Yesterday evening Leonora and I attended the weekly meeting of the Life group hosted by Roland and Sherry Loder. Two attended besides the four of us, and we worked through the following discussion sheet on Job 38-42. The discussion was preceded and followed by singing and prayer.
Life Group — God Answers and Restores Job (Job 38-42) — November 7, 2013
The book of Job tells the story of how a “blameless and upright man [who] feared God and turned away from evil” was afflicted by Satan (chapters 1-2), of how he and his friends reacted to his afflictions (chapters 3-37), and how God responded to their reactions to his afflictions and restored him (chapters 38-42). We studied chapters 1-2 (except 2:11-13) two weeks ago and parts of parts of 2:11-37:24 last week, and we’re going to study chapters 38-42 this week.
In chapters 3-37 friends of Job argued that since God is just and rewards and punishes people for their actions, Job must have sinned and be deserving of his misery. Job maintained his blameless-ness and, attributing his afflictions to God, appealed to Him to let him argue his case with Him. See, for example, 13:3, “I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God.”
We’ll divide this evening’s study into three sections: God’s First Address to Job and Job’s Response (38:1-40:5), God’s Second Address to Job and Job’s Response (40:6-42:6), and God Rebukes Job’s Friends and Restores Job (42:7-17). I’ll guide the study by asking the questions given below.
God’s First Address to Job and Job’s Response (38:1-40:5)
1. With what challenge does God open and close His first address to Job?
2. What kind of questions does He ask in the address?
3. How does Job respond to God’s address to him?
God’s Second Address to Job and Job’s Response (40:6-42:6)
4. With what challenge does God open His second address to Job?
5. What do His descriptions of the two beasts in the address illustrate?
6. How does Job respond to God’s address to him?
God Rebukes Job’s Friends and Restores Job (42:7-17)
7. For what does God rebuke Job’s friends?
8. How is His rebuke of them relevant to the problem of evil?
9. How complete is God’s restoration of Job?
10. How is His restoration of Job relevant to the problem of evil?
Some of the things which we said in our discussion of the questions were:
1. God opens and closes His first address to Job with these challenges: “Who is this that darkens counsel without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you will make it known,” and “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” This seems to be in response to Job’s questioning the justice of what had happened to him, which he attributes to God, and expressing the wish to argue his case before God.
2. In the address God asks Job in a long series of questions if he knows how He created the earth and how He governs it and its creatures.
3. Job responds to God’s address to him by putting his hand over his mouth and pledging silence.
4. God opens His second address to Job with this challenge: “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Will you put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?”
5. God’s descriptions in the address of the two beasts (Behemoth, possibly the hippopotamus, and Leviathan, possibly the crocodile) illustrate that Job had spoken beyond his knowledge and power to act.
6. Job responds to God’s address to him by confessing that God can do all things and that he had spoken of things beyond his knowledge and by repenting of what he had said.
7. God rebukes Job’s friends for what they had said. They had argued that God is just and rewards and punishes people for their actions and that therefore Job must have sinned and deserved his misery.
8. God’s rebuke of Job’s friends suggests that we should be careful about automatically attributing the misfortunes that happen to God’s people to their wickedness. Although sometimes He causes or allows evil to happen to His people when they do wrong to discipline them and to get them to return to Him, He may also allow it to happen to them for other reasons known to Him but not to us.
9. God replaced Job’s children and doubled his possessions.
10. God’s restoration of Job suggests that God will eventually make things work out for His people today when they suffer afflictions. We have the assurance that He gave through Paul in Romans 8:28, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good,” and the hope of a heavenly home.