Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lessons from Job......Introduction

Lessons from Job......Introduction

Why study and understand suffering from a biblical point of view?

The Book of Job has a very important message for all of us.

Job cries out for a judge. He knows that God is completely fair. He knows that man's need is very great. He wants someone to listen to both sides. He wants someone to judge both God and himself. 

The wonderful thing is that we have a Judge like this! Job cried out: 'There is no judge between us.' But there is, 'Christ came and fulfilled (answered) this prayer'. There is a Judge like this. He is the Man who suffered and who overcame. This Man is Jesus Christ. We are never without a Helper.

Satan lied, He said that Job loved God only because God had made him rich. Why do wealth and success, the good times, often make people ignore God?

Suffering is the hardest problem for any of us to understand. It is a puzzle. Think of the Lord Jesus on the cross. His experience was terrible. He cried out: 'My God, Why have you forsaken me?

Suffering is an important part of human experience. Life can be full of pain and despair.

Suffering shows our problem as it really is, gives an honest record of the sufferer's doubts, removes some common ideas about suffering (One of these is that suffering is a punishment for sin.),           suggests the right attitude about trouble and pain.

Life is difficult. Life is hard. Then you die. Those blunt, three-word statements are an accurate appraisal of our existence on this earth. When the writer of the biblical book named Job picked up his pen to write his story, he could have begun with a similar-sounding and equally blunt sentence, "Life is unfair."

No one could argue the point that life is punctuated with hardship, heartaches, and headaches. Most of us have learned to face the reality that life is difficult. But unfair? Something kicks in, deep within most of us, making it almost intolerable for us to accept and cope with what's unfair. Our drive for justice overrides our patience with pain.

Life is not just difficult, it's downright unfair. 
Welcome to Job's world.

Job was a man of unparalleled and genuine piety. He was also a man of well-deserved prosperity. He was a godly gentleman, extremely wealthy, a fine husband, and a faithful father. In a quick and brutal sweep of back-to-back calamities, Job was reduced to a twisted mass of brokenness and grief. The extraordinary accumulation of disasters that hit him would have been enough to finish off any one of us today.

Job is left bankrupt, homeless, helpless, and childless. He's left standing beside the ten fresh graves of his now-dead children in a windswept valley. His wife is heaving deep sobs of grief as she kneels beside him, having just heard him say, "Whether our God gives to us or takes everything from us, we will follow Him." She leans over and secretly whispers, "Why don't you just curse God and die?"

His misery turns to mystery with God's silence. If the words of his so-called friends are hard to hear, the silence of God becomes downright intolerable. Not until the thirty-eighth chapter of the book does God finally break the silence, however long that took. Even if it were just a few months, try to imagine. You've become the object of your alleged friends' accusations, and the heavens are silent as you plead for answers from the Almighty, who remains mysteriously mute. Nothing comes to you by way of comfort. It's all so unfair; you've done nothing to deserve such anguish.

Pause and ponder his grief—and remember that Job has done nothing to deserve such unbearable pain. If it had been you, how would you have responded?

Take some time to meditate on the wisdom of God as He works out His perfect will through our suffering. No wonder James, the brother of our Lord, commanded us to "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials" (James 1:2)!

If you seek wisdom on the subject of suffering diligently and prayerfully study the book of Job. 

The Purposes of God in Our Suffering

Suffering is used to increase our awareness of the sustaining power of God to whom we owe our sustenance (Ps 68:19).

God uses suffering to refine, perfect, strengthen, and keep us from falling (Ps 66:8-9; Heb 2:10).

Suffering allows the life of Christ to be manifested in our mortal flesh (2 Cor 4:7-11).

Suffering bankrupts us, making us dependent upon God (2 Cor 12:9).

Suffering teaches us humility (2 Cor 12:7).

Suffering imparts the mind of Christ (Phil 2:1-11).

Suffering teaches us that God is more concerned about character than comfort (Rom 5:3-4; Heb 12:10-11).

Suffering teaches us that the greatest good of the Christian life is not absence of pain, but Christlikeness (2 Cor 4:8-10; Rom 8:28-29).

Suffering can be a chastisement from God for sin and rebellion (Ps 107:17).

Obedience and self-control are from suffering (Heb 5:8; Ps 119:67; Rom 5:1-5; James 1:2-8; Phil 3:10).

Suffering is part of the struggle against sin (Heb 12:4-13).

Suffering is part of the struggle against evil men (Ps 27:12; 37:14-15).

Suffering is part of the struggle for the kingdom of God (2 Thess 1:5).

Suffering is part of the struggle for the gospel (2 Tim 2:8-9).

Suffering is part of the struggle against injustice (1 Pet 2:19).

Suffering is part of the struggle for the name of Christ (Acts 5:41; 1 Pet 4:14).

Suffering indicates how the righteous become sharers in Christ's suffering (2 Cor 1:5; 1 Pet 4:12-13).

Suffering forces community and the administration of the gifts for the common good (Phil 4:12-15).

Suffering binds Christians together into a common or joint purpose (Rev 1:9).

Suffering produces discernment, knowledge, and teaches us God's statutes (Ps 119:66-67, 71).

Through suffering God is able to obtain our broken and contrite spirit which He desires (Ps 51:16-17).

God uses suffering to humble us so He can exalt us at the proper time (1 Pet 5:6-7).

Suffering teaches us to number our days so we can present to God a heart of wisdom (Ps 90:7-12).

Suffering is sometimes necessary to win the lost (2 Tim 2:8-10; 4:5-6).

Suffering strengthens and allows us to comfort others who are weak (2 Cor 1:3-11).

Suffering is small compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Phil 3:8).

God desires truth in our innermost being and one way He does it is through suffering (Ps 51:6; 119:17).

The equity for suffering will be found in the next life (Ps 58:10-11).

Suffering is always coupled with a greater source of grace (2 Tim 1:7-8; 4:16-18).

Suffering teaches us to give thanks in times of sorrow (1 Thess 5:17; 2 Cor 1:11).

Suffering increases faith (Jer 29:11).

Suffering allows God to manifest His care (Ps 56:8).

Suffering stretches our hope (Job 13:14-15).

Endurance of suffering is given as a cause for reward (2 Cor 4:17; 2 Tim 2:12).

Voluntary suffering is one way to demonstrate the love of God (2 Cor 8:1-2, 9).

Suffering causes us to discipline our minds by making us focus our hope on the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:6, 13).

Out of His deep love for us God is more interested in making His children like Christ than He is in making us comfortable. The glory He receives from redeeming depraved sinners like us and remaking us into His image will be the song that fills the halls of heaven for all eternity (Rev 5:9-10). Since that will be the case in the future, let us pursue joy in the Lord here in the present, despite our suffering.

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