Session 4: Suffering

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  • Study

    Begin this session by reading Scripture and answering questions to reflect on the selected Bible verses.

    How would you describe Job? How does God describe Job?

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    Why does Satan say Job is faithful to God?

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    What are the consequences of God’s challenge to Satan? Does this seem fair to you?

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    How does Job respond to his experiences? Who wins the challenge?

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    Why does Satan claim that Job is faithful?

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    What does God allow Satan to do this time? How do you feel for Job? Who wins this round?

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    Compare Job 1:22 to Job 2:10. Do you see a subtle difference?

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    Why do Job’s friends Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar come?

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    Why do they say these sufferings have fallen upon Job?

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    You know more about the events in this passage than Job or his friends; are Job’s friends right?

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    How does Job respond to the accusations of his friends?

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    Who does Job say is to blame?

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    How would you describe Job’s attitude? What does he demand of God?

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    How would you describe God's initial response? What is the point God is trying to make?

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    How do you see God answer Job's question about why he is suffering?

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    How does Job respond to God’s challenge?

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    Does God tell Job why he is suffering?

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    What does God say about the answers provided by Job’s friends? What clues do you see that tell us that Job is still righteous and has not sinned throughout this process?

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    What happens to Job at the end of the story? Does this make you wonder about the children and servants that were killed? If so, what are your questions about God’s decisions?

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  • Learn

    Three main issues found in the book of Job:

    1. Why do people serve God?

    Satan challenges God about Job’s faithfulness. God allows Satan to kill Job’s children and servants and destroy all of his wealth in order to prove that Job is a faithful servant of God, regardless of his circumstances. If Job, a man so righteous that even God brags about him, can not be faithful to God, who can? Satan even plagues Job physically, but throughout his suffering, Job remains faithful to God and does not sin.

    Job is being tested on behalf of all people. Satan argues that people serve God for selfish reasons. Job’s faithfulness teaches us that God deserves to be honored simply because He is God and worthy to be served, not because of our circumstances, or because we desire heaven or are afraid of hell.

    2. Why do people suffer?

    This question is not really answered. We cannot assume that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. Many righteous people have suffered and many wicked people have profited. While we know that Job did not suffer because he was sinful, God does not answer Job’s question about why he was suffering. As we study this book, we are asked if we, like Job, will yield to God, even when we do not get the answers we want.

    3. How do people deal with unwarranted suffering?

    Many times, we want to know why we, and those we love, experience horrific evil. The book of Job does not answer this question, but instead reinforces that we can’t expect for bad things to happen to bad people, and good things to good people. We are asked if we will trust God in all things, and yield to Him even when we don’t get the answers that we want.

  • Grow

    Why do you serve God? What personal, social, or economic benefits do you gain from it? Would you serve God if you would not benefit in this life or after you die?

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    How do the actions of Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar inform you of how you should treat and comfort those who are suffering and mourning?

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    Which do you think is more dangerous: viewing a person’s suffering as a sign of their sinfulness or their prosperity as a sign of their righteousness? Why?

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    List one area of your life where you feel greatly wronged or have suffered unjustly. How can you release that to God in spite of results that you don’t like?

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