by Colleen Donahue
Pick up any newspaper today and you'll read about someone going to jail because they robbed a bank - or someone who is suffering wounds after sustaining a bullet from a high speed police chase. We all feel that these people deserve what they get. They have violated the rights of others and are now paying for their crime. Most of us have no difficulty with why a bad person must suffer.
But why does a mother of 4 little children have to get cancer? How can the lovely teen age girl that seeks to follow the Lord be paralysed in a diving accident? We would all feel that these people DON'T deserve what they get. They have and are contributing to society and is this their reward? While we have no difficulty seeing why a bad person suffers, all of us have trouble seeing why a good person must suffer. It doesn't make sense.
It comes even closer to home when we wonder "Why me Lord?" Perhaps you are under great financial strain -- or are trapped in a miserable job - or have just been diagnosed with cancer at age 45 or ... Whatever it is, it seems very unfair and causes us to ask "Why do good people have to suffer?" "Why do I have to suffer like this?"
In the oldest book in the Bible, God gives us a living example of a very righteous man who suffered almost beyond our comprehension. Through his story we may find some of the answers for our own trials and hardships. The circumstances are different, but the sorrow and anxiety are the same.
The Book of JOB, while it raises the issue of why the righteous suffer, goes much deeper than that. By the end of the story we'll see that Job finally discovers himself - HIS REAL SELF!
God can do little with us until we see clearly who we really are and let Him deal with the "real self" that keeps us from being all that He has planned. May God open our eyes as we examine...
Job is the first of the poetical books in the Bible which also include Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and Lamentations. The reference to "poetical books" refers to a Hebrew form of writing rather than its imaginative or rhythmic content. Hebrew poetry is achieved by repeating an idea or "parallelism."
The author of Job is unknown. No one knows for certain where Job lived or at what time. The fact that Job made no reference to the Mosaic law or to any events in the book of Exodus suggests that he probably lived during the time of the Patriarchs - ie. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that the land of Uz was somewhere in the middle east. This book is considered the oldest book of the Bible dated somewhere about 2,000 years before Christ lived.
Day 1 So was Job a real person? It is interesting to note that his character is referred to later by Ezekiel and James so that they also establish his historicity. Ezekiel 14:14,20/ James 5:11
Day 2 How is Job's character described? Job 1:1,8
Day 3 It is evident that he was a man with considerable culture and wealth and was deeply concerned for his family. Job 1:2-5
Day 4 For reasons we do not know, we can see that Satan has access to God. Job 1:6/ Zechariah 3:1,2
Day 5 Satan is not a "son of God" (which refers to angelic beings). His name means "adversary". What does he do when he comes before God? Rev. 12:10/ Luke 22:31,32
This account in Job shows us FIVE THINGS ABOUT SATAN...
Day 6 SATAN IS ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD AND SUBJECT TO DIVINE AUTHORITY. The Lord did not ask the question in Job 1:8 because he didn't know. He already knew Satan's dark mind and wished to draw out a confession of his thoughts concerning Job.
