Lessons From Job (Various Texts)

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The Book of Job is the oldest Scripture, by date of writing, in the Bible. It is also a book that sadly, few believers study. Job is a book about suffering. I believe that is the reason why this is the oldest written Book in our Scriptures. From the fall of Adam, all throughout human history, and unto the end of time humanity suffers. We all suffer.

Suffering is not limited to the physically ugly, the poor, the uneducated; but beautiful people, rich people, and highly educated people all suffer.

Job was a wealthy man, with a large and prosperous family. Job loved the Lord. He was NOT suffering because of sin in his life.

Job 1:1 Job was was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and {rejected} evil.

In the Book of Job the main character loses his family, his business, and his health. He loses these blessings not because he dishonored God, but because he honored God. The Lord gave Satan permission to afflict Job in the first two chapters of the Book. In all the affliction Job suffered,

Job 2:10 … In all this did not Job sin with his lips

Job maintained his faith in God. Though upset and angered at the loss of all things (especially his children), Job did not outwardly dishonor God.

Even The Best People Suffer, & Sufferers Need
Social Interaction With Others

I believe technology is a great tool, and I love technology. I love social media, and love to use it to spread the Gospel. But technology and social media is no replacement for one on one – personal – interaction.

The Book of Job shows us how even the best people suffer. And even the best people need the compassion of other people. We need a listening ear, a loving touch. Hence Job.

After all these tragedies afflicted Job, three of his friends from three different cities – Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Namaathite – came together to comfort Job. United, these three friends did the best thing they could do:

Job 2:13 .. they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

Job’s friends were with Job.
Job’s friends were where Job was.
They touched Job.
They waited on Job.
They suffered with Job.

These friends sat down on the ground with Job, and kept him company. They stayed silent, allowing Job to speak first. They just listened, and waited on their friend.

When we go through trials – and we all go through trials – we need friends around us to help us process our trial.

Dr. Vivek Murthy was the Surgeon General of the United States (2014-2017). He wrote a book called Together: The Healing Power Of Human Connections in a Sometimes Lonely World. In the book he noted that strong relationships decrease the likelihood of premature death by 50%. What causes early death, suicide, and depression can be linked to loneliness. Those who have no friends or confidants that they can share burdens with shorten their lives. Loneliness, especially while going through trials, causes heart disease, dementia, strokes, anxiety, insomnia, and immune system problems. We are hard wired for social connection.

MRI scans reveal that our brains have nonsocial and social networks. When you’re filing taxes or washing dishes, your nonsocial network is active. But as soon as the taxes are done or the dishes washed, the brain’s social network automatically comes back online. Seeking out relationships is our brain’s default mode. In any mode not dedicated to a task, we’re looking for someone to connect with. Even among the most introverted and task-oriented among us, our thoughts inevitably drift toward other people.” (quoted from Thinkr newsletter).

Electronic devices cannot take the place of a one on one relationship with other people. You may have scores of Facebook “Friends” online, but these are not true friends. A friend is someone who extends love to you, unselfish love, when you are in need. Solomon said:

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Throughout the Book of Job you will see a pattern. Job will speak, and then one of his friends will speak. When Job’s friends speak they are sincerely trying to help their friend. There is both good advice as well as bad advise that comes from these friends. When you, or a friend, are suffering, the sufferer needs more than just words and opinions.

Minister To The Suffering
With BIBLICAL Counseling

Everyone has opinions and feelings. When we are ministering to the suffering, offer BIBLICAL based counseling. Not your opinions or feelings, but what God’s Word has said.

Job’s friend Eliphaz the Temanite was perhaps the wisest and eldest of his friends. As he gave counsel to Job, Eliphaz said:

Job 5:27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.

His counsel did not come of God, but was based upon Eliphaz’s experiences as a human. Now some of his counsel may have been right. Eliphaz said some right things. He made the statement:

Job 5:17-18 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

Eliphaz’s premise was that God is Almighty, and that if a trial comes our way, then it came our way because the Almighty allowed it. This is indeed a Biblical truth. The Psalmist said:

Psalms 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

Solomon, the wisest human (other than Jesus) who ever lived, wrote in the power of God’s Spirit:

Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

The writer of Hebrews quoted this Holy Word when he wrote:

Hebrews 12:5-11 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

The Bible teaches that God allows trials to come our way to shape us, and to make us more like Christ, more like a Child of God. Biblical counsel remind the sufferer of God and His purpose, and will lead the sufferer to Jesus.

