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Lesson 2: The Great Controversy *

Introduction: A famous Christian book starts out, "It's not about you." Job teaches us this understates the situation. Not only is life not about us, but it is about being willing and able to give up our interests to advance the Kingdom of God. The interesting thing about Job, and "giving up our interests," is that Job both started and ended as the richest man around. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Learning About Job

    1. Read Job 1:1. What do we learn about Job's walk with God? (He was blameless and upright!)

    2. Read Job 1:2-3. What do we learn about Job's family and his wealth? (He was the wealthiest man in the East. Ten children! Seven sons and three daughters. He owned thousands of animals.)

      1. Notice something about the numbers. The number of children add up to ten. The number of animals are related to ten (seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, etc.). Do you think this means anything? (Ten is a complete number. Job is a complete man: spiritually and materially.)

    3. Read Job 1:4-5. Was Job a family man? (He had a great concern for the spiritual welfare of his family.)

  2. The Controversy

    1. Read Job 1:6. The NIV translates the Hebrew "sons of God" as "angels." What do you think the Hebrew means? Specifically, are you a son or daughter of God? (Yes!)

      1. Is the NIV correct to translate "sons of God" as "angels?"

      2. Why is Satan included? (We call ourselves the "children of God" because we are His creation. This is also true for the angels. Thus, it makes logical sense to call them "sons of God." Since Satan is a fallen angel ( Revelation 12:7-9), it makes sense to include him as a "son of God.")

      3. We can understand why Satan is called a "son of God," but why would he be included in this meeting? (Read John 12:31-32. When we gave our allegiance to Satan, he became the prince of this world. Thus, Satan comes to this meeting as the representative of earth.)

      4. What do you think is the purpose of this meeting? (They came to "present themselves before the Lord." It sounds like a business meeting in which the angels report to God their progress is doing great things. Like a "staff meeting" at work!)

    2. Read Job 1:7. Do you think God knew from where Satan came? (Of course God knew.)

      1. So, why did God ask?

      2. Do you ask your children what they have been doing when you know that they have been doing something wrong?

      3. Does Satan recite all the bad things that he has been doing? (No. Instead, he says he has been "roaming" the earth. He reminds God that he has dominion over the earth.)

        1. What do you think is Satan's motive in reminding God of his dominion?

    3. Read Job 1:8. Would you like God to say this about you? (What a wonderful compliment! God's judgment about Job is extremely positive. "No one on earth like him!")

      1. Why would God say such a thing to Satan? How does this fit into their conversation? (Consider two points. Satan says that he has dominion over the earth. God responds that He does not have complete dominion because God has His followers, one of which is Job. Second, God suggests that when Satan was "roaming" the earth, he was either doing a lousy job of paying attention to his "subjects," or that Satan probably noticed that there were "subjects" who did not follow him.)

    4. Read Job 1:9-11. Has God done Job a favor by mentioning his great righteousness?

      1. What is the goal of our lives? (To give glory to God. To advance the Kingdom of God. In this sense Job is God's warrior. He is the one vindicating the name of God.)

    5. Let's focus on Job 1:9. What is Satan saying in this response? (First, this is a challenge to God's character. Job does not obey God because God's way is best. Rather, Job obeys because God gives him stuff. Second, it is a challenge to Job's character. Job obeys not because he loves, but because he is greedy. God bribed Job.)

    6. Read Job 1:12. This gets us to the heart of last week's lesson. Job wants to know why all of these terrible things happened to him. Last week we learned that God tells Job, "I'm God and you are not, sit down and shut up." Would Job ever, in a million years, have guessed the real reason for his suffering?

      1. What does this challenge and God's response teach us about God's character?

      2. What does this challenge and God's response teach us about the nature of our work for God?

      3. What does this challenge and God's response teach us about the great controversy between good and evil? (It teaches us that we are in the middle of the controversy. Our job is to advance the Kingdom of God by how we live. God vindicates some challenges to His character through us.)

    7. If Sampson had been alive, would God have pointed him out to Satan? (I think the answer is a very clear "no." Yet, Sampson is in the Hebrews 11 Faith Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11:32-33). This teaches us a very important lesson about faith and works. Sampson will, because of his faith, be in heaven. But, he let God down in the works department. Part of the reason why God wants us to live righteous lives is to vindicate His name and His character.)

  3. Satan's Attack

    1. Read Job 1:13-15. If you were Job, is this one of the hazards of business life - that the Sabeans might steal your stuff?

    2. Read Job 1:16. What are you thinking now, if you are Job? (This is nothing you should normally expect. This seems to be a divine judgment. Certainly the servant thinks it is from God because he calls it the "fire from God!")

      1. Why didn't Satan use the Sabeans again? (He wanted Job to reach the obvious conclusion that God was punishing him.)

    3. Read Job 1:17. When we recall the recitation of Job's wealth ( Job 1:3) what does this mean to Job? (All of his herds are gone. His wealth disappeared in just this short period of time.)

      1. What does this say about your wealth?

      2. Should we fear Satan? (Satan is a fearsome being, but note that he had no power over Job unless God consented to it ( Job 1:12).)

    4. Read Job 1:18-19. If you were Job, would the death of your children be your only concern when you heard this terrible news? (Re-read Job 1:4-5. These feasts were a reason for Job to be concerned that his children had sinned. Job may be thinking that his children might have died while they were sinning, and he had not yet sacrificed for them!)

      1. Put yourself in Job's place. How would you feel?

    5. Read Job 1:20-21. Would you feel like this?

    6. Read Job 1:22. Last week we learned that Job wanted to sue God. Why? Because he wanted to show God that he had been obedient and he did not deserve what was happened to him. Is that "charging God with wrongdoing?" Does Job later change his attitude? (I don't think so. At least I hope not. My view of this story is that God wants us to come to Him when we think we have been unfairly treated. He wants us to come to Him with our complaints. The worst thing is for us to simply turn away from God because we no longer trust Him.)

    7. Job lost nearly everything. Do you agree with what happened to Job? Do you think this was a loss worth suffering? Or, did this happen just to prop up God's pride? (I think this is a replay of the temptation of Eve ( Genesis 3:1-6). Eve trusted Satan and distrusted God. Job trusts God so much that Job is sure that if he gets a fair hearing, God will vindicate him. Sampson, with all of his defects in behavior, also trusted God.)

    8. Friend, have you had terrible things happen in your life? If so, will you trust God regardless?

  4. Next week: "Doth Job Fear God for Nought?" (KJV)
* Copr. 2016, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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