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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 3 - CONVERSATION WITH A SUFFERING MAN (Job 3-5)

INTRODUCTION: LETS REVIEW FOR A MINUTE: IN THE FIRST CHAPTER OF JOB
WE SAW HIM GO FROM BEING WEALTHY, FAMOUS AND BLESSED TO POOR,
INFAMOUS AND APPARENTLY UNBLESSED.  HE LOST JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING
HE OWNED AND FINALLY, IN THE LOST HIS HEALTH..

     IN WEEK TWO WE GOT TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL IN HEAVENS BOARD
ROOM.  BY LISTENING IN TO WHAT HAPPENED AT TWO MEETINS OF THE "SONS
OF GOD" WE FOUND OUT THE REASON WHY JOB LOST EVERYTHING, INCLUDING
HIS HEALTH, WAS BECAUSE HE WAS SUCH A GOOD MAN.  HIS FAITHFULNESS
MADE HIM A BATTLE GROUND IN THE CONTROVERSY BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL.

     WHILE WE KNOW EXACTLY WHY THIS HAPPENED, NEITHER JOB, HIS WIFE
NOR HIS FRIENDS KNEW WHY THIS HAPPENED. SO THIS WEEK WE BEGIN
STUDYING A SERIES OF CONVERSATIONS ABOUT WHY EVIL BEFELL JOB AND
OTHERS.

     THE SETTING IS THAT JOB IS SITTING ON THE GROUND SCRAPING
HIMSELF, AND THE THREE FRIENDS WHO HAVE BEEN SITTING AROUND HIM FOR
SEVEN DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING ARE STILL
SITTING THERE. JOB SPEAKS FIRST:

I. JOB'S RESPONSE.

     A.READ 3:1-3,6. DOES JOB CURSE GOD? 
     
     B. WHAT DOES HE CURSE INSTEAD? (THE DAY THAT HE WAS BORN.  HE
     SAYS THAT HE WISHES THAT DAY WOULD SIMPLY DROP OFF THE
     CALENDAR.)

     C. WHAT IS HE REALLY SAYING? (THAT HE WISHED THAT HE NEVER
WAS. SORT OF ERASE HIS EXISTANCE.)

     D. READ 11-15. WHAT DOES JOB WISH HERE? (THAT HE WOULD HAVE
     DIED AS SOON AS HE WAS BORN.)

     E. READ 3:20-22 AND 25-26. WHAT DOES JOB WISH FOR HERE? 
     (DEATH)

     F. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE JOB'S OVERALL MOOD? (HE SAYS THAT HE
     WISHES THAT HE NEVER WAS.  BUT SINCE HE WAS BORN, HE WISHES
     THAT HE HAD DIED AT CHILDBIRTH.  BUT SINCE HE DID NOT DIE AT
     CHILDBIRTH, HE WISHES THAT HE WOULD DIE NOW.)

     G. HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT, IF AT ALL,  FROM THE FEELINGS HE
     EXPRESSED IN 2:10?

          1. HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR THE CHANGE BETWEEN 2:10 AND
          NOW?

(THE PASSAGE OF TIME, THE PRESENCE OF HIS THREE IMPORTANT WEALTHY
FRIENDS WHO DO NOT HAVE THESE PROBLEMS, AND HIS SOUL SEARCHING OVER
WHY THIS HAPPENED TO HIM.)

     H. SATAN PREDICTED THAT JOB WOULD CURSE GOD. DOES HE DO THAT
IN THIS SPEECH? (NO)

     I. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING ON IN JOB'S MIND? (WHEN ALL OF
THESE THINGS FIRST HIT JOB, HIS IMMEDIATE REACTION WAS ONE OF FAITH
AND TRUST IN GOD.  SOME TIME HAS PASSED HERE. WE KNOW THAT AT LEAST
SEVEN DAYS AND THE TRAVEL TIME FOR HIS THREE FRIENDS FROM THEIR
THREE COUNTRIES HAS PASSED. (JOB 2: 11-13) I THINK THAT NOW JOB IS
ASKING HIMSELF WHY THIS HAPPENED. I THINK THAT THERE ARE TWO KEY
PHRASES THAT REVEAL HIS MOOD. IN v. 26 JOB SAYS, "I HAVE NO PEACE,
NO QUIETNESS; I HAVE NO REST, BUT ONLY TURMOIL." IN v. 25 HE SAYS
THAT "WHAT HE FEARED HAS COME UPON ME." HE HAS NO PEACE, HE HAS
TURMOIL. IT IS FINE TO SAY THAT ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE IN GOD'S
HANDS. BUT THEN YOU SAY, "WHAT HAPPENED?" "WHAT AM I DOING
DIFFERENT NOW THAT WOULD CAUSE GOD TO DO THIS TO ME?" MY BET IT
THAT WHAT HE FEARED WAS BEING DISFAVORED BY GOD, NOT JUST FINANCIAL
RUIN.)


