As long as mankind has existed there
has been suffering. Because of sin in the world some suffering is
understandable. But what about the innocent, the saints. Every year
17,000,000 people starve to death on planet earth. That comes to 60,000 people
each day. The vast majority are children. Why do they likewise suffer?
This is a constant question and it deserves an answer. Let us look at Job’s saga of suffering and, from it, discern a portrait of patience. This portrait is only discernable when we see the secret of suffering through God’s great sovereignty.
God is revealed through four of His Divine names in this book. One of these names provides the key to our understanding of suffering. That name is His Name EL-SHADDAI: “The God who is ENOUGH”. He is the Almighty, the All Sufficient One. Of the 84 times this word is in the Scriptures, 43 times they are here in Job!
1. We can relate to suffering
In the loss of loved ones: parents, children, mates, friends, fellow workers
In the loss of needed things: job, marriage, dreams, money, health, home, security
2. We can react to Suffering
Unbiblical = shock, denial, panic, anger, despair, bitterness, resentment
Biblical = accepting, submitting, trusting, growing
3. We can recognize and respond to suffering from one of two perspectives. These show our growth or lack thereof:
Horizontal or human basis of response is characterized by: a strictly selfish desire to be in control so we can be satisfied and pleased with what we have done.
Vertical or Divine basis for our response means we give up our own way for God’s and try to see beyond the pain to His greater
4. Three Lingering Lessons Learned from Job the Seasoned Sufferer:
should be our goal in life not happiness, comfort or satisfaction.
Job 5:17-21 Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. 21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. (KJV)
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (KJV)
2 Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (KJV)
Following God usually entails losing precious possessions and suffering pain for His sake.
Job 23:8-14 Behold, I go forward, but he [is] not [there]; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: 9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold [him]: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see [him]: 10 But he knoweth the way that I take:
he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary [food]. 13 But he [is] in one [mind], and who can turn him? and
his soul desireth, even [that] he doeth. 14 For he performeth [the thing
that is] appointed for me: and many such [things are] with him. (KJV)
1 Thessalonians 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. (KJV)
Trusting God turns present “losses” into future “gains”.
Job 42:10-17 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. 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. 15 And in all the land were no women found
fair as the daughters of Job: and
their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 16 After this lived
Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, [even]
four generations. 17 So Job died, [being] old and full of days. (KJV)
Psalm 119:75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments [are] right, and [that] thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (KJV)
From an overview of Job we can see suffering from five perspectives:
1. To Make us Aware of the Battle[COSMOLOGICAL VIEW] in the Prologue chapters 1-2.
A. Satan’s Challenge strikes deeply, rapidly and unexpectedly. The possibility of recovery seemed hopeless.
He has power over the NATIONS Job 1:13-15 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 “when the Sabeans raided [them] and took them away — indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” (NKJV) [Sabeans were wandering Bedouins from around Uz], Job 1:17 While he [was] still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” (NKJV) [Chaldeans were nomadic marauders].
He has power over NATURE Job 1:16-19 While he [was] still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 17 While he [was] still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 18 While he [was] still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 “and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” (NKJV) as his ten sons and daughters were killed by a tornado.
He has power over NATURAL MAN Job 2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (NKJV)
B. Satan’s Origin
Satan is our Adversary – as the Devil he slanders
His Origin Isaiah 14:12-14 ” How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [How] you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (NKJV) and Ezekiel 28:12-15 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “You [were] the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone
your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 “You [were] the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You
perfect in your ways from the day
you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. (NKJV)
His Defeat is noted in Ephesians 6 two keys: word and prayer
He is a lion I Peter 5.8-9 How long is your sword?
C. God’s confidence
As to Job’s Testimony Job 1:8
– UPWARD = blameless and upright
– INWARD = a man who fear God
– OUTWARD = and shuns evil
As to Job’s trials Job 1:20-22
– He Worships God in woe v. 20. Before any response, he arose, prepared himself, and WORSHIPED!
