This past weekend, we began our new sermon series through the book of Job called Righteous Suffering. Throughout this book, we will see the refrain that suffering is not a retribution for sin, but a sovereign purpose of God to accomplish His plain in our lives. More specifically, in chapter 1, we see that: Suffering has a sovereign purpose in revealing the true nature of our heart toward God. There’s a blessing in suffering that it brings clarity to us and helps to reveal idols or functional saviors that we may be trusting in, while revealing the unsurpassable worth of Jesus.
As this story unfolds, think of it as a drama. We move from one scene to the next, seeing different aspects of the book unfolding in front of us.
- Introduced to a Righteous Man: v.1-5
In the first few verses of the book, we are introduced to Job and we see a few different items about him. He is described as a man of character. It’s not that Job is sinless, but it is important for us to see at the outset that Job is not suffering because he has sinned. He is a man of character and things will go horrendously wrong for him. This is a helpful reminder for us that we never put God into our debt through our obedience or righteousness. Additionally, we see that Job is wealthy. He has a large family and a number of assets in the form of animals. Finally, we see that Job has a deep love for his family. He is deeply concerned about his children’s spiritual standing before the Lord.
- A Fascinating Exchange in Heaven: v.6-12
In this second scene, we move away from Job and his family on earth, and find ourselves in heaven. Here, God has summoned a divine council; and Satan shows up. We’re not sure if Satan was invited or if he’s crashing the meeting, but his interaction with God takes center stage. There’s a number of significant items unfolding here. We see God’s total, complete and sovereign rule and yet God allowing for agency in rule within His sovereignty. We see Satan accusing God, that He really isn’t enough in and of Himself. While it appears that Satan is accusing God, what he is really saying is that Job only follows God for the benefits. In response, God shockingly takes the bet, and allows Satan to take from Job his wealth and family. In this, God’s glory is on the line. This isn’t simply about Job’s obedience, it’s about the worthiness of God!
- When Tragedy Comes: v.13-19
It’s here that the tragedy of Job comes to fruition. In a matter of moments, he moves from a place of blessing and wealth to being bereft and bankrupt. It’s in this moment, that the tension of Job’s response reaches its highest point. Will Job respond with worship or rejection of God? It should be noted, that the point of tragedy isn’t comparison, it’s our response to it.
- A Righteous Response to Tragedy: v.20-22
Here, Job responds to tragedy in three ways. One, he mourns. Our obsession with comfort and ease makes mourning, grieving and lamenting something that we tend to shy away from. Yet in tragedy, mourning is a healthy and biblical response. Second, he worships. Here we see that Job believes that God is enough! Additionally, he teaches us an invaluable lesson: Our willingness or reluctance to worship God should not be predicated upon our circumstances, but upon the character and worthiness of God. In short, we can always worship God regardless of what’s going on in our lives. Finally, Job did not sin. Here, we see one of many markers in Job that will point us ahead to Christ. While Job is blameless and upright, but one will come who is blameless in every sense of the word, and He will be that to offer salvation on our behalf. It’s here that we see glimpses of what Christ will be and do on behalf of His people.
As we closed, we put a few questions out to consider throughout the week. I’d like to put them in here so that we can continue to think and reflect on these questions and their implications in our lives.
- Do I believe that Jesus is enough?
- Will I, by God’s grace, look to respond to suffering in my life by choosing to worship God?
- Will I acknowledge that all that I have is God’s, and if or when He chooses to take it, I will surrender it to Him?
- Will I humbly accept what God chooses to entrust to me?