God Lovingly Pursues Us When We Suffer: Job

I. Introduction: We all ask, “Why God?” about something. The book of Job reveals three tensions, or tests, with two simultaneous scenes, one taking place in heaven and one taking place on earth. In the beginning of the book, Job is trusting God and living a life of blessing; he’s wealthy and has 10 great kids!

II. Rising Action

A. Tension 1: Crisis of Personal Loss, chapter 1.

  1. In Heaven: Satan comes to God and says, “Let me test Job.” He thinks Job is only trusting God because of his life of general ease. God knows that there is no one on earth that is as righteous and godly a man as Job. So, God allows Satan to test Him and remove the blessings.
  2. On Earth: Job was trusting God, then he lost everything! He lost his livestock, and thus his livelihood, along with almost all of his servants. While he’s trying to wrap his head around this, another servant comes to him and tells him that a horrible wind knocked down the house that all of his children were in having a family dinner, killing all of them. Can you imagine the grief?! And yet, Job still chooses to trust God.

B. Tension 2: Crisis of Physical Pain, chapter 2.

  1. In Heaven: Satan approaches God again, “Okay, so personal loss didn’t shake him; let me afflict his body.” God knows that Job trusts Him, and agrees, on one condition: Satan cannot kill him.
  2. On Earth: Job gets sores all over his body. He’s itching, full of pain, losing weight, has no strength or appetite. He’s already lost so much, and now he feels miserable. And on top of all of it, his wife tells him to just end it, saying, “Curse, God, and die.” Yet, Job accepts the pain and trusts God.

C. 3rd Tension: Crisis of Bad Theology (aka, “retribution theology”), chapters 3-38.

  1. In Heaven: Now the conflict is between God and Job: Job asks God, “Why?”
  2. On Earth: Job is really down. His friends come to sit with him for 7 days, which is great that he had that support; then, they start opening their mouths and feeding him “retribution theology”: good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people, so you must have done something really bad! Keep thinking; just look harder.

III. Climax: The Great Reversal: God Answers Job by asking him questions.

A. God is the all-powerful Creator: “Job, do you know how I made this or did that?”

B. God is sovereign: “Job, can you do this or that great thing?”

C. Job has no response, chapters 38-40.

D. Round 2 of God questioning Job, chapters 40-41. God humbles Job without answering his question, but by asking questions to help him realize the power and greatness of His God (of our God).

IV. Resolution: God lavishes grace on Job again! His health and livestock are restored and multiplied, and God gives him and his wife 10 more healthy children.

There are no guarantees in this life, but there is always a happy ending for those who know God. Grace is being lavished on us. Mercies are new each morning. We don’t need to know why; we only need to know Who!

“Faith is accepting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” And this is only true because of Who God is. We know so much more than Job did. We don’t have to understand. We just have to know Jesus and trust Him. “In the mystery of suffering, trust a good and gracious God. Look for the answer to ‘Who?’ and not ‘Why?’.”

Listen to the sermon by Dr. Doug Finkbeiner here.

Shared at the Heritage Bible Church Adult Retreat 2010 at the Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center.

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One response to “God Lovingly Pursues Us When We Suffer: Job

  1. I love the quote, “Faith is accepting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Trust – so hard and yet so simple. Thanks Melissa. So happy that you guys had a refreshing time. Love always

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