1. AN INNOCENT TARGET
a. What is written about the character of Job? Job 1:1; 29:15; 31:6.
“Job did not neglect his duty to those outside of his household; he was benevolent, kind, thoughtful of the interest of others.”—The Review and Herald, August 30, 1881.
b. Explain the troublesome influences operating in this world, hidden behind the scenes—and why we need to be aware of them. Ephesians 6:12.
“From the days of Adam to our own time, our great enemy has been exercising his power to oppress and destroy. He is now preparing for his last campaign against the church. All who seek to follow Jesus will be brought into conflict with this relentless foe. The more nearly the Christian imitates the divine Pattern, the more surely will he make himself a mark for the attacks of Satan.”—The Great Controversy, p. 510.
“If our eyes could be opened to see the good and evil agencies at work, there would be no trifling, no vanity, no jesting or joking.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 41.
2. PARENTAL VIGILANCE
a. What serious warning should parents learn from Job’s vigilance regarding the great controversy between good and evil? Job 1:4, 5.
“It were well for parents to learn from the man of Uz a lesson of steadfastness and devotion. Job . . . labored earnestly for the salvation of his own family. Amid the festivities of his sons and daughters, he trembled lest his children should displease God. As a faithful priest of the household, he offered sacrifices for them individually. He knew the offensive character of sin, and the thought that his children might forget the divine claims, led him to God as an intercessor in their behalf.”—The Review and Herald, August 30, 1881.
“You roll vast responsibilities upon the preacher and hold him accountable for the souls of your children; but you do not sense your own responsibility as parents. . . . Your sons and daughters are corrupted by your own example and lax precepts; and, notwithstanding this lack of domestic training, you expect the minister to counteract your daily work and accomplish the wonderful achievement of training their hearts and lives to virtue and piety. After the minister has done all he can do for the church by faithful, affectionate admonition, patient discipline, and fervent prayer to reclaim and save the soul, yet is not successful, the fathers and mothers often blame him because their children are not converted, when it may be because of their own neglect. The burden rests with the parents; and will they take up the work that God has entrusted to them, and with fidelity perform it? Will they move onward and upward, working in a humble, patient, persevering way to reach the exalted standard themselves and to bring their children up with them?”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 494, 495.
“It is the parents’ work to give line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Correct wrong tendencies, not in passion, but in love. The children may be saved if fathers and mothers will do their work faithfully. . . .
“We are teaching lessons to the children which we wish them to copy. If we wish our children to be chaste, pure-minded, and noble, we must be so ourselves. If we are impostors, professing to be children of God, while our impatience, fretfulness, and deception stamp us children of Satan, our children will be no better than we. All efforts of parents should be to go forward to perfection of Christian character.”—The Review and Herald, April 14, 1885.
3. TRAGEDY STRIKES . . .
a. What incited the devil’s wrath against Job? Job 1:6–11.
b. Despite Job’s fidelity, what series of shocks soon came with regard to his earthly possessions and the temporal lives of his children? Job 1:12–19.
“All suffering is not the result of a perverted life. Job is brought before us as a man whom the Lord permitted Satan to afflict. The enemy stripped him of all he possessed; his family ties were broken; his children were taken from him.”—The Signs of the Times, June 21, 1899.
c. What can we learn from how Job responded to these trials? Job 1:20–22.
“Christ is our Guide and Comforter, who comforts us in all our tribulations. When He gives us a bitter draught to drink, He also holds a cup of blessing to our lips. He fills the heart with submission, with joy and peace in believing, and enables us to say submissively, Not my will, but Thy will, O Lord, be done.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 270.
d. Even in the face of Satan’s perverse accusations before the heavenly universe, why can we still have hope? Job 2:1–6.
“There is no power in the whole satanic force that can disable the soul that trusts, in simple confidence, in the wisdom that comes from God.
“Christ is our tower of strength, and Satan can have no power over the soul that walks with God in humility of mind. . . . In Christ there is perfect and complete help for every tempted soul. Dangers beset every path, but the whole universe of heaven is standing on guard, that none may be tempted above that which he is able to bear.”—My Life Today, p. 316.
4. RESPONDING WITH FAITH AND WISDOM
a. Explain the devil’s next attacks upon Job and how the faithful man of Uz responded. Job 2:8–10.
“Job was deprived of his worldly possessions and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives and friends, yet he preserved his integrity and faithfulness to God.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 525.
b. What reveals the tremendous depth of Job’s tragic situation? Job 2:11–13.
c. What did Job realize about his predicament, and how does the apostle Peter echo these thoughts for our benefit? Job 23:8–10; 1 Peter 1:3, 6, 7.
“The fact that we are called upon to endure trial proves that the Lord Jesus sees in us something very precious, which He desires to develop. If He saw in us nothing whereby He might glorify His name He would not spend time in refining us. We do not take special pains in pruning brambles. Christ does not cast worthless stones into His furnace. It is valuable ore that He tests.”—Ibid., vol. 7, p. 214.
d. Why does God want us to understand the value of trial? 1 Peter 4:12, 13.
“The furnace fires are not to destroy, but to refine, ennoble, sanctify. Without trial we should not feel so much our need of God and His help; and we should become proud and self-sufficient. . . .
“Your heavenly Father loves you, and He will draw you to Himself by the trials that seem to you severe.”—Ibid., vol. 8, pp. 123, 124.
“We should not dishonor God by the mournful relation of trials that appear grievous. All trials that are received as educators will produce joy.”—Ibid., vol. 6, p. 365.
5. PREPARING FOR GREATER BLESSINGS
a. In the midst of unexpected trials that may be keen and cutting, what does the Lord want us to bear in mind? Jeremiah 29:11; John 16:33.
“God leads His children by a way that they know not, but He does not forget or cast off those who put their trust in Him. He permitted affliction to come upon Job, but He did not forsake him. . . . The very trials that task our faith most severely and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are to lead us closer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at His feet and experience the peace which He will give us in exchange.
“God has always tried His people in the furnace of affliction. It is in the heat of the furnace that the dross is separated from the true gold of the Christian character. Jesus watches the test; He knows what is needed to purify the precious metal, that it may reflect the radiance of His love. It is by close, testing trials that God disciplines His servants. He sees that some have powers which may be used in the advancement of His work, and He puts these persons upon trial; in His providence He brings them into positions that test their character and reveal defects and weaknesses that have been hidden from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to correct these defects and to fit themselves for His service. He shows them their own weakness, and teaches them to lean upon Him; for He is their only help and safeguard. Thus His object is attained. They are educated, trained, and disciplined, prepared to fulfill the grand purpose for which their powers were given them.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 129, 130.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How is a moment-by-moment sense of the great controversy to affect us?
2. As the great controversy intensifies, what should parents realize?
3. Why was Job able to respond to the attacks against him with relative calm?
4. The next time an unexpected trial comes my way, what should I remember?
5. Why will we grow if we view trials in a more mature way?