BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday September 8, 2013
WAS IT MY FAULT?
(Bad things can happen to good people)
The Book of Job is an acknowledged masterpiece both, as an expression of religious experience from the Holy Bible, and, as a work of poetic genius alongside the great secular literary works of the world. Its theme highlights the struggles of a deeply religious soul named “Job”, with his personal doubts that have been aroused by a series of seemingly undeserved sufferings, or catastrophic events.
Job chapter three opens up with the man of GOD “cursing the day he was born” (Job 3:1-19) because of a series of tests that the LORD has allowed satan and his angels to administer to his life (Job 1&2). In chapter 1, Job had been given an “emotional test” with the taking away of his property and children. Then, in chapter 2, Job is given a “physical test” by way of an affliction of boils all over his body.
Satan then enters Job’s wife causing her to suggest to her husband that he “curse GOD and die” (Job 2:9). However, Job recognizes this trick, and instead, rebukes his wife for “talking like a “GODless woman who would only accept good things from the LORD, and is never willing to receive those tests from GOD that help define, refine, and grow our character.
Here in Job 3, verses 20-23, Job does, however, lament against GOD, showing us, perhaps, the real reason for GOD testing this “righteous believer”, and man of seemingly unshakable faith. We see in verse 25 Job stating that, “What I’ve always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come to be” (NLT). Here we see that, despite Job’s apparent righteousness, piousness, and many blessings from GOD, he still harbored an unjustified, deeply rooted doubt, or, lack of trust in GOD. And it is through these tests and trials that GOD will grow Job past these unwarranted doubts that he has kept stored up deep in his heart.
In Job 4, verses 6-7 Job’s friend Eliphaz poses several question to the downtroddened man of GOD that we can all ask ourselves concerning the strength of our faint in GOD in times of trouble.
· Does your reverence for GOD give you no confidence?
· Shouldn’t you believe that GOD will care for those who are upright?
· Does the innocent person perish?
· When has the upright person been destroyed?
In chapter 8, verses 4-8, another friend Bildad suggests reasons for Job’s suffering which may be right in principle, but they suggest also that there are people on this earth who are pure in the eyes of GOD. Mere men cannot present themselves in a case before GOD as being innocent of sin, because of our many, already proven, imperfections. We must never forget that all mankind is guilty before GOD (chapter 9).
In Job chapter 11, the third friend, Zophar, weighs in with his opinion that GOD is actually punishing Job less than he deserves, because of his obvious sins against GOD. He suggests also that Job needs to repent of his wrongdoing, and then, his life would be trouble-free again. Those of us, who have been trying to live right for a while, certainly know that that is not true. Life always holds tests and trials, as they are needed in order to build our strength and character so that we can better serve the LORD.
The Book of Job is a long answer to common questions about our sufferings and trials in a world that is permeated in sin. If GOD is the sovereign Lord over all things, many may ask, “Why does he allow suffering to come to the righteous and good fortune to the wicked?” During Job’s ordeal, he was forced to examine this very idea, and also, to scrutinize his very conception of GOD.
The primary view of his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, was that human suffering is a direct result of sin. In their minds, they believed that God punishes the wicked in this world by sending afflictions upon them, and that HE rewards the righteous by providing blessings to them, and in essence, they are right.
However, that logic did not explain Job’s situation, since he knew he was a righteous man, and had done nothing to earn the suffering that he was enduring. We now know that Job was afflicted in various ways, as a test of his faithfulness to GOD. Yet, Job himself didn’t understand why “he” had to be the object of that test.
Integrity in seeking GOD means that we seek GOD for the right reasons. When we seek GOD through prayer, for instance, we must not pray for things that are contrary to the will of GOD. And prayer should never be an attempt to bend the will of GOD either, but rather, it should always be aimed toward submitting our wills, to will of GOD.
Every man is tempted when he is drawn away from GOD, by way of his own lust. That is why it is so important to stay close to GOD, through obedience to his word, as Job did. Remember, JESUS HIMSELF WHO really was perfect, started being tested just hours after he stepped out of the River Jordan, and was last tested while he was hanging on the cross.
In Mark 1:12-13, John Mark tells us that JESUS was compelled into the wilderness by the HOLY SPIRIT, where HE was tempted by Satan for forty days. In Mark 14:25, JESUS promises HIS Disciples, that HE would not drink wine, until the day HE drank it new, in the Kingdom of GOD. However, we see in Mark 15:36, that HE is tempted with wine, even while hanging on the Cross, in a final effort to get HIM to sin by making HIMSELF a liar, just seconds before HIS death.
So, when we begin to gripe and complain about troubles in our lives, remember, JESUS had to endure tests and temptations too, and as we all know, HE never sinned. So, who are we to complain? How can a Mortal be righteous before GOD? None is more righteous than JESUS. Job endured these test, because he had integrity in seeking GOD, and that’s the real lesson here.
The kind of character and integrity we have within is what will come out in times of stress and trouble. That is why we must aspire to fill ourselves with the words and ways of GOD daily. Then, when all seems hopeless, we, through our faithfulness to GOD, will always be able to endure the tragedies that are, indeed, synonymous with the human existence.
As believers, we must have a focus contrary to that of the world. We must, at all times, look beyond the world to the safety of GOD. There can be no excuses in life, only choices, and in GOD’s great strength, we can always choose what is right, despite pressures from the world at-large, which is really what entrenches us in a state of hopelessness in the first place.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website