Doth Job Fear God for Nought?"

English
(Job 2)
Year: 
2016
Quarter: 
4
Lesson Number: 
3

Introduction: Last week we felt sorry for Job as he lost his children and his wealth. Recall that while God permitted these tragedies, God restrained Satan from harming Job himself. Job 1:12 ("on the man himself do not lay a finger"). God won round one. Satan's prediction was wrong: when Job suffered these losses he did not curse God, rather he praised God (Job 1:21). Are you someone who could prove Satan wrong? Let's plunge into the story of Job and see how the battle progresses!

  1. Second Staff Meeting
    1. Read Job 2:1-2. Once again we find an account of a second heavenly "staff meeting" where God receives reports from the leaders of the galaxies. What would be a proper report for Satan? (He should admit that he was wrong about Job.)
    2. Read Job 2:3. God realizes that there is an omission in Satan's report, so He mentions Job. What does this tell us about God? (He pays attention to what is going on among His followers.)
      1. Is God also taunting Satan?
      2. Read Proverbs 24:17-18. How do you reconcile this text with what God is saying to Satan? It seems like gloating or taunting, right? (If this is truly a staff meeting, then this is not a private conversation between God and Satan. When we understand this, we see that God is promoting His side of the controversy between good and evil.)
        1. Consider what a great warrior Job is for God! Would you like to be God's warrior?
      3. What does God reveal about His attitude when we suffer at the hands of evil? (God sounds unhappy about what has happened to Job.)
    3. Read Job 2:4-5. How do you explain the logic of Satan's argument? I understand the "give all [you] have for your life," but what has that got to do with cursing God? (Job's jewel in life is his relationship with God. If God seems to give up on Job, if God wrongly punishes Job, then Satan thinks that Job will give up his most important asset, his relationship with God.)
    4. Read Job 2:6. Where would we be if not for God? (Satan would have killed Job, and he would like to kill you.)
  1. The Attack on Job's Person
    1. Read Job 2:7-8. What about this word picture makes you feel sad? (No one is helping Job with his medical problems. He is mourning, sitting in ashes, and scraping himself.)
      1. Would it be reasonable for Job to feel that God is punishing him?
        1. Read Matthew 27:46. If you say, "yes, Job should feel that God is punishing him or has forsaken him," then add that to all of Job's other woes. How would you respond?
    2. Read Job 2:9. Who is supposed to be the one who encourages you and lifts you up when you are ill or discouraged? (Your spouse!)
      1. Let's carefully consider the wife's words. Is her failure not properly encouraging Job, or does it go beyond that? (She tells Job to die. There is something seriously wrong here. Either she has a bad relationship with Job, or she is hostile to God. Perhaps both. Perhaps she is terribly angry about losing her status as the wife of the richest man in the East.)
      2. Why didn't Satan kill Job's wife when he was killing Job's children?
      3. Let's look at the logic of the suggestion of Job's wife. She chides Job for holding onto his "integrity." Why is Job's integrity part of the problem?
        1. I looked at Strong's understanding of the Hebrew word here and it suggests that "integrity" means "innocence." Does that help you to explain the wife's statement? (Job's wife may be saying that Job does not understand that God let him down. He does not understand the real world, where gods are not your friend.)
    3. Re-read Job 2:3 and Job 2:9. Did you notice that we see the same word "integrity?" According to Strong's, it is the same root word in Hebrew. What do you think God means when He says, Job "still maintains his integrity?" (God is not using the term in the sense of "innocence," rather God uses it to mean righteousness or devotion to God.)
      1. If Job's wife uses this term, "integrity," in the same way God uses it, what is Job's wife suggesting? (She is telling him to turn away from God. That helps us understand her "curse God" advice (Job 2:9). Under either of these meanings, Job's wife recommends that he forsake his allegiance to God.)
        1. Even if God has forsaken Job, or is not his friend, how would you explain her recommendation to curse God? (She is angry, spiteful, vindictive.)
    4. Read Job 2:10. How do you think Satan reacts to Job's statement? (Satan is wrong again! Job remains faithful to God. He is a true warrior for God!)
      1. Let's consider in more detail what Job said. Since we discussed the wife's advice, Job's response might help us to better understand what she recommended. What does Job say about her advice? (He says it is "foolish," which we might understand to mean "illogical.")
      2. The NIV has a footnote saying the Hebrew for "foolish" means "moral deficiency." Does that better describe the wife's advice? (Job's wife has given in to Satan's attack. She is not only rejecting God, she is attacking Him. This might feel good, but it is morally wrong.)
      3. Since we have previously discussed the parallels with the Genesis 3 temptation of Eve, do you think Satan would have done as well if he tempted Adam first? (Read Genesis 3:12. Adam is no Job.)
    5. Let's look at the logic of the last part of Job's statement in Job 2:10. Did Job's trouble come from God? (God certainly was not the author of it. It was not God's idea. However, God permitted it. Job 2:3 shows us that God is unhappy about what Job is suffering.)
      1. What does this teach us about our suffering?
      2. I often hear people say that they are suffering because "God is testing them." Is that a reasonable conclusion based on what we have studied so far? (No. Recall that Deuteronomy 28 tells us that we get what we deserve - obey and be blessed, disobey and suffer harm. This, of course, is how Job understands the world. Job's story provides us with a larger understanding of the battle between God and Satan and how it affects us.)
      3. Since we studied the end of the story first, we know that God essentially said to Job, "I'm God and you are not, sit down and shut up." Why didn't God use that same response on Satan? "I'm God and you are not. I tell you Job will not curse Me so shut up and don't harm him!" (Since this is at a staff meeting, the delegates of the rest of the universe are paying attention to this discussion.)
    6. Read Job 2:11. What is the agreed goal of Job's friends? (To sympathize with him and comfort him.)
    7. Read Job 2:12-13. What do you think about this approach to bringing sympathy and comfort to those who are suffering?
      1. We are not going to go into detail now about Job's conversation with his friends. But, to consider the kind of things the friends later said, read Job 4:5-9. How does this compare to the friend's first approach? (The friends later try to explain why Job is suffering - and they think it is Job's fault because they understand the obey and be blessed, disobey and be cursed theory. It was so much better to just weep with Job and sit in silence with him.)
      2. What do you say when you try to comfort someone who is suffering?
    8. Friend, what practical lessons have we learned for when we visit those who are suffering? Sometimes just being there and being sympathetic is the best thing. Explaining the reason for the suffering is a dangerous task. The worst thing is to undermine faith in God. Will you apply the lessons from Job the next time you try to give comfort?
  2. Next week: God and Human Suffering.