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When bad things happen to good people - Job 1

This is a sermon by Melvin Tinker from the morning service on 21st January 2018.

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When Bad things happen to Good People

Job 1-2

 

  • The problem of senseless suffering- Elie Wiesel and Harold Kushner.

 

The focus of Job is the practical questions: how are we to think of God when we suffer? How can we face up to the fact that we live in a broken, fallen world?

 

The purpose of Wisdom is to enable us to live life and negotiate its challenges wisely, including the challenge of enduring intolerable pain.  The book helps us to know why we can trust God who knows why even when we don’t.

 

  • Telling it as it is.

The book focuses on an individual- Job, because that is how we have to deal with suffering as an individual experience. The way the book is written reflects how we experience suffering- it comes in down to earth ways-loss of family, sickness, (in the ordinary things), but when we try to get to grips with it in our minds we feel out of our depth. The suffering can feel it is going on for ever- like the arguments in this book! Also this is a universal problem- non-Jews and God’s people get caught up. 

 

 

  • Job the man –v 1ff He was the greatest man in the East by whichever measure you may care to use. His deep personal piety showed itself in several ways, not least in his passionate concern for the spiritual well-being of his children- 4-5.

 

This maybe small flaw in his character which needs to be challenged and strengthened which might only come through suffering- 3:25,- trying to control events rather than trusting God in the events.  Job does stand head and shoulders above everyone  verse 8-he is a genuinely good man.

 

 

 

 

 

  • From earth to heaven. The ‘Challenger’( the Satan) accuses God of setting up a rubbish system of rewarding righteousness. The problem how do you know if people are acting with pure motives- loving the good for its own sake? Job is in a favoured situation so anyone can be ‘good’ like that! God allows Job to be tested within limits- 11-12.

 

The result? `In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing’ 20-22).

 

The ‘wager’ is increased in Chapter 2 and Job is himself afflicted-4-5. The Garden of Eden scene is repeated.

 

Job is so wasted that when his friends arrive to console him, they don’t recognise him-11-13. Job’s suffering heightened, not lessened, by his faith in God. If God has set up his world in terms of cause and effect- good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people- how do you explain what is happening to Job who is one of the good people? (But does God operate this way?)

 

The great man is reduced by great suffering to a whimpering but still believing wreck as he crawls onto the ash heap to die wishing he had never been born- chapter 3:11.

 

  • Lessons to learn
  • There is an irreducible element of mystery in all suffering.
  • Faith is not blind.
  • Belief is grounded in revelation.
  • We need to know why we can trust God who knows why.
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