Summaries of the Job Series Through Week Six


Here is a review of the Job series, A Journey With Job: Seeing and Savoring the Beauty of Christ Amid the Long Walk of Suffering. Remember, all the sermons are available online.

In the first sermon, “The Person You Need to Meet,” we saw that if we are to prepare for suffering then we really need to know ourselves. Only a Christian worldview can truly answer the big questions of life in a coherent way. Not being prepared for suffering leads to disaster. Let’s don’t bury our heads in the sand. We need to know ourselves. What is the nature of reality (metaphysics)? How do we know anything (epistemology)? What is good (ethics)? What is beautiful (aesthetics)?

The second sermon, “Motivation to Endure,” addressed the central question of the book of Job. Do God’s people serve only for what they get from God? Or do God’s people serve God because He is God? This focus in Job is a consideration of the first question and answer of the Westminster shorter catechism true. Was Job’s chief end to glorify God and enjoy Him forever? Or, as Satan accused, was the “sentence severed” so that it reads that Job’s chief end was to enjoy life as long as possible?

In Job, God’s policy was vindicated. Job remains committed to God even though Job suffers greatly. Surely God was right to say to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?”

The truth that God is glorified through his people should motivate us to endure suffering. It is truly amazing that what we do as people is significant and that God would ever point to us as examples. But He does.

The third sermon, “Wrong Answers,” considered Job’s friends and their wrong belief in the retribution principle (RP). The RP is the conviction that the righteous will prosper and the wicked will suffer in proportion to their respective righteousness and wickedness.[1]

We know that the RP is wrong – – Yet, we cannot just say it is wrong out of hand – – -we must understand how it is wrong. To simply dismiss the RP out of hand is as damaging as believing it in the first place. We must sympathize with the friends in order to be shocked by God, as they were.[2]

 When you suffer it doesn’t necessarily mean that you did something that immediately caused suffering. Evaluate the decisions you have made and are making. It is possible that poor decisions have led to your suffering. But be thankful there is not a 1:1 correlation between sin and suffering. Sometimes, a righteous person suffers disproportionately. When someone else suffers, be very, very careful of presuming that you can identify the reason why they are suffering. Do seek first the Kingdom. Prayerfully bring your life before a gracious and loving God and trust Him.

In the fourth sermon, “An Arbiter Between Us,” we saw that while time is the worst part of suffering, loneliness is a close second. Job is alone. His friends are accusing him. His wife has suggested that he curse God and die. But worst of all Job feels cut off from God. It feels unfair and it hurts. Yet, the incarnation means that Christians never need be alone. Christ became humanity so that he could represent us. Now we have a great high priest who stands between us and the Father and intercedes in our behalf.

“The most profound thing we can say about suffering and evil is that, in Jesus Christ, God entered into it and turned it for good.” John Piper[3]

Commentator Christopher Ash breaks down the depth of Job’s struggle in chapters 9-10 in the following way. Job can’t: Will himself through the suffering (Job 9:27-29) – – he can’t just cheer up and move. Job cannot cleanse himself. There is no hope of Job being his own savior (Job 9:30-31). Find a mediator (Job 9:32-35) – – Job longs for one to stand between God and him, but there is no one immediately forthcoming.

So Job’s complaints give way to despair. He raises four agonized questions: Why are You Against Me God? (Job 10:1-3). Why Do You Watch Me? (Job 10:4-7). Why Did You Create Me? (Job 10:8-17). Why Don’t You Kill Me? (Job 10:18-22).

Job’s big advantage was that he saw that the need of his heart was to know God. And he understood that he didn’t have ground on which to stand. So Job’s longing for a mediator in Job 9:32-35 was the heart of his problem. He needed an intermediary with God.

But there does need to be a warning. Some will be alone for eternity.

In the fifth sermon (Job 19), “My Redeemer Lives” Two “r” Word”, we saw how Job went back and forth between bitterly complaining to God and trusting God. When he referenced a “redeemer” we see that he was trusting God to intercede in his behalf and buy back Job. Further, he had hope for the future and the resurrection. The resurrection reminds us of the glorious truth that suffering can become untrue. [4] Contemplating the resurrection, we were encouraged by quotes from Keller, Tolkein, and Lewis. The resurrection promises that pain can become untrue.

In the sixth sermon (Job 38-40), “Why?” we saw that Job’s question of “why?” is a form of the problem of evil. How it can be simultaneously true that (1) God is all-powerful, (2) God is good, (3) Evil exists? The problem of evil presents both an emotional (how can this be?) and an intellectual (how can I understand it?) problem.

In this sermon, we considered a number of important philosophical and theological terms including apologetics (giving a reason for the hope within us) and theodicy (an explanation of the ways of God to humanity).

Where the problem of evil is concerned, we saw that the answer must include both an emotional response and an intellectual one. God answers Job out of a whirlwind, showing his awesomeness. And God shows Job through a number of repeated illustrations that it is impossible for finite minds to understand the infinite ways of God.

Yet, this does not mean there is not a satisfying answer to the problem of evil. Christians can rest in these truths: (1) God is infinite and, therefore, inscrutable. (2) Yet, he shows us his love through His son such that we can trust God even though we cannot completely understand him. (3) To those who believe in Jesus, God offers assurance of salvation from our sins and redemption. (4) The great hope of the resurrection promises that evil can be undone and that we truly can see the defeat of all pain.

[1] John H. Walton, Job, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 39.

[2] Peter Kreeft, Three Philosophies of Life, Kindle (Ignatius Press, 2009), 878.

[3] John Piper, For Your Joy (Minneapolis: Desiring God, 2005), 24.

[4] I largely followed Hartley’s lead on this sermon in terms of identifying the “Redeemer.” John E. Hartley, The Book of Job, ed. R.K. Harrison, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988).