Sermon Summary and Discussion Questions | "The Wrestling of Job: Part 1"
- From chapters 4 to 19, the book of Job has been a series of three cyclical discussions between Job and his friends; each cycle has the same theology. His friends come with rigid, cold, cause-and-effect theology—you do good, you prosper; you do bad, you suffer.
- In reality, a man's relationship with God cannot be determined by his circumstances.
In Job's first statement, he is reeling. In the dialogues, he is wrestling. He was responding viscerally before, now he is grappling with the accusations of his friends and with God.
The Cruelty of Friends (vv. 1-5)
Their Theology – Theistic Karma
- Job's friends assume that because they are not suffering, they are superior to him. They seize upon his experiences to point out their own superiority.
- Grace requires a category for innocent suffering. No innocent suffering, no grace. Job’s friends lacked this category.
- Theistic karma theology is not Christian theology. In our suffering, we are not directed to a search for a particular sin that has brought on the suffering. Rather, we are directed to God.
- "How long will you continue to wrongly accuse me?" He is saying, "I am unaware of any unrepentant sin that would have caused this."
- The sense of loneliness experienced by Job is surpassed only and notably by that of Jesus Christ in his Gethsemane passion.
- Job doesn’t bewail his wealth and health, but his life with God. It is because he has apparently lost his communion with God that he is in such torment. Previously Job said, "A tree cut down will sprout again." Now, he describes a tree that is uprooted, which has no hope of coming back. "And my hope has he pulled up like a tree."
Assessing Job’s Response
- Job is not simply trying to win an argument; he's trying to understand his experience. Job says some presumptuous things about God in order to show himself right. He is right about himself but not in all that he says about God.
- "Job does not suffer because of his sins, but, when he suffers, he sins” (OT Commentary). God is not surprised, and God won't be offended. God is going to help him.
- In his suffering, Job wrestles with God rather than replacing God or forsaking God. When he is weak, he is weak with God; and when he gets it wrong, he gets it wrong with God. This positioned Job to receive grace from God.
The Promise of a Redeemer
Job has spoken of an arbitrator/redeemer before. He knows deep down that God is not his enemy, as hard as it is to see.
The deepest longing of Job's heart is not to get his land back the things of this life that he has lost. It is to stand before the God he loves and worships, to be secure in his relationship with God, to know and to experience that God is his and he is Gods.
Job's Greatest Example
- God's people will suffer and be unable to identify the cause of most of it. But know this, even though we cannot see the cause, God sees it, and so we bring our suffering to him. Know this—God is not against you in your suffering.
- Job's suffering was to show the value and worth of God
Job's Greatest Message
- Job's life points beyond it to one more righteous than Job, to one more innocent and who suffered more severely than Job, to one whom God the Father really was against.
- There is much we don't know or see in our suffering, but this we know--our Redeemer lives. He has won our battle. God is not against us. Because of Jesus Christ, God is forever for us.
- What is your theology of suffering? What is the God’s theology of suffering?
- From the text, point out responses of Job that you aspire to and other parts of his response that you can relate to.
- Is there a situation in your life right now where you are or need to be suffering with God—wrestling with Him rather than replacing Him?
- Think of a way that you are currently suffering or fear of suffering in the future. What kind of thoughts, emotions, and actions in that suffering would declare that God is beautiful, worthy, and a good Father?
[by Taylor Mason]