Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "The Lament of Job"
C.J. explains that we are about to venture into one of the darkest chapters in scripture (not the darkest). It lets us into the heart and mind of Job, a man undergoing unbearable misery. We transition from Job’s obedient suffering to his lament before God.
Job 2:11 – 13
Job’s friends were legitimate friends. Little did they know, they would eventually be of no help to Job. However, they began by grieving with him by traditional means (i.e. tore their robes, sprinkled dust, and wept). They also observed the 7 days and 7 nights of mourning by sitting with their friend. It was Job who finally broke the silence.
Job 3:1 -26
The prologue (chapters 1 and 2) explained that Job was suffering because he was blameless, not because of his sin. Job was ultimately suffering because God delighted in him. In the poetry of chapter 3, Job breaks his silence and gives voice to his troubled soul. He tries to understand his experience and restore relationship with God. The apparent absence and silence of God is the very reason Job is so tormented.
This scripture can be broken into 3 sections:
- Curse – Job did not curse God, but does curse a work of God, namely Job’s birth. He desires that God would reverse his very existence. This is an expression of raw depression and despair.
- Lament – The possibility of dying at birth was a relief to Job. He was not suicidal, instead this was a poetic statement meant to understand the character of God. Job was asking God why he was born only to eventually experience this degree of darkness.
- Question – In verse 23, Job is dangerously close to questioning God’s goodness. Job mentions that he feels “hedged in” by God. In Job 1:10, Satan referenced a hedge of protection around Job. However, Job is describing how he now is experiencing a confinement or imprisonment by God in suffering. Most of all, he fears God has abandoned him. In the midst of suffering, the “why?” question is bound to come.
What can we learn from Job’s suffering?
- This kind of darkness can be experienced by the blameless – God is delighted in Job, yet Job does not feel God’s presence. This can happen to those affirmed by God. If this truth is not understood, one can be vulnerable in times of darkness. A season of tribulation can be a redemptive opportunity. We can choose to serve God, just because He is God (Tim Keller). We are given the opportunity to love God for Himself and not His grace filled blessings.
- His lament helps us serve others who are suffering – We must weep with those who weep. It doesn’t serve the sufferer for a friend to begin counseling immediately. The friend should never try to figure out the “why?” for the sufferer.
This scripture ultimately points us to the darkest place in all of scripture, Calvary. In our suffering we might feel like God abandons us, but only Jesus was totally abandoned by the Father. God had to crush and forsake His Son so that He could justify us and reconcile us to Himself. In this darkest moment we find hope for our own darkness by the grace of God.
- As you read through Job 3, was there an experience in your Christian life that you kept reflecting on? Would you be willing to share this experience and identify a verse of Job’s lament that resonates with that time?
- How will this scripture inform your interactions with brothers or sisters who are suffering?
- How will this scripture inform your interactions with unbelievers who are suffering? How can you use it as an opportunity to share the Gospel with them?
- As C.J. explained, Christians are bound to walk through seasons of darkness. In what ways will Job’s obedient suffering and lamentation affect your prayers towards your own anticipated suffering?
[by Tristan Murray]