– He Praises God in Pain v. 21
2. To Make us Aware of Sin [RATIONAL VIEW] recorded in the words of Job’s three friends in chapters 3-31. Suffering is the result of sin in ones life [4.7-9; 8.20]
A. The five results of Sin
Sin cuts off communication with GodPsalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]: (KJV)
Sin grieves God the Holy spirit Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (KJV)
Sin Sickens unrepentant saints1 Corinthians 11:27-30 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (KJV)
Sin Invites the Discipline of God.Hebrews 12:5-6 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (KJV)
Sin Leads to death in persistently sinning saints.Revelation 2:22-23 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (KJV)
B. Submission and confession produces restoration [22.21-30]
C. These men were wrong in their application but right in their theology.
To Make us AWARE of the Brevity of LIFE [EXISTENTIAL VIEW] recorded in
the words of Job in chapters 3-31
A. Demonstrated [13.1-26] as he questions why he ever was born
B. Discounted [19.23-27] as he affirms his relationship to God
C. Defeated To Give us Victory over the Brevity of LIFE
ILLUSTRATED in Life
U-Haul and three piles – shall I save, sell, throw?
DESCRIBED in the Word
Job 4:19-21 How much less [in] them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation [is] in the dust, [which] are crushed before the moth? 20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding [it]. 21 Doth not their excellency [which is] in them go away? they die, even without wisdom. (KJV)
Job 7:6-10 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope. 7 O remember that my life [is] wind: mine eye shall no more see good. 8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no [more]: thine eyes
upon me, and I
not. 9 [As] the cloud is consumed
and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no [more].
10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any
Job 8:9 (For we [are but of] yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth [are] a shadow:) (KJV)
Job 9:25-26 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good. 26 They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle [that] hasteth to the prey. (KJV)
Job 10:9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? (KJV) Job 10:20-21 [Are] not my days few? cease [then, and] let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, 21 Before I go [whence] I shall not return, [even] to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; (KJV)
Job 13:12 Your remembrances [are] like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay. (KJV) Job 13:25-28 Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? 26 For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. 27 Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. 28 And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten. (KJV)
Job 14:1-2 Man
born of a woman [is] of few days,
and full of trouble. 2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he
fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. (KJV)
Job 17:1 My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves [are ready] for me. (KJV)
Psalm 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust. (KJV)
Psalm 78:39 For he remembered that they [were but] flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. (KJV)
James 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. (KJV)
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (KJV)
4. To Make us AWARE of the need to be Purged of our Sins [PRACTICAL VIEW]recorded in the words of Elihu in chapters 32-37
A. Suffering Purifies Life [33.26; Rom 5.3; Js 1.2-5]
B. Suffering Produces Humility [35.10-12; 37.24; Heb 12.6-11]
5. To produce Confident Trust and Dependence upon El-Shaddai who is in Control [THEOLOGICAL VIEW] recorded in chapters 38-42. God is Creator and Controller
A. What God doesn’t say: blame Satan, apologize for Job’s pain, praise his friends for their help Psalm 119.75
B. What God does say is:
– His purposes are beyond Man as seen in Creation and Creatures [38-39]
– God is the judge of what is right [40-41]
– God honors loyalty in one’s relationship to Him 
Three Eternal Truths when facing Suffering:
1. BUY GOLD [Focus on WORK IN Christ’s CHURCH].1 Corinthians 3:10-17According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are. (KJV)
2. BUY TIME [Walk in the Spirit and Focus on Christ ]. Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (KJV)
3. BUY FIREPROOF [Focus on the End].
2 Peter 3:10-11 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, (KJV)
2 Corinthians 5:9-11 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in
body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences. (KJV)
Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
1970), p. 35.
2. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), p. 35.
3. Scofield says that there is no revelation in this book, just accurately recorded words of Solomon.
4. Swindoll, Flying Closer, p. 37-39.