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Tuesday: Surviving Through Worship — 28 Comments

  1. Job's mindset had already entertained a priestly role for his immediate family. He had communicated / prayed to God about this, when all was well, but envisaged his family could sin (but should not), as free-will agencies.

    Let's read the preceding verses before Satan's accusations.
    These scriptures... Job 1:1-6

    This my brethren in Christ, is a glimpse, of a shadow (type) if you will, of the eternal plan in the Godhead before creation for Perfecting Son's and Daughter's in his image,
    Ephesians 1:3-14
    2 Peter 1:3-12

    Oh! What a Wise and caring God we worship !
    Mark 12:29-31

    Aren't WE ALL given a priestly role for our family and neighbours ?
    1 Peter 2:1-5
    Romans 15:14-16

    Let's be salt and light !

    Shalom 🙏
    Keep on trucking (meme)

    • Forgot to add ...
      We will also suffer both by bad choices and consequences of our actions, and like a priest for others... propitiation, to walk in their shoes, as God leads us, so we can have empathy with them in a priestly role !

  2. Computer programmers can be pretty self-confident. Faced with a problem, they nearly always think that they can write a program to solve it. Need to manage a set of institutional records? Yep, no worries, we can write a program for that!

    I remember one situation where there was a need for a new substantial piece of software, and in the discussions and committees, I could see the programmers chaffing at the bit to start writing code for the new system. They wanted to get on with the job. They formed their own little subcommittee and off they went. This went on for some time and they were getting into more and more difficulties until the CEO of the organisation put his foot down and said, "Forget about writing the code! Why don't we just buy a program off the shelf?"

    And that is what the organisation did. The problem was solved.

    I don't pretend to understand all the story of Job. In fact, I wonder sometimes if it has been left as an enigma for us to think outside the box on pain and suffering. However, one thing that does stand out in this story is that most of the people involved had their own solutions to what was going on. Each thought that their explanation was the best. Like the programmers, they were pretty self-confident and like them too, they ended up in a mess.

    Humans like to think that we have or can develop a "theory of everything". Yet, we sometimes forget that our horizon is limited. Like Job we need to admit that we cannot answer a lot of questions and exclaim:

    “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
    Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
    You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
    ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
    I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
    made small talk about wonders way over my head.
    You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
    Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
    I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
    now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
    I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
    I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” Job 40:1-6 The Message

    • No offense intended Maurice but I find it difficult to swallow the thought that we are just supposed to just accept biblical stories/life stories that seem unjust. The question asked in the lesson, “How can God be righteous and holy when He actively allows Satan to cause Job such pain?” , is a difficult one that needs further discussion. I know people, one in particular, that gave up on the belief in God because he could not reconcile this one question with God’s edict to Israel to eradicate the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15. I still do not have an adequate answer to give him and I have been researching it for some time now. Open to input but I know that he will not accept the answer that “God’s ways are higher than our ways” and we are just suppose to accept it.

      The only explanation that I have been able to piece together is in the context of “The Great Controversy” between God/ Satan and for the Amalekites, probation had closed.

      • I don't have any answers either Jim. Most of the explanations I think about conflict with or contradict other perceptions we have of God and/or inspiration. The descriptions of what we today call genocide are particularly disturbing because I find it difficult to understand why little children need to be destroyed. I even contemplated the notion that the Israelites used God as an excuse to kill every man, woman and child. I am very much aware of people today using God's name as their reason for acting with hatred and intolerance towards others. But, I don't find a lot of Christians who will agree with me on that explanation. (My athiest/agnostic friends do agree with me, but they don't have the issue of inspiration in their thinking)

        So I too am left with the enigma. I have to admit that I still do not know the answer.

      • "The question asked in the lesson, “How can God be righteous and holy when He actively allows Satan to cause Job such pain?” , is a difficult one that needs further discussion.""

