SIFTED: UNDERSTANDING IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Job 29-31 contains a monologue from Job. He longs for the “good old days”, defends his innocence, and asks why so many awful things have happened to him, since he did not deserve them. In Job 32-37, Elihu, a new voice, delivers his view of what was happening. And then, finally, God speaks. But He does not answer Job’s questions…He has a few questions of His own.

SCRIPTURE

1Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: 2“Who is this that obscures My plans with words without knowledge? 3Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. 4Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—7while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? 8Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, 11when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? 12Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place….? Job 38:1-12

GROUP QUESTIONS

If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self? Is there something you would tell yourself to avoid, or something you’d challenge yourself to do?

In order to understand God’s answer to Job, you need to read through some of Job’s statements. Read the following passages and list the things that Job says to or about God. Do you think Job is asking or accusing?

  • Job 13:1-3
  • Job 13:20-23
  • Job 23:3-6
  • Job 31:35

Read Job 38:1-12. What is described in verses 4-7? What did He ask Job?

List all the aspects of nature described in verses 8-12. What did He ask Job? What is the point God is making in theses verses?

These 12 verses in chapter 38 are just a taste of what God says to Job. In chapters 38-41, God goes on and on, reminding Job of how little he understands. Think through how you handle your day-to-day life. Do your attitudes and actions reveal that you think you know as much as or more than God? In what ways? Do these questions from God to Job remind you Who is in control in your life?

Does God give Job an explanation for why he is suffering? Do you think that a theological explanation for suffering would bring peace, comfort, or even some kind of closure to those suffering? Why or why not?

God did not rebuke Job for being honest about his anger, confusion, or bitterness towards Him. He did, however, correct Job’s error in thinking He was being unjust. Have you ever felt that God was unjust toward you? How did you respond?

APPLICATION

On Sunday, Aaron said that if you want to respond rightly to suffering when it comes your way, you have to understand that God is God and that He has you in process. Understanding God in all His fullness is impossible (Job 36:26). But God has given us glimpses of Who He is in His Word. This week, study the names and attributes of God. For online help, go to https://bible.org/article/names-god and https://bible.org/series/let-me-see-thy-glory-study-attributes-god.

FOR FURTHER STUDY

Read Job 38-41. How many questions did God ask Job? Read through each one, and answer it as if God was asking you these questions.

Read Psalm 8. How does the language in this Psalm reinforce Job 38?

How would you answer David’s question, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

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