1. THE SUFFERING OF A VIRTUOUS MAN
a. Describe the virtues that characterized Job’s daily life. Job 29:5, 8–16.
“God has given in His word a picture of a prosperous man—one whose life was in the truest sense a success, a man whom both heaven and earth delighted to honor. [Job 29:4–16 quoted.]”—Education, p. 142.
b. What timeless lesson are we to learn from Job’s trials? Psalm 34:18, 19.
“It is very natural for human beings to think that great calamities are a sure index of great crimes and enormous sins; but men often make a mistake in thus measuring character. We are not living in the time of retributive judgment. Good and evil are mingled, and calamities come upon all. Sometimes men do pass the boundary line beyond God’s protecting care, and then Satan exercises his power upon them, and God does not interpose. Job was sorely afflicted, and his friends sought to make him acknowledge that his suffering was the result of sin, and cause him to feel under condemnation. They represented his case as that of a great sinner.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1140.
2. THE WAKE-UP CALL
a. Although Job’s conscience was clean and his life virtuous, what did God want His faithful servant to pause to consider? Job 38:1–7; 40:1, 2.
“Every opening flower, every leaf with its delicate veins, will testify of the infinite skill of the great Master Artist. The massive rocks and towering mountains that rise in the distance are not the result of chance. They speak in silent eloquence of One who sits upon the throne of the universe, high and lifted up. . . . All His plans are perfect. What awe and reverence should His name inspire!”—Our High Calling, p. 251.
b. How did Job respond to God’s wake-up call? How should all respond who, like Job, may have been cruelly misunderstood and unjustly maligned by others? Job 40:3–5; 42:6.
“Some shortsighted, short-experienced friends cannot, with their narrow vision, appreciate the feelings of one who has been in close harmony with the soul of Christ in connection with the salvation of others. His motives are misunderstood and his actions misconstrued by those who would be his friends, until, like Job, he sends forth the earnest prayer: Save me from my friends. God takes the case of Job in hand Himself. His patience has been severely taxed; but when God speaks, all his pettish feelings are changed. The self-justification which he felt was necessary to withstand the condemnation of his friends is not necessary toward God. He never misjudges; He never errs. Says the Lord to Job, ‘Gird up now thy loins like a man;’ and Job no sooner hears the divine voice than his soul is bowed down with a sense of his sinfulness, and he says before God, ‘I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes’ (Job 38:3; 42:6).”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 509.
“We are living in perilous times. Seventh-day Adventists are professedly the commandment-keeping people of God; but they are losing their devotional spirit. This spirit of reverence for God teaches men how to approach their Maker—with sacredness and awe through faith, not in themselves, but in a Mediator. Thus man is kept fast, under whatever circumstances he is placed.”—Notebook Leaflets, vol. 1, p. 121.
3. GOD’S ABUNDANT GRACE
a. What should we learn from the Lord’s final verdict concerning Job and his friends? Job 42:7–9.
b. What did God then do for Job? Why? Job 42:10–17; Psalm 66:10–12.
“From the depths of discouragement and despondency Job rose to the heights of implicit trust in the mercy and the saving power of God.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 163.
“When Job caught a glimpse of his Creator, he abhorred himself and repented in dust and ashes. Then the Lord was able to bless him abundantly and to make his last years the best of his life.”—Ibid., p. 164.
c. Why should the attitude of faithful Job be an inspiration to every Christian? James 5:11; Ephesians 2:8–10.
“Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Saviour.”—The Great Controversy, p. 471.
“In His divine arrangement, through His unmerited favor, the Lord has ordained that good works shall be rewarded. We are accepted through Christ’s merit alone; and the acts of mercy, the deeds of charity, which we perform, are the fruits of faith; and they become a blessing to us; for men are to be rewarded according to their works. It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us. Our works in and of themselves have no merit. When we have done all that it is possible for us to do, we are to count ourselves as unprofitable servants. We deserve no thanks from God. We have only done what it was our duty to do, and our works could not have been performed in the strength of our own sinful natures.”—The Review and Herald, January 29, 1895.
4. CHRIST UPLIFTED
a. As virtuous a man as Job was, what should we realize about the spiritual needs of this man (or those of any other person)? 1 Peter 1:18, 19.
“The prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ.”—Selected Messages, bk1, p. 344.
“The more of the Spirit of Christ we have, the more humble we shall become. When we obtain clear views of Christ, no words of self-exaltation will escape our lips. When the Lord gave to Job a view of His majesty, Job ceased to vindicate his own righteousness. He felt his sinfulness, and humbled himself before the purity and holiness of God. ‘I abhor myself,’ he said, ‘and repent in dust and ashes’ (Job 42:6). Yet by the pen of inspiration, God presents Job as perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil. ‘There is none like him in the earth’ (Job 1:8).”—The Signs of the Times, August 11, 1898.
b. How do we know that Job trusted in Christ as his Saviour? Job 19:25–27. To what inspiring determination should this lead each of us?
“You now have precious hours of probation granted you to form a right character. . . . You now have a period allotted you in which to redeem the time. You cannot in your own strength put away your errors and wrongs; they have been increasing upon you for years, because you have not seen them in their hideousness and in the strength of God resolutely put them away. By living faith you must lay hold on an arm that is mighty to save. Humble your poor, proud, self-righteous heart before God; get low, very low, all broken in your sinfulness at His feet. Devote yourself to the work of preparation. Rest not until you can truly say: My Redeemer liveth, and, because He lives, I shall live also.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 88.
5. TRUSTING IN GOD’S GOODNESS
a. When the outlook is bleak, what attitude strengthens us to follow the faith of Job? Job 13:15, 16.
“We are justified to walk by sight as long as we can, but when we can no longer see the way clearly, then we need to put our hand in our heavenly Father’s and let Him lead. There are emergencies in the life of all in which we can neither follow sight nor trust to memory or experience. All we can do is simply to trust and wait. We shall honor God to trust Him because He is our heavenly Father.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 186.
“Are you tempted to give way to feelings of anxious foreboding or utter despondency? In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 164.
b. How does the history of Job illustrate righteousness by faith, and how is this theme to be reflected in our lives? Romans 5:1–5; Titus 3:3–7.
“It is only as we depend upon the strength and righteousness of Christ that we can stand the testing of God. We shall have to educate the mind, and again and again bring to our remembrance the fact that Christ has his hand upon us. With his own divine lips he has said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing,’ but through Christ we can do all things. It is not for us to mark out the way in which we shall walk; but if we take everything that comes to us as in the providence of God, even our tribulation will work patience, and we need not sink in discouragement while we look by faith to Jesus.”—The Signs of the Times, March 28, 1892.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why may I be in danger of misjudging the case of a suffering person?
2. What is nearly extinct in the worship of God, yet is nonetheless essential?
3. What startled Job out of his misery?
4. Why is it so important to depend on the divine Redeemer?
5. No matter how bad things get, what should we always keep in mind?