Vs. 15, “so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine.” Remember this: Job did not know what was going on and why this was happening to him. We have the luxory of knowing why Job was suffering. Unlike his friends who were misunderstanding him, it’s as if Job knows he doesn’t have to sugarcoat his feelings with God. He is pouring out his heart and sees life as futile. We know Job’s physical boils and sores are not life-threatening, but Job doesn’t know this. No wonder why his speech is that of a man who is nearing physical death.
Regarding application…Why God? That is the proverbial question of life. Why is this happening? What did I do? Why me? But as we are learning…it’s not necessarily because we’ve done something wrong. Some of the most powerful testimonies are those who have endured extreme hardships. Throughout the bible we are given story after story of people who have endured for the sake of the Lord. The writer of Hebrews gives us some detail of who some of these people are and what they endured. I encourage you to read Hebrews chapter 11 today too. Think about it this way: No one is impressed by someone who is successful because they lived a priviledged life and given everything. But, tell a story of someone who had nothing and yet made their life something and you’ve got a biography best seller or a blockbuster movie! I don’t have the answers why…I don’t think any of us do. God is God…we are His creation. We have to trust in the Lord.
Vs. 3, “It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—no wonder my words have been impetuous.” There are times when we need to vent and that is exactly what Job had done and just now admitted to. Unlike many of us who lash out with harsh words or worse (cuss words)…notice how articulate and well spoken Job was. He had gone through more than most people will ever go through…no wonder he felt so much grief and despair. Sadly, Job’s friends were on the accusation/attack mode and this obviously disheartened Job by his friends lack of compassion. Job has to go to the extent of defending himself against Eliphaz’s accusations that he must have done something terribly wrong (vs. 24-30).
Regarding application…Express Yourself. Communication is often talked about being the “key” to any relationship and it was no different for Job. Job was expressing his raw emotion to his friends…he needed to lean on them. Dearest friends…There are going to be times in our lives when we need to express frustration, sorrow or grief in our lives. God doesn’t expect us to be people without emotion and feelings…He created that in us in the first place! Don’t ever feel you should keep your problems to yourself. Likewise, let us be people who listen and reach out to those in need. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! I’m so excited for the CTC Youth as we begin our S.A.G (Student Accountabilty Groups), this is our time to grow and encourage each other through good times and bad times.
Vs. 4, “His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender.” Eliphaz continues his admonishments to Job in our chapter today. It must have hurt Job to hear Eliphaz semi-accuse him that his own children must have died for something Job had done. But Eliphaz once again was using his own subjective view of this world. When we struggle as Christians and go through painful times…God does sometimes allow bad things to happen, but its not to harm us. However, this is how Eliphaz was approaching the situation. Don’t misunderstand me…much of what Eliphaz was saying was true about God…it just was misunderstood.
Regarding application…Incorrect Advice. Vs. 27, “We have examined this, and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.” Brothers & Sisters…as you live this life you will undoubtedly have many people give you advice on the road of life. Some of it will be wonderful and some of it will be outright wrong. Even a good friend can give totally wrong advice. We especially have to be careful receiving advice from those who are not Christians. As many students progress through the years, they receive advice from school counselors, teachers, college professors, etc. What seems like wisdom is not always the wisdom we need from God. But Christian advice also needs to be tempered with weighing in God’s word. That is why we must know His word in our lives!
Vs. 7, “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed?” Job’s three friends came to comfort him in his time of trial…but end up being critical towards him instead. Eliphaz speaks up and reminds Job of all the good things he once had and he must have done something terribly wrong to bring such calamity. But Eliphaz’s understanding of God was wrong, because he assumed that Godly people would never endure hardships. If that were true…Jesus would have been a sinner since he endured the hardship of being forsaken and died on the cross for us. Eliphaz was essentilly embracing “karma” = “you reap what you sow” (vs. 8)…”what comes around goes around”.
Regarding application…Discouragement. While Eliphaz intended to comfort Job, he ended up discouraging him. Question: I wonder how often we do the same with others? We are so quick to try to “fix” someone else’s problems we don’t realize that it’s actually discouraging them. I have found this to be very true in my own life as I am too eager to find a solution. It takes time, prayer, and wisdom to properly discern someone’s struggles to encourage them properly. Question: How can we encourge better? Know God’s word! That was Eliphaz’s folly as he did not understand God’s ways. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom” (I Corinthians 1:25). Encouragement will be something we can exercise everyday of our lives. The more we know God, the better friends we’ll be!
Vs. 11, “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” Unlike Satan had predicted, Job did not curse God…he was upset at his own existence. It was kind of like George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life”…he thought he was to blame for all that transpired. Basically, Job was wishing he hadn’t been born. His logic was like any of us…if he hadn’t been born none of these things would have happened. As we read along in Job, we realize that he was just frustrated and saddened…just like any of us would have been.
Regarding application…Trouble Will Come. Vs. 25, “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” In the Youth Group message today, we were reminded that Jesus told us, “in this world, you will have trouble.” Even though there are many worries and fears…we must still trust in the Lord. Little did Job know that he would honor the Lord and encourage us all by his faith…and I think it’s refreshing to see that Job shows us that he wasn’t perfect in his response. I think I would be more disturbed if he didn’t show any emotion after losing so much. Notice that Job would have his friends there (continuation from chapter two) as he coped with his grief. That’s another great reason why we have the church to help us when trouble comes.
Vs. 6, “The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” Yes, God did allow Satan to afflict Job further…but he limited Satan on what he could do. Our hearts definitely have to go out to Job as he is part of a battle that he totally is not aware of. Not only does he lose his children and his possessions…he now has sore boils (possibly like leprosy) all over his body. It was very painful and the enemy surely thought now Job will relent and turn from God. Even Job’s own wife was discouraging him and felt God had betrayed her. The enemy was surely coming out to Job with guns blazing using physical oppression and his own wife against him.
