Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. If you, like the readers of Robert Frost’s classic lines, faced the two roads that “diverged in a yellow wood”, what road would you have taken: The road better claimed or the road not taken? Looking back on your life, what is the road better claimed? What is the road not taken?
2. If Job were deemed “blameless and upright” before his time of suffering (chapter 1:1), in what ways has he become a changed person after? What “wonderful things” (verse 3) does he understand now that he didn’t before?
3. Of what is Job repenting? Is ignorance a sin? How so? What do the “eyes” have that the “ears” never did?
4. From the epilogue (verses 7 – 17), how would you characterize Job?
5. What irony is there in the fact that Job becomes the mediator for his friends?
6. Why did Job’s friends need to go to Job and offer a sacrifice?
- because they were wrong
- because God was angry with them
- because they had sinned
- because they violated Job
7. Why was Job restored?
- because he repented (verse 6) of his doubts and complaints
- because he forgave his friends
- because he prayed for his friends
- because of God’s grace
- because he was righteous
- because it was in God’s plan
8. How complete is Job’s restoration by God, materially and spiritually? Why then did he still need to be comforted by others (verse 11)?
9. Is Job’s restoration the result of his repentance in verse 6 or his intercession in verses 8 and 9? Explain the difference.
10. Does this ending tend to reinforce the theology of the three friends (that the righteous are blessed and the wicked suffer)? Why or why not?
11. How does this epilogue tie in with the prologue (chapter 1) for Job? For the reader?
12. Does God always promise happy endings to the stories of His people? Why or why not?
13. What does “acceptance” mean when things don’t get better?
14. How else would you have ended this classic story and kept the same punch line? Would any other ending but this one have had the same punch line?
15. What would you say is the primary theme of this book? Suffering? Patience? Justice? Sovereignty? Faith? Other?
16. How does your choice of theme best summarize the book of Job?
17. Are you aware of anything that could interfere with you receiving God’s blessings? Do you have a need to make amends? Is there anyone you need to forgive?
Closing Comments: Principles From Job
Over the centuries, suffering Christians have gained help and comfort from studying the book of Job. The book gives no compact theory of why good people suffer. Nevertheless, the following insights into the problem of suffering do come out of the book of Job . . .
- Some suffering is caused by Satan. Chapters 1 and 2 make the important distiction that God did not cause Job’s problems. He allowed them, but Satan actually caused the pain.
- God is all-powerful and good. Nowhere does the book of Job suggest that God lacks power or goodness. God’s power is never questioned; only His fairness.
- Suffering doesn’t always come as a result of sin. The Bible supports the general principle that “whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap”, even in this life (Galatians 6:7; Psalm 1:3; Psalm 37:25). But no one has the right to apply that general principle to a particular person.
- God will reward and punish fairly in a final judgment after death. Most Old Testament folk didn’t have a clearly formed belief in an afterlife. They expected God’s approval or disapproval of a person had to be shown in this life.
- God does not condemn doubt and despair. Personally, my faith wouldn’t have been able to endure the pain and disappointment of my life if I couldn’t have taken solace in this truth.
- No one person has all the facts about suffering.
- God is never totally silent.
- Well-intentioned advice can sometimes do more harm than good.
- God asks for faith. God refocused the central issue from the cause of Job’s suffering to Job’s response to suffering. God never gave an explanation for the problem of suffering. He didn’t even tell Job about what transpired between God and Satan in chapters 1 and 2. The real issue at stake was Job’s faith – whether he would continue to trust God when everything went wrong.
- Suffering can be used for a higher good. God used Job’s great pain to win an important victory over Satan. As we reflect during this Easter weekend, remember Jesus Christ lived a perfectly innocent life but endured great pain and a horrific death. The terrible event of His death was also transformed into a great victory.
Thank you for studying the book of Job with me.
In our next post, we will revisit the people of Israel in exile.