Day 7 SATAN'S POWERS ARE LIMITED. He cannot touch us unless God permits it. Job 1:9-12/ Job 2:6
Day 8 SATAN IS BEHIND ALL THE EVIL THAT HAPPENS ON EARTH. He promotes ungodliness wherever he can. Job 2:7/ Matt.13:38-39/ John 8:44/I Pet.5:8
Day 9 SATAN DOES NOT HAVE CERTAIN DIVINE POWERS. He is not omnipresent. Although he has legions of demons working, Satan himself can be only one place at a time. He is not omniscient - ie. he is not all-wise. He cannot read our minds. Satan thought he knew what Job would do but he was wrong. Job 1:11,20-22/ Job 2:4-5,10
Day 10 SATAN IS UNDER GOD'S CONTROL. He must have divine permission and even with that can only operate to the limits that God sets. Job 1:12/ Job 2:6/John 19:10-11
Day 11 Satan - as the accuser - suggested that Job served God because it was profitable for him. Who wouldn't be faithful to God if they received the blessings that Job received? This is Satan's technique. He starts with what he perceives to be a little bit of truth, and then builds a house of false assumptions. Job 1:9-11
Day 12 God knew Job's heart (Job 1:8) and therefore allowed Satan a certain amount of freedom to test him. God doesn't promise to keep us from trials but he does promise to give us His grace and power so that we can be victorious in them. I Cor. 10:13
Day 13 God promises that he will work out His purposes for our life and sometimes that means allowing Satan to be the tool. Even Job was able to see this a little when he was in the midst of his trials. Job 23:10/ Psalm 66:10-12/ Zechariah 13:9/ I Peter 1:6-7
Day 14 So with God's permission Satan lost no time in executing Phase I of his plans. Job 1:13-19
The havoc and destruction that occurred were devastating. It causes us to ask ourselves exactly what powers does Satan have?
Day 15 As "the prince of this world", he has control of the world system. I John 5:19/ Luke 4:5-7/ John 12:31
Day 16 Satan has power over people's minds in that he influences men in the moral realm. II Cor. 4:4/ /Eph.2:2
Day 17 Satan is the instigator of lies and all the havoc that can be done as a result of them. John 8:44/ Acts 13:10
Day 18 Satan seems to have power in the realm of death. Heb.2:14
Day 19 He is permitted certain powers over nature, but only by God's permission and with divine objectives in view. For all things were created by Christ and for his purposes. Therefore the lightening and wind Satan used were done so by permission. Col.1:16-17
Day 20 In phase I of Satan's plan to drive Job from God, Satan was defeated because Job turned to the Lord. This was true for Job and will be true for us. Job 1:20-22/ Eph 6:11-13
Day 21 Another example of men turning to the Lord in their suffering was the Apostle Paul and his companion Silas. They were sitting in jail (under false accusations) with their hands and feet in the stocks. When they turned to the Lord in the midst of their suffering (with no sign of escape) then Satan's plot was defeated. Acts 16:23-24
Day 22 If you are in the midst of a great trial, with no means of escape, then there is only one thing for you to do - look away to God. Psalm 50:15/ James 5:13-16
Day 23 Once again we see Satan presenting himself with other angels before God in order to accuse Job. It is here that God makes very plain to Satan and all the angels in heaven that there is no fault in Job that would have caused the calamities to happen to him. This fact will be important as we proceed with our study. Job 2:1-3
Day 24 With God's permission, Satan went out to begin Phase II of the attacks. In these next verses the Bible makes it very clear that disease and ill health is sometimes the direct work of Satan and not a "punishment" for sin. Job 2:4-8
Day 25 This disease made Job an outcast. He went to sit in the ash heap outside the city and took his place with other beggars and outcasts. Years later the Saviour would walk the same path. Heb 12:3/Heb.13:12-13
Day 26 After this Satan still had one more punch. He induced Job's wife--his last remaining family member --to question God's love and protection. She became the tool of Satan and advised him to commit suicide! Job 2:9
Day 27 In the New Testament, we learn through Christ's words to Peter that Satan can use the words of our most faithful friends and family to tempt us in our hour of trial. Matt.16:21-23
Day 28 The attitude of Job's wife expresses that of ourselves or our family and friends when we question God during times of trouble. How did Job respond? Job 2:10
Day 29 Remember, just prior to his wife's suggestion Job had confessed that nothing he possessed was actually his own. Since the Lord had given him everything, the Lord also had the right to take it all away. Job 1:21-22
Day 30 Is God the real owner of everything in your life? - your family? - your possessions? - and your health? Philippians 3:7-8
This ends the first division of the book of Job where we are given a glimpse into what occurred behind the scenes in Heaven and how it affected Job on earth. Next month we'll study a round of dialogue between Job and three of his friends who came to comfort him.
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