Indestructible Hope

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Job 1, 31, 38, & 40, Habbakuk 1, Hebrews 12
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 7 Indestructible Hope

(Job 1, 31, 38 & 40, Habakkuk 1, Hebrews 12)

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Do you have difficulty understanding God? We have learned in past lessons in this series that a primary reason we suffer is that Satan sends problems our way in the hope that we will reject God. Satan wants to cause separation from God. If you don’t understand someone, does that cause you to trust them less? The answer is likely “yes” for most people. If that is true, does God want us to understand Him? God compares Himself to a loving father. If you had a loving father, does that help you to better understand God? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible to learn more!

  1. Job
    1. Read Job 1:1 and Job 1:8-11. We studied these verses recently, so this is a review. Why did Job experience the suffering that followed? (Not because of any character defects. Job was God’s example of a faithful servant. Satan wanted to separate Job and God.)
    1. Read Job 31:35-37. What is Job asking God to give him? (An indictment listing what he has done wrong.)
      1. What would Job do with that statement of charges? (He would “give ... an account” of his actions. He would defend on the basis that he has done nothing that would warrant this kind of suffering.)
        1. Is Job asserting that God is unfair? That he has been treated unfairly? (I think that is a reasonable conclusion. Job wants a trial where he can defend himself.)
    1. Read Job 38:1-3. Has God decided to give Job the trial that he so desperately wants? (If I were Job I would rejoice in these words from God. Recall that previously he could not even find God so that he could demand a trial.)
    1. Read Job 38:4-11. What kind of trial is this? Is Job being questioned about his actions?
      1. Why are the actions of God relevant? Is God on trial?
    1. God continues with this same line of questioning through chapter 40 of Job. Read Job 40:1-2. When God asks this question, is He calling Job “a faultfinder?” (Yes. God views this as Job challenging Him.)
    1. Read Job 40:3-5. How does Job react to God pointing out that Job is challenging Him? (Job says that he will cover his mouth! No more challenges from him.)
    1. From this point on God continues to ask a series of questions the point of which is to show that God is God and Job is not. Read Job 42:1-6. How would you summarize Job’s response to God? (He admits that he is ignorant. He does not understand. Job despises himself and he repents.)
    1. Read Job 42:10-11. God restores Job. After that Job’s friends and family who said Job was suffering because he was sinful paid him money. Was that a sign that they repented of their charges? (I tend to think they were saying that they were sorry for not supporting Job when he was suffering.)
      1. Put yourself in Job’s place. How would you explain what happened to you? (Job has no idea. The lesson he learned from God is that God is God and he is not.)
      1. Would you conclude from this that God is neither understandable nor predictable? If we think we should be able to understand Him we will be disappointed? (Open your eyes! Job never saw the “big picture,” he never knew why he suffered. But God gave us the book of Job. It is thought to be one of the earliest books of Bible. God wants each and every one of us to see exactly why Job suffered.)
        1. With your eyes wide open, what should you conclude about whether God is understandable and predictable? (We need to agree on a baseline that we are ignorant of the bigger picture. We need to trust God because He is God and we are not. But, far from thinking that God is some sort of mystery that we can never understand or predict, God gives us this story to explain to us what I see as the major reason for suffering - Satan wanted to separate Job from God. Job remained faithful which allowed God to use Job’s situation to bring glory to Himself and understanding to every follower of God since then.)