        I agree with you Jim and would be interested in participating in such a discussion with those who are interested. I am progressively finding there are an array of factors at play that can provide further understanding on important topics such as this. I believe God would have us humbly seek to understand more about questions such as this - to the extent that we can understanding more. I believe God actually desires that we grow and continue growing in our understanding of the details of His higher ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) - just like Abraham, Moses, Job and others sought to do. Then we don't just pass such off as a dismissive to people who are genuinely questioning.

        At times I see/hear people suggest that we can't know everything and therefore that we should be content to settle with what we do know and simply trust based on that. However, Ellen White spoke much about ever continuing to grow in our understanding of God and His Ways. She even goes as far as to mention that we are behind in the degree of understanding that God would have had us obtain if we had been more diligent in our efforts (I unfortunately can't re-locate the specific quotation at this point). At the same time, such understanding is not mere intellectual ascent. Rather, our motivation to understand more is both to (a) discover greater detail of that which, in so doing, brings glorify God through unpacking/revealing more about His nature and character to offset Satan's tireless efforts at misportrayal, and (b) have that understanding work further transformation in our lives via being changed in accordance with that which we behold/discover (2 Corinthians 3:18).

        I will include just one quote from Ellen White to illustrate:

        "Just before us is the closing struggle of the great controversy when, with “all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness,” Satan is to work to misrepresent the character of God, that he may “seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.” If there was ever a people in need of constantly increasing light from heaven, it is the people that, in this time of peril, God has called to be the depositaries of His holy law and to vindicate His character before the world. Those to whom has been committed a trust so sacred must be spiritualized, elevated, vitalized, by the truths they profess to believe." (Counsels for the Church p. 345.6)

        • Yes, Phil, God wants us to seek understanding from Him and He desires us to continue to grow in our understanding of Him. However your reference to "higher ways" (Isa 55:9) explicitly tells us that God's ways are so much higher than ours that we will not understand - at least not in this life. Thus attempting to "explain" God's "higher ways" strikes me as futile, if not presumptuous.

          In His Word God has revealed what He wants us to know, and the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writings of the Bible is more than willing to speak to us through those writings. And He will do that, if we ask Him to speak to us through His Word.

          That said, there are definitely times when we "should be content to settle with what we know and simply trust based on that." In fact that appears to be the main message of the book of Job. Even though Job was righteous before God, He did not know of the controversy between God and Satan behind the scenes. That made his experience especially difficult when his friends tried to make him realize that he was suffering because he had violated the inherent laws of God's creation.

          God did not explain any of this controversy to Job, and Job bowed in humble acceptance of the unknown, as related in Job 40:3-5. Then God responded with a grand display of His power and might as revealed in nature, and Job answered

          I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
          3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
          4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
          5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
          6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:2-6

          Job essentially said that he would give up his quest to know why he suffered and be content to trust God in spite of his not knowing just why things happened to him as they did. From Job 42:7-10, it is clear that the Lord was pleased with Job's faithfulness and his response.

          What might be the lesson for us?

      • I hear your concern, Jim. The lesson author explicitly says that these lessons are not meant to deal with the problem of evil in relation to God (theodicy) but the problem of suffering and how we respond to it.

        That said, yours is a natural question, and I do not know of any answer other than the "great controversy" between Christ and Satan in which we are all involved and to which you already refer. (We don't need more than one answer, do we?)

        We believe that free will is God's highest priority because only free will makes love possible, and we know that God's character is pure self-renouncing love. So he created all beings with free will. Lucifer chose to misuse his free will to rebel against God's law of love by seeking to elevate himself. As we know, that resulted in his fall from heaven. He then set about to mislead and destroy as many of God's children as he possibly could. Thus he attacks humans in every way possible, as the book of Job demonstrates.

        We would like to see God destroy Lucifer/Satan as quickly as possible, but the results of his form of government (self-promotion) would not be crystal clear unless God continued to allow Satan free will to demonstrate his character and form of government. Fortunately for us, God sets limits on Satan's power, or we would all have been destroyed long ago.

        Yet God does not even shield all the righteous from death, as He did Job. He did not shield His own Son either. If He had, Satan's character would not be as clear.