Human opinion and human counsel often do more harm than it does good. I have heard of women who were going through marital problems who, upon running to their friends for counsel, are told “Just divorce the bum!” But is this what God would counsel us to do? Human opinion is often the opposite of what God thinks is best. God told Israel:

Isaiah 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:

The Lord our God always knows what is right, and His Word is always right. The Bible says:

Isaiah 28:29 … the Lord of Hosts is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working..

In Hebrews the Lord tells us that the Word of God ministers to both our soul and spirit, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. Human opinions vary from person to person, but God’s Word always speaks truth.

Be Very Careful Of Making Assumptions When Ministering To Those Who Are Suffering

When a sufferer comes to us we need to be very careful not to add to their pain. If someone is in agony, we do not want to push the thorn in deeper. Throughout the Book of Job, his friends take turns making judgments as to WHY Job is in this terrible moment of suffering. For instance, Job’s friend Zophar the Naamathite made the assumption that the trials which came to Job were on his friend because of sin in his life. He told Job …

Job 11:14-20 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. 15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shalt not fear: 16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: 17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning. 18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. 19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee. 20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.

Now that is an easy assumption to make. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23), and fall short of the glory of God. It is also true that sin can bring chastisement or disaster into the life. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian Church – a church filled with lawlessness – that they were bringing suffering on themselves by taking the Lord’s Table in an unworthy manner. He wrote:

1 Corinthians 11:28-31 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh {condemnation} to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

The “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) even to the believer. So when Job’s friend Eliphaz the Temanite made the same suggestion in Job 4:8:

they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same

It is Biblically true that sin will bring suffering. But to accuse Job of being in this terrible place because he was a sinner is uncalled for. Job’s friends were making assumptions. Though they were sincere in their desire to help Job, we know for a fact that Job was not suffering because of sin in his life. God bragged on Job, telling Satan that:

Job 1:8 … there is none like {Job} in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and {rejecting} evil

Job was not at fault for the trials he was going through, but his friends began to blame him or suggest that he was guilty of secret sin. Though Job was innocent of any wrong doing, their accusations extended and intensified Job’s suffering. Job had no need of additional judgments heaped upon him while he is in this incredibly tortured state. When friends minister to those suffering, we need to be careful that we do not needlessly add to their suffering.

Not all suffering is a result of sin. In Luke 13 we read:

Luke 13:1-5 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Jesus’ disciples thought that bad things always happened to people because they were sinning. Jesus corrected that thought by saying we all need to repent – we all fall short of the glory of God. Many of those who suffer are not necessarily suffering because they are worst than others. One day Jesus went to heal a man who was born blind. We read:

John 9:2-3 … his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Why was the man born blind? Because God willed it so. Because God wanted Christ’s disciples to see the power of God through His Son. The man was not at fault, nor his parents. Job was not at fault. God just willed it. We are not to be judges. Unless we absolutely know – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that a suffering friend is in sin, we should not make that judgment. We need to lead them to Jesus, and pray for them – not judge them.

When Ministering To The Suffering,
Listen Much And Talk Little

When you look at the Book of Job,

  • Chapters 1 & 2 outline the destruction of Job’s family and way of life.
  • In Chapter 3 Job verbally agonizes over his life, suggesting that he should never have been born.
  • In Chapters 4 – 27 Job’s friends try to analyze what Job has gone through. Each friend speaks, then Job replies, generally defending himself against accusations and supposition.

The long, extended debate that happened between Job and his friends did nothing to alleviate his suffering, nor did it lead him to the Lord. The friends, believing that they were defending God Himself, were intent on blaming Job. Job, while not directly blaming God, was intent on defending himself against charges of unrepentant sin in his life. The friends unwittingly increased, rather than decrease, Job’s suffering.

