list three trials you have endured–either in the present or the past–and how you would describe your response to these trials.
  • As you think about these trials, lay your feelings before God. If it helps you to write these out, do so.
  • Now close by writing three simple one sentence prayers that express a heart of worship and trust. Write the prayers to God even though you may not feel like this is a time for praise. Worship him.

God On the Mountain

A song that has meant much to me over the years is an old gospel song by Lynda Randle called, “God of the Mountain.” The words are printed below. If you want to hear the words sung, you can watch this video.

Verse 1
Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain
And you’ve got peace of mind, like you’ve never known
But things change, when you’re down in the valley
Don’t lose faith, for your never alone

Chorus:

For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley
When things go wrong, he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night

Verse 2

We talk of faith way up on the mountain
But talk comes easy, when life’s at its best
Now its down in the valleys, trials and temptations
That’s where your faith is really put to the test

Chorus:

For the God on the mountain, is still God in the valley,
When things go wrong, he’ll make them right
And the God of the good times, is still God in the bad times
The God of the day, is still God in the night
The God of the day, is still God in the night


Becoming A House of Prayer

Set aside a portion of your Lighthouse for prayer.

Prayer Prompts:

  • Pray that as a church, 2016 will be a year when our church family grows in its understanding that Jesus is the Messiah and desires to reign as Lord in the life of every believer (Matthew 16:16).
  • Pray for pastors throughout Central Iowa that they will boldly preach the gospel without shame, or in such a way as to neglect the cross of Christ. Pray that their messages will be presented with such godly power that it will be easy for the lost to be saved and the saved to be revived (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).
  • Pray that First Family will be devoted to prayer, “keeping alert in an attitude of thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
  • As the Holy Spirit continues to help us understand the Word of God, pray that we will learn to use God’s Word to speak to one another “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody” with our hearts to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18-19).
  • Pray that the leaders and congregation of First Family will take the Great Commission seriously and actually become involved in making, baptizing, and teaching new followers of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).

    Chris Eller is a Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Pastor, Geek, Writer, Photographer, and Church Technology Consultant.

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