Text: Job 1:6-12
I. If someone asked you what the book of Job was about, how would you answer?
A. Most of us would point out that it deals with the question of human suffering.
1. The book tells the story of a man who loses everything
2. He suffers greatly and wrestles with the apparent injustice of all that has happened to him.
3. Friends come to comfort him, but they add to his misery by stating that his misery was caused by his sins
4. They tell Job that if he would repent of his sins, God would release him from his misery.
5. But through it all Job maintains his innocence.
6. Eventually God speaks to Job and Job acknowledges that he said things he should not have said. He repents and God restores his prosperity.
B. But this is only a partial view of the book of Job
1. The suffering of Job is only a secondary consequence of the main issue.
2. How could I come to that conclusion?
3. When you look at the end of the book, when God speaks,
a. God never explains to Job why he suffered.
b. He doesn’t say that Job’s friends are correct and that Job indeed had sinned.
c. Nor does He say that Job is right and has suffered unjustly.
d. He doesn’t even tell Job about the conversation God had with Satan that lead to Job’s suffering.
e. Job never learns why things happened to him as they did.
II. The initial question
A. The book of Job introduces us to Job and his character, but quickly switches to a scene in heaven where Satan challenges God - Job 1:6-11
1. Herein is the central question: “Does Job fear God for nothing?”
2. Satan is stating his opinion that God bought Job’s loyalty through the blessings God has given him
a. Thus, Satan is saying that Job’s faith is so shallow that if those blessings were removed, Job would curse God.
b. But a more subtle challenge is that Satan is claiming that there is nothing in the nature of God that would cause men to fear God in and of itself.
c. In other words, Satan is claiming that God is so low that He cannot command respect, so He buys it from men by giving them gifts.
B. Therefore, the book is primarily about the nature of God and the suffering of man is a secondary issue.
III. The evidence
A. Satan took everything from Job – his herds, his children, his servants.
1. And Job’s response? - Job 1:20-22
2. He didn’t blame God! God retained Job’s respect even when those blessings were removed.
B. Satan then claims the suffering wasn’t personal enough - Job 2:3-6
C. Still Job did not blame God - Job 2:9-10
D. As Job defends himself from the accusations of his friends, we find him slipping from his confidence in God
1. He wants to bring his complaint before God, not to people who think they have the right to speak on behalf of God - Job 13:3-12
a. The questions he wants to ask - Job 13:18-26
b. Job desires to know why.
2. He believes that his suffering is unjust - Job 19:4-7
a. But he still looks for salvation from God - Job 19:23-27
3. He knows he shouldn’t complain, but ... - Job 23:1-7
a. Still, he knows the terror of God - Job 23:13-17
IV. Elihu’s rebuke
A. Elihu is the fourth man to visit Job.
1. He remained silent as the older men debated - Job 32:6-9
2. He found the words of Job’s friends had avoided the issues Job raised - Job 32:11-12
3. But Elihu will answer because he is a prophet - Job 33:1-7
B. Job’s claim of innocence is not right - Job 33:8-12
C. God has the right to discipline men - Job 33:13-30
D. God does not act unjustly - Job 34:10-15
E. God doesn’t act out of ignorance - Job 34:21-23
1. But Job has - Job 34:35-37
2. Job righteousness or sinfulness doesn’t change God - Job 35:2-8
F. Here then is the theme - God is exalted in His power - Job 36:22-26; 37:5, 13, 23-24
V. God’s answer
A. In chapters 38-41 God does not discuss Job’s sufferings
B. He tells of His power and wisdom by revealing the universe God has created
1. The limits He has set
2. The patterns He established for good
3. How the animals were equipped for their lives, and although they each have limitations and suffer hardships, God provides them with food, strength, and the ability to achieve.
4. God demonstrates that His knowledge is vastly beyond man’s comprehension.
VI. And Job’s answer? - Job 40:3-4; 42:1-6
VII. Is there anything in the nature of God what would cause us to fear Him, even if He did not bless us, even if we suffer terribly?
A. Job learned that the answer is “yes!”
B. If God did not give us material blessings, families, and health, we should still fear Him
C. If God had not sent His son to die for us, if there was no promise of heaven, we should still fear Him because He is God.
D. God doesn’t need to bribe us to fear Him.
E. We should bow before the Almighty whether our lives are good or filled with sufferings from Satan.
F. Job 1:20-21
[Based on “Finding the Heart of Job” by Bob Hutto]