Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 9) From the Land of Uz to the Life of Us – “How to Face Death and Dying as a Christian” (Job 1:20-22)
Theme: Job’s faith response to being faced with terminal illness and death give us a model to go by.
Introduction: Death can come unexpectedly to anyone. This is not a topic we like to discuss, but it is a topic we all must face and deal with. But in 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote a groundbreaking book on the subject of death and dying. She noted a pattern of behavior that dying patients exhibited as they themselves approached death from terminal illness or suffered the death of a loved one. Her five “stages” have become famous and often repeated in teaching people on how to cope with serious illness and death. Now, Kübler-Ross was not a Christian, and she certainly did not use the Bible as a model for her death and dying theories. Had she used the Bible in developing her ideas she would have discovered a much more complete and satisfying response to death and dying by examining a believer’s response to these traumatic events in life. As a human being, a believer’s response to his/her own terminal illness or the death of a loved one is the same as any other person’s response. However, because of faith in God and trust in Christ, that response goes beyond the mere five steps that Kübler-Ross described. If we had to examine one person in the Bible who experienced both the threat of terminal illness and the death of loved ones simultaneously: it would be Job. Having just finished our study, we are familiar with Job’s story: [We know] Job did not respond like ordinary people do. He did not act like the people Kübler-Ross described in her book. Job responded differently than most folks would in a similar situation. The truth is, believers, are not most people. Their way of dealing with death and dying is different because of the cross that is behind them, the Spirit that is within them and the future that is before them. My goal today is simple. To help us learn how to face death and dying as believers. In the book of Job, chapter 1, we see the five steps that this believer went through in his experience of death and dying.
Conclusion: While it is true death can come at any time to anyone of us. And it is certainly not a topic we like to talk about, but it is a topic we must all consider, face and deal with. It is our faith that gives every believer a different way of dealing with death and dying. (Jn 14:1; Ps. 23:6; 1 Pe. 1:4-5; 2 Cor.5:1; Job. 19:25)
Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 8) From the Land of Uz to the Life of Us (Job 1:21)
Theme: Our true ability to stand in the time of crisis is by God’s power alone.
Introduction: We come today to our final message on Job, (though next week we’ll take more from his story but for a different purpose). Maybe some of you have been like me and found this to be a challenging book and story. Despite its challenges, I find the book of Job fascinating and filled with much good for the Christian. Studying the book of Job, we can learn of God’s power, wisdom, and sovereignty in the world. We can see how men of God grappled with the question of God’s justice; and we can observe that God does take notice of the righteous. We have seen there are people who will serve God even in adversity, for God is worthy of our praise apart from the blessings He provides. May we be such people!
We have followed a basic theme, “Faithful living in times of crisis.” We have seen how the righteous or believer should respond to his/her difficult experience, or should I say, how they use their faith through various trials. As we saw Job a righteous man in God’s eyes was allowed to undergo a variety of trials initiated by Satan, but permitted and limited by God, in order to demonstrate Job’s righteousness and faithfulness. With that said, I’d like to finish our study of Job by drawing several lessons from his experience of suffering and enlightenment. I want to share seven life lessons that will help us incorporate this book into “practical faithful living” for us.
Conclusion: As we draw our study of Job to a close, if I may, say just a final word about the trials and the sufferings of this world. All of these will be forgotten when Jesus comes. (Isa. 65:17-18) Isaiah says, heaven will not be for remembering, but for rejoicing in the eternal. Our task today is to just stand fast in our faith.
Listening Guide: Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 8) From the Land of Uz to the Life of Us
Adventures in the Land of Uz &The Life of Us (Part 7) A Spiritual Crisis (Job 38:1)
Theme: Job holds fast to two things that he both knows and believes. He is a righteous man and there is not hidden sin in his life. God is present and His ways are above man’s ways. Introduction: Suffering is unspiritual! That’s what the prosperity preachers, “possibility thinkers,” and Job’s friends would have us believe. Our suffering certainly doesn’t indicate any short coming in God. So, there must be something wrong with us.This would be a good place to remind us; our overall theme through this series on Job is faithful living in times of crisis and what we’ve witnessed so far is Job’s continued faithfulness (not perfection) as he undergoes and is challenged by several types of crises: First, he was faithfulness through physical crisis of tremendous material and personal and health loss. Next, we observe Job remaining faithful through a theological crisis. One of Job’s key theological principles, that he lived by, was the common belief that God blessed the righteous and punished sinners and did so in real-time here on earth. Job’s crisis was that he was aware that he was a righteous man (I.e.) he knew that he was not guilty of sin, and he recognized that he was tremendously blessed by God as proof thereby confirming the wisdom of what was commonly held). But now it appeared that God was now punishing him as if he were a wicked sinner. Job has been begging for an audience with God, now he is about to get one! WhenGod speaks He has fewer words than Job and all his friends. When God speaks, the first thing He does is…
Conclusion Suffering is unspiritual! That’s what the prosperity preachers, “possibility thinkers,” and Job’s friends would have us believe. While it is true that our own sinful choices can bring suffering – not all sin is a direct result of personal sin. No, suffering is often a part of God’s plan to develop our faith, not destroy it. So, be encouraged. Sometimes sitting atop a high ash heap is the best way to get a glimpse into heaven.
Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 6) The Theological Crisis (Part 3) (Job 22:1-5)
Theme: Job’s friends accuse him of sins he has not committed as to why he is suffering.
Introduction: The story line of Job is simple. Job, a blameless worshiper of God, is attempting to hold true to his faith in God as he experiences a series of devastating tragedies (beyond explanation). Job’s troubles like ours were very real. His theological crisis (like ours) is just as real. This is why it is good for us to take the time to think and talk about the time, trails and troubles that Job goes through. The lessons we learn from this book are invaluable to us they are written for our learning. We have made this point before, but it is worth repeating. The book of Job is not so much about why God allows suffering, as it is about how we should as people of faith respond to suffering. To use the technical, theological term, it is more theophany (i.e.) Seeing God amid our suffering. In other words, it’s about “How we see God and what learn about Him (and us I might add) through our times of suffering. Job has three friends who come to comfort him, but end up arguing with Job, that since God is good and right, Job must have done something terrible to deserve this intense suffering. This theological crisis and, or debate, is played out in a series of three cycles of speeches between and his friends. A fourth much younger friend will join the debates at the end of this third cycle of speeches (which we will consider today). As we examine this final round of speeches, I want us to see three things about the speeches themselves…
Adventures in the Land of Uz & the Life of Us (Part 5) The Theological Crisis (Part 2) (Job 15:1-2)
Theme: Job’s friends question his wisdom and beliefs
Introduction: We are in the part of the book of Job, where Job’s three friends speak a second time to Job concerning his situation. Job’s friends are unable to convince Job that he is some great sinner who deserves his suffering. However, Job trying to remain faithful during intense suffering and trials continues to vent his complaint, and while losing hope for anything in this life, he does reveal his faith in a Redeemer and in seeing God after death. In this second cycle of speeches, Job’s friends are holding their line of argument, but we observe a shift in Job’s reasoning concerning the way God metes out justice and the extent of His mercy. In their attempt to make sense of the catastrophic things that have happened to Job …the conclusion was an easy one: bad things had happened to Job, therefore he must have done something wrong to deserve these things. Remember, the theological crisis/ dilemma is Job’s experience, not theirs. In his replies to his friends so far, he does not defend against their arguments, nor does he try to resolve the contradiction taking place between his beliefs and the reality that he is experiencing. It has been suggested that the theme of this cycle of speeches is the “fate of the wicked”
Conclusion: Job has not only put his case for final judgment into God’s hands at a future date, along with that of the wicked who will likewise be judged. But he has also repudiated the basis of his friends’ arguments and assumptions against him as falsehood. (lesson) Whether it is our own crisis, or we are trying to help or encourage someone else… Let’s be good learners — and good listeners!
Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 4) The Theological Crisis Sets In (Job 4:1-5)
Theme: What do you do when what you always believed is not seemingly true?
Introduction: Whenever we don’t have clear answers to our circumstances, there is always the temptation to make assumptions (which can be dangerous and are usually wrong).
We’ve been introduced to Job, a wealthy and righteous man who suffers a series of losses that create an enormous physical and emotional crisis in his life. Despite losing his wealth, children, wife, and lastly his health, he continues to have faith in God and does not sin despite the desperate situation that he is in. Now, we have to recall that one feature of Job’s belief system was an assumption that he believed called “The principle of divine retribution” Which is that God’s justice worked in real-time. For example: good people were blessed right away by God and so prosperity and health were a sign of righteousness. Sinners, likewise, were judged and punished right away, and so adversity and poverty were a sign of God’s displeasure with them and their actions. In other words, the good were blessed and sinners were punished right here on earth. So, even though Job reacted faithfully through the physical crisis that he suffered, he began to break down as he faced the theological crisis that came into play because of this assumption. This is made worse when Job’s three friends (who also believe this assumption). While Job and his friends all have some knowledge of God’s righteousness and justice, their assumptions fail to see that sometimes God has other reasons for human suffering besides just punishment for sinners. This has leads to…
Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 3) The Physical Crisis Begins (Job 1:1-5)
Theme: How Job maintains a measure of faith, not perfect faith.
Introduction: When we come to the story (the book) of Job, it is easy to see why most people conclude that this is a book designed to answer the ancient, and one of life’s most perplexing questions of “Man’s suffering.” After all, immediately we are introduced to Job, a man with an outstanding testimony of a God loving, God fearing man, who overnight sees all of his blessings turned into heartaches as he loses his family, wealth, health, and societal status through a series of crushing tragedies. This leaves Job and us wondering why? However, having lost all but his wife and his life, Job holds fast to the integrity of his faith, and he is determined to unravel the mystery of how and why the God, to whom he was so faithful to could treat him this way. Job is a righteous man, a faithful man, yet he still suffered which created a real crisis in his life and here is why…
Conclusion: One of the great lessons of Job is, even if God doesn’t answer all of our “why” questions, we know we can find our Lord in midst of our suffering with us. (Josh. 1:5, 9; Mt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5)
Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 2) The Characters of Job
Theme: Job was an upright man who had down right bad things happen (but he didn’t Know why).
Introduction: As we begin our study of Job, I want to remind us that we are using the book of Job as a guide to learn how to live faithful lives while experiencing our own personal or even national suffering or crisis. Job did not live during a time of war or famine, or national pandemic, the kinds of social and national crisis that impose hardship on the individual regardless of his personal circumstances. No, Job’s crisis was personal and imposed on him through supernatural means.
Nevertheless, he experienced each of them fully and really in a physical and emotional way (loss of wealth, family, health, and status in society). Unknown to Job, we learn this is due to a conversation between God and Satan concerning Job. God has great confidence in His servant Job. Satan challenges God’s worthiness of praise and Job’s faithfulness. In response, God put all that Job had in Satan’s power, with the exception of Job himself (1:6-12). So, in one day, Job lost all his material possessions through various calamities. All his sons and daughters were killed when a great tornado destroyed the house in which they were partying. Now, Job was a man of remarkable character, (1:1-5) and though deeply grieved, Job worships God and does not charge Him with wrong (1:13-22). With this summary in mind, we will examine the various characters in Job’s story and a possible outline of the book we can use in our study. As we watch the scenes unfold, we are introduced to the characters of Job in three phases.
Adventures in the Land of Uz & The Life of Us (Part 1) Why Job? (Rom. 15:4)
Theme: “The book of Job” will be the main resourse we will use to demonstrate a model life and attitude that we, as Christians, should strive for during times of crisis.
Introduction: Many people have heard about Job and his trials; but not many people understand what those trials were all about and what God was trying to accomplish. Nor do they realize that Job suffered as he did so that God’s people today might learn from his experiences how to be patient in suffering and endure to the end. (This is what Paul means in our text). So, as we study the book of Job together, I trust that two things will be accomplished in your life: first, you will learn to be patient in your own trials, and second, you will learn how to help others in their trials. Our world is filled with people today who need encouragement, and God may be preparing you for just that ministry. Either way, I hope our study of this book helps you. (Why Job? Why now you may be asking?) One reason: The Book of Job has long been praised as a masterpiece of literature. But a second and better reason to study Job, church, is the Old Testament is never to be neglected, because it is there for our teaching. The Bible is history. God uses that history to teach us by example those intangible truths that are hard to grasp with our finite minds. This is especially true with the story of Job, to whom James referred to when seeking to instill patience in New Testament believers (cf. Js. 5:10-11). Because the Book of Job is so often neglected yet presents such valuable lessons and is so highly praised by even people of the world, Christians should certainly take the time to study this portion of God’s Word! My goal today is to simply introduce us to the book and hopefully whet your appetite enough to cause you to desire to read along weekly with us in the book (perhaps you’ll read the book more than once over the next nine weeks) and gain from its wisdom and lessons. In order to do that let’s begin with…