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Lesson 13: The Character of Job *

Introduction: Job was God's champion. In the controversy between good and evil, God nominated Job as His warrior in the contest with Satan. Interestingly, Satan chose himself to be the warrior for his side. Does this remind you of anyone else in the Bible? What about Adam and Eve? They were the focal point of the battle between God and Satan. What about Jesus? This time God nominated Himself, but in the form of humanity, to be the Champion for good. Have you ever thought about whether you are a warrior for God? Does it matter in the controversy between good and evil whether you succeed like Job and Jesus, or fail like Adam and Eve? I think it matters. This week we will look at how Job lived to see what points we can pick up about being champions for God. Let's jump into our study of the Bible!

  1. Job's Right Attitudes


    1. Read Job 1:1. This says four things about Job. He is blameless, upright, feared God, and shunned evil. Do all four of these mean the same thing? Or, do you see differences in them? (I see differences in all of these terms. "Blameless" seems to say that you could not find fault in him. "Upright" means that Job did what was right.)


      1. While blameless and upright have a lot of similarities, what do you think about what it means, as a practical matter, to "fear God?" ("Fearing" God refers to an attitude: respecting and showing reverence towards God. Perhaps it also means understanding that God has the best plan for the universe and for us.)


      2. Is this different from "shunning evil?" (While many understand that God has the absolute best plan for their life, they find themselves being drawn to evil.)


        1. Is this your situation? In areas in which you have a weakness for sin, do you draw a line for yourself, and then get as close to the line as possible with the thought that you will not cross the line? (This is just the opposite of "shunning" evil.)


    2. Read Job 1:8. Do you want to be the best? Is there some area of your life where you would like to say, "No one is better than I am at this?" What does this text tell us about Job's ranking? ("No one on earth" was "like him" in the characteristics we discussed: being blameless, upright, fearing God and shunning evil.)


      1. What does a life lived with these characteristics look like? Let's turn to that next.


  2. Job's Right Actions


    1. Read Job 29:11-12. We see poor people all around us. The Bible does not teach that everyone should have the same wealth. Rather, it suggests that the poor may have spiritual advantages( James 2:5) and teaches that Christians should learn to be content whatever their wealth ( Philippians 4:12; Hebrews 13:5). How does Job choose which poor to help? (He helps the poor "who cried for help" and he helps the fatherless who have "none to assist" them.)


      1. I walked out of a store recently, and a well-meaning young man told me that when he got off work he was going to engage in "random acts of kindness." I asked him, "Why be random? Why not be intentional?"


        1. Was Job "random" in his acts of kindness? (Hardly. We see that he had a strategy. Help those who seriously ask ("cried for help"), and help those who had no one else to help them.)


    2. Read Job 29:13. What kind of help is this?


      1. What would be the main concern for a dying man? (Aside from the fact that he is dying, it would be a concern about his family. In this case, his wife.)


      2. Why would a widow's heart sing when her husband is dying? (When you think about this situation, it becomes clear that Job is making some sort of arrangement to make sure the widow will be supported. My guess is that Job offers her a job somewhere in his business enterprise.)


    3. Read Job 29:16-17. What does Job think about injustice? (He takes steps to stop it.)


      1. What, specifically, does Job do? (He argues for the "stranger" - someone who would not naturally have friends in the courthouse. He rescues the victims of the wicked.)


      2. Are you surprised that Job would break the teeth of the wicked? What does this mean? He punches bad people in the mouth? (My translation says that Job breaks the "fangs" of the wicked. In a snake, the fangs are the method of delivering the poison. I think Job is disabling the means by which the wicked do their evil.)


        1. Assume you are a modern day Job. How would you do that today? (In the United States, the government either funds or forces the funding of organizations that promote evil. "Breaking the fangs" of these organizations would be to try to take away their funding.)


    4. Read Job 31:1. We don't know when Job lived, but clearly it was before Jesus explained His expanded views on adultery in Matthew 5:27-28. Compare Matthew 5:28 and Job 31:1 and tell me if you think Jesus and Job mean the same thing?


      1. When Jesus says the man looking lustfully at a woman "has already committed adultery with her in his heart," what do you think the "in his heart" means? (I've understood it to mean that if a man wanted to commit adultery with a woman, but was unable for some reason, the mental sin had already been committed. Whether a man(or woman)has the opportunity or not makes no difference.)


    5. Read Job 31:1-3. What is Job's overall message in these verses? (God will ruin the wicked.)


      1. If a person keeps his desire to have sex with someone who is not his spouse to himself, would that cause the person ruin in this world? ( Exodus 20:17 commands us not to covet the spouse of another. Context suggests that Job and Jesus are talking about somewhat different things. Job is focused on the issue of coveting someone who is not your spouse. Jesus is talking about a decision to commit adultery, if possible. Since Job tells us that God has in mind ruin for those who disobey, he says "I determined not to take the first step towards disobedience by not looking lustfully at a woman.")


    6. Let's skip down a few verses because Job revisits this topic. Read Job 31:9-10. Is Job talking about sins of the mind here? (While it is not completely clear, his reference to other men sleeping with his wife suggests the nature of the sin he is discussing - physically committing adultery.)


    7. Read Job 31:11-12. What does Job say is the result of committing adultery? (Job says that it is "a fire that burns to Destruction," "shameful," and something that would "uproot my harvest." This is a sin with lasting consequences, one that overshadows the good things that a person might have previously done.)


    8. Read Job 31:5-6. In what other way has Job been obedient to God? (He is honest. It is not his custom to practice dishonesty ("walked in falsehood"), and he does not seek to cheat others ("hurried after deceit").)


    9. Read Job 31:13-15. In what other way is Job faithful to God? (In the way he treats those who work for him.)


      1. Do you have to be an employer for this concern to apply? (No. Anyone who is within your control, even temporarily, is entitled to "justice." This would include people you manage at work, or those who serve you in some way, like a server in a restaurant.)


      2. What is the reason for showing justice to those within your authority? (You both stand equal before God.)


    10. Friend, when you consider these areas of life, how do you compare with Job? While we are saved by grace alone, and not our works, we are "warriors" in the battle between good and evil, and our actions have an impact on others. Will you determine, right now, that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will live a life that reflects well upon God and has a positive impact on others?


  3. Next week: Some Lessons From Job.




* 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.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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