Miller Motorsports Park
September 14, 2013
“Things are bad…Why?
What’s the deal God?”
I guess you can say this follows up the last 4-part series. I suppose that you could actually call it Part 5. There are still, and always will be, questions about God allowing seemingly unfair pain and suffering into our lives.
Probably the best conversation between a man and God about this subject comes through Job’s life. The book of Job is set up in the form of a dramatic stage play. At times during it I personally think it gets quite humorous.
I encourage you to read it in a easily understood Bible version like the New International Version (NIV). Here is a short commentary I use for this book of Job’s life & his talk with God. You could even say that Job argued his case with God.
At the end of the pages I have included a pretty basic outline of the book. You might consider checking with it as you read this Chapel or when you do pull out that Bible and delve into the book of Job on your own.
At times we find ourselves in a spot like Job did when we are praying for deliverance but we find no answer nor see any. Surely, God no longer hears us! We can think here in America; God has made us so prosperous in the past why does He not hear & change things now? But then, how can we throw a fit at God in adversity when He has so blessed us in the past? It is a quandary, a mystery for sure;… how do we act toward Him? Whatever happened to the promise that righteousness would be blessed? And, why are the wicked literally getting away with murder and using us up perversely while the government does the same thing to us? Where is the punishment of God? And if punishment is for the wicked, then what sin has led to this suffering I am, we are, our nation is …in today? Well, these are the same questions every generation has asked …about death, pain, suffering, and sorrow.
In Job’s life at the time of his great suffering, it may well be that God chooses this context to grant us at least some insight into both the thorny theological issues and the intense emotional feelings of individual sufferers. Job’s steadfast faith and trust in God following more adversity than most of us, or anyone else, will face is legendary for sure. God is very clear about Job’s righteousness. God’s Prophet Ezekiel is led to refer to Job along with Noah and Daniel when Ezekiel prophesies to Israel about their sin and upcoming punishment. (And, we as America, should be listening today!). Ezekiel in dealing with Israel’s national & individual sin says in Ezekiel 14:14: God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, when a country sins against me by living faithlessly and I reach out and destroy its food supply by bringing on a famine, wiping out humans and animals alike, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job—the Big Three—were alive and there at the time, it wouldn’t do the population any good. Their righteousness would only save their own lives.” This is the Decree of God, the Master. Well, I don’t know about you but that is pretty clear …and downright point blank message to the world today!
So as Job was the epitome of righteous, he still struggled with the reasons for his adversity before coming to peace about it. Therefore it is totally fitting that we address this problem of suffering be based upon Job’s personal struggle as our answer also. There is still another reason why Job is the most appropriate choice. That is because at the time Ezekiel used Job as the example, the people were in search of a personal God. Ezekiel takes them back before their own Prophets, long before the teaching of the law even began, and before the promises God made to their ancestor Abraham, to a man who is not even one of the children of Israel. Job is just a lone man who finds himself in terrible suffering for absolutely no apparent reason.
The first part of Job opens with a picture of Job’s enviable prosperity, then turns quickly to a conversation between God and satan. When God points to Job as an example of a righteous man, satan suggests that Job only remains righteous because of his prosperity. God then permits satan to test his theory by allowing him to remove Job’s prosperity. But, Job’s faith remains firm and intact. Next satan suggests that suffering personally will bring Job’s downfall to turning from complete faith in God, …only to be disappointed by Job again.
The next section of Job while not cursing God, Job does bring some hard questions before God. Why must he, a righteous and just man suffer? What sin(s) have brought on this pain and suffering? Why is God so inconsistent in His punishment of the wicked?
While Job asks God for answers three of Job’s good friends; Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are present and argue against Job and try to convince him that the answer simply lies in the fact that God only punishes sin, that suffering is the result of sin, and therefore Job is more of a sinner than Job is admitting. Nice friends huh? Well, throughout it all Job maintains his innocence and demands to know God’s reasoning in this horrible attack and suffering.
Part three adds a young man named Elihu who says that neither Job nor his friends are correct. God does not act carelessly or unequally as Job claims, nor is suffering the result of sin only as Job’s friends claim.
Elihu claims that suffering is often used by God to teach lessons to us and strengthen a person.
