Guests: Carl Cosaert and Zdravko Stefanovic
Most scholars view the book of Job as one of the oldest books in the Bible. It is perhaps not surprising that it deals with one of the oldest questions of humankind: why? Why do good people suffer? Why do I suffer? In Job, we see the inner struggles and questions of a good man and his wife who have been overtaken by unspeakable tragedy.
1. The book of Job begins by presenting Job as a very righteous man. He seems intent on doing good and caring for his family.
* According to Job 1:5, Job would periodically send his children to be purified. He also offered a burnt offering for each of them in case they had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. In what way can a parent protect their children from sin? Is there a modern day equivalent to sacrificing a burnt offering for our children each morning? Did Job’s sacrifices do anything, or was he simply mistaken in thinking he could do something to bring cleansing to his children?
2. When faced with danger, Christians often turn to such passages as Psalm 91 and read the chapter as a sort of promise from God (“If you make the Most High your dwelling–even the LORD, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent [vs. 9-10]).
* Is Psalm 91 a promise–a guarantee from God that those who are blameless and upright will be protected from tragedy?
* How does Job’s tragedy speak to this issue?
* Is there any “extra” protection for those who follow God and are doing his work, or are such people in even greater danger as targets of Satan?
3. The Adult Sabbath School Study Guide describes Job’s wife as a temptress used by Satan “against” her husband. This assessment is drawn from her only line in the entire book of Job. She asks her husband, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).
* Is there a right way or wrong way to deal with tragedy and grief? Is anger a normal and expected response is such situations? If so, should we fault Mrs. Job for her words?
* Is it possible that in our moments of deepest anguish, we may say or do things that we should not be held accountable for?
4. All who read these words have experienced varying degrees of sadness and loss.
* In our times of agony, how have others responded in ways that were not helpful to you?
* In our times of agony, were there things that were said and done by others that provided a measure of strength and comfort?
* Are there passages from the Bible that have been especially meaningful to those of us whose lives have been touched by tragedy? What are those passages?