Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part I: Learning Not To Evaluate God's Goodness While In The Heat Of Our Trials
(Job 1:1-3:13)
  1. Introduction
    1. It is easy to understand why bad things happen to bad people: God judges sin in sinful people, cf. 1 Corinthians 11:28-30. However, when "good" people suffer horrendous trials, the most mature of Christians can be tempted to question God's goodness or wonder if God is unknowable!
    2. The Bible's book of Job is a classic on the subject, and we begin a three-lesson overview of the work with a lesson we all need -- learning not to evaluate God's goodness while in the heat of our trials (as follows):
  2. Learning Not To Evaluate God's Goodness While In The Heat Of Our Trials, Job 1:1-3:13:
    1. Even in GOD'S estimation, the man, Job was the most upright human being in his generation, Job 1:1, 8.
    2. Yet, without any explanation from God, Job experienced terrible trials fueled by Satan, Job 1:14-2:9:
      1. Without giving any explanation to Job, according to Job 1:9-12a, God allowed Satan to afflict all of Job's possessions except his own person; accordingly, Satan aroused a series of devastating trials to afflict Job, Job 1:12b-22:
        1. Satan stirred up the Sabeans to invade and kill Job's workers and steal his large livestock, 1:12b-15.
        2. Satan also caused (possibly) lightning to strike and destroy Job's sheep and shepherds, Job 1:16.
        3. Satan also stirred up the Chaldeans to invade, kill his servants and steal his camels, Job 1:17.
        4. Satan also caused a great wind to come up and collapse the building where his sons and daughters were feasting, killing all of these children, Job 1:18-19.
      2. Later, without giving any explanation to Job, according to Job 2:1-6, God allowed Satan to afflict Job's person without taking his life; accordingly, Satan produced intense personal trials for Job, Job 2:7-9:
        1. Satan afflicted Job with physical problems, involving intense itching (2:8), acute pain (2:13), with his flesh attracting worms and becoming crusty and hard (7:5), that flesh oozing serum and turning darker in color (7:5; 30:30). Job had a fever and aching bones (30:17, 30), symptoms Ryrie considers may indicate elephantiasis or a form of leukemia, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Job 2:7.
        2. Consequently, he sat down in an ash heap, with a broken piece of pottery to scratch himself, 2:8.
        3. This all eventually caused his wife to urge Job to think God was unfair, and to curse God so God would get angry and put him out of his misery by slaying Job, Job 2:9.
    3. However, Job did not curse God, but responded, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord," 1:21.
    4. Yet, as the pain of the trial had its impact on Job, he did complain that these trials had come upon him:
      1. In severe anguish and confusion at his intense, unexplained trials, Job cursed his life, Job 3:1.
      2. Indeed, he wondered why he was not stillborn, why his Good and Righteous God had not let him die before experiencing such unexplained misery, Job 3:11, 13.
    5. However, unknown to Job, his troubles were a test permitted by a GOOD and SOVEREIGN God to reveal Job's UPRIGHTNESS to SATAN, troubles DEMANDING Job's IGNORANCE of this fact:
      1. God had repeatedly wanted to impress upon Satan the uprightness of Job, Job 1:8; 2:3.
      2. However, Satan felt God's past dealings with Job hindered the exposure of Job's true heart, a heart Satan implied was more evil than what God claimed Job's heart to be, Job 1:9-10; 2:4-5.
      3. So, to prove the depth of Job's practical uprightness, God permitted Satan to bring on the trials that hit Job in STAGES so that Job's human frailty could stand them, and reveal his true heart! (1:12; 2:6)
    6. In all of this, GOD did not inform JOB on WHY these trials were arriving since doing so would have made it impossible for God to expose to Satan's satisfaction the truth about Job's heart! Thus, a GOOD God could have appeared to be BAD when, in reality, it was Satan who was the only evil party involved!
Lesson: God's WAYS were so far ABOVE Job's ways that God did NOT explain to Job why he as the most upright human being in his era was being allowed by God to suffer such HORRIBLE trials!

Application: (1) In the HEAT of severe trials where God does not explain Himself, (a) let us trust God is STILL GOOD (b) and know our HUMAN limitations can LET God APPEAR to be "bad" to us! (2) Recall Satan tries to discredit God (Gen. 3:4-5), so the trial may be fueled by Satan, 2 Cor. 11:13-15.