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is one I know you all well know. It is:

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

This text is often misread and misunderstood. People read the text as “God will not put more on you than you can bear”. But that is not the whole of the verse. The text says “with every trial, God will provide a means of escape, so you can bear that trial”. When the Apostle Paul wrote this (under the inspiration of the Spirit) in his first letter the the Corinthians, in his second letter to the Corinthians he wrote of the suffering he was going through. He said:

2 Corinthians 1:3-10 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. 8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

The Apostle said in verse 8, we were pressed out of measure, above (our) strength, insomuch that we despaired of life. Paul and those with him were loaded down with more than they could bear. And yet, they did not give way to hopelessness. Why? The answer is in the first part of the text. The Apostle said in verse 3-4, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. Trials came on Paul and those with him that were greater than THEY could bear. But Paul relied not on himself, but on the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He leaned into God, resting in His embrace. When trials come upon us that are greater than we can bear, we are to lean into our Father Who is in Heaven. We are to rest in Him Who is the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

When someone is suffering, it is not necessary for us to – like Job’s friends – judge the sufferer. We are to bring the sufferer to Jesus. We are to bring Him to the God Who is faithful, loving, and true. Job was a believer in God, a faithful believer. The Bible says of God:

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Psalms 36:5 Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

When Job’s friends gathered around Job, rather than going through an extended dialogue that offered no blessing – they should have pointed Job to the Faithful Father. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24). The Lord is faithful, who shall (establish) you, and keep you from evil (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Harriet Sarnoff Schiff is the author of the book The Bereaved Parent. When her young son died on the operating table, her pastor told her “I know that this is a painful time for you. But I know that you will get through it all right, because God never sends us more of a burden than we can bear. God only let this happen to you because He knows that you are strong enough to handle it.” She then asked her pastor, “So if I were a weaker person, my son would still be alive?” When people are suffering, do not ask them to “be strong” or make foolish applications like this pastor did. When ministering to the sufferer, you do not have to talk. Listen. Listen to those in pain.

Do as Job’s friends did at the beginning:

Job 2:13 {Job’s friends} sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

They sat down, and just suffered with Job. The Bible counsels:

Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

The Christian is commanded under the Royal Law to

Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

We are not to add to the burden of the sufferer, but to help him bear his burdens. How do we do this? We carry our friends to Jesus. We suffer with them. We cry with them. We are compassionate toward them, loving them as brethren. We are filled with pity, and courteous (1 Peter 3:8). Do to them as you would have them do to you. I’ll say that again:

Do to them as you would have the sufferer do to you (Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27). This means to empathize, to put yourself in the other person’s place – and act accordingly.

Our Lord Jesus did this. Many say that the smallest verse in the Bible is in

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Why did Jesus weep? Because His friend Lazarus was dead. But Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the grave in just a few moments. He knew that Lazarus would come hopping out of that tomb, covered with old funeral attire. Yet Jesus wept. Why? Because Jesus put Himself in their place. He knew their tears would turn to smiles of joy, but He nonetheless suffered with them. Isaiah said of the Messiah,

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Our Jesus loves us. He weeps with us, when we weep. We need to be afflicted when our brothers and sisters are afflicted, just as our Lord does. Our Jesus is a High Priest that is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:15). He suffered with Mary and Martha at the death of Lazarus, and suffers with us today when we are tried. We must bring those suffering to Jesus. That is where peace is.

If The Sufferer Comes To God,
The “Why” No Longer Matters

At the end of the Book of Job, our suffering hero comes face to face with God. In Job chapters 38 – 42 God responds to Job:

As Creator (Job 38-39), and
As Judge (Job 40-41)

When Job meets God, he stops asking “why”. In the presence of God there is peace and joy. When we minister to the suffering, love them. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and share the Lord Jesus with them. Speak the Gospel to the lost, and remind the saved of the great love that God has for them. Pray with the sufferer. Do not judge, but draw them – through the power of Scripture, personal testimony, and the Holy Spirit – to God. Remember the words of the Psalmist:

Psalm 16:8-11 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

When we minister to the suffering, we cannot answer the “why”, but we can gently lead them to Jesus Who can give them comfort. May God bless us, and enable us to be the Light that Christ calls us to be. Through His Spirit and God’s Word I plead this – Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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