Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | A Happy Ending
Job suffered because of his blamelessness, not because of his sin. It was to show that God is worthy of the worship of a man even when worldly goods are lost. Job did not suffer because of his sin, but he sinned in his suffering.
Job's why questions lose their power when he encounters the greatness of God. "I had a million questions to ask God, but, when I met him, they all fled my mind and didn't seem to matter." It is a false hope to believe that relief from suffering is found in discovering why one suffers. No, peace that surpasses all understanding is found in the nearness of God!
God had a good purpose for Job in his suffering even if Job could not perceive that purpose. "When you can’t trace his hand, you must learn to trust his heart." – Spurgeon
God normally doesn’t give us the answer to our why questions in detail, but he gives us something better—himself.
God speaking (vv. 7-9)
Job's friends must have been shocked to hear that they had spoken wrongly and that Job had spoken rightly. They were right in claiming that sin always has consequences, but they were wrong that suffering can always be traced to sin. The seriousness of the sin of Job's friends is illustrated in the number of animals that must be sacrificed to cover it.
It must have been humiliating for Job's friends to be told that Job would need to pray for them. “Props to Job for praying for his friends, and props to Job's friends for humbling themselves before God and receiving the prayer.”
God blessing (vv. 10-17)
The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends. “The specific linking of prayer and restoration shows that it is the relationship with God that is at the heart of all that happens.”
In a wildly generous gesture, God gave to Job twice as much as he had before. These gifts at the end are gestures of grace, not rewards for virtue. God is no debtor to Job or to anyone else. Had the restoration of Job's fortunes been due to Job's obedience, it would undermine the entire thesis of the book!
Job expresses humility in receiving his relatives. It would appear that Job's relatives kept their distance from Job while he suffered, yet approached him once his fortunes were restored. Yet Job receives them; this is evidence of his genuine humility.
The LORD publicly honors Job—“My servant.” (vv. 7, 8a, 8b, 8c)
Job foreshadows One to come. The story of Job prepares us for the story of Jesus.
“What does Job have to do with Jesus? Well, here’s the story of Job. Tell me if you’ve heard this before. There was a righteous man. This man, by God’s set purpose, was handed over to satanic inflicted sufferings. This man, in his suffering, was mocked and mistreated. This man prayed for his enemies, for those who persecuted him. This man, after a costly, perfect, substitutionary blood sacrifice became a priestly mediator between God and sinners. This man was fully and publicly vindicated by God. This man, in the end, was exalted by God, receiving honor and glory and power and wealth even to a greater extent than that which he first had. Sound familiar?” – Douglas O’Donnell
Job was not Jesus. Job was a sinner. But it is difficult to ignore the prefiguring of Jesus. The primary purpose of Job is to prepare us for Jesus. The purpose of Job is to show us that God triumphs over evil, and thus, we can trust him.
- Consider in what ways and at what times you resemble one or more of the characters in the Job story.
- How does the story of Job leave you feeling? Thankful? Frustrated? Wondering?
- In light of this sermon series, how would you answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
- How has this sermon series challenged, changed, or confirmed your personal “theology of suffering”?
[by Taylor Mason]