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Sabbath School Lessons on Job
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 40 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 11: Out of the Whirlwind *
Introduction: We know the arguments, right? Job's friends argue the
normal rule: that disobedience brings problems and obedience brings
blessings. Job must have disobeyed because he has lots of problems.
Job counters with his claim to be righteous and undeserving of what
he is suffering. An injustice has been done to him and he wants God
to give him a hearing so that he can address the charges against him.
As an audience to the true facts, we can say that both sides have
truth on their side. The friends are right about the normal rules,
and Job is right about his righteousness. This week, God enters the
picture. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and listen to what
God has to say!
- God's Charges
- Read Job 38:1-3. What is the good news in this message
from God? (It sounds like Job is going to get the hearing
that he has been demanding.)
- God says that Job "darkens" the counsel God receives
with "words without knowledge." I thought we decided
that Job was right about being a righteous man. Since
God has to be right, what is God talking about? (Job
does not know the full story.)
- How does Job "darken" the conversation? (Light
exposes, darkness covers. Job brings misunderstanding
to the table, thus his views confuse (darken) the
- God answers "out of the storm." Describe how you
think the situation felt to Job? (Recall that a wind
killed Job's children. Job 1:18-19.)
- Read Job 38:4-7 and Job 39:19-20. What is the answer to
God's questions? (No. Job did not create the earth or any
of the animals.)
- I've just pulled some sample questions from chapters
38 and 39. The rest of God's questions are along the
same lines. If you were Job's lawyer, and this was a
real hearing, what would you say? (I would object on
the basis of relevancy. The hearing Job requested was
to have the charges against him announced so that he
could answer. These questions deal with Job's
competency in life.)
- Read Job 40:1-2. If you were God's lawyer, how would you
respond to the relevancy objection? What does this
question suggest about God's response? (Job's demand for a
hearing has a false assumption. That assumption is that
God has a legal obligation to answer to Job. God's
questions challenge this assumption. Who is Job to
question God? How is a human competent to challenge the
Almighty? "Will the one who contends with the Almighty
- Job's Answer to God's Cross-Examination
- Read Job 40:3-5. What do you think about Job's answer? He
has been demanding that the charges against him be stated.
How does this fit Job's prior position? (Job has withdrawn
his demand for a hearing. He realizes that he is unworthy
to demand an accounting from God.)
- Is this a lesson for us today? When we are tempted to
say that God is unfair or unjust, should we just put
our hands over our mouth and be quiet?
- The Genesis account of the Creation and the
Fall show that God gave humans free choice. We
can reject God. Is our God-given free choice
consistent with the idea that when God seems to
be letting us down, we should just cover our
mouth and be quiet?
- Read Job 40:8. Have you heard this before? (Read Job 8:1-3, Job 34:5 and Job 34:12. If the friends are listening to
God's cross-examination, they are probably yelling, "Go
God! This is precisely what we have been saying to Job.")
- Read Job 40:11-14. I want to focus on verse 14. When we
sin, who are we offending? (In Psalms 51:3-4 David says
"Against You, You only, have I sinned." We may injure
others with our sins, but sin is against God alone.)
- When God says in Job 40:11-14 that He can crush the
wicked and the proud man, it makes sense that He
would do this because of our sin against Him. What is
the lesson of Job 40:14? (Righteousness by faith.
Like Job, we cannot face God. Our "right hand" can
never save us. Our only hope is in what Jesus has
done for us.)
- Read Job 41:11. What does God say to the view that God has
an obligation of some sort to humans?
- God's argument so far has been about power and
authority. Clearly, God has it. Should power have to
answer for injustice? Job's claim is that he is
- Job's Conclusion
- Read Job 42:1-3. My guess is that almost everyone answered
the prior question with "Yes, power should answer for
injustice." What answer would Job give now? (Just like it
is generally true that right works bring blessings and bad
works bring trouble, so it is generally true that power
and authority should be just. However, in this specific
situation, Job says "I did not understand." How can we
call God to account when we do not know all of the facts?)
- Read Job 42:4-6. What causes Job to say, "I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes?" (Job encounters the God of
- Does God have to answer to our standards? (No. God
says that He created everything. He is not like some
powerful human authority. He literally created and
owns everything. He has no liability to humans. He
does not need to explain Himself.)
- If you agree that God does not need to explain
Himself to us, how do you account for Job 1 & 2? Why
does God reveal to us the entire story? (Because God
loves us. Since He loves us, He wants us to be
satisfied with His decisions. He has no obligation to
us, but out of love He gives us an explanation.)
- The Friends
- Re-read Job 42:6. What do you think Job's friends are
thinking at this point? (They are no doubt feeling pretty
vindicated by what God has said. Turns out they were
right, and Job has now repented.)
- Read Job 42:7-8. What a turn around! Now, who is right?
(God says the friends "have not spoken of Me what is
right, as my servant Job has." Thus, Job is closer to the
truth then the friends.)
- How can this be true since Job repented ( Job 42:6)?
Worse, God started out in our study saying that Job
was "darkening" God's counsel "with words without
knowledge" ( Job 38:2). How do you explain this? (Two
things. First, Job is under duress and this causes
people to say things they might not otherwise say.
The friends are under no duress and they are not
being very charitable. Second, Job is right that he
is a righteous man who does not deserve what happened
to him. While the friends are speaking general truth,
the general rule does not always apply. They
misrepresent God when they assume that difficulties
in life will invariable reflect disobedience to God.)
- Read Hebrews 11:35-38. If you read the context of these
verses, you will see that some heroes of faith suffered
horrible things. In what way are they like Job? How should
this affect our view of the general rule?
- Re-read Job 42:7. How many friends does God address?
(Eliphaz and his two friends, Bildad and Zophar.)
- How many friends were arguing with Job? (Read Job
2:11 and Job 32:1-4. In addition to the original
three, we spent an entire lesson on Elihu's angry
argument against Job.)
- Why does God not condemn Elihu or require him to ask Job
to pray for him? (When we studied Elihu's statements last
week, we saw that some of them were the same as made by
the three older friends. But, some were not. For example,
in Job 32:8-9 and Job 32:18-19 Elihu claims that the Holy
Spirit is speaking through him. We did not previously read
all of Elihu's argument, but in Job 36:22-23 Elihu argues
that humans are in no position to charge God with
wrongdoing. If you skim over Job 36:26-37:24, you will see
that Elihu makes the same "God is God and you are not"
argument that God makes in the next chapter. On important
points Elihu anticipates what God will say, and I think
that is why he is not condemned.)
- Friend, I think the lesson for us is that we need to be
slow to condemn others when we use logical deduction,
rather than observation of actual sin. Elihu teaches us
that an excellent way to vindicate God's character is to
focus on His glory, rather than focus on the sinfulness of
humans. Will you reconsider how you deal with apparent sin
in the lives of others?
- Next week: Job's Redeemer.
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.