Want to learn more about Job? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 14-part series.
The End? Why would you start a new study of the book of
Job and call the first lesson, “The End?” Ask my wife. When she reads
a book, she reads the end first. I’ve never done that, but my wife
wants to know how things will come out because that gives her comfort
as she reads the book. Following in the tradition of my wife, let’s
dive into the study of Job by looking at the end!
A famous Christian book starts out, “It’s not about
you.” Job teaches us this understates the situation. Not only is life
not about us, but it is about being willing and able to give up our
interests to advance the Kingdom of God. The interesting thing about
Job, and “giving up our interests,” is that Job both started and
ended as the richest man around. Let’s dive into our study of the
Bible and learn more!
Last week we felt sorry for Job as he lost his children
and his wealth. Recall that while God permitted these tragedies, God
restrained Satan from harming Job himself. Job 1:12 (“on the man
himself do not lay a finger”). God won round one. Satan’s prediction
was wrong: when Job suffered these losses he did not curse God,
rather he praised God (Job 1:21). Are you someone who could prove
Satan wrong? Let’s plunge into the story of Job and see how the
This week we take a break from progressing
through the Job story. Instead, we will spend time studying
the issue of God and human suffering. When we suffer, or those
we love suffer, are we tempted to think there is no God – or
at least no loving God? That would be natural. If there is a
loving God, why would He allow suffering? What evidence do we
have for God? Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and learn
Recall that in Job 2:9 Job’s wife advised him to “curse
God and die?” Job refused. Instead, we learn this week that Job
cursed his own existence. Do you know someone who has ended their
existence? When I was young, my mother was concerned that I would
take my life because of a break-up with my girlfriend. I don’t recall
my thoughts then, but I doubt that Mom had a reason to be worried.
When I hear of someone who killed their spouse, I think, “Why not
divorce?” My attitude is the same about suicide, why not just change
my life? If you are like me and do not understand such thoughts, Job
introduces us to the desperate thinking of those in the depths of
depression. Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and learn more!
Job’s friends came to visit him and they were shocked
at how bad he looked (Job 2:12). Have you had the same experience
when you visited a sick friend? It is hard to know what to say.
Certainly, “You look terrible” would not be a good idea. Job’s
friends, as we have discussed before, initially said nothing (Job
2:13). But, they could not stand that for very long and they started
to try to explain Job’s sufferings. That is when trouble began. Let’s
plunge into our study of Job and learn more!
I love logic! So, does Bildad, one of Job’s friends.
Bildad knows his theology, he knows his logic, and he deduces that
Job’s children deserved to die. You could call that real “Retributive
Punishment.” Sometimes logic lets us down. Sometimes our view of how
God operates is mistaken, and thus our logical deductions are also
wrong. Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and find out about love,
logic and retributive punishment!
We see a pattern in the accusations of Job’s friends
and Job’s response to them. The friends say that Job is suffering
because of his sins. Job denies that he is guilty, and he challenges
God to justify what is happening to him. This makes Job’s friends
angry, because they see this as an attack on God. Is this an attack
on God? Is the human response to suffering misguided because it
expects God to justify suffering? Is the human response to suffering
too focused on us, rather than on God? Let’s dig into our study of
Job and see what we can learn!
A theme we keep seeing in these lessons is that we must
trust God no matter what happens. The question is, “Trust God to do
what?” Our assumption is that we trust God and He will make things
better. If we are suffering, we would hardly want to trust God that
things would remain the same or get worse, right? One reason we
trust God is because the issues are not about us, they are about the
larger conflict between good and evil. But, even though we might
intellectually agree that “it is not about us,” our trust is that God
wins that larger conflict so that at some point in the future our
suffering turns to joy. We call that “hope.” Let’s plunge into our
study and learn more about our hope!
What do you think is “righteous anger?” I think this is
anger over slights to God’s reputation and program. Regular anger
arises because of slights to me. As I understand it, righteous anger
is fine and regular anger is not. Do you agree? Ephesians 4:26 says,
“In your anger, do not sin.” That seems to suggest that some anger is
fine. We have seen that Job’s friends engage in what they surely
believed was righteous anger because they thought that Job was
slighting God and His program. This week we focus on the anger of
Elihu, one of Job’s friends. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible
and see what we can learn about whether Elihu’s anger is appropriate!
We know the arguments, right? Job’s friends argue the
normal rule: that disobedience brings problems and obedience brings
blessings. Job must have disobeyed because he has lots of problems.
Job counters with his claim to be righteous and undeserving of what
he is suffering. An injustice has been done to him and he wants God
to give him a hearing so that he can address the charges against him.
As an audience to the true facts, we can say that both sides have
truth on their side. The friends are right about the normal rules,
and Job is right about his righteousness. This week, God enters the
picture. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and listen to what
God has to say!
What does Job teach us about grace and works? A central
part of grace is that God saves us, we are not up to the task of
saving ourselves. Certainly, the story of Job shows us that we are
not competent to deal with Satan. Consider how God made all the
difference in Job’s life. We saw that Job started out great and ends
up great – but all of this depends upon God. We also learned from Job
that God wants us to do well, while Satan is the instigator of harm.
Thus, one purpose of God’s law is to help us to live well. When we
rely on God we ally ourselves with the One who has both the
inclination and the power to bless us. Let’s dig into our Bible study
and learn more about grace!
Job was God’s champion. In the controversy between good
and evil, God nominated Job as His warrior in the contest with Satan.
Interestingly, Satan chose himself to be the warrior for his side.
Does this remind you of anyone else in the Bible? What about Adam
and Eve? They were the focal point of the battle between God and
Satan. What about Jesus? This time God nominated Himself, but in the
form of humanity, to be the Champion for good. Have you ever thought
about whether you are a warrior for God? Does it matter in the
controversy between good and evil whether you succeed like Job and
Jesus, or fail like Adam and Eve? I think it matters. This week we
will look at how Job lived to see what points we can pick up about
being champions for God. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible!
We come to our last study in the book of Job. I trust
you have enjoyed exploring what God has to teach us through Job’s
story. This story contains some critically important principles. In
this last lesson, let’s stand back and contemplate some of the big
picture issues presented by God. Some of the more important issues
deal with our place in this world and our relationship to God. Let’s
dig into our study of the Bible!