Regarding application…The Enemy’s Lies. Vs. 4, “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life.” Jesus would tell us that Satan is the father of lies (Luke 8:44). Satan is looking at the selfishness of human nature and surely assumed that Job would relinquish his faith. Satan has had all these years to observe our human interactions and weakneses. Perhaps Satan even somehow manipulated events to discourage Job’s wife as well. We hear those same lies today…”You don’t deserve God’s love.” “A loving God would never allow a tragedy like Haiti to happen.” “You’re better than other people, so treat them with disdain.” Satan used our pride to lure Adam & Eve to disobey God. Brothers & sisters…be very wary of the enemies ways and take measures to surround yourself with people that can encourage you! That’s why we have the church…Amen?!?!
The book of Job helps demonstrate God’s sovereign ways and reminds us of what faith is all about. Job had one of the toughest tests any human will endure. It is filled with intrigue and life drama as we face the reality of suffering in this life. It’s important to remember that Job is not a fictional character or story…he was a real man with real life situations.
Vs. 12, “The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.” The book of Job becomes interesting quite quickly as we get a front seat in a conversation between satan and God. The topic was concerning Job who had many earthly blessings from God and was also a Godly man. But Satan was out to prove to God and all His creation that we only turn to Him when things are going well for us. It must have been devastating news for Job to hear all that happened, especially to hear his own children death. Question: How will Job respond?
Regarding application…Response to Tragedy. Vs. 20-21, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Tragedy…we are poignantly reminded of tragedy as we anxiously await further new in Haiti. Just like Job, so many have lost their immediate loved ones. I cannot imagine the grief and sorrow that is surrounding so many. I feel it is no coincidence that we are starting the book of Job in the midst of a current tragedy. It is remarkable to see the reponse of Job. We are given insight to why this happened, but Job had no idea. Yet, we are often like Job where we do not see the bigger unseen spiritual world. Don’t ever forget that God is in control. God is in contol. God is in control. Let’s lift up in faith to our Lord that God will be glorified.
Vs. 6, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” From death on the cross to the wonderful resurrection! Matthew would give us in detail those who would witness this momentous event. Question: Why is the resurrection so important? Because it proves Jesus is truly the Son of God, it fulfills prophecy, it gives us a future hope of our own resurrection, and it conquered sin! The attempted cover up by the chief priests is a feeble attempt by the enemy to discourage us from the truth. Where God is working, satan will try his best as well. And lastly, we are reminded of the Great Commission that Jesus would command all of us to follow.
Regarding application…God’s Commission. Vs. 20, “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” So often I think this last verse tends to be overlooked from vs. 19 that emphasizes the “evangelism” aspect of the Great Commission. While we all cannot be missionaries on the “Frontlines”, I found great encouragement to see that we are following God’s command by building up His church here locally. In an army, the local church is like the bootcamp that prepares its soldiers to go to battle. While all analogies break down, I think this is example that hopefully helps. Each of us can take to help teach each other to trust and obey our Lord. Even when horrible events like Haiti transpire, we know that God is in control.
Vs. 1, “Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.” And so it has come to pass. All of creation waited for years for the Messiah to come and now we have sentenced him to death. Matthew gives us some details to events that surrounded that fateful long day. Thankfully, we are not given the atrocious details on the actual crucifixion…though historians and movies have given us an idea. Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin and Judas the betrayer would hang himself (note: it’s important to see Judas still could have had a chance to turn to Jesus but did not). Pilate could have done something too, but he was too afraid.
Regarding application…Jesus Crucified. Vs. 31, “…Then they led him away to crucify him.” The movie by Mel Gibson “Passion of the Christ” is now 6 years old. But I can remember like it was yesterday that I’ve seen it. I have not seen this movies since then and don’t know if I could ever watch it again. I have tried but could not bring myself to viewing it. Perhaps that is why the Bible doesn’t expound upon all the pain both physically and spiritually that Jesus endured. It’s overwhelming and I cried a bucket of tears as I was brought front and center to understanding a bit more on this fateful day. Ask Mary or John if they would like to witness that day again. Praise God that Jesus endured the cross and its shame so that we would not have to. Let us take this precious news and display it for the world to see in our words and actions. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Vs. 4, “and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him.” This chapter is full of intriuge as we read about a plot for murder and even betrayal! But we are also reminded of sacrifice not only by Jesus, but also by Mary with the alabastar jar of perfume (a years wages as she anoited Jesus to honor Him for his death). I remember Daniel Pewter’s one hit wonder that goes, “You had a bad day”…this day for Jesus would top any bad day we could dream of. From Judas plotting to kill him, to the disciples falling to sleep in Jesus’ most desperate hour, to the betrayed kiss and arrest and judgement before the Sanhedrin and lastly Peter’s disowning Jesus three times.
Regarding application…Ultimate Love. Vs. 38, “Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Whew…this is pretty hard to read without my eyes not wellng up in tears. Jesus was God, but He also was 100% human…it’s not even so much that he was sorrowful that He would have to go through so much pain, I think it was more sorrowful for Him to know the pain of those who would bear this burden with Him. The pain of knowing they let Jesus down, the pain of liteally watching Jesus die before you, the pain of any of us who have felt the guilt of sin and turned away from the Lord at times in our life. Yet, even when Jesus knew the disciples would fail Him when He needed them most, His love & grace upon them is astounding! But it’s not just them that we are talking about here…take a hard look in the mirror. It’s you and I too. Even on the road to His own death, Jesus would sing and glorify the Father (vs. 30). May we do the same as we live this life.