I Habakkuk

    1. Read Habakkuk 1:1-2. What is Habakkuk’s first complaint to God? (That God is not hearing him.)
    1. Look at the last half of Habakkuk 1:2. How has his complaint changed? (Now he believes that God is hearing, the problem is that God is not saving him.)
    1. Read Habakkuk 1:3-4. Habakkuk explains why he needs to have God intervene. What is that reason? (The law of the country is not working. Justice is not to be had in the local courts. He needs divine justice. The problem is that God is aware of the destruction and violence but is not doing anything.)
    1. Read Habakkuk 1:5. Is God listening? Is God doing nothing?
      1. Why does God say that He has not shared what He is doing with Habakkuk? (Habakkuk would not believe God’s plan of action.)
      1. Do you see a parallel to Job’s situation?
    1. Read Habakkuk 1:6-7. Who are these Chaldeans who are bringing justice? (They are the bad guys. They are not God’s people. They are the Babylonians.)
    1. Read Habakkuk 1:12. Is this why God says that Habakkuk would not believe God’s plan? Bad people are going to invade Judah.)
      1. How does Habakkuk describe the coming suffering of Judah? (He call it “judgment” and “reproof.”)
        1. Is God refining His people with suffering?
    1. Read Habakkuk 1:13. Was God right that Habakkuk would not believe God’s plan? (Yes. Habakkuk wants to know how a pure God would use evil people to punish the people of Judah? The Babylonians are worse than what is going on in Judah! Habakkuk asks, “How is this appropriate?)
    1. Read Habakkuk 2:2-4. God asks Habakkuk to write down what God has said will be the cure for injustice in the land. What does God ask of His people? (In times of suffering we should live by faith in God. We should trust God.)
      1. How does that fit our prior discussions about suffering? (Satan brings suffering to separate us from God. God says “keep the faith.” Don’t succumb to Satan’s goals.)
    1. Let’s move to the end of Habakkuk and see how all of this works out. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19. Recall that Habakkuk started off questioning God. What is his attitude at the end? (Despite things being seriously amiss, Habakkuk keeps the faith by trusting and praising God.)
  1. Discipline
    1. Read Hebrews 12:1-2. Who is this great cloud of witnesses? (This follows Hebrews 11, the faith chapter. It describes followers of God who did not fully receive the promises of God while they lived. They looked forward to heaven. They are our witnesses.)
    1. Read Hebrews 12:3-4. Who are we to think about when we suffer? (Jesus. The writer of Hebrews tells us that unlike Jesus, we have not been painfully killed by our suffering.)
      1. Note that the text says that we are struggling against sin. Who does that tell us sends suffering? (Satan.)
    1. Read Hebrews 12:5-6. It looks like we have finally arrived at the concept that I have been denying - that suffering comes from God in order to refine us. Is that how you understand verses 5-6?
      1. Notice that the writer of Hebrews has just compared our suffering to that of Jesus. Did Jesus get refined by suffering?
    1. Read Job 5:17. Does this also tell us that we are disciplined by God to improve us?
      1. Who is speaking in Job 5:17? (It is Eliphaz (see Job 4:1), one of Job’s “friends” who is arguing that Job needs to repent.)
        1. Was Eliphaz right? (We know from the beginning of the book of Job that he did not need to repent.)
    1. Read Job 42:7. Wait a minute! What is God saying about what Eliphaz has said to Job? (God reproves Eliphaz because “you have not spoken of Me what is right.”)
      1. Can you explain why Eliphaz is reproved for saying the very thing that the writer of Hebrews tells us - that suffering comes to refine us?
    1. Clearly, we need to explore this more. Read Proverbs 3:11-12. This is the source for Hebrews 12:5-6. We know that because Hebrews 12:5 specifically refers to a prior “exhortation.” Do you think that loving parents would cause their children to suffer? (Since Hebrews 12 quotes Proverbs 3 it is logically limited by the original statement. No loving father or mother would impose on their child what happened to Job or Jesus. Hebrews cannot be talking about that kind of suffering or some of the suffering described in Hebrews 11. Instead, we are looking at the way the Ten Commandments operate. God says “Don’t do this,” so that our lives will be better. If we ignore what God says, then we get in trouble and we suffer. That is consistent with how our loving fathers operate.)
    1. Read Hebrews 12:11-13. Have you had a problem with how you walk? If you do not get it fixed, it gets worse, right? And, it adversely affects other parts of the body. What does this tell us about God’s goal for us? (He says walk correctly so that you do not get worse. Do not compound the problem.)
    1. Friend, I hope you agree that the Bible teaches that suffering comes from Satan and sin. Its purpose is to harm, not improve, our relationship with God. However, there is a natural teaching result when we disobey God. We are refined (hopefully) to understand that we do not want to make that mistake again. Will take this positive view of God?
  1. Next week: Seeing the Invisible