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The Book of Job
Sabbath School Lesson Begins
Lesson 12 December 10–16
Read for This Week’s Study: Job 19:25–27; John 1:1–14; Job 10:4, 5; Luke 2:11; Gal. 4:19; Luke 9:22; Isa. 53:1–6.
Memory Text: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4, NKJV).
With the sudden appearance of the Lord Himself, beginning in chapter 38, the book of Job reached its climax. God revealed Himself to Job in a powerful and miraculous way, and this resulted in Job’s confession and contrition. The Lord then rebuked Job’s three friends for their wrong words, and Job prayed for them. “And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10, NKJV), and Job lived a long and full life afterward.
There is, however, something unsettling, something unsatisfactory about the story and how it ends. God and Satan, arguing in heaven, battle it out here on earth in the life and flesh of poor Job? It just doesn’t seem fair, doesn’t seem right, that Job would have to bear the terrible brunt of this conflict between God and Satan, while the Lord remained in heaven and simply watched it.
There must be more to the story. And there is. It is revealed many centuries later, in Jesus and His death on the cross. In Jesus alone we find amazing and comforting answers to the questions that the book of Job didn’t fully answer.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, December 17.
Sunday December 11
When God appeared to Job in chapter 38, He revealed Himself to Job as the Creator, who “ ‘divided a channel for the overflowing water,’ ” the One who made “ ‘a path for the thunderbolt, to cause it to rain on a land where there is no one’ ” (Job 38:25, 26, NKJV). Our Lord, though, isn’t only the Creator. He has another crucial title and role, as well.
Read Job 19:25–27. What do these words reveal about Job’s hope of salvation?
With these famous verses, Job shows that he had some knowledge of the Redeemer, some knowledge that, though people died, there was hope beyond the grave, and this hope was found in the Redeemer, who was to come to the earth one day.
These words of Job point to what is the most crucial and important truth in the Bible: God as our Redeemer. Yes, God is our Creator. But in a fallen world, in a world of sinners doomed to die eternally in their sins, we need more than a Creator. We need a Redeemer, as well. And that’s precisely who our God is: both our Creator and our Redeemer (see Isa. 48:13–17), and it’s from Him in both those roles that we have the great hope of eternal life.
Read John 1:1–14. In this passage, how does John tie together Jesus as Creator with Jesus as our Redeemer?
The allusion to Genesis 1:1, God as Creator, is obvious in John 1:1. And if that weren’t enough, these words—“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him. . . . But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:10–12; NKJV)—make the link between Jesus as Creator and Redeemer inseparable. Indeed, it’s only because He is the Creator that He can be our Redeemer, as well.
If we had only a Creator but no Redeemer, what hope would we have? What does your answer say about why Jesus as Redeemer is so important to us?
Monday December 12
In the earliest chapters of Job, we were given a glimpse into the reality of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. As we know, it was a battle that started in heaven but eventually came to the earth (see Rev. 12:7–12). In the book of Job we saw that same dynamic: a conflict in heaven that comes to earth. Unfortunately for Job, that particular conflict on earth centered on him.
Read Job 10:4, 5. What was Job’s complaint, and did he not have a point?
Job’s point was simple. You are God, the Sovereign of the universe, the Creator. How can you know what it is like to be a human, to suffer the things that we suffer?
How do the following texts answer Job’s complaint? Luke 2:11, John 1:14, Luke 19:10, Matt. 4:2, 1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 4:15.
Job’s complaint, that God wasn’t a human and therefore couldn’t know human woe, was answered fully and completely by the coming of Jesus into humanity. Though never losing His divinity, Jesus was also fully human, and in that humanity He knew what it was like to suffer and struggle, just as Job and all humans do. In fact, all through the Gospels, we see the reality of Christ’s humanity and the sufferings that He went through in our humanity. Jesus answered Job’s complaint.
“It was not a make-believe humanity that Christ took upon Himself. He took human nature and lived human nature. . . . He was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.” — Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1124.
Think what it means that Jesus took humanity. What should this tell you about how closely He can relate to you in any of the struggles that you are facing right now?
Tuesday December 13
What do the following texts tell us about Jesus and how we are to view Him?
1 John 2:6
Without question, Jesus is the model man. His life—His character—is the example that all who follow Him should seek by God’s grace to emulate. Jesus is the only perfect example we have in terms of how to live the kind of life to which God calls us.
Still, Jesus didn’t come to this earth merely to give us an example. Our situation as sinners called for more than just character development, as if reforming our characters and molding us into His image is all that His work as Redeemer required. We need more than that; we need a Substitute, Someone to pay the penalty for our sins. He came not just to live a perfect life as an example to us all; He came also to die the death that we deserve so that His perfect life can be credited to us as our own.
What do the following texts teach about the necessity of Christ’s death for us? Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22, Luke 24:7, Gal. 2:21.
Jesus had to die for us because obedience to the law, though central to the Christian life, is not what saves the fallen. “Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law” (Gal. 3:21, NKJV). If any law could save a sinner, it would be God’s, but even that law can’t save us. Only the perfect life of our perfect Example, Jesus, could save us, and so Christ came to offer Himself as “one sacrifice for sins forever” (Heb. 10:12, NKJV).
How does your own record of law-keeping show you your need of a Substitute?
Wednesday December 14
Read Isaiah 53:1–6. What does this tell us about the sufferings of the Lord on the cross?
Isaiah 53:4 said that Jesus bore our griefs and sorrows. That must include Job’s griefs and sorrows, as well. And not just Job’s but the whole world’s. It was for the sin of all humans who ever lived that Jesus died on the cross.
