OceanSide church of Christ
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REASONS BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
Victor M. Eskew
A. It is a guarantee that bad things will happen to good people (John 16:33).
…In the world ye shall have tribulation…
B. What really matters is not “why bad things happen,” but how will I respond to these bad things.
C. Job is a beautiful example of how one should respond to the trials, difficulties, and afflictions of life.
I. JOB RESPONDED WITH WORSHIP (Job. 1:20-21)
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 the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
A. “The word here translated as ‘worship’ means to put his face on the ground in humble submission to God’ (21 Reasons, Earley, 169).
B. The word “blessed” means “to speak highly of.”
C. When bad things happen, will we praise or pout? Will we worship or whine?
D. Job knew that God is worthy even when life is rotten. God is worth it, even when life hurts badly.
II. JOB RESPONDED WITHOUT A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT (Job 2:9-10)
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her. Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
A. Entitlement is defined as “the right to guaranteed benefits.”
B. Many live their lives as Christians believing that from the point of their conversion onward they should only receive blessings from God.
C. When bad things happen, they say: “It’s not fair. It’s not right. I deserve better than this.” Job said: …shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
D. “Job did not expect to live a pain-free, trouble-free life. He understood that life is not easy. It’s hard. It’s painful. Sometimes it really hurts. He accepted the reality without a sense of entitlement” (21 Reasons, Earley, 170).
III. JOB RESPONDED WITHOUT SINNING, LOSING HIS INTEGRITY, OR CURSING GOD
A. Three verses confirm this point:
1. Job 1:22
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
2. Job 2:10b
In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
3. Job 2:3
And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job. That there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
1. Hebrew: wholeness, entireness, uprightness, innocence, sincerity
2. It is used in the Psalms as a synonym for blamelessness and righteousness.
3. “Trials did not change him for the worse. He did not get bitter. If anything, he got better” (21 Reasons, Earley, 171).
IV. JOB RESPONDED REFUSING TO GIVE UP ON LIFE OR GOD (Job. 13:15)
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
A. Pain can cause one to want to give up on life.
1. Remember Job’s wife, and her counsel: …curse God, and die (Job. 2:9).
2. Suicide for many is the way that they cope with their pain.
3. Job never threatened to take his own life.
B. Job did not give up on God. He believed in God in spite of his circumstances. He did not believe in God because of his circumstances.
V. JOB RESPONDED WITH QUESTIONS
A. Some of the questions Job asked:
1. Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? (Job 3:11).
2. …why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? (Job 7:20).
3. Wherefore do the wicked live, and become old, yea, are mighty in power? (Job 21:7).
B. “A myth running through Christianity says that good Christians don’t question God. Not so. The presence or absence of questions does not reveal the level of our faith. Real faith wrestles through questions” (21 Reasons, Earley, 172).
VI. JOB RESPONDED WITH GENUINE GRIEF (Job 6:1-3).
But Job answered and said, O that my grief were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.
A. “This is another one of those hurtful Christian myths: Strong Christians do not grieve. That is untrue, as grief is a natural expression of humanity” (21 Reasons, Earley, 173).
B. Failing to grief is a mistake.
VII. JOB RESPONDED WITH PRAYERS FOR OTHERS (Job 42:10)
And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
A. Suffering has an ugly way of making us extremely self-centered.
B. When our affliction make us self-oriented, it wins. But when we use it to be others-oriented, we win. We all win. If you are suffering, use it as motivation to minister to someone else” (21 Reasons, Earley, 174).
VIII. JOB RESPONDED WITH A DESIRE FOR A MEDIATOR (Job 9:33)
Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.
A. Job did not have someone between him and God.
1. Job was afflicted and speaking out.
2. God seemed distant and was silent.
3. Job longed for someone to “judge between” the two. He wanted someone who could understand both points of view and bring them together.
B. We are not without a mediator today (I Tim. 2:5).
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
A. Suffering will not stop until we enter into the heavenly realm (Rev. 21:4).
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
B. Until that time, let’s never forsake God, respond to our afflictions the way Job did, and reap as many of the positives of suffering as we can.
C. Remember: If we forsake God at any point, our eternity will be filled with suffering (Luke 16:22b-23a).
…the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments…