We are looking at the question of human suffering which with a large majority of people shapes their perception of God and how He relates to humanity.
James 5:10-11 NKJV My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. (11) Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
- These verses tell us to be inspired by Job’s patience, perseverance, and endurance, and the mercy and grace of the Lord that brought great deliverance.
Despite these verses of Scripture, many have shaped their belief in God based on a view that is not accurate and scriptural. Many times, it is because many people have never studied to find out what the Word says for themselves.
How can people get this so messed up?
It is the same thing that happened in Job’s Day.
The book of Job is a book of extremes:
- Job was extremely good.
- Job was extremely wealthy.
- Job was extremely tested by the devil in every area of his life.
- Job was extremely lacking in information about God.
Theological debate in the book of Job that lasted 36 chapters and none of the participants knew what they were talking about.
Job and his friends had little or no knowledge of God whatsoever.
- Problems happen when people interpret God by their circumstances and not the Word of God.
Job’s Misbeliefs About God
- God must be mad at me and that is why I am going through this suffering and calamity.
Job 4:7-9 NKJV (7) “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? (8) Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same. (9) By the blast of God they perish, And by the breath of His anger they are consumed.
There is a curse of death and destruction in the earth that has been here since Adam’s sin. Sin will open you to difficulty because sin separates you from God and opens the door to the curse.
Judgment is not that fist of God’s wrath being brought down upon you in retribution, but rather His hand of grace and merciful protection being lifted away. The worst thing God can do with you is leave you alone.
God has labored to bring His protection back to man since the Fall. What is experienced in this earth is because the god of this world brings to bear the curse of sin in people’s lives; however, God’s protection is available to us to the extent that we allow Him to.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 NKJV For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
- God is involved in causing death.
Job 1:21 NKJV 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 30:23 NKJV (23) For I know that You will bring me to death, And to the house appointed for all living.
This is the misconception that God is in the death business.
Death has never been God’s idea. God’s plan has always been to deal with the death that entered the earth by Adam’s sin.
Romans 5:17 NLT For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
- God uses suffering to teach us a lesson.
Job 5:17-18 NKJV (17) “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. (18) For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.
John 14:26 NKJV But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
2 Timothy 3:16 AMP (16) Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action),
This is how God chastens us, through His Word.
- Because man is so lowly and inferior, he is destined to suffer the calamities of life.
Job 25:4-6 NKJV (4) How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? (5) If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, (6) How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?”
Ephesians 2:4-8 NKJV But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (7) that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
- What I am going through must be the plan of God for my life.
Job 23:14 NKJV (14) For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such things are with Him.
This is the misconception that the suffering in their lives is God’s predestined plan for their lives.
Why do people fight for the right to blame God for their troubles? Because it relieves them of the responsibility for the condition of their lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God does have a plan for your life, but you must make the choices that will take you down that road.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NKJV I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; (20) that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
God Corrects Job and his friends!
Job 38:1-3 MSG (1) And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said: (2) “Why do you confuse the issue? Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? (3) Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers.
Everything that had gone before was not the counsel of God.
Job’s whole problem was his limited knowledge of God.
Job 42:1-6 MSG Job answered GOD: (2) “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. (3) 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. (4) You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’ (5) I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! (6) 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 responded that he had uttered things that he knew not and he repented of those things.
God forgave Job of those things from that point forward.
This is not the natural eye Job is referring to but rather the eyes of his understanding (Ephesians 1:18) – The eye of revelation.
- Get away from hearsay about God and get your own revelation of God for yourself from His Word.
It is so important for us to get a personal revelation of God from His Word and by the Holy Spirit!