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When the righteous suffer and what to make of it-- Job 1
When the righteous suffer
Job 1

This morning we are going to broach a subject and book that makes me slightly nervous- the book is Job and it concerns the sufferings of Job-the earth's most righteous man in his day.

Some interesting facts about Job and the Book of Job

-He a real person (this is not a made up story meant to teach us morals). Job mentioned in Ezekiel 14:14 as a historical figure
-He lived to be about 200 years old or more (which puts him into the times of the patriarchs)-- back when our genetic stock was a bit stronger!
-He was not Jewish- most likely lived in Arabia
-While not Jewish he was a man of faith in God- just like Abraham was a man of faith in God
-While some think Moses wrote the Book of Job, it could very well have been Job that wrote it
-In his day Job was the richest man around
-Job was a great father
-In his day he was the most devout follower of God that their was- for as God Himself said to Satan "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil"
-While we won't take a look at Job 2 today, Job's rebuke of his wife for her exhorting him to curse God and die- while totally remembered by everybody, is actually overshadowed by God's rebuke of Job and his "friends" in Job 38 for speaking a whole bunch nonsense about God. Strangely enough, no one ever thinks much about this.

The hard thing about the Book of Job

-It tackles head on the problem of pain and suffering -a subject which directly intersects with our lives
-It shows God allowing suffering, giving permission to it, giving permission to Satan to afflict.
-It depicts God allowing the affliction of his most faithful servant

This morning we are going to talk about suffering- in particular, suffering for righteousness sake

-while the righteous sufferings of Job will be our focus, there are many reasons for suffering in this life....ie. To humble us, to cause us to depend upon the Lord, to teach us, to reveal the genuineness of the faith we profess, to refine us and develop the character of Christ, as discipline for our sin, because we live in a sinful and broken world, to result in greater intimacy with God-- and then as noted- for righteousness sake- that we might identify with Christ.



READ JOB 1

LESSONS, REFLECTIONS, AND OBSERVATIONS OF THE TEXT

1. The intercessory role of Job points us to the greatest of all intercessors- Jesus Christ see Job 1:4-5 and 1 John 2:1


-What an awesome father Job was (serving as family priest and intercessor for his children-- this also serves as a clue to his living before the giving of the Law)
-What an even more awesome heavenly Father that God is- who sent his son the Lord Jesus Christ down from Heaven to Earth to rescue us from our sins and the judgment to come.

Even more awesome is this: When we do sin, as the followers of Christ, Jesus speaks to the Father in our defense

2. We have an enemy and his name is Satan

While many pictures of him (lion, dragon, serpent)- he is also known to masquerade as an angel of light - 2 Corinthians 11:14

-Satan is a real being (the fashion of the last several centuries has been to deny his existence). He is a fallen angel- once having served as one of God's highest ranking angels.
-He is our adversary (what Satan means)
-As he answered God, such is true, he roams the roams - and as 1 Peter 5:8 says; "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
-He hates God, he hates all people, he hates the saints - As Revelation 12:12 says "woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you. He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short"
-Satan's hatred of Job is expressed in v10-11 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
-Satan, as vicious as he is, is still on a leash that God holds. Despite what we may think, the evil of Satan is restrained. While it is something of a mystery to us that God allows Satan to exist despite his rebellion, Satan's existence and his affliction of the saints in no one makes God responsible for sin- As James 1:13-14 says; "When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed."

We are to resist the Devil, for he will flee from us-- for he is a defeated foe


3. When a person follows the Lord -in spirit and in truth- this brings the pleasure and commendation of God v.8

Note the characteristics of such a one "The fear of the Lord" "the shunning of evil"

-Job very respectful of God. Always aware that he living before God. Always thinking about how God would want him to live
-his service of God extended to his care of the poor, his stand for justice, a worshipful life (Job 29)

Further: The commendation of God is something we ought to desire- for all will appear before Him

4. Some thoughts on Satan's accusation that Job only followed God because of God's protection of him from harm and all the material blessings that he had v.9-11

Satan's accusation was that Job followed God because God protected Job from harm and had blessed him materially.

This was Satan's accusation! Yet God was confident that Job didn't follow Him because of that and so just to prove how wrong Satan was, God allowed Satan to take away Job's wealth and Job's children.

A false idea: People follow God because of the blessings they receive from Him

-the truth is, the more people have, the less inclined they are to follow God.
-In Matthew 19:24 Jesus says; "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

Job did NOT follow God because of God's protection and God's material blessings. Job followed God because he knew that God was his creator and that he was accountable to Him.

WHY DO YOU FOLLOW JESUS!

I follow Christ because I believe the Bible when it says that I am a sinner and that apart from Christ I am eternally doomed, but in Christ and because of His love I have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. I follow Christ because I believe that He is the Son of God, the Savior of the World and that his sacrifice on the cross was sufficient for my sins. I follow Christ because I heard his voice "follow me" "believe upon me" "take my yoke upon you". I follow Christ because He is good and holy and just and tender. I follow Christ because He cares for me. I follow Christ because his blood shed for me is the guarantee of my salvation.

I don't follow Christ because of the false notion that in following him this life will be pleasant.


5. "When it rains, it pours". Disaster tends to come quickly-- HENCE: put no trust in material things or people- trust in God alone. v.13-19

It's hard not to note the speed in which Satan afflicted Job. In one day he got one message of bad news after another. :Note how in verses 16-18 it says "As he was still speaking 3x)

One can only imagine the shock that he and his wife endured that day

Since the things of this life are so transitory and can here today and gone tomorrow- we are to put our trust in God and our hope in the life to come.

We are to put our trust in Christ - who has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-6)


6. The events of Job 1-2 are not meant to make us walk in fear

In Job 3:28 as he pours out his heart in grief, Job says; "What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me"

Sometimes the things we fear and dread come true- most of the time they don't. As this is the case we are not to walk around on pins and needles. We must exercise our faith. We must not give in to fear. We must take one day at a time- for each day has enough trouble of its own.

In 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."

We are not to let our anxieties get the best of us. We must all our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us.

7. The sufferings of Job (the most righteous man at the time) points us to Jesus- the ultimate righteous sufferer.

Isaiah 53 says; "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

In Christ, we have one who identifies with our sufferings/sorrows/temptations

Hebrews 4 :15-16 says of Christ-"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Job suffered because he was righteous. JESUS SUFFERED BECAUSE HE WAS RIGHTEOUS

8. As hard as this might sound- Job's response serves as a template for how we are to respond to crisis and trial v.20-22

So how did Job respond?

a. He expressed his grief - tore his robe, shaved his head
b. He kept his faith in God.
c. He kept on in the worship of the Lord
d. He did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing


Satan was of the belief that Job only followed God because of the material prosperity that he had. Satan was convinced that Job would curse God if the material delights of this life were taken away from Job. God was confident that Job would not do so and so He let Satan afflict Job.

It's amazing to think that God had so much confidence in the faith of Job-- Job's faith was so great that today his faith still shines as beacon to the rest of us- that we might be encouraged to stay true to God in hard times.

CONCLUSION


Not matter what happens we must resolve to stay faithful to God. "Though he slay me, yet I will trust in Him" Job 13:15





CLOSING SONG: Nothing but the blood of Jesus