OceanSide church of Christ
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WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
Reasons #1 and #2
Victor M. Eskew
A. “Overrun by adversity and ransacked by sorrow, answers are sought and encourage-ment is required” (21 Reasons, Earley, 21)
B. One of the best places to find answers and encouragement is in the book of Job.
I. WE SUFFER SO AN UNSEEN VICTORY CAN BE WON
A. Job’s life went from extraordinarily awesome to overwhelmingly bad.
1. Good (Job 1:1-3)
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great house-hold; so that this man was greatest of all the men of the east.
a. Job was faithful.
b. Job had a family.
c. Job had a fortune.
d. Job had fame.
2. Bad (Job 1:14-19)
3. Bad turned to worse (Job 2:7-8)
So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
B. Behind the scenes
1. Job was not privy to the information that we have in the entire book of Job. He did know that something was happening behind the scenes.
2. Satan, the accuser, and God had been involved in a spiritual conversation.
a. Conversation #1 (Job 1:8-12)
b. Conversation #2 (Job 2:3-6)
C. Important points
1. “God and Satan are locked in a cosmic battle for loyalty and allegiance, and often, we are the battleground” (Earley, 23)
a. The Question: Will a man serve God for naught? Will a man continue to be loyal to God even when he is overcome by unexpected, unprovoked, inexplicable evil?
b. Satan’s answer: “No.”
1) Job 1:9-11
Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
2) Job 2:4-5
And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all a man hath he will give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
c. God saw it differently. Both times He allowed Satan to afflict His servant.
2. Job’s reaction
a. First situation (Job 1:20-22)
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
b. Second situation (Job 2:10b)
In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
c. “Job’s response to suffering proved that he believed God to be worthy of worship even when suffering the zenith of emotional and physical pain” (Earley, 27).
3. NOTE: God won the battle! Satan lost!
a. “Maybe some of our suffering has little or nothing to do with us and everything to do with God’s plan to silence Satan’s pride, to shut Satan’s mouth” (Earley, 27).
b. How many times is Satan mentioned in the book of Job after chapter 2? None, zero. Why? He slunk off in embarrassed silence. He was thoroughly silenced by the worthiness of God as seen in the extraordin-ary integrity of Job.
c. “Wow! One little human who suffered so triumphantly had the power to shut the mouth of the prince of darkness! He did not bind the enemy with some well-worded prayer. He did not call down fire from heaven to burn up the enemy. He just remained loyal to God even though bad things were crashing in all around him. He was faithful in spite of a heart broken by grief and a body broken by pain. Job did not realize it at the time, but he was winning an unseen victory. Wow!” (Earley, 28).
II. WE SUFFER TO EXPAND OUR PERSPECTIVE OF GOD
A. When it comes to God, what would be the best thing you or I could obtain? The answer is “an accurate view of the immense size of our infinite God.”
B. Job sometimes seems to have forgotten who he was dealing with. He even asks to speak with God and argue his case (Job. 13:3).
Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.
C. God’s response to Job’s request.
1. For 36 chapters, Job hears nothing from God. Just silence. Pain, and silence. More pain, and silence. Time, pain, and still silence.
2. When God finally speaks, He does not give any explanations to Job (Job 38-41).
a. Question after question is posed to Job about the Creation of God.
b. In the middle of the questioning, God makes a demand of Job (Job 40:1-2).
Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.
c. The questions were designed to reveal the immense gulf between God, the infinite Creator, and Job, the insignificant creation.
D. Job came to understand his littleness and God’s greatness (Job 42:1-6).
Then Job answered the Lord, and said, I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 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. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhoreth myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
1. To our detriment, we too easily forget how big, intelligent, powerful, and good our God is.
2. Possessing a bigger, more accurate view of God is a very valuable gift.
3. Bad things can push us toward God. They can cause us to examine God. We can better understand just how “great” our God really is.
a. Psalm 95:3
For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
b. Psalm 135:5
For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.