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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 12: The Cosmic Conflict Over God's Character *
Introduction: We all know that God is good, right? In fact, in my old
church we added the phrase "all the time, and all the time, God is
good." So, what is there to study this week? You may know that God is
good, but a lot of people are uncertain, at best. The worst part of
that problem is that you may be the basis on which they form their
opinion about God. Let's explore what the Bible says about this issue
and what we should do about it!
- The Cosmic Problem
- Read Job 1:1-3. What do we learn about Job's character?
(He was "blameless and upright." He was a great guy.)
- What do we learn about his finances? (He was rich.)
- What do we learn about his reputation? (He was "the
- What do we learn about the size of his family? (It
- Read Job 1:4-5. What was Job's attitude toward the
spiritual lives of his children? (He was actively
involved. He would burn offerings for them and apparently
confess their sins.)
- Can parents confess sins for their children? (Read 1
John 5:16-17. Job's practice and this text have long
interested me. I don't think I fully understand what
is going on - but it appears that some sins are
susceptible to forgiveness through the prayers of
- Read Job 1:6-7. Why is Satan part of this committee
- What does God's question mean? Is God in doubt about
where Satan is living? Is God challenging Satan's
- Read Ezekiel 28:13-14. Where is this glorious being
living? (In heaven. "On the holy mount of God.")
- Read Ezekiel 28:15-16. What happened to this glorious
being? (Because of wickedness, he was expelled from
- Read Ezekiel 28:17. What was the source of the wickedness
of this being? (Pride arising from beauty. It corrupted
this person's thinking.)
- Read Revelation 12:7-9. What does this suggest is the real
identity of the glorious being? (Satan.)
- Let's re-read Job 1:6-7 and factor in what we have learned
about his background from Ezekiel and Revelation. Why is
Satan on earth? (He was expelled from heaven to earth.)
- Did God know this? (Of course! There was a big battle
between God and Satan.)
- What, then, do you think God was really asking?
(I don't think God is asking anything. The
meeting appears to be in heaven. God is
insulting Satan by reminding him that he is no
longer a resident of the most desirable place
in heaven, but rather is an earth-dweller.)
- Re-read Satan's answer in the last part of Job 1:7. Satan
doesn't exactly answer. "Earth" would have been the
appropriate answer. What does the nature of the way Satan
answered suggest? (Satan is boasting that even though he
was banished to earth, He is now the ruler of the earth.)
- Read Job 1:8. Does God want to know if Satan has met Job?
(No. God is challenging Satan's claim to be the ruler of
the earth. God reminds Satan that the greatest man in the
East is a follower of God, not Satan. Indeed, Job respects
God, but "shuns" Satan.)
- Read Job 1:9-11. Satan could have answered, "I'm working
on that problem." Why did he answer as he did? (Satan
insults God. He says that Job is like a prostitute - he
serves God for money, not because of affection for God or
because of a love of doing what is right.)
- Why did Satan say this? Is his goal simply to insult
God, or do you think Satan believes this?
- Read Genesis 3:1-5. How did Satan win his position on
earth? (He promised Eve something that he claimed God
would not give her. He bribed her.)
- Skim over Deuteronomy 28 and read Malachi 3:10-11. Are
Satan's charges true? (Mixed truth is Satan's method of
operation. Yes, it is true that following God generally
brings blessings. The question for Job and for each one of
us is this: do you follow God because of His blessings?)
- Read Job 1:12. Who is being tested here? Is this a
challenge to God's character or is it a challenge to Job's
character? (It is at least a test of Job. Is he like a
prostitute? Or, does he serve God out of affection and
loyalty to God's cause? On the other hand, God challenged
Satan's authority over the earth by pointing out Job.)
- Whose character is not at issue? (Satan's! We know
bad things are going to happen when Job is in Satan's
- If you read the rest of the book of Job (or even the rest
of the first chapter of the book), you will see that
terrible things happen to Job. If you were Job, what would
you say if you knew the real reason why terrible things
were happening in your life?
- Is this a "chest bump" between God and Satan - and
- Or, is this the most fundamental challenge to God's
- Do you think this is a "one time" thing? Or, do you
think that Job's situation keeps being replayed on
- Assume you answered, "Yes, I think it is being
replayed countless times, and it may be
happening in my life right now!" If the matter
at issue is Job's character (as opposed to
God's character), how is this consistent with
grace? How is this consistent with
righteousness by faith?
- The Cosmic Answer
- Read Matthew 20:17-19. What does this reveal about whether
Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf was voluntary? (He
predicted it. Jesus could have avoided going to
- Look at verse 19 and consider the three things that
Jesus said the Gentiles would do to Him. How do you
like it when people are laughing at you - not as the
result of a joke, but because they think you are not
worthy of respect?
- How do you like it when people inflict serious
physical pain on you, and they do it just
because they can?
- How would you like to be killed in a painful
- Read 1 John 4:10. Why did Jesus voluntarily go through
ridicule, torture and death? (He loved us. He atoned for
- Read Romans 3:21-25. Does our righteousness depend on
obeying the law? (No! This is a "righteousness from God,
apart from the law.")
- On what does our righteousness depend? (We have all
sinned, but Jesus died on our behalf. This is
reflected in the sanctuary service that we have been
studying this quarter.)
- What is required of us? (Faith in His blood. This
would be as opposed to faith in our own good works.)
- Read Romans 3:26. How is Jesus' death on our behalf
justice? (Do you remember when we studied 2 Samuel 14:4-9?
This story reflects the "rule of law." If a king declared
that the law would not be followed, then he was personally
responsible for the breach. When Jesus, in love, decided
to release us from the death penalty - what the law
requires for sin - He took the penalty upon Himself. This
is how Romans 3:26 can refer to what seems to be grossly
unjust as "justice.")
- Glory to God
- Let's get back to Job. Remember we considered the two
questions: "Whose character is at issue, God's or Job's?
And, "If Job's character is at issue, how is this
consistent with righteousness by faith?" Read Matt 5:16.
How would a focus on Job answer the question about God's
character? (Our actions reflect on God. Whether Job was
faithful reflected on God.)
- Read 1 John 4:11-12. How could Job show that Satan's
prostitute argument was false? (Satan's followers follow
him for what they think they will get. God's followers
follow Him because of love.)
- Do our actions matter? Does our observance of God's law
matter? (They do nothing to earn our salvation. But, they
are central to reflecting God's glory. If we obey, if we
show love to others, then we reveal the character of our
Creator and Redeemer.)
- Friend, will you today ask the Holy Spirit to help you
give glory to God by your actions? By your love?
- Next week: Exhortations From the Sanctuary.
* Copr. 2013, 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.