        Thus the answer for unexplained suffering is usually, "An enemy has done this."

        That leaves historical instances in which God ordered the destruction of certain peoples and sometimes even sent an angel (2 Kings 19:35, 2 Chr 32:21) to personally destroy a whole army.

        When the Lord led Jacob's descendants back to Canaan, they were not to fight certain peoples because their time of probation was still open. Later, they were told to destroy the same people. God commanded them to destroy others from the get-go - including men, women, children and sometimes even all living things they possessed. This is perhaps the hardest for us to understand - unless we see this as an example of the final judgment, because these people had knowingly rebelled against God in such bold defiance that their consciences were totally destroyed. (Today we would call them psychopaths.) And, yes, children are also infected by such rebellion. (The exceptions would be resurrected in the first resurrection.)

        God also indicated that he did not want His people to have any relations with the rebellious people, lest they be corrupted as well. Thus, considering their irredeemable condition and the dangers they posed to God's people, total destruction was the best option. The words of Alexander Pope are true for all time:

        Vice is a monster of so frightful mien as to be hated needs but to be seen; yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, we first endure, then pity, then embrace.

        God did not even explain the controversy to Job. Yet this mighty man of God gave up his quest for explanations and accepted that God's ways are best. And often that's the very best response for us to have.

  3. Last week we found that Job went through crucibles and was purified as gold. Job 23:10. Job was a good example to us. We can if we get to know God routinely and make an effort to be prepared for a crisis. Obviously, he fell to the ground and worshiped, obviously he worshiped God, because his wife had to tell him curse God and die. Job knew ahead of the crisis that there would not be any gain to curse God and die. He chose to do what he always did, worship God, in this case, in the midst of the worse crisis of his life. I firmly believe that Job had already learned to be instant in prayer. He already knew that it was his great privilege to hang his helplessness on God. A great testimony to us Job was.

  4. What can I learn from Job's friends about how to respond to a friend in a crucible? Which helped him the most? Their empathy or their reasoning?
    Be careful of the opinion of others on the character of the LORD, trust His Word.

    Job 2:13
    Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights, but no one spoke a word to him because they saw how intense his suffering was.
    Job 42:7
    After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and your two friends. For you have not spoken about Me accurately, as My servant Job has.

  5. I'm truly thankful to God for being led to this Christ! Being born a son of a pastor, who died when I was 5 yo was not easy! My mom really hung on to God alone. But I became a rebel against religion and against God. Thanks solely to the mercy of this same God I was rescued! And He continues to rescue me everyday! Glory and worship be to God Who gave His Son Jesus to die for us all! May His Spirit guide us all into His will for TODAY! May we be instruments in this work He has started, and if possible, speed up His return! Amen!

    • A priceless child of God, indeed !
      Shalom brother, we have his presence now, he is the "I AM" of God, ...present tense. !
      And yet, the future our eyes will see, not just sense.

      My little dogy (she), sleeps outside my bedroom door, since I have many allergies...
      She is quite content with that, she can senses me, by smell and movements, but when morning comes, and I open the door and we hug, it is a beautiful thought Jesus gave me of his ever present #presence# in different degrees !


    • We can no more speed up Jesus' return than anyone was able to speed up His first coming. The Apostle Paul very clearly states that "He that will come will come and will not tarry," Hebrews 10:37.

      • Yup ..correct 🙏
        However, we have his presence in the Spirit at times ..seasons of refreshment, springs of water ..

        16“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
        17“He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.
        John 14

        Or my recently little dog analogy outside my bedroom door ...close but not in the sacred sanctuary.
        Thanks brother in Christ

  6. A new perspective came to me as I read Job 1:13-19. It took me outside the sphere of Job’s family and into the wider community and the impact Job’s testing would have had on them. Job was regarded as “the greatest of all the people of the East” – his vast business empire had three divisions– oxen and donkeys, camels, and sheep - and he employed many people. Not only was Job wealthy, but he was also highly regarded, almost revered, in the community by the powerful as well as by the poor because of his wisdom, his sense of justice, and his generosity (Read Job 29).

