How do you face trouble? Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: How do you face trouble?
Text: Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20-21)
Scripture Reading: Job 1:13-22
Is there any good news for those who suffer? In times when trouble strikes, we need to take an inventory to see if there is any good news that can cheer us up and help us to bear the burden of pain. Trouble and suffering are facts of life that all of us must cope with sooner or later. An incurable disease may afflict someone we love or even us personally. A financial disaster may wipe out our fortunes. A domestic tragedy may tear apart our home. There are fatal accidents on life’s highways. There are dead-end streets where all hopeful expectations are brought to a stop.
How should Christians cope with suffering and trouble? When trouble comes, some people turn to religion, hoping it will deepen and strengthen their faith. Others turn away from religion in disappointment and despair. Still, others turn against religion in hate and cynicism.
How do people cope with pain and trouble? Some bluster and bluff and cuss. Some develop a headache and take an aspirin. Some drink or take drugs that enable them to escape the pain of reality temporarily. Some pray and trust God.
What will you do when trouble comes? Will you turn to God? Will you run from God? Will you turn against God?
Let’s take a look at Job, the ultimate example of a man who struggled with suffering in the times before Christ. Let’s begin by reading our Scriptures for today, Job 1:13-22. (From the New Century Bible)
13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house;
14 and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,
15 when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,
19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.
21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
Heavenly Father, we are thankful that we can come before your throne of grace, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We come this morning seeking your blessing upon our Bible lesson, for we need the Holy Spirit to illuminate our understanding. And Father, we ask your blessing on all that are gathered in this room, because we need your blessings to help us get through life’s troubles. Thank you, Father for loving us, even when we are unlovely. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
Let’s begin by looking at several aspects of Job’s character to see what kind of man he was.
First, Job is a dramatic illustration of one who experienced undeserved suffering.
He is an example of how the innocent can suffer. These verses which we read, tell us four things about Job’s character that we should consider:
First, Job was a blameless man.
Verse 1 says, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect…” He was blameless in the eyes of God, in the eyes of others, and in his own eyes. Job was a man just like you and me, only better. He was a praiseworthy man, an important man and a man of distinction, a judge, and a man who had authority over others. The country he lived in was the land of Uz, in the eastern part of Arabia; the same place where Abraham lived before God called him out of that place. This was a very wicked land, but it was to Job’s praise that he was so exceedingly good in such a bad place.
Second, Job was upright.
Verse 1 says, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was upright…” This means that he was straightforward and genuine and right in his relationships. He was a very good man, extremely religious, and better than his neighbors.
Third, Job feared God.
Verse 1 also says, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man feared God…” He was a reverent worshipper of God as far as he was able to understand Him. He was sincere in his religion. He was called perfect by God, but he was not sinless as he was later to admit. He said, “If I say I am perfect, I shall be proven wicked.” He respected all of God’s commandments and tried his best to keep them. He was really as good as he seemed to be.
And fourth, Job was a man who turned away from evil.
Verse 8 says, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and turns his back on evil? There was no compromise in this man’s life. Notice the question that God put to Satan: “Have you considered my servant Job?” God speaks of him in an honorable way: He said that he is a servant. Good men are God’s servants. God said, “Look at him. There is none like him, none that I value like him, and none that have such great faith.”
Well, Job was certainly a good man, but next, let’s look at his position in his family and the community he lived in. Job lived at a time when people commonly believed that anyone who was good would be happy and prosperous. He fit the times because he was a good man, and he was also happy and prosperous.
There are five statements that can be made about his position within the community where he lived:
First, Job was the best of the best; there was no one like him.
Second, Job enjoyed great wealth.
Third, Job had a wonderful family.
Forth, Job was a priest in his own household (1:5).
And fifth, Job was the epitome of success and happiness.
Verse 5, has this to say about his position as a priest in his home and his love for his children, “So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.”
It is apparent that Job loves and cares for his children. Those who are good will be good to their children, and will especially do all they can to see that they come to know Jesus as Savior. On the occasion that Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned,” he is expressing his concern that they may have taken the liberty to celebrate by drinking too much and have “cursed God in their hearts.”
But Job had a remedy for their sin. As soon as the celebration was over, he ordered them to examine their own consciences and repent of what they had done wrong during the feast, and to prepare themselves to worship God. He kept his authority over them and they submitted to it, even though they were adults, with their own homes. He was the priest of the family, and they still worshiped at his altar. Job, like Abraham, had an alter for his family and he offered daily sacrifices for his family, and he encouraged them to join him in worship and in prayer.
But despite his good character and his good standing, Job experienced great catastrophe and suffering. It came suddenly and it was both undeserved and unexplained.