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Sabbath School Lessons on Job
About the Author
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 9: Intimations of Hope *
Introduction: A theme we keep seeing in these lessons is that we must
trust God no matter what happens. The question is, "Trust God to do
what?" Our assumption is that we trust God and He will make things
better. If we are suffering, we would hardly want to trust God that
things would remain the same or get worse, right? One reason we
trust God is because the issues are not about us, they are about the
larger conflict between good and evil. But, even though we might
intellectually agree that "it is not about us," our trust is that God
wins that larger conflict so that at some point in the future our
suffering turns to joy. We call that "hope." Let's plunge into our
study and learn more about our hope!
- Job's View of His Friends
- Read Job 13:1-2. What does Job think about the attitudes
of his three friends? (They think they are smarter or know
more than Job.)
- What does Job think about their relative
intelligence? (That they are all smart, including
- Read Job 12:3. In both chapters 12 and 13 Job makes
the same statement that he is as smart as his
friends. What does this tell you about Job's
attitude? (He thinks that he is really under attack
on this point. How do you like it when someone says
in a dispute, "I win because I'm smarter than you
- No doubt this is a universal debate about government.
Those who think government should be small, want to
be left alone to make their own decisions. Those who
think government should be large, think that they can
help the government make better decisions for other
people. Does anyone think that other people make the
best decisions for them? (I'm doubtful that anyone
thinks they should turn their decision-making over to
someone else. Job says "I'm smart enough to make my
- Read Job 13:3-4. This is an old theme. Job believes he has
been treated unjustly, and he wants to be able to argue
his case before God. Job's friends think that Job is
obviously sinful, and that is why he is suffering. They
think that Job's refusal to admit his guilt, and his
insistence that God is treating him unfairly, shows a lack
of respect for God. Job calls the views of his three
friends "lies." Do you think Job's friends are lying? (To
the extent that they say that Job deserves to suffer, they
are speaking things that are not true. However, I believe
the friends think that what they are saying is not only
true, it is important to say.)
- What do Job's friends think about his honesty? (They
think Job is lying about his guilt.)
- Is there any hope for resolving this debate when both
sides think the other is lying?
- Are they, as Job says, "worthless physicians?"
(If the goal is to heal the situation, then
they are worthless for that task.)
- Read Job 13:5. Is this true? (Yes. Keep this in mind when
you are trying to comfort someone.)
- Job's Argument
- Read Job 13:6-9. Job has just said that his friends are
not any smarter. In what other area are his friends no
better than Job? (In Job 13:9 Job says that their behavior
is no better than his. He does not think they could
survive a close look by God. He thinks that they put on a
better show of obedience to the public then they do in
- Is this true of everyone?
- Do you think this helps Job's argument about not
deserving his situation? (This seems to be an
admission that Job is not as good as he seems to be.)
- Notice that in Job 13:7 Job says that his friends
argue "wickedly" and "deceitfully" on behalf of God.
How is that true? (If the friends do, indeed, have
secret sins and they are doing well, this shows that
they do not truly believe that God punishes the
- Re-read Job 13:8. What does it mean that Job's friends are
"partial" towards God? Do they favor God over Job?
- Consider that charge. Are Job and God opponents? Is
that the correct mind set for Job to have?
- Are you partial towards God? (Many are rebels against
- Is Job's claim of partiality towards God a valid
- Should we consider whether we are showing enough love
to others, or are "partial" towards God? (God loves
us. Being "partial" towards God means that we should
also be loving towards those around us. Job creates a
false dichotomy in claiming that being biased in
favor of God shows hostility toward him.)
- Let's jump down a few verses and read Job 13:13-15. Why
would God slay Job? (Job believes that he is opposing God
by demanding that God explain the justice of what is
happening to Job. Job also believes that God is the power
of the universe. It is normally dangerous to challenge the
king. Thus, Job believes that he could be in peril.)
- What does Job mean when he says that he would "hope"
in God even if God killed him?
- How is this "hope" related to Job saying that
he will defend his ways "to [God's] face?" (Job
is not backing down on his claim that he does
not deserve to suffer. He thinks that he is
right, and God is wrong, in letting him suffer.
Nevertheless, Job's hope in the justice of God
remains even if God kills him for being
- Read Job 13:16. Why does Job think that God will not kill
him for being impertinent? (The fact that Job appeals to
God for justice shows that he is loyal to God.)
- Do you agree with Job's view? (Yes, it is not
disloyal to view God as the solution to a problem
that you want to bring before God.)
- Read Job 13:17-19. Wait a minute! Job speaks of his death
in another context. Job is not talking about God killing
him for being impertinent. What would cause Job's death
here? (Job fears that his current illness will end in
death. In fact, he hopes death will come soon if he is not
vindicated. Since Job's friends argue that he is suffering
because of some secret sin, Job's death would result from
that and not impertinence to God.)
- Is Job showing hope here? (Yes. He says, "I know I
will be vindicated.")
- Read Job 13:20-22. Job asks God for two things. What are
they? (He asks that God will put a stop to his suffering
and then grant him the hearing he requests.)
- Are Job's two requests fair? (If you agree that a
person is innocent until proven guilty, then Job
should not be suffering for his sin until after
losing his hearing before God.)
- What is wrong with our conclusion? (It assumes
that Job is suffering for his sin - which we
know is not the case.)
- Read Job 13:23-25. What is the lesson can we learn in
Job's continual mistaken belief that he is suffering for
his sins? (That we do not know enough to argue our case
before God. We do not understand the big picture. Job
does not understand that he is suffering because he is a
righteous man, not because he is an unrighteous man.)
- Read John 16:33. Jesus has just told His disciples that He
is leaving and that other people will want to kill them.
Wow! That is a big load of bad news. How can Jesus say "I
have told you these things, so that in Me you may have
peace?" Knowing that terrible things are coming is not
normally the road to peace of mind! (Jesus continues, "But
take heart! I have overcome the world." This is where Job
failed. Job thinks that he needs to convince God that he
does not deserve to suffer. He does not know that God
agrees, God does not want Job to suffer. If Job just
trusts God, He will make things right.)
- Friend, I ask you again, will you agree to just trust God?
Trusting God will give you hope!
- Next week: The Wrath of Elihu.
* 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.