    Imagine the shockwaves that went through the community when Job’s tragedy hit. The community would have lost members of their families that day- those who worked in the oxen division were killed by the Sabeans. Those in the camel division were killed by Chaldeans, and those in the sheep division were struck by a freak lightning storm. They would have lost their benefactor – for though Job still lived, he had no wealth to share with them and was too ill to serve them in any capacity. They would most certainly have seen these events coming at Job in such drastic and quick succession as the judgment of God against Job. I imagine many conversations were held about the nature of God, the nature and purpose of righteousness. The people would likely have concluded that either Job was a fraud who’s his sacrifices had not been acceptable to God, or that it was in vain to serve God. Where Job was once respected, he now laments’, “But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs.” Job 30:1. Imagine the power of Job’s testimony when he continues to worship God and declares, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him (Job 13:15).” Job is essentially saying, I don’t understand what is happening, but I still trust that God is in control and that he is trustworthy.

    The question that came to me is, how is the way I deal with my test impacting those around me? What is it saying about God to my family, my students and all who come under my influence?

    • Q:What is it saying about God to my family, my students and all who come under my influence?

      A: When we have our eyes on him, our way, truth and life, he, Jesus, has his eyes on them. It will not go unnoticed, for many a day, called to their remembrance.

      Thanks for the reminder.

      Shalom in him, our peace

    • Hi Jocelyn,
      Great points. Thanks for sharing. I did something different this morning by putting my name in place of Job's in the verses thinking about if God could say the same about me. This made it very personal and changed my perspective about this story as well. Tammy

    • I agree 100%. Thank you for sharing. Can I add that maybe God also wanted to show the utmost trust He had in Job not forsaking Him when tragedy struck... almost displaying the proud confidence/appreciation He had in the faithfulness of His son, Job. Do not forget that God gave back triple of what was taken away from him by force. What a testimony his experience must have been for those around him.

      Sin has left many a scar in people's lives, God knows of every step his children has taken/and still takes in the valleys and the shadows of life. This should serve for us as a reminder that if not immediately but very soon, He will replace, make new, restore, revive and forever more supply to us what we have lost now, and we need not focus on the trauma of the now, for it will destroy you, keep the focus on God in faith. It is challenges like these that reveals what/who we lean on in times of trouble? In other words, can you still have faith when there seem to be no evidence of a God of love, a God of hope, a God of healing, an ever present God... Do we allow Him to be with us during these challenges, or do we deny Him opportunities to show us Who He really is?

  7. Today's lesson raises 2 important questions that many people have (implicit) answers to in their mind - whether they are aware of it or not:

    "If God is giving permission for Job to suffer, what difference does it make whether God or Satan is personally inflicting the suffering? How can God be righteous and holy when He actively allows Satan to cause Job such pain?"

    Let's say God had denied Satan permission to cause evil to come upon Job. What would that have risked saying about God - in response to Satan's allegation that Job was only following God because God was blessing him?

    Satan is a liar and deceiver who, I suspect, well knew that if he made an allegation against God, God would not merely be able to simply deny the allegation without risking doubt arising in the minds of observers. While Satan is free to use coercive methods, God is only able to use the methods of true love (beneficence). Were God to depart from only using the methods of true love, He would violate the law of life for earth and heaven which has its source in His own heart. And what are the methods of true love? Freedom and truth.

    The only and ultimate 'defense' against Satan's false allegations and slander has always been full revelation of truth which presents 'evidence that speaks for itself'. As the saying goes, "you can't argue with the truth". No wonder the last book of the bible that deals most in-depth with the Great Controversy is entitled Revelation! Revelation is both God's method and the outcomes of that method - both process and product.

    In light of the above, I propose that God can only be righteous and holy by not restricting Satan from carrying out his allegations and allowing all to observe for themselves who is not only telling the truth, but who is Truth. Thus, I personally believe it does make a difference whether God or Satan is personally inflicting the suffering as it reflects critically upon the core issues that make up the Great Controversy.