So, only at the cross can the book of Job be put in proper perspective. Here we have the same God who revealed Himself to Job—the God who teaches the eagle to fly, the God who binds the quarks—suffering more than any human being, even Job, ever suffered or could suffer. The grief and sorrows that we know individually, He assumed corporately; no one, then, can lecture God on suffering, not when He in humanity bore in Himself the full brunt of all the suffering that sin has spread around the globe. We know only our own griefs, only our own sorrows; at the cross, Jesus experienced them all.
The God who asked Job, “ ‘Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?’ ” (Job 38:33, NKJV) becomes more incredible when we realize that though He created the “ ‘ordinances of heaven,’ ” He also took upon Himself earthly flesh and in that flesh died so that He “might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14, NKJV).
Viewed through the Cross, the book of Job makes more sense than it does without it, because the Cross answers many questions that the book leaves unanswered. And the biggest question of all deals with how fair it is for God to be up in heaven while Job on earth is forced to suffer as he does, all in order to help refute Satan’s charges. The Cross shows that no matter how badly Job or any human being suffers in this world, our Lord voluntarily suffered so much worse than any of us could, all in order to give us the hope and promise of salvation.
Job saw God as Creator; after the cross, we see Him as Creator and Redeemer, or particularly, the Creator who became our Redeemer (Phil. 2:6–8). And to do that, He had to suffer from sin in ways that no human being, Job included, would or could ever suffer. Thus, like Job, only more so, what can we do before such a sight but exclaim: “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6, NKJV)?
Thursday December 15
Read John 12:30–32. What is Jesus saying about Satan in the context of the Cross and the great controversy?
After talking about the death of Jesus on the cross, Ellen G. White wrote about the powerful impact it had in heaven and for the onlooking universe. “Satan’s lying charges against the divine character and government appeared in their true light. He had accused God of seeking merely the exaltation of Himself in requiring submission and obedience from His creatures, and had declared that, while the Creator exacted self-denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-denial and made no sacrifice. Now it was seen that for the salvation of a fallen and sinful race, the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice which love could make; for ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 2 Corinthians 5:19. It was seen, also, that while Lucifer had opened the door for the entrance of sin by his desire for honor and supremacy, Christ had, in order to destroy sin, humbled Himself and become obedient unto death.” — The Great Controversy, p. 502.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:19. How did Christ’s death reconcile the fallen world to God?
The world had fallen into sin, into rebellion; it had left itself open to the schemes of Satan as so clearly seen, for example, in the book of Job. Jesus, though, by His taking hold of humanity in Himself while never losing His divinity, formed an unbreakable bond between heaven and earth and, with His death, guaranteed the final demise of sin and Satan. At the cross, Jesus paid the legal penalty for sin, thus reconciling the fallen world to God. Though we are sinners condemned to death, by faith we can have the promise of eternal life in Jesus.
Whatever sins you have committed, Jesus paid the full penalty for them at the cross. Why should this amazing truth change your life and cause you to want to live in obedience to Him?
Friday December 16
Further Thought: “‘Now is the judgment of this world,’ Christ continued; ‘now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die.’ This is the crisis of the world. If I become the propitiation for the sins of men, the world will be lighted up. Satan’s hold upon the souls of men will be broken. The defaced image of God will be restored in humanity, and a family of believing saints will finally inherit the heavenly home. This is the result of Christ’s death. The Saviour is lost in contemplation of the scene of triumph called up before Him. He sees the cross, the cruel, ignominious cross, with all its attending horrors, blazing with glory.
“But the work of human redemption is not all that is accomplished by the cross. The love of God is manifested to the universe. The prince of this world is cast out. The accusations which Satan has brought against God are refuted. The reproach which he has cast upon heaven is forever removed. Angels as well as men are drawn to the Redeemer.” — Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 625, 626.
I grew up in a caring, intellectually stimulating home. My parents treated my brother and me with respect. We were never hungry and always had what we needed. But religion wasn't part of our home. I never considered that anything or Anyone might actually exist somewhere beyond my tangible world. I never dreamed God could speak to me.
My parents quarreled a lot, and when I was 10 years old, they divorced. My father had a top-secret job in the army, and Mother was a clerk at the town-hall. After the divorce, my brother and I lived with our mother. There I finished high school and planned for my future.
One day I met a former schoolmate on the street in our town. We weren't close friends, but we shared a similar philosophy of life, so I was surprised when he started talking about religion. Right there in the street Kveto began telling me about Jesus Christ, about God's love for me, and about the Bible and prophecy. He spoke enthusiastically and I became embarrassed as passersby stared at us. Soon, I had heard enough. I excused myself and walked on, wondering what had changed Kveto so radically.
I met Kveto on the street several times soon after that. Each time we met he turned the topic of our conversation to religion. He spoke, I listened, and from time to time I tried to outwit him with a question I didn't think he could answer. But my lack of religious training and knowledge of the Bible was no match for Kveto's newfound Christian zeal.
Each time we met, Kveto invited me to his house to study prophecy. Finally I agreed to go. While Kveto wanted to prove that God exists, I was more interested in proving that He didn't. I told him I thought the Bible could have been written by anybody, and that it certainly wasn't true. I wanted to set Kveto straight.
Kveto always prayed before we opened the Bible, and later he admitted that he prayed after I left his house. As we began studying the prophecies I felt a growing curiosity about what the Bible had to say about the future. We studied the books of Daniel and Revelation, and some writings of Ellen G. White.
Then something strange happened. I came home from a Bible study and began to pray--by myself, alone, for the first time in my life. I didn't have anything special to say in my prayer; I simply found myself reaching out to make contact with the Power of the universe.To be continued.
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