PANDEMIC AND PERSEVERANCE
These are my notes for teaching the Cornerstone's online Bible study on April 1, 2020.
We continue in our study of Job, a man who loved God and his family. But this did not spare him from the brutal reality of a post-Edenic world. Bad things happen to good people. Saints suffer. Life hurts.
Job is so relevant to our experience. Here we are in a global pandemic and people are suffering and dying around us. We need a word from God that will help us to stay in faith through it all. This evening's study should provide that.
Let's begin by reading Job 2:1-13.
Based on the passage, I've drawn three observations about our suffering, three conclusions about faith, one application to work on, and one final question.
1. God approved Job, but Satan accused Job.
3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity ..."
4 “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."
God permitted Job to suffer, but Satan caused Job to suffer.
6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.
Satan expected Job's faith to fall, but God expected it to stand.
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman (not referring to intelligence, but to a person who rejects God or his wisdom).
Genuine faith is not based on positive circumstances, but on God's praiseworthiness.
Job's suffering was real and awful. His skin disease tormented him. He despaired of life. Chapter three reveals his mental health slipped and he wanted to die. But Job's faith was not stolen by his dark experience. Satan was wrong. Job's faith was focused on God's praiseworthy character, not on what he could get from God. So many people walk away from Jesus when they don't get what they want from their genie god. Do not develop a shallow circumstantial faith.
Genuine faith endures when all else fails.
Job's health failed. Job's wife failed. God's protection "failed." Cliches failed. Half-truths and misguided theology failed. But Job stayed in faith because his faith was rooted deep enough to stand when surrounded by failure.
Genuine faith does not need all the answers to life's whys.
The rest of the book describes Job's quest for answers, that he never received. But his faith endured.
Enduring, persevering, no-quit faith is possible.
It is a personal, daily, hard-fought choice. Our choice to believe God is holding us and he is worth it. Keep your focus on God's character, not your circumstances. Root yourself deep into God. Psalm 145 helps me to do that. Reviewing the life and ministry of Jesus helps me do that.
What spiritual habits help you stay in faith through hard times?
Bonus question: what beliefs help you stay in faith?
Bonus, bonus question: why did God allow Job to go through all this?