Monday, January 13, 2014

Job Lesson 3-Ch. 2:11-26:6

Ladies thank you for braving the cold and coming out tonight. We have four new members. Let’s welcome them. We hope if you have a friend who cannot commit to 30 weeks, maybe they can join us in our shorter studies of Job, Philippians and Colossians.  I received a last minute invitation to spend a week at the beach and I decided you could use a break from my teaching. Since I missed Mary Alice’s wonderful teaching, I hope I don’t overlap her points.
How many can say they have been afflicted by some sickness, financial problems, or emotional trauma over the holidays. While the world is Fa, la, lah ing and keeping the stores in business with their over spending and accumulations of possessions, many people suffer depression and uncontrollable sorrow at Christmas.
Friends can make you feel better or drive you even deeper into your pit. What kind of friend are you?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one…For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
In July my father died from stage four cancer 2 days before his 82nd birthday. My cousin died 2 weeks before. His widow needed a change of venue for the holidays and we spent a week together; sometimes talking but mostly just being there for comfort.
Job Lesson 3-ch. 2:11-26:6 Bad Advice and Unfair Accusations
In last week’s scripture Job’s response to his wife’s advice to curse God and die: “‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”

2:11 11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place,
Don’t be too hard on Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. They made an appointment together to show him sympathy and comfort him.  They left their jobs and their homes to travel to Job’s place (remember, his place was at least 172 square miles, so they probably had to travel some distance) to comfort their afflicted friend. They did not sit in a nice comfortable home or even a hospital room. Ladies, they sat in a trash heap!

vv.12-13 “They began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. And they did exactly what good friends should do for a hurting friend Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” Romans 12:15

There is no grief like the grief that does not speak. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saint Augustine  What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

Satan pleads with God for another swing at Job. He’d inflicted all the pain on Job that God would allow, but now he’d apply a whole new tactic: stinging judgments from self-righteous friends. This lesson encompasses more than 24 chapters, but the subject doesn't vary: Job’s friends repeatedly insist he or his children must be guilty of some sin or sins—nothing else could explain the calamities that had befallen him—and Job repeatedly denies their accusations.
While his friends accuse him and Satan torments him, let’s not forget that God is still in charge. Satan is on a short lease.
Warren Wiersbe in his study Be Patient, gives us some insight into these men. Job 15:10 tells us all three were older than Job. We will expect them to speak in order of their seniority. Eliphaz from Teman a place known for wisdom based his speech on his observations of life and his frightening experience he had one night. He has great faith in tradition, but his God is an inflexible lawgiver.  Eliphaz leaves no room for mercy or the grace of God.

Ch.5 7-8 Stop and think! Have you ever known a truly good and innocent person who was punished? Experience teaches that it is those who sow sin and trouble who harvest the same.  From the Living Bible
Ch. 8 Bildad the Shuhite says from the Good News translation:
“How long will you go on like this, Job, blowing words around like wind? Does God twist justice? If your children sinned against him, and he punished them, and you begged Almighty God for them— if you were pure and good, he would hear your prayer and answer you and bless you with a happy home.

Bildad shows little compassion for a man who has lost 10 children, his possessions, as well as his health. He respects tradition, but is a legalist.

Zophar probably the youngest since he spoke last is opinionated and arrogant. Thoughtlessly he chides Job in chapter 11:from the Message
 “What a flood of words! Shouldn’t we put a stop to it?
    Should this kind of loose talk be permitted?
Job, do you think you can carry on like this and we’ll say nothing?
    That we’ll let you rail and mock and not step in?
You claim, ‘My doctrine is sound
    and my conduct impeccable.’
How I wish God would give you a piece of his mind,
    tell you what’s what!
I wish he’d show you how wisdom looks from the inside,
    for true wisdom is mostly ‘inside.’
But you can be sure of this,
    you haven’t gotten half of what you deserve.
Job’s friend didn’t understand that things can go horribly wrong simply because we live in a fallen world—and they had no idea that Satan might be engineering Job’s trials simply because that’s what Satan does!

