SIFTED: INTEGRITY IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Job lost almost everything – his children, his livelihood – and yet Job 1 ends with this statement: “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 2 begins with a familiar scene. Satan again comes before God, and God again brings Job to Satan’s attention, saying, “And he still holds fast his integrity.” Satan’s next target is Job’s physical person, seeking to attack that integrity. How can you maintain integrity in the midst of suffering?

SCRIPTURE

1Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” 3The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” 4Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” 6So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.” 7Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes. 9Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:1-10

GROUP QUESTIONS

When you hear the word integrity, what comes to mind?

Read Job 2:1-10. Discuss the similarities and differences between this scene and the one in Job 1:6-12.

How does Satan’s assertion about Job in 2:5 compare to his statement in 1:11? What do you learn about Satan from this?

How does it make you feel knowing that God gave Satan permission to harm Job?

According to Thomas Constable (Notes on Job), “Job’s ailment … resulted in an unclean condition that made him a social outcast (cf. Exod.9:9-11). He had to take up residence near the city dump where beggars and other social rejects stayed. He had formerly sat at the city gate and enjoyed social prestige as a town judge (29:7). The change in his location, from the best to the worst place, reflects the change in his circumstances, from the best to the worst conditions.” Not only did Job endure the loss of his property, children, and health, he also lost his social standing. Job’s wife also lost her children and way of life, saw her husband in immense pain, and would have been affected by his fall in social status. What was her advice to Job? Why do you think she said this?

Aaron mentioned on Sunday that the first attack on Job was outward – an attack on his property and his children. The second attack was inward – a direct attack on Job’s health. Which attack do you think would have been more difficult to endure? Why?

Do you see any significance in the fact that Job “did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:10)?

Do you agree with Job’s conclusions in 1:21 and 2:10?

APPLICATION

On Sunday, Aaron shared three steps to building a life of integrity:

  • It starts with an intentional decision. No one drifts towards integrity. Make an intentional decision to not cheat, cut corners, lie, gossip, etc.
  • It starts today, not tomorrow. Make an intentional decision to start today. If you don’t have integrity outside of suffering you won’t have integrity inside of suffering.
  • It starts with the small things. Make an intentional decision to begin small. When you do all the right things with all the small things, your integrity will grow and you will be able to thrive in the midst of suffering.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Merriam-Webster defines integrity as “1) firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility; 2) an unimpaired condition : soundness; and 3) the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness.” Biblestudytools.com defines integrity as “simplicity, soundness, completeness, upright….it is equivalent to being honest, sincere, genuine.” What do the following passages say about integrity?

  • Leviticus 19:35-36, Deuteronomy 25:15
  • Psalm 25:21, Proverbs 2:7-8, 10:9, 11:3, 13:6
  • 1 Chronicles 29:17, Psalm 7:8
  • Zechariah 8:16-17
  • Proverbs 29:10
  • 1 Kings 9:4-5, Nehemiah 7:2, Psalm 41:11-12
  • Titus 2:7-8

Read Genesis 39. Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel), was sold by his brothers as a slave. Imagine yourself in his position. Your brothers have betrayed you. You belong to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, and his wife is making advances to you. But Joseph, who was a man of integrity, resists temptation. Where does his integrity get him? If you were Joseph, what would you ask God at this point?

Read Genesis 50:15-21. Joseph suffered for many years because of the actions of his brothers, but ultimately reunites with his family. What was his perspective on the things that had happened to him? Do you have this perspective when suffering enters your life?

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