    I am not saying or implying that anyone must believe this. I am just attempting to outline what I see and why... for what it's worth.

    • The biblical record is generally quite clear that God does not personally inflict suffering on His people but allows Satan a certain amount of leeway, in accordance with His ultimate objective. For instance, God called Assyria "the rod of my anger" (Isa 10:50) when He allowed Assyria to invade Samaria because the people practiced hypocrisy turned away from serving God. At the same time God warned Assyria against taking the credit for victory over Israel/Samaria.

      The story of Job demonstrates that Satan can only do what God allows. In this case, Satan was not allowed to take Job's life. In other cases, God has allowed His people to be martyred. So, while God allows Satan to demonstrate his character of evil, He does restrict Satan's from carrying out his wishes, and I don't believe that takes away from his righteous and holy character.

      • I agree with your statement that "The biblical record is generally quite clear that God does not personally inflict suffering on His people but allows Satan a certain amount of leeway, in accordance with His ultimate objective." I see this statement as truth through an authoritative paradigm as opposed to authoritarian one. I'm not sure if that is the way you see it or not.

  8. The argument that good or evil come from inherent causes seems to be as old as the book of Job, and it was likely the first book of the Bible written. Job's friend are sure that the evil that befalls him is the result of causes inherent in his life. Job has the same "inherent cause" core belief, but he knows he is innocent (as God also says in the heavenly council). He believes that if he could only talk to God face to face, His God would make things right. He hears nothing from God in answer to his pleading. Nevertheless he chooses to trust God. That is probably the greatest take-away for us from the book of Job: Trust God always, and He will work all things together for good - if not in this life, then in the life to come.

    I'm so thankful that the story of Job is in the Bible. It gives us a glimpse into the spiritual conflict that is normally hidden from our eyes. It demonstrates that Satan causes evil and suffering in this world, but it also demonstrates that Satan can do no more than God will allow. And God has promised that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear.

  9. To me it absolutely makes a difference if God is inflicting the suffering or permitting it, so I disagree with the lesson on that. Permitting something with the good of the universe/ultimate salvation/great controversy, I can live with. A God who actively does evil is cruel.

    I don't really feel God "wanted" Job to suffer, even though, yes, he pointed him out to Satan. Job 2:3 talks about Satan inciting God against him, which sounds like God wishing it was not so and putting the blame on Satan. Now I know Satan couldn't act without God's permission, but it still shows God's feelings about the whole situation.

  10. So, who wrote the book of Job? It is amazing to me how that the book indicates in verse 3 that he was "The greatest of all the men of the east." I have never read this book from start to finish the way I have done with other Bible Books. This time around this is the first time that I caught this part of verse 3 on this book. This then makes me also wonder if Job was not also somehow similar to Melchizedek who later came and met Abraham with wine and bread for Abraham. Somehow it makes me wonder if Job also was not somehow a "Smilitude" of Jesus Himself like Melchizedek etc.? Jesus was the fourth person in the burning "Fiery Furnace" in Babylon with the three Hebrews that never burned up because Jesus was there among the flames with the three Hebrews too. So, just like Job was "The greatest of all the men of the east," Jesus was and is "The greatest of all men of the entire world period?"

  11. What I see is that God, the Father, didn't use Job as a crapshoot. God trusted Job - as He had trusted His Son, Jesus(human) the Christ(divine). God TRUSTED Job to reflect to the multiverse what complete human trust, dependence, and love look like in human form.

  12. The book of Job 1:6" Now there was day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them" My question is; Who are this Sons of God? Are Angels Sons of God?

    • Good question Mark. I think the lesson may have said they were angels, but my understanding has been the sons of God were the representatives of other worlds. In Luke 3:38 it says Adam was the son of God. Had Adam never fallen he would have remained as the representative for our world. Since Adam fell Satan became our representative and attended these meetings. on the cross Jesus won the right the be our representative as the Son of God. I wrote more about this in a post a while back, which you may want to take a peek at. https://ssnet.org/blog/gods-one-and-only-son/


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