One thing that is consistent with the human experience is the fact that each of us will have times when we suffer. We feel pain. Sometimes our suffering and pain is from our own choices; other times, the pain comes through no fault of our own. The key question in our series is, “How do we respond rightly to the suffering that we experience?”
13Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 20Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” 22Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Job 1:13-22
Share with your group a time that you received bad news and you either reacted badly or were able to see the situation through God’s eyes and reacted with worship.
Read Job 1:13-22. List all of the things that Satan took from Job in the order they occurred. Do you think there is any significance in the order that Satan chose to attack Job?
Read Job 1:6-12. In this passage, we are privy to the fact that God gave Satan permission to cause Job’s suffering. Yet in Job 1:20-21, Job’s response to his losses is to say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.” Discuss with your group whether you believe Job rightly places the cause of his suffering on God.
Job 1:20-21 tells us how Job responded to his losses. Look up the following verses and list who is being afflicted and what their response was:
- Psalm 57
- Jonah 2:1-10
- Matthew 26:38-39
- 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
Knowing that Satan only has powers which God allows him to have, will you look at your suffering as a way that God is sifting you for His purposes?
Since God does all things for the good of those who trust in Him (Romans 8:28), this week, if/when you find yourself in a difficult situation or receive bad news, try praising God and worshiping Him instead of reacting in a negative way. Be prepared to share with your group how God showed up and worked in your life as a result.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Joe mentioned on Sunday that God’s presence is there even in your pain. Read the following passages and note what you learn about God’s presence.
- Psalm 139:7-12
- Psalm 11:4
- Psalm 34:15
- Proverbs 15:3
- 1 Kings 8:27
- Jeremiah 23:24
The topic of suffering can often lead to the question, “Why would a sovereign God allow suffering? Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines sovereignty as God’s “absolute right to do all things according to His own good pleasure”. How do you reconcile God’s sovereignty with the reality of suffering?
Read Isaiah 45:1-7. How does God describe Himself in these verses? What is your response to His statement that He creates “calamity”?
Read Mark 15:27-34. Christ, in His suffering, asked His Father “Why?” Does knowing this give you comfort or cause you anxiety?