     J. LETS LOOK AT JOB'S MOOD A BIT MORE TO APPLY IT TO OUR
          LIVES:
     
          1. DO YOU THINK THAT THESE THREE WISHES ARE A NATURAL
          RESPONSE IN VIEW OF WhAT HAS HAPPENED TO JOB?

          2. HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE THIS?

          3.  WHAT IS YOUR EMOTIONAL REACTION TO JOB'S SPEECH?

          4. IF YOU HAD BEEN THERE, HOW WOULD YOU HAVE RESPONDED TO
               HIM?

     K. HOW YOU RESPOND DEPENDS IN PART ON WHY YOU THINK PEOPLE 
     SUFFER. JOB IS CLEARLY A GOOD MAN, YET HE LOSES HIS WEALTH,
     HIS CHILDREN, AND HIS HEALTH. 
     
          1.CAN A CHRISTIAN EXPECT GOD'S PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT IN
          LIFE?

     L. WHEN YOU VISIT SOMEONE WHO IS SICK OR GRIEVING, HOW DO YOU
     FEEL?

     M. WHAT DO YOU DO TO TRY TO HELP?

     N. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON THE RECEIVING END OF SUCH HELP? 
     
     O. WHAT DID PEOPLE DO THAT WAS HELPFUL OR UNHELPFUL?

II. ADVICE OF ELIPHAZ.  NOW THAT WE HAVE SET THE STAGE FOR WHAT WE
THINK SHOULD BE SAID AND DONE FOR THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING, LETS
TURN NEXT TO WHAT JOB'S THREE FRIENDS DID TO HELP HIM.

     A. BEFORE WE HEAR FROM ELIPHAZ, LET ME EXPLAIN A BIT ABOUT THE
     WAY IT IS WRITTEN. WHEN I WRITE BRIEFS OR ARGUE A POINT, I
     GENERALLY ORGANIZE THE ARGUMENT BY BUILDING THE ARGUMENT UNTIL
     I COME TO THE CONCLUSION.  ELIPHAZ STATEMENTS ARE NOT SET UP
     THAT WAY. HERE IS HOW YOU WOULD ORGANIZE HIS STATEMENT. THIS
     WAS APPARENTLY A COMMON PRACTICE IN WRITING THEN.

A. OPENING REMARD  4:2
     B. EXHORTATION   4:3-6
          C. GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MAN  4:7-11
               D. THE REVELATION OF TRUTH  4:12-21 *
          C. GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MAN  5:1-16
     B. EXHORTATION  5:17-26
A. CLOSING REMARK 5:27

     YOU HAVE THIS BALANCE AROUND THE REVELATION OF TRUTH.

     B. READ 4:1-2. IS ELIPHAZ POLITE OR WHAT? HE SAYS AFTER 
     TRAVELLING TO SEE JOB FOR WHO KNOWS HOW LONG, AND THEN SITTING
     THERE FOR SEVEN DAYS, "MAY I HAVE A WORD WITH YOU?  I REALLY
     WOULD LIKE TO SAY SOMETHING."

     C. READ 4:2-4. IS THIS A GOOD WAY TO START OUT IN HELPING A
     FRIEND? WHAT IS ELIPHAZ SAYING? (HE IS ENCOURAGING HIM WITH
     THE STATEMENT THAT JOB IS HAS HELPED OTHERS WHO WERE IN TOUGH
     CIRCUMSTANCES. HE KNEW WHAT TO TELL OTHERS TO DO TO HELP IN
     THE PROBLEM)

     D. DO YOU SEE A REBUKE IN THE STATEMENT THAT JOB HAS
     INSTRUCTED MANY WHO WERE HAVING PROBLEMS, SO WHY IS HE
     SOUNDING LIKE THIS NOW THAT HE HAS PROBLEMS?

     E. READ 5-6. NOW IT IS CLEAR, ELIPHAZ SEEMS TO SAY THAT HE 
     SHOULD BE ABLE TO WORK THIS ONE OUT FOR HIMSELF. BUT, DOES
     ELIPHAZ SUGGEST THAT JOB SHOULD NOT BE DISCOURAGED NOW? (IT
     SEEMS THAT WAY. HE SAYS, "ISN'T THE FACT THAT YOU ARE SUCH A
     GOOD GUY YOUR REASON FOR HOPE?"
     
          1. DO YOU SEE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS STATMENT? (HE 
          ASSUMES THAT IF YOU ARE GOOD YOU WILL BE OK. ****BUT A
          VERY IMPORTANT THEME IS DEVELOPMING: IF JOB CONTINUES
          WITH HIS CURRENT PROBLEM, THAT MEANS TO ELIPHAZ, THAT
          CONTRARY TO HIS BELIEF, JOB IS NOT SUCH A GREAT GUY.  AND
          IF JOB BUYS THIS THEORY, IT MEANS THAT GOD IS
          UNFAIR--SINCE HE IS GOOD.)

