These notes are for a class I teach at First Baptist Church New Braunfels, Texas
These are my own notes that I prepare each week for my class, feel free to share the notes with others. Please credit the notes to Chaplain Doll at Healingthestorm.com
Where is God in the hard Times: Lesson One
Job 3: 24-26 I sigh when food is put before me, and my groans pour out like water. For the thing I feared has overtaken me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I cannot relax or be still; I have no rest, for trouble comes.
We see in these few short verses the depth in which Job is suffering, he has lost everything, his physical world has come crashing down around him and all that is left is desolation. The very foundation of His understanding of God and his understanding of the universal moral code is in question. The experience Job finds himself in, has taken away his peace and his rest and in exchange, he is left with the reality of suffering that comes from his troubles.
When we look at Job’s life before he faced these struggles, we see a life that was filled with ease, comfort and restfulness; he was free from oppression, free from the dangers of war and bandits. He lived a life that we would describe as a perfect life.
It must be noted that Job’s lifestyle was a result of his obedience to God, his piety, his hard work and commitment to his family, It did not come from greediness, evil towards others or selfishness. His gains came as a blessing from God not from lording over others.
In Chapter three, job said the very things he feared and dreaded the most, has actually happened. Three different but very common events took place: natural disasters, raids by foreign adversaries and the loss of personal health generates the calamity that has fell on Job.
- The first calamity is the results of a Sabeans raid
Job 1:13-15 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and reported: “While the oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing nearby, the Sabeans swooped down and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
The Sabeans were an ancient people who lived in the southern Arabian Peninsula. During the time of Job the Sabeans were a tribe that was given to war. The kingdom of Saba’ has been identified with the biblical land of Sheba. Easton’s Bible Dictionary
- The second calamity was the result of a lighting storm
Job 1:16 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “A lightning storm bstruck from heaven. It burned up the sheep and the servants and devoured them, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
- The third calamity was the result of a raid by three bands of Chaldeans.
Job 1:17 While the messenger was still speaking when yet another came and reported: “The Chaldeans formed three bands, made a raid on the camels, and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
The Chaldeans where from the southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, which is in the modern country of Iraq Easton’s Bible Dictionary
- The fourth calamity was the result of major windstorm
Job 1:18-19 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house. 19 Suddenly a powerful wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on the young people so that they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you!
- The fifth calamity was the result of physical illness
Job 2:7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence and infected Job with terrible boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself while he sat among the ashes.
All these are natural fears that people at the time feared the most. However, they are also the same fears we face today. We face the fears of natural disasters, crime, accidents, and uncontrolled events that in a moment change our lives forever. We fear disease, health problems, sickness and death.
Jobs fear was not the loss of his belongings; it was the fear of losing his order, the fear that his life would be turned upside down, the loss of control, the loss of understanding God, as he knows him.
D.A Carson in his book “How Long O Lord” makes a few observation about the first three chapters of Job
- All suffering ultimately falls within the Sovereignty of God – God is not the author of evil nor is He the author or creator of suffering. However, He is sovereign over suffering.
Job 1:12 Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job himself.”
Job 2:6 “Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “he is in your power; only spare his life.
Job 2:9-10 His wife said to him, “Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!” “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said
- The emphasis we see on Job’s goodness demonstrates there is such a thing as Innocent suffering.
Recompense Theology was very common during the days of Job. The belief was God repays good for good and evil for evil. If you are right with God only good things will happen to you, if you are sinning then only bad things will happen to you.
This prevailing thought is still present today; i.e. you are sick because you are not right with God, have not prayed enough, lack faith, don’t read your Bible, don’t give enough etc.
D.A Carson points out:
“Some suffering in this world is not directly related to any sin.” pg 158
“Although the Bible insist that all sinners will (eventually) suffer, it does not insist that each instance of suffering is retribution for sin. Doubtless if this were not a fallen world, there would be no suffering; but just because it is a fallen world, it does not follow that there is no innocent suffering.” pg 159
- It is not a sin to vent our despair, confess our pain and suffering, to share our despair and grief.
We see in chapter one and chapter two, that although Job lamented his situation, he did not blame, curse God or sin in sharing his grief.
God never blamed or corrected Job for sharing his feelings of despair or even wanting to die. However, we must be careful that in our grief we do not cross the line of expressing our grief and began to blame or curse God or say blasphemous things towards God
“Within certain boundaries… it is far better to be frank about our grief, candid in our despair, honest with our questions than to suppress them and wear a public front of puffy piety. God knows our thoughts in any case.” pg 160