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Lesson 9: The Jobs: Living With Losses *

Introduction: My wife teaches the lower elementary school grades. One year she had this little boy who was suffering a problem in his life. He cried to my wife, "I don't know why this is happening to me, I pay my tithe!" Have you said something like this in the past: "God, I don't know why this is happening to me, I am faithful to You?" Tragedy is upsetting. The reaction of your spouse is important in your ability to handle tragedy. Will your spouse comfort you or blame you? Will you be a comforting or accusing spouse? Let's jump into our lesson and look at the story of Mr. and Mrs. Job!

  1. Job the Man


    1. Read Job 1:1-3. What important facts do we learn about Job? Lets list all the things that we learn about him.


      1. He was "the greatest man among all the people of the East."


      2. He live in Uz (Edon, southwest of the dead sea).


      3. He was blameless. The Hebrew word literally means "complete."


      4. He was upright. The Hebrew means literally "straight."


      5. He feared God (revered God).


      6. He avoided evil. (Literally "turned off" evil.)


        1. How many of us can say that we "turn off" as opposed to "turn on" evil?


      7. He was rich (7,000 sheep; 3,000 camels; 500 oxen; 500 donkeys).


      8. He was blessed by God to have seven sons and three daughters. (A complete number. Notice the same for his animals which also add up to multiples of 10.)


    2. Read Job 1:4-5. What kind of parent was Job? (He had a real concern about the spiritual welfare of his family--a man who believed in "family values.")


      1. Do you intervene with God for the spiritual welfare of your children?


    3. Would you like to be like Job? Didn't he have a great life?


  2. Tragedy Strikes


    1. Read Job 1:13-15. What kind of disaster is described?


      1. How would you guess it would affect Job? (Half of his livestock wealth just disappeared. Drop the oxen and the donkeys from the inventory.)


      2. Are we given a hint about Job's children when it says that they were having a celebration during a work day? Should they have been out directing the work of the servants?


    2. Read Job 1:16. What is the significance of the fact that the first reporter was still speaking when the second arrives with his report? (Job had not had a chance to recover from the first terrible news.)


      1. What kind of disaster is described here? How would it affect Job? (Write off the sheep and the servants from the inventory. Job has now probably lost more than 3/4 of his wealth.)


      2. What is this fire from God? Is this a direct judgment from God?(The servant is probably describing lightning which ignited the grass.)


        1. Was this actually fire from God? (Let's peek behind the curtain and read Job 1:6-12. This shows that Satan, not God, caused this lightening strike.)


        2. Consider the ability of Satan to control lightning? How much ability does he have today to create natural disasters?


        3. Notice also that the work of Satan is ascribed to God. How much do you think that happens today?


    3. Read Job 1:17. Note that the second reporter is still speaking. What kind of disaster is described here? (Now scratch from the inventory the camels; the balance of Job's wealth.)


    4. Read Job 1:18-19. As you consider the list that we made earlier about Job, and we considered what it would be like to be him, what is gone? (Almost every one of his blessings. His material goods and his children are gone.)


      1. Tell me what you believe to be the impact of the loss of all of your children on a man whose regular custom ( Job 1:5) is to give sacrifices for each one of them? (Job obviously cared a great deal for his children. His love and daily concern continued even when they had grown up. This is an unbelievable tragedy.)


      2. Once again, notice how they died -- a disturbance of nature that is apparently controllable by Satan.


    5. Lets make this real personal: imagine that in the last twenty minutes you have: lost your job; lost all the money in your checking and savings account; lost all of your other sources of income; and all of your children have been killed.


      1. How do you react?


      2. What do you say about God if a lot of the loss seems to come from supernatural sources?


    6. Read Job 1:20-21. How did Job react? (What a trusting guy!)


    7. Job does not say, "What horrid luck we had today: bad weather and unruly neighbors!" How close is Job to the truth? What role did luck and God play here?


    8. Read Job 1:22 Why does the Bible make this comment?


      1. Would it be the most natural thing in the world to blame God?


        1. Is Job attributing the loss to God, but just being a "good sport" about it? (He says "the Lord has taken away.")


      2. What evidence would Job have, other than the lightning and the wind, that these tragedies have a supernatural source? (In those four disasters that overtook Job, notice the precision of the work. Four times only a single person survived: just exactly the number needed to convey the tragedy to Job. In the wind storm, all ten of Job's children were killed, not one survived, not one just injured. This does not seem like random work to me. Apparently, it struck Job the same way.)


      3. Since we know this is the work of Satan, not God, I suggest that if the precision of these disasters does not scare the living daylights out of you, that you need your head examined. We need to be very sure that we are not voluntarily placing our life and our welfare in the hands of Satan by doing his will.)


      4. Finally, was God ultimately responsible for these tragedies since He "authorized" them?


        1. Would it have been sin for Job to blame God for them? (The text suggests that it would be sin.)


  3. The Second Test


    1. Read Job 2:7-8. What is taken from Job this time? (His health.)


    2. What is notable about this skin disease? (That it is painful.)


      1. Could you walk?


      2. Sleep?


      3. Does Satan have the knowledge and ability to ruin our health too?


    3. Why is Job scraping himself with a piece of broken pottery? What kind of treatment is that? Where is his wife? (Matthew Henry, a very old commentary, has an interesting observation about Job's treatment. He says that others should be covering Job's sores with salve. But Job cannot afford a doctor; his children and servants are dead, and his wife doesn't care. Job doesn't do a very good job of taking care of himself.)


  4. The Wife


    1. What does Job have left? (His life, his wife, and his friends.)


    2. Lets talk about Satan's "precision bombing" for a minute. Why does Job have his life? ( Job 2:6 - the Lord restrained Satan from taking it.)


    3. Why does Job have his wife? Was Satan restrained from taking her life?


    4. Read Job 2:9-10. How does Job's wife appear to view God?


      1. Do you blame her? (If she believed (as she likely did) that their blessings came as a result of Job following God, she would have to conclude that either her husband let her down (thus costing her the children)by failing to obey God, or God let them down in letting these tragedies occur. She is blaming either Job or God.)


      2. Is Job attacking the assumptions of his wife? (Yes. He is saying that just because he serves God that does not mean that everything good must come their way. He says his wife is foolish in making a contrary assumption.)


      3. What would be the point of cursing God? (Whoever is at fault would get their due reward. Cursing God would "get back" at God. Cursing God would also probably cause Job to die - thus doing "justice" and putting him out of his misery.)


      4. Should I ask you again why Satan left Job's wife alive?


        1. Who, in the cosmic conflict, wanted Job to curse God and die? (Satan! Read Job 2:4-5. This was precisely what Satan had predicted that Job would do. If Job followed his wife's advice, he would be doing the explicit will of Satan.)


        2. How would you compare Job to Adam?


        3. What does that teach us about marriage and our spouses today? (Your spouse may not always be giving you Godly advice. Grief, bias, anger can all skew a person's advice.)


    5. Read Job 42:13. What does this tell us about the future of Job and his wife? (That they came through this okay.)


    6. Friend, part of marriage is putting God first, and testing the advice of our spouse against the commands of God. Adam failed that test. Job passed the test. How about you?


  5. Next week: David and Bathsheba: Adultery and After.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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