(Job 10 & 19, John 1 & 12, Galatians 2)
Introduction: What does Job teach us about grace and works? A central part of grace is that God saves us, we are not up to the task of saving ourselves. Certainly, the story of Job shows us that we are not competent to deal with Satan. Consider how God made all the difference in Job's life. We saw that Job started out great and ends up great - but all of this depends upon God. We also learned from Job that God wants us to do well, while Satan is the instigator of harm. Thus, one purpose of God's law is to help us to live well. When we rely on God we ally ourselves with the One who has both the inclination and the power to bless us. Let's dig into our Bible study and learn more about grace!
- Our Redeemer
- Read Job 19:25. Let's put Job's statement in context. How is Job doing at this point in his story? (Read Job 19:20-21. Job is doing terribly.)
- Why would Job make his statement about his Redeemer living in that context? (Job believes that God exists, and that at some point God will save him.)
- Read Job 19:26-27. How can Job see God "in [Job's] flesh" after his "skin has been destroyed?" (This must refer to Job's belief that after he dies, he will live again, as flesh and blood. He will do this in the presence of God.)
- Job also says that he will see God, and not "another" person. It is unlikely that Job thinks he is the only one who will see God in the future, so what do you think Job means when he denies that "another" will see God in his place?
- Do you ever wonder if it will be the real "you" who goes to heaven? (I think this is what Job is speaking about. It will be him, and not some version of him, who will stand before God after his death.)
- Read Job 19:28-29. What else does Job believe comes after death? (Judgment. Job says that we should live in the awareness of judgment.)
- Why is that good - to live in the awareness of a coming judgment?
- God With Us
- Read Job 10:2-3. This takes us back to Job's constant theme: I don't deserve this, I want a hearing where God draws up the charges against me so that I can refute them. What additional words does Job say that form the basis for the argument of his four friends? (That God favors the wicked. They are offended on God's behalf. This is an attack on the justice of God.)
- Read Job 10:4. What is going through Job's mind that would cause him to say this to God? How does this relate to his theme and the theme of his friends that we just discussed? (Job suggests another way to explain God's apparent injustice - God does not see things the same way humans see them. It is not God's justice that it faulty, it is God's perception. God has never been a human.)
- This is an argument that I hear all the time. My conclusion about something is faulty because I have not had the same experience as the person on whom I'm passing judgment. Do you think this is true? Are you incapable of making a right judgment if you have not gone through the experiences of the person you are judging?
- Read John 1:1-5. Is this "Word" God? (Yes! The Word "was God," was there in the "beginning," and "all things" were made through Him. He is the source of life.)
- Read John 1:10-14. Who is this "Word?" (Read John 1:29. The Word is Jesus!)
- Look again at John 1:14. What does this say about Job's assertion that God's perception of our lives is faulty? That God does not understand the human experience because God has never been human? (It is certainly not true today. Jesus "became flesh" and "made His dwelling with us.")
- Of all the terms John could have used to describe Jesus, why would he choose "the Word?" (Recall that we decided that the problem for Job and his friends is that they did not fully understand all of the facts. They were looking through "a poor reflection," or, as the King James says, "through a glass, darkly." 1 Corinthians 13:12. Jesus came to help us "see" God more clearly.)
- Would it have helped if Job could have read the gospels during the time that he was afflicted? (He would have found his story in Jesus. Jesus, the sinless, was tortured and murdered as a result of the controversy between God and Satan. Job suffered because of that same controversy!)
- Read Isaiah 53:4-7. What does this tell us about the suffering of Jesus? (Job says, "I am unjustly suffering." Jesus suffered for the sins of all of us, including those of Job.)
- When we suffer, what should we keep in mind?
- I want to go back to John 1:5. Job says that God does not understand the human experience. Where is the true lack of understanding? (In us. We are the "darkness" and we have trouble fully understanding our great and glorious God.)
- God Saves Us
- Read Galatians 2:11-14. The problem seems to be that Peter used to eat with Gentiles, but because of religious pressure, he stopped. Focus on verse 14. How is this an appropriate question for Peter? Isn't the problem that Peter is reverting to living like a Jew? (It doesn't make sense to me, at least not on the surface. Looking a little deeper, Paul seems to be saying that if the line between Jews and Gentiles has been erased, then there is no reason for Peter to withdraw from eating with Gentiles or for telling the Gentiles they must live like Jews.)
- Read Galatians 2:15-16. Based on this context, to what "law" is Paul referring? (It certainly seems to be the ceremonial law dealing with who and how you should eat.)
- Read Romans 7:6-7. What law is being referred to here? (It is the part of the Ten Commandments that prohibits "coveting" ( Exodus 20:17).)
- Read Galatians 2:17-21. What is one reason why Jesus died for us? (To give us righteousness. We have been "crucified with Christ" and therefore we "no longer live, but Christ lives" in us! This promise applies to the entire law, of whatever type, and however you describe it!)
- The Author of Suffering Defeated
- Read John 12:30-31. When we consider the story of Job and Jesus, who caused all of this suffering? (Satan.)
- When Jesus says "now the prince of this world will be driven out," what time does He mean? When is "now?"
- Jesus also says "now is the time for judgment on this world?" When is "now?"
- Read John 12:47. Notice that Jesus says that He did not "come to judge the world," but rather to save it. How does this help us to understand the John 12:31 statement about driving out Satan "now" and the time of judgment being "now?" (Since Jesus says that He did not come to judge the world, He must be talking about something outside our world. I think Jesus is talking about a setting just like we read about in Job 1:6-7. By living a sinless life, by defeating Satan's claims, by showing that in the controversy between good and evil that God (good) is right and Satan (evil) is wrong, God has driven Satan out of the heavenly council and the universe has made a judgment on what is going on in this world.)
- How is Job like Jesus? (They are both the champions for good against evil.)
- Job won. Jesus won the total judgment. Why would it ever be necessary for you or me to go through a "Job" experience? The victory has already been gained? (Remember that the first lesson we learn from Job is that we must trust God. Why? Because we do not see clearly the total picture. I don't have an answer for this question other than to say, "I don't know why we might still have a Job experience, trusting God is the only clear answer.)
- Friend, God won the victory! Just as Job was not up to defeating Satan, so we are helpless without our God. God became flesh. He knows first-hand how it is to live in a sin-filled world. He died for our sins and He offers us eternal life. "I know my Redeemer lives! ( Job 19:25.) Friend, will you accept God's offer to be your Redeemer and give you a way out of this sinful world?
- Next week: The Character of Job.