Weekly Devotion 4 | The Wrestling of Job | Job 19


This devotional is based on Jeff Purswell's sermon, The Wrestling of Job, given on October 11, 2015. For a PDF version, click here.

 

Day 1: Job’s Perseverance

Quotes/References:

  • Jeff quote: “The book of Job shows us that times of suffering are to be expected, it shows us that such times are normal even for believers in a in a fallen world.”
  • Jeff quote: “Wrestling and suffering are to be expected. Wrestling is normalized, just do it with God. There’s not going to be a lot of answers or solutions, but whatever answers or solutions you do get, they’re going to come from him and not from you…Thank God that Job didn’t let go! By the grace of God he didn’t let go! And because he didn’t, he’s in a position to receive grace from God.”

Questions to Consider:

  • What thoughts cross your mind when you consider the fact that suffering is normal and to be expected in this fallen world? What brings you peace in the face of that reality?
  • In what ways could this truth actually strengthen our joyful expectation of Jesus’ final victory?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Pray Romans 8:18 for yourself. Pray that when you feel weighed down by the suffering of this world, the Holy Spirit would remind of the surpassing weight of future glory as a hope to cling to.
  • Pray James 4:11 for our church. Pray that the Holy Spirit would empower you to endure to the same knowledge that Job gained: God is compassionate and merciful…no matter what.

 

Day 2: The Cruelty of Job’s Friends

Quotes/References:

  • Jeff quote: “With no other evidence than his circumstances they infer his guilt. Job’s suffering was bad enough, but what he couldn’t bear is that his sufferings proof that God is against him and is opposing him. To bring to his circumstantial suffering, cosmic metaphysical suffering.”
  • Hassell Bullock: “Outside of our Lord’s own bitter loneliness during his passion. There must be no keener sense of having been forsaken by ones’ friends expressed in Scripture than here”
  • Jeff quote: “Do you see? Job’s friends aren’t just trying to be faithful theologians, they’re magnifying themselves against Job. They seize upon Job’s suffering to assert their own superiority. These guys not only lacked a category for innocent suffering, they lacked a category for grace.”

Questions to Consider;

  • Sometimes, it is very difficult to not make presumptions about a person’s character in relation to their hardships and simply love them by genuinely listening to their pain. What are some examples, from your own experience, of sharing grief or suffering or discouragement and having someone listen graciously and patiently? Have you ever thanked them for how much it meant?
  • As you read this section of Job 19, do you recall a time when you compared yourself favorably in the face of another’s weakness in a way that may have exposed your own self-righteousness?

Prayer recommendation:

  • Pray James 4:6 for our church. Pray that we would remember the incredible danger of pride: not simply the feeling of God’s opposition, but its reality!
  • Pray James 3:7-12 and Ephesians 4:29 for your community group. Remember the incredible destructive potential of your words, and the heart from which they arise. Pray that the Holy Spirit would keep you slow to speak, especially to those who are suffering.

 

Day 3: Divine Overkill

Quotes/References:

  • Jeff quote: “Job endured unspeakable isolation, social dislocation, family rejection, and psychological disorientation, and it frayed his very sense of identity. All he knew and counted on and loved and enjoyed…gone! And not just gone, but turned in on him. Seemingly even God!”
  • Jeff quote: “These verses bring into focus one of Job’s most prominent complaints throughout these dialogues, perhaps his most poignant fear in these dialogues: “Is God against me?” That’s what his friends thought, that’s what he feels like, that’s what he feared.”
  • Jeff quote: “There are more fun things to preach on than this”

Questions to Consider:

  • Have you ever personally experienced a sense of isolation in the midst of your suffering? How did fellow Christians comfort you? Is there someone around you whom you could comfort in this way?
  • We see Job’s sufferings rock him to his very identity! Fortunately, no matter what the Christian goes through, there identity is founded upon the immovable, indestructible truths of the gospel. Have you ever made the connection that the gospel grounds your very identity? How would you describe that wonderful reality?

Prayer recommendation:

  • Pray through Isaiah 53:3 for our church. Pray that in light of the freshness of Job’s suffering the Holy Spirit would refresh our understanding (and appreciation of) of the profoundly deeper suffering of Jesus.

 

Day 4: Wrestling with God

Quotes/References:

  • Jeff quote: “Here’s how Job prepares us for suffering. He wrestles with God! He doesn’t curse God, he doesn’t turn his back on God, he doesn’t renounce God, he doesn’t replace God with some other answer or some other source of hope or solace or pleasure. He doesn’t start medicating himself, drowning himself in distractions and alcohol. He cries out to God. When he’s weak, he’s weak with God. When he gets it wrong, he gets it wrong with God. Isn’t that just good stuff!”
  • Jeff quote: “We see Job grappling with God. And as he does we see the heart of a suffering believer confused by his circumstances, perplexed by God, and as we see that we ourselves are taught and equipped for our own suffering, and we learn something about engaging God in our suffering.”

Questions to Consider:

  • The Holy Spirit inspired the book of Job in large part to show us how to suffer. What do the Psalms (e.g. 31, 55, 74, 77) tell you about God’s desire for us to come, and his wiliness to hear the wrestling and cries of our hearts in suffering?
  • When you have suffered, what have been some of your first thoughts about God… Trust? Peace? Anger? Why? Unfair? Other thoughts or feelings? What helped you to make sure you were thinking rightly?

Prayer recommendations:

  • Pray Hebrews 4:16 for yourself and your community group. Pray the Holy Spirit would comfort you when you are afraid to come to God by reminding you of how accessible God has made himself! Pray that He would remind you that God’s presence hold grace and mercy for you, His beloved child, in your time of need.

 

Day 5: Our Redeemer Lives!

Quotes/References:

  • Jeff quote: “Job is longing for a heavenly umpire to lay a hand on God and a hand on Job and bring reconciliation. Someone to present Job to God in a way that God would accept. He knows he needs someone to come between him and God.”
  • Jeff quote: “Job’s life points beyond himself to one more righteous than himself…to the one whom God truly was against, though he suffered far more perfectly and innocently than Job as He bore our sins on a cross. Because of Jesus, you can know with certainty that you have a Redeemer. There is much we don’t know and can’t see in our suffering, but He has won my battle, he has argued our case, he is mine and I am His! God is not against me! Because of Jesus Christ and what He’s done our God is forever for me!

Questions to Consider:

  • What fears, doubts, or worries are dispelled by remembering that God himself is eternally for us?
  • Despite the times when we feel that God is against us, we can at the very least hold on to the truth that He is for us. How could you use Job’s desperation for a redeemer to explain why Jesus is such good news to a suffering non-Christian?

Prayer recommendations:

  • Pray 1 John 2:1 for yourself and our church. Pray that instead of running from God in the midst of your sins and fears, the Holy Spirit would encourage you to press in closer to God by the knowledge that you have an advocate before God: Jesus Christ the righteous!