Introduction: 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!

  1. Job’s Complaint

    1. Read Job 10:1. Job says that he hates his life. Why would
      that attitude release him to complain about God? (Job
      thinks, “What is the worst thing that God can do to me,
      kill me?” Since Job would like to be dead, he feels no
      restraint in complaining about God.)

      1. Is Job being reasonable? Do you agree with his logic?
        (If the world revolved around Job, then this would
        make sense. But, if the world revolves around God,
        then doing harm to the reputation of God makes no

    2. Read Job 10:2-3. Job is saying one thing in verse two, and
      another in verse three. How would you put these two things
      Job is saying in your own words? (Job first says that he
      wants to know the charges against him so that he can
      defend himself. But, in verse three, Job says something
      much different. He is not expecting justice from God
      because God seeks to harm him while at the same time
      blessing those who do evil.)

      1. Do you think that Job really believes that God wants
        to harm him and at the same time reward evil people?
        (I find this hard to believe. I think that Job says
        outrageous things like this to try to goad God into
        responding to him.)

      2. What error can you find in Job’s thinking? (Job
        assumes this is about him. That is what makes this
        unfair. Job is good, evil people are bad, and
        therefore God has failed to be just. We know,
        however, that Job’s situation has nothing to do with
        justice for Job. Instead, it has everything to do
        with the grand conflict between good and evil.)

      3. Would God justify what is happening to Job? (Read Job
        2:3. God agrees that what has happened to Job is
        unfair to Job.)

      4. Consider this for a moment. When we see unfair things
        happen in the world, God may very well agree that it
        is unfair! Is it then appropriate to blame God for
        that injustice?

    3. Read Job 10:4-7. What do you think is the answer to Job’s
      questions? (The answer is “no.” God is not like a human,
      and God is not tracking down every sin of Job in order to
      punish him.)

      1. What is wrong with this picture of God? (Last week we
        studied about Korah and his fellow rebels (Numbers
        16). Clearly, God can (and has)directed punishment
        for sin. But, I think God gives us the law to protect
        us from sin. God does not want us to suffer, so he
        lays out His law so that we can avoid suffering. This
        is a much different picture than that suggested by

    4. Read Job 10:12-14. Is Job misrepresenting the character of
      God? (Yes! We know the facts are nothing like Job suggests

      1. Are you sometimes guilty of thinking like Job? That
        is, do you believe that God is a loving God, but
        lurking in His character is a desire to harm you if
        you disobey Him?

    5. Read Job 10:15. Is Job “innocent?” (Job is not free from
      sin, but we know that he is not being punished for being
      sinful. Far from it! He is suffering because he is so good
      ( Job 1:8-12). Once again, Job is off track because he
      thinks the world revolves around him. He does not consider
      that his suffering has something to do with the glory of

  2. Eliphaz’s Response

    1. Read Job 15:4. Job’s friend, Eliphaz, has a new charge to
      bring against Job. He says that Job undermines piety and
      hinders devotion to God. What do you think about the truth
      of this charge? (I think Eliphaz is right from a human
      point of view. When Job charges that God is unjust, that
      undermines confidence in God. In the heavenly picture,
      just the opposite is true.)

    2. Read Job 15:7-9. Eliphaz charges Job with failing to
      understand the ways of God. Who does Eliphaz think
      understands God? (Eliphaz thinks he does.)

      1. Is Eliphaz right that Job misunderstands God? (Yes.
        Job does not understand what God is doing. If Job
        could have been a part of the council in which Satan
        challenged God, Job would understand what is going

      2. Does Eliphaz understand God? (No. This is the great
        irony here. Eliphaz is right that Job does not
        understand what God is doing with him. But, neither
        does Eliphaz. They are both ignorant of what is
        actually going on in God’s mind.)

      3. What is at the bottom of the mutual mistake that Job
        and Eliphaz make? (They both think this is “about
        Job.” Eliphaz thinks Job is suffering because Job
        sinned. Job charges God with injustice because he
        knows he does not deserve this. Both wrongly think
        the point of comparison is Job.)

      4. Assume you had terrible things happen to you, just as
        Job did. What would you say if I told you (as I have
        been suggesting here) that your suffering is not
        about you? (I suspect you would be just like Job. Of
        course your suffering is about you, it is personal!)

  3. The Challenge of Faith

    1. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. How would you rate Job and his
      friends in light of this instruction? (They were all
      terrible regarding the “lean not on your own
      understanding!” They either said things that were
      theologically true, logically true, or true according to
      their experience and understanding of the world. They all
      agreed that those who obeyed God prospered and those that
      disobeyed God suffered. Job, believing (correctly) that he
      did not deserve this, charged God with injustice. This all
      made perfect sense.)

      1. Except for one thing. What does this text say that we
        should do with our (correct) understanding of how the
        world works? (We should elevate trust in God above
        even a correct understanding of theology, logic and

      2. Right now in this world there are some things that
        greatly encourage me, and a lot of things that make
        me very unhappy. Biblically illiterate people,
        people who are either intentionally foolish or were
        born that way, are shaping my world. What should my
        reaction be to that? (First, to trust God even when
        the world does not make any sense. Second, when we do
        not know what to do, we should first “acknowledge”
        God, and He will direct us.)

        1. How do you think asking God to direct us works
          as a practical matter? (This is where the
          direction of the Holy Spirit is so important.
          We need to ask for the Joel 2:28-29 experience,
          where the power of God speaks through all of us
          – regardless of wealth, gender, age or

    2. Read Proverbs 3:7-8. If we fear God and shun evil, will
      everything work out right for us? (This puts us right back
      into Job’s situation. Read Job 1:8. This is precisely the
      way God describes Job! We can trust the Bible, but when
      nothing makes sense to us as humans, then we just have to
      trust God.)

    3. Read Matthew 27:45-46. Has Jesus experienced this – that
      things no longer made sense to Him? (That seems to be
      precisely what Jesus is thinking.)

    4. Friend, will you commit today to trusting God, even when
      your mind tells you that everything has gone wrong? Even
      when you think that God has forsaken you?

  4. Next week: Intimations of Hope.