Paul Tournier was a Swiss physician and author, “We are nearly always longing for an easy religion, easy to understand and easy to follow; a religion with no mystery, no insoluble problems, no snags; a religion that would allow us to escape from our miserable human condition; a religion in which contact with God spares us all strife, all uncertainty, all suffering and all doubt; in short, a religion without a cross” 

Every time I dig deep into the scriptures I learn some forgotten bits of wisdom or discover another nugget for pondering. 
Points to Ponder
·        Why do we suffer?
·        Does God cause suffering?
·        Why do bad things happen to good people?
·        Does sin cause sickness?

I’m sure each of you have sat at the bedside of a suffering saint to pray for comfort or healing. Like Job “Why?” is often our question, maybe we should be asking “Why not!”

Before the “Fall” life was good! Adam and Eve were perfect; they lived in a perfect world. All was peace and comfort and joy and fellowship with the LORD. Can you imagine walking in the beautiful garden in the cool of the day with the Creator God? No bugs biting you, no fear of wild animals. Fresh fruit on every tree ready for picking.

Ah, that’s what I call Paradise! What happened! Did God cause Adam and Eve to sin? Did Satan overpower them and force them to sin?

Had Adam and Eve retained their original state of perfection, they would never have to die. But Eve and then Adam yielded to the serpent’s temptation, and death and sin came into the world.
Satan has this cunning way of whispering in your ear and suggesting things that seem to be true. He is tempting our senses, offering us pleasures to fill our selfish desires.

Each time I got in the car to drive this week God has provided me with wisdom and insight from some favorite radio pastors. And praise God they were united in their opinions on Spiritual Warfare. Yes we live in a fallen world but God is Omnipotent. Reading from Billy Graham last book with my senior friend on Tuesday, I skimmed the table of contents and found a chapter entitled “No Hope of Happy Hour in Hell.”

Surveys say the masses are more interest in Hell that Heaven. Sin Is iN. People make jokes regarding sin and crude cartoons of Adam and Eve. There are novelty items trivializing sin. Yes sin is in; in each and every one of us since the Fall.
Revelation 12:9 says Satan’s work is to deceive the world. His deception that Hell is where the party will be is a clever trick. 2 Corinthians call him an “angel of light” because he disguises evil in whatever will attract the senses.

God said to Satan: Job still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”

J. O. Sanders “God does not waste suffering; if he ploughs it is because He purposes a crop.”  In other words He is hoping we will learn and grow from our trials.

Scotsman Samuel Rutherford a licensed minister at age 27, worked tirelessly for the LORD. In 1630, after barely five years of marriage, Samuel's wife suffered a painful illness of thirteen months and died. Samuel was deeply affected by her loss. Their two children also died, and Samuel himself had a debilitating fever three months before his wife's death. Rutherford’s many sufferings only gave him a greater heart of sympathy for the suffering in his flock. 

In 1636 he published an Apology of Divine Grace. This work offended the government and churches of Britain. Muzzled and exiled from public service for the Lord, Rutherford continued to write to his parishioners,
“Learn to believe Christ better than his strokes … Let not the Lord's dealings seem harsh, rough, or unfatherly, because it is unpleasant. “

Taken from Holding on to Hope © 2002 by Nancy Guthrie.
“Why has God allowed so much suffering in your life? Ultimately, the purpose is not to disfigure you for life but to mold you into a person who thinks and acts and looks like Christ.
Every difficulty—from the minor irritation to the piercing pain—God has allowed every one for the singular and supreme purpose of transforming your character into the likeness of His Son.
Sometimes it requires pain to refine our character and to remove our selfish, sinful attitudes. Pain can do that. Or, pain can make us bitter. We can just become bitter when we don't get what we want out of life.
I believe God has a purpose for the pain in your life that is for your ultimate good, even though everything about it looks and feels bad.”
Lamentations 3:31-33 NIV "For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men" 
Remember when Christ called Lazarus out of the grave he was bound by cloths.
A W Tozer: The devil makes it his business to keep Christians in bondage, bound and gagged actually imprisoned by their own grave clothes.

Paul urges us a God’s children remove our grave clothes; to plunge into the Divine closet and put on Christ. Practice modeling your actions and words after Jesus: to be loving, forgiving, kind, and compassionate
Jesus Christ provided through his finished work on the cross and his resurrection a new set of clothes with labels righteous and holiness to reflect the very heart of God. Which clothes are you going to put on today?
God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our life through;
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way;
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

Will you choose to remember that we live in a fallen world—but that God still reigns?