     F. READ 7-11. LETS LOOK AT THE FIRST STATEMENTS OF GOD'S 
     DEALINGS WITH MAN. WHAT DOES ELIPHAZ SAY ABOUT THE
     RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SIN AND SUFFERING?
          1. WHAT IS HE IMPLYING ABOUT JOB?
          2. WHAT HAPPENS TO WICKED PEOPLE ACCORDING TO ELIPHAZ?
          3. IS ELIPHAZ CORRECTLY STATING A PRINCIPLE OF THE 
          UNIVERSE? (YES, PS 34; 1 PET 3:10-12; MARK 4:24; ROM 4:9-
          11.)
          4. DOES IT APPLY HERE? (NOT ON ITS FACE.) 

          5. IS THERE A LESSON IN THAT?

          6. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MEANT BY HIS STATEMENTS ABOUT
          LIONS AND GREAT LIONS?
(I THINK HE IS SAYING THAT NO MATTER HOW BIG THE PROBLEM, GOD WORKS
IT OUT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE RIGHTEOUS.) 

     G. HOW DOES ELIPHAZ KNOW? (HE BASES THIS ON EXPERIENCE.)

     H. THE SECOND STATEMENT OF GOD'S DEALINGS WITH MAN IN FOUND IN
     5: 1-16 ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN I OUTLINED FOR YOU BEFORE.
     LETS JUST SAMPLE WHAT ELIPHAZ IS SAYING: READ 5:11-16
     
          1. IS THIS THE SAME THEME AS BEFORE? THAT YOU REAP WHAT
          YOU SOW? (YES)

     I. NOW WE COME TO THE REVELATIONS OF TRUTH. IN 4: 12-21. LETS
     BREAK IT UP. READ FIRST 4: 12-16

     J. WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE TO ELIPHAZ? (ELIPHAZ HAS SOME SORT
     OF DREAM WHEN HE WAS SLEEPING, AND HE GETS A MESSAGE FROM IT.)

     K. READ v.16-20. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MESSAGE OF THIS 
     DREAM THAT HE SHARES WITH JOB?

(THAT MAN IS NOT PERFECT. MAN IS INFERIOR TO GOD. SINCE ANGELS CAN
MAKE MISTAKES, HOW MUCH MORE CAN MAN.  THESE STATEMENTS ARE TRUE.
THE IMPLICATION IS THAT JOB HAS MADE AN ERROR.  SINCE JOB IS A MAN,
AND NOT GOD, HE SHOULD JUST ACKNOWLEDGE HIS ERROR.

     L. THE NEXT EXHORTATION, THAT FLOWS FROM THIS TRUTH, IS FOUND
     IN 5:17-26.  WHAT IS HE EXHORTING JOB TO DO? (TO ACCEPT THE
     DISCIPLINE, REPENT, AND GOD WILL MAKE IT ALL OK BECAUSE JOB
     WILL NO LONGER BE A PERSON WHO HAS FALLEN FROM FAVOR WITH
     GOD.)

     M. READ 5:27, THE CLOSING REMARK. SO ELIPHAZ SAYS THAT WE HAVE
     CONSIDERED ALL OF THIS, WHAT I TOLD YOU IS TRUE, SO GET ON
     WITH THE APPLICATION.

     N. IS WHAT ELIPHAZ SAID TRUE? (YES INDEED).

          1. BUT IS IT TRUE IN THIS CASE? (ABSOLUTELY NOT.  GOD DID
          NOT SAY TO SATAN, "HAVE YOU CONSIDERED MY SERVANT
          ELIPHAZ."  HE SAID, "HAVE YOU CONSIDERED MY SERVANT JOB!" 
          JOB WAS THE ONE WHO WAS MORE UPRIGHT, YET ELIPHAZ STILL
          HAD ALL OF HIS STUFF.)

     O. SO WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE IN GIVING ADVICE TO OTHERS?

     P. WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE IN GIVING ADVICE TO OURSELVES
     WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOING RIGHT? (TO HAVE THIS ATTITUDE OF
     TRUST. THAT EVERYTHING IS IN GOD'S HANDS, THAT NOTHING HAPPENS
     WITHOUT HIS APPROVAL, AND THAT HE WILL MAKE EVERYTHING RIGHT
     BECAUSE HE IS GOD AND WE ARE NOT,  HE IS GOOD AND WE ARE NOT,
     AND HE DIED FOR US, SO HE COULD NOT CARE MORE FOR US.)

III. NEXT WEEK: READ JOB 6-8. JOB RESPONDS TO ELIPHAZ AND THEN
BILDAD PUTS IN HIS WORDS OF ADVICE.