Then in the final section of Job’s story, God speaks directly to Job and demands to know what right Job has to question the Creator of the universe about His ways, decisions, and methods.
Personally, I have been there when questioning God’s methods, or the issue going on in my life or others that I am involved with. I do not think I have always stood as faithful and repentant as Job in the outcome, …but God sure gets my attention sooner or later …and Whoa! But in Job’s case, his humble response demonstrated the depth of his character, his righteousness, and his complete faith. In the end Job’s prosperity and family are restored far beyond what it was before and his joy in life was complete. That is so important to remember. That is God’s character!
In closing I once again urge you to take time to get your Bible out and turn to the book of Job and read through it. On our website www.BeyondCheckeredFlags.com if you go to the Chapel page this chapel is there. However, I included more of a breakdown which you can follow that will make it easier to get the most out of your time. Seriously, this book of Job really gives you answers to think about when things are not going good or you or someone you love is suffering. Yes, you might not like the answer even after reading, but at least you likely will get God’s point.
* Below is a Basic Outline of the Book of Job:
The Book of Job
Taken from Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Authorship and Date
No one knows who wrote the Book of Job. A few scholars have taken the position that it may have been written by Moses. Others have suggested that the patriarch Job himself may have written this account of his experiences. But these theories have no solid evidence to support them. The only thing we can say for certain is that the book was written by an unknown author.
The exact date of the book’s writing is still a mystery. Some believe its unknown author put it in writing as late as the second century B.C. Others insist it must have been written about 450 B.C., long after the Jews returned from captivity in Babylonia. But many conservative scholars assign the writing of the book to the time of king Solomon, about 950 B.C. Historical evidence favors this date, since this was the golden age of biblical Wisdom Literature.
The events described in the Book of Job must have occurred many centuries before they were finally written. Job may have lived during the time of the patriarch Abraham, about 2000 B.C. like Abraham, Job’s wealth was measured in flocks and herds. In patriarchal fashion, Job’s married children were a part of his household, living in separate tents but subject to his rule as leader of the family clan.
The Book of Job teaches us to trust in God for all circumstances. When we suffer, it usually is a fruitless effort to try to understand the reasons for the difficulty. Sometimes the righteous must suffer without knowing the reason why; that is why it is important to learn to trust God in everything.
This masterful book also shows very clearly that God is not captive to His world, His people, or our views of His nature. God is free; he is subject to no will but His own. He is not bound by our understanding or by our lack of it. Job also discovered that God is a God of great power and majesty. When we see how great He is, we realize just how little we are. Like Job, we want to bow down in humble submission.
The book of Job also teaches us that God is good, just, and fair in His dealings. He restored Job’s fortunes and gave him more than he had ever enjoyed. God always replaces the darkness of our existence with light of His presence when we remain faithful to Him.
Part One: The Dilemma
of Job (1:1-2:13)
A Study and Teaching Outline
I. The Circumstances of Job………………………………………1:1-5
I. The First Cycle of Debate…………………………………3:1-14:22
A. Job’s First Speech……………………………………….3:1-26
II. The Second Cycle of Debate…………………………..15:1-21:34
A. Eliphaz’s Second Speech……………………………..15:1-35
III. The Third Cycle of Debate…………………………….22:1-26:14
A. Eliphaz’s Third Speech…………………………………22:1-30
IV. The Final Defense of Job………………………………27:1-31:40
A. Job’s First Monologue…………………………….27:1-28:28
V. The solution of Elihu……………………………………..32:1-37:24
A. Elihu Intervenes in the Debate……………………….32:1-22
I. The First Controversy of God with Job………………38:1-40:5
A. God’s First Challenge to Job……………………….38:1-40:2
II. The Second Controversy of God with Job………….40:6-42:6
A. God’s Second Challenge to Job………………….40:6-41:34
III. The Deliverance of Job and His Friends………………42:7-17
Part Two: The Debates
of Job (3:1-37:24)
Part Three: The
Deliverance of Job
Have a safe and prosperous race today!
*Today’s Chapel received significant help from:
- The Daily Bible – New International Version – Commentary by F. LaGard Smith
- Church on The Hill, Salem, OR – Pastor Bruce Stefanik
- Youth With A Mission, Salem OR – Staff