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The pain and suffering of Job

Job
Job suffers and it raises many questions and issues.
Contributed by Jack Foster
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In the land of Uz there was a very rich man named Job. He was not only the wealthiest man in the region, he was also blameless, upright, feared God and shunned evil. Job had ten adult children, thousands of sheep, camels, oxen and donkeys, and many hired hands and servants. Job would pray for his family and ask God for forgiveness on a regular basis. <br/>Satan complained to God about Job. ‘You shield Job and his family from any adversity. You protect them and give them wealth! That is why Job loves you! Take away his stuff and we will see what Job is really made of. I'm sure he will curse you to your face!’ <br/>God answered, ‘Alright! You may test Job. Do what you will, however, do not touch a single hair on his head.’ – Slide 1
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One day a messenger arrived at Job's house. ‘Enemies raided your land and have stolen all the oxen and donkeys and killed all your farmhands.’ <br/>While he was still speaking, another messenger showed up. ‘Fire has consumed all your sheep and the shepherds have been killed.’ <br/>And while he was still speaking, a third messenger came in. ‘Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed all your servants.’ <br/>Just when Job was thinking what else could happen another messenger arrived. ‘Your sons and daughters were having a party when the house collapsed and killed them all.’ <br/>Job tore his clothes and let out a loud cry! He shaved his head and fell on the floor before God. ‘I came into this world completely naked, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord has given and now He has taken it all away. Praise the name of the Lord!’ – Slide 2
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Job had not cursed God and Satan complained to God, ‘If you let me inflict his body with some disease, then Job will curse you and turn his back on you!’ God agreed to this testing but not to kill Job. <br/>Job was struck with painful boils all over his body and he went and sat on the ashes at a garbage dump. He began scraping his skin because the boils were so itchy. <br/>Job’s wife told him, ‘Job! Enough is enough! Just curse God and die!’ <br/>But Job refused to curse God. – Slide 3
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Three of Job's friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar went as a group to comfort and mourn with their friend. Job he was covered by so many boils that they did not even recognise him. Tears filled their eyes. They tore their robes and put ashes on their foreheads. Then they sat down with Job in silence for seven days. – Slide 4
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After seven days of mourning Job was the first one to speak, letting out all his frustrations. His suffering was so great he wished he had never been born. <br/>One of his friends, Eliphaz, told Job that God must be punishing him for some secret sin. – Slide 5
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Job protested, ‘God knows the truth, I haven't committed any sin that is even close to what this kind of punishment would warrant.’ <br/>Then Job cried out in anguish to God again saying he hated his life and had nothing to live for. He asked God to take his life instead of letting him suffer like this. – Slide 6
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Job's friends took turns sharing their thoughts on life, God, and Job's situation. But they only made Job feel worse. Bildad told Job that his children probably deserved what happened to them. And things would get even worse. Job had better admit he was wrong so God would heal him. <br/>Job answered Bildad. ‘What you say is not true, and even if it was, who am I to bargain with God.’ – Slide 7
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Job’s three friends continued to attack Job's character (for the next 17 chapters of Job) while Job continues to protested his innocence. Finally in chapter 32, Elihu shows up. He had been there listening all the while. He scolds Job's friends for proudly trying to explain the ways of God. <br/>Then he tells Job that the more he defends himself, the more arrogant he sounds. Elihu advises them all to, ‘Cry out to God. Not with explanations or justifications, but praise God for who He is. Don't try to make deals with God, but trust Him. God cares. God is understanding. God is just. And God is all powerful.’ Job and his friends grew very quiet and pondered what Elihu said. – Slide 8
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Then in chapter 38, God finally speaks in a whirlwind. ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself and answer some questions I have for you. Where were you when I created the earth? Who determined its size and laid the foundation? Who keeps the waters inside the ocean wall and who hung each star in the sky?’ <br/>God continued to go through each aspect of nature, finishing up with all the animals, pointing out with His questions, that He is the creator and sustainer of all things. Everything was created by Him and for Him. – Slide 9
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Job felt very humbled. All of creation was a witness to God's power and glory. Who was he to question God or advise Him? <br/>‘I take back everything I said.’ Job replied. ‘I was taking about things I knew nothing about. I am so sorry and I will sit here in these ashes to show you how sorry I am.’ – Slide 10
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After Job responded to God with humility and repentance, God turned to Job's friends and said, ‘I am angry with you because you have not spoken truthfully about me to Job. Now go make a sacrifice to me and ask for forgiveness.’ <br/>Then God turned back to Job, ‘While your friends are offering their sacrifice to me, pray for them.’ <br/>So the friends offered a sacrifice and Job prayed for them. <br/>Then God blessed Job with twice as much as before. He had three more daughters and seven more sons, and lived another 140 years. – Slide 11
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