Growing up in a family of 6 during the drought and the depression of the '30's, I guess we were poor....but we didn't know it. Mom and Dad were very positive in the midst of the negatives! Being farmers and dairy people, we were more fortunate than many, as we had plenty to eat. Also, having Christ and a good Church in our lives, we persevered by Faith, through it all. We became stronger by way of it and were more dependent on God throughout our lives.
However, I do remember the expression, 'Poor as Job's turkey'. I wondered, 'Who is Job?'
I found out that Job was poor and realized that his turkey was even 'more poor', I guess!
So, in this paper, let me share what we can learn from Job. Reading the Book of Job is difficult at times, but the lessons learned from it, as you will see, are NOT difficult and are essential for living.
I have shared some on Job in two previous studies:
'Why Suffering' on Jan. 1, 2005
'When Jordan Swells, What Then?" on Feb. 5, 2005.
1) God, in all His relations and experiences with us, is interested in
'Discipling Disciples'....not spoiling saints! (Job 1:1-5)
2) Job was blameless, mature, complete, upright
and more interested in what God thought, than what man thought!
He was honest and lived what he professed.
He feared God and hated evil.
He was a good father and was concerned about the spiritual condition of his family.
3) Job 1:6-12: Satan does exist and is our adversary!
He comes to test your righteousness to see if it is real or if it is fake.
Job is called 'God's servant' and we as His servants (like Job) serve through right reactions to testings and trials.
However, God wants us to serve Him because we love Him...
and not just for the things He gives us.
Piety which depends on prosperity, is not genuine.
(II Cor. 5:14: "For the love of Christ is to control us")
4) He worshipped and praised God.
He had learned that his possessions were not his alone.
He accepted that which happened to him as a work of the mysterious providence of God.
5) Job's friends and their actions, teach us some things. (Job 2:11-13)
a) They did come to Job in time of need and they may have traveled a long way.
A good question is, "Where was everyone else?"
b) They sat with him, in silence and wept with him.
It's not so important 'what' you say, but your presence and whom you represent.
c) They talked directly to him and not behind his back...
but they failed because of a wrong spirit.
'Help' fails even if it expresses the right words, but in a wrong spirit.
They were sincere...
but there was too much of self-righteous tone in their speech, to provide comfort.
They did not offer hope...
and we know that no matter how bad things are, there is always hope in Christ now....
6) A part of Job's problem of 'talking about one's problems without acting', can intensify the feelings of self pity.
Job may have neglected the healing that comes from getting off the 'ash-heap of self pity and despair' and helping others who might be in difficult situations.
There is always someone who is worse off than you, who needs your love, prayers and help.
Ultimately, the solution to Job's problem of suffering was not given in an explanation of it....but in a deeper experience with God, because of it.
Job 23:10 says:
"God knows the way that I take; when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
We may not understand the 'why' of suffering, but if we will trust the 'Who',
we will (in time) see a purpose.
7) We need a faith that commits our 'all' to God. (Job 5:8-9)
Job communicated his faith....
a faith which a person is not trying to share, is not genuine.
He committed to God, as the Giver of life and love (Job 10:12)
He committed to God, no matter what (Job 13:15-16)
...and to the Call of God (Job 14:15).
8) There is life after death (Job 14:1-15 and 19:25-26)
Life is short (Job 7:6...8:9; 9:25-26; 14: 1-2)
We have a date with Eternity, but life (and death) are in God's Hands.
(See Chap.1-2 of Job and God's dealings with satan)
There is life beyond because of The Redeemer ('go-el' in Hebrew).
In the Old Testament, the Redeemer was mainly a 'defender of the helpless',
usually a relative who takes legal action for one who is not capable of doing so.
For example: The redeeming of a kinsman who was sold into slavery.
(Read the Book of Ruth and see Boaz as Ruth's redeemer)
Job was probably not thinking of a human being since all that he had left, was himself. Through time and experience, he came to say in Job 19:25, "I know that my Redeemer lives."
The Christian believes in 'life after death' because he is convinced that Christ has demonstrated it.
After Chapter 19, there is a noticeable change in Job's speeches.
He is more gentle, humble and less defiant, for he began to see 'life after death'.
Job had learned that death does not have to be a barrier to faith and fellowship with God.
He also seemed to see that we may have to wait until after we die, for an explanation of some things.
Job also saw that he could not vindicate himself, he needed a living redeemer....and he had one in Heaven!
The real answer to Job's (and our's) questions lies in the Ressurection of Christ.
In it all, Job's concept of God grew.....our's needs to, also!
Many times, our God is too small and is 'out of focus'
(which is probably due to a lack of prayer and Bible study).
In conclusion, I am sure that all of us at times, ask 'why' things happen.
We have had first-hand experience ourselves this week, asking 'Why?' when we received news from Hawaii of the untimely death of our close friend, Dr. O.W. 'Dub' Efurd.
Dub and Grace have served so faithfully in Hawaii, having started Kona Baptist Church on the Big Island of Hawaii, where we served years later. After pastoring several other churches in the Islands, Dub became the Exec. Director for the Hawaii Baptist Convention.
Following his retirement 2 yrs. ago, he became Dir. of the Baptist Foundation for Hawaii and was serving in that capacity when God called Dub 'Home' this week.
We would appreciate your prayers for Grace (as she and Dub were one of those couples who were truly 'like one').
Pray also for their daughter, Laura and their son, Steve.
Ruth Graham in her little poem (which I have used before) is a good way to close tonight:
I lay my 'whys'
before Your Cross
in worship, kneeling,
My mind too numb
My heart beyond
realize that I
in knowing You
don't need a 'why'.
I trust that you will study Job 42 and let it help you focus your eyes on Jesus throughout the rest of your life.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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