“We are given a unique behind-the-scenes look at the battle that goes on for our loyalty and souls. The book of Job dramatically sets forth a colossal war between God and Satan, and we are the territory. Satan accuses. God defends. And in the outworking of this cosmic drama is the testing of man. We write our own ending. What shall it be? Shall we relinquish our faith as we suffer or shall our faith grow stronger with each test?” (Johnny Felker) As we suffer, we struggle with the question of “Why has this happened?” “Why is life like this?” “Why would God allow this?” and “Why would God allow this to happen to ME?” God rarely answers the “Why” questions for us specifically; but in the book of Job He does give us a glimpse into this age-old question.
1In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2He had seven sons and three daughters, 3and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. 4His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. 6One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 8Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” 9“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Job 1:1-12
Do you believe that good or bad behavior should have an impact on what someone gets out of life?
Read Job 1:1-12. What do you learn about Job’s life and character in verses 1-5?
The word for “blameless” (tam) means complete, perfect, or morally whole. “Upright” (yashar) means straight, in the sense of not deviating from God’s standards. Aaron stated on Sunday that in terms of Job’s faith, he wasn’t a sinless man, but he was “blameless and upright” in the sense that if/when he sinned, he always dealt with his sin immediately and appropriately before God whom he feared. By this definition, would you consider yourself “blameless and upright”? Why or why not?
Job 1:6-12 is a fascinating look into the goings-on in Heaven. Does anything surprise you in this passage?
Read the following verses and list Satan’s activities/character. What do you learn from this about Satan?
- 1 Chronicles 21:1
- Job 1:7
- Zechariah 3:1
- Luke 22:31
- John 8:44
- John 10:10
- 2 Corinthians 4:4
- 1 Peter 5:8
Who brings up the character of Job? How would you feel if you knew that God ‘bragged’ about you?
Satan accuses God of placing a hedge of protection around Job and suggests that Job worshipped God for only one reason – because of the benefits he received. Do you think that was true of Job? Is there any evidence that it is true in your life?
Though you don’t know all of the reasons behind suffering, at the very least (or most!) God intends one thing to come as a result. Read Romans 8:17-18, 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 1 Peter 1:6-7, and 1 Peter 4:12-13. Discuss as a group what that one thing is.
A pastor once said that when suffering comes, we want to be like watermelon seeds, squirting out under pressure. But faith isn’t like that. Ephesians 6:14 and 1 Peter 5:9 tell us to stand firm! Make a plan to study God’s Word this week (start with Ephesians 6:10-18) so that you will be prepared to stand against the devil’s attacks. Surround yourself with Christian brothers and sisters who can be a source of strength and encouragement when Satan seeks to devour you.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Read Luke 22:24-34. What was the argument the disciples were having? What does Jesus tell Peter? Do you find any significance that it is after this argument that Jesus stated that Satan wants to sift Peter (and all the disciples) like wheat?
The word “sift” has two meanings: 1) to shake in a sieve, and 2) by inward agitation to try one’s faith to the verge of overthrow (Strong’s Concordance). Satan was seeking to agitate, to see whether anything of faith would remain. For Peter, what was the specific instance of sifting Jesus was referencing (Luke 22:34, 54-62)?
Though Peter denied Christ, he was ultimately restored (John 21). And he certainly got the message concerning Satan. Read 1 Peter 5:8-10. What does Peter tell believers to do when facing Satan? How can you do this (James 4:7-10)?