Weekly Devotion 5 | The Protest of Job | Job 21

This devotional is based on CJ Mahaney's sermon, The Protest of Job, given on October 18, 2015. For a PDF version, click here.

 

Day 1: Long Suffering

Quotes/References:

  • Christopher Ash: “Job is forty two chapters long. We may consider that rather an obvious observation.. But the point is this: in his wisdom God has given us a very long book, and he has done so for a reason. It is easy just to read or preach the beginning and the end and to skip rather quickly over the endless arguments in between as if it wouldn’t much mater if they weren’t there. Far from saying the message of Job can be summarized on a postcard, in a tweet, God says, ‘Come with me on a journey, a journey that will take time. There is no instant answer-take a spoonful of Job, just add boiling water, and you’ll know the answer. Job cannot be distilled. It is a narrative with a very slow pace (after a frenetic beginning) and long delays. Why? Because there is no instant working through grief, no quick fix to pain, no message of Job in a nutshell. God has given us a forty-two chapter journey. We need to read it, read it all, read it slowly.”
  • Francis Anderson: “This speech is unusual for Job. It is the only one in which he confines his remarks to his friends and does not fall into either a soliloquy or a prayer. The time has come to demolish their position.”

Questions to Consider:

  • What have been the longest seasons of suffering you have gone through? How did the length of that season make you feel? think? about God? What about God and his Word enabled you to endure?
  • Who in your community group is experiencing a prolonged season of suffering. How has their experience of it mirrored your own? What specifically could you do to help them not feel alone, as Job did?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Pray Psalm 13 for yourself. Pray that God’s Spirit would give you compassion for those suffering so that you may be better able to comfort them
  • Pray Isaiah 49:14-16; 26 for your community group. Pray that the Holy Spirit would remind you through this passage of how profoundly aware and present the Lord is with his people in their suffering. He can never forget them.

 

Day 2: Divine Patience

Quotes/References:

  • Francis Anderson: “The outworkings of His justice throughout the long processes of history, which sometimes requires spans of many centuries, are part of our existence in time. It is easier to see the hand of God in spectacular and immediate acts, and the sinner who is not instantly corrected is likely to despise God’s delay in executing justice as a sign that He is indifferent or even absent. We have to be as patient as God Himself to see the end result, or to go on living in faith without seeing it.”

Questions to Consider:

  • When have you ever felt impatient with someone in their suffering? What specifically did that look like? More counsel? accusations?
  • The length of Job underscores that we should not be surprised when suffering takes a long time to go through. In what specific ways have you seen God’s faithfulness towards you in your own sufferings?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Pray 2 Peter 3:9 for someone in your community group enduring a season a suffering. Pray that the Holy Spirit would comfort them with the truth that God’s “slowness” in fulfilling his plan reveals not his apathy with their pain, but His deep concern that all should reach repentance.

 

Day 3: Divine Justice

Quotes/References

  • Christopher Ash: “We cannot deduce the spiritual state of a man or woman from their current happiness or prosperity or their present sufferings. The fact of this ignorance needs to be burned onto our consciousness, lest we slip into the errors of Job’s comforters.”
  • CJ: “This passage reminds us of what matters most. What matters most is not this life…but the one to come. Our hope transcends this life”

Questions to Consider:

  • Skim Psalm 73. When have you felt what David was feeling? What specifically about David’s conclusions inspire you to persevere in your own walk and not envy those who are opposed to God?
  • How can an eternal view on life put your trials and temptations into perspective?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Pray Galatians 6:9 for our church. Pray that Holy Spirit would give you fresh strength to pursue what please him, knowing that even when it seems we labor in vain, we shall indeed reap what we sow in God’s good time.
  • Pray Hebrews 12:1 for yourself. Pray that Holy Spirit would remind you that the great heroes of the faith, who all endured long seasons of suffering in their time, stand as witness to faithfulness of God to deliver his people.

 

Day 4: The Underserved Hell of the Cross

Quotes/References

  • Christopher Ash: “They ought to understand that the undeserved hell they are watching is an awesome thing, an event that prefigures the undeserved hell of the cross, the event that makes undeserved grace possible.”
  • CJ: “Often in our suffering what we most need is to think more about heaven, and to experience the transforming effect of heaven on our souls today. Our hope for the life to come is what sustains us in the midst of suffering, and our hope for the life to come centers on the one whom Job prefigures.”

Questions to Consider:

  • Read Job 21.5 and consider the Cross. Pray that Jesus willingness to endure excruciating, yet undeserved, suffering would give you a sense of awe and wonder?
  • What about heaven do you most look forward to? Who in your community group can you encourage with today with words of hope?

Prayer recommendations:

  • Hebrews 12:2 for your community group. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give your group a greater and greater sense of the reality and certainty of our coming hope. Pray that you would be inspired with Jesus’ example of endurance in the midst of his suffering
  • Pray Revelation 21:4 for yourself. Be reminded once again that one day God will eternally make all our seasons of suffering and all the baggage that came with them pass away.