"TRIALS" - JOE ARTHUR
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"When Suffering Strikes" - Job 1-2
Dr. Ernest L. Easley
Today's Sunday School lesson focused on the
cross and the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ! As
Jesus became sin upon that cross . . . He cried out,
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"
And on this Palm Sunday . . . Christians around
the world remember the suffering Jesus went through
so that we might have salvation! That He became
sin so that our sin would be forgiven! That He died
so that might live! Hallelujah what a savior!
The fact that Jesus was forsaken by God the
Father in his suffering is His guarantee that He will
not forsake us in our suffering! Deut 31.8, ". . .He
will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear not
Now as wonderful as that is . . . when suffering
strikes .. you may feel abandoned by God! You may
wonder where God's run off too! You may even
question God's love. You may wonder if God really
Well . . . for a couple of weeks now we've been
thinking under the general heading: Victory Comes
through the Valleys. And I don't know of a more
common valley for us than the valley of suffering!
The rich suffer. The poor suffer. The educated
suffer. The uneducated suffer. The non Christian
suffers. And yes .. even the Christian suffers!
That's what I want to talk to you about this
morning. So lets turn to an expert in suffering. His
suffering is recorded in the Old Testament and the
title of the book bears his name!
Job!! Now Job had learned some things from
prosperity; but he learned much more from his
adversity. So . . . take your Bible and turn please to
the Old Testament book of Job. Once you're there . . .
find the first chapter and the first verse.
It's from the Word of God that I want to show
you what to do . . .
WHEN SUFFERING STRIKES
Now by way of introduction . . . we read about
Job's . . ...
-devotion to God.
Look at verse1. We're told that Job was a man
of great faith. Verse 1, "blameless and upright."
The word translated "blameless" means complete ..
well rounded. Throughout the Old Testament it
But not only blameless . . . the Bible says he was
"upright." In other words he was as straight as an
arrow! Not only was he holy . . . he was honest!
Then we're told in verse 1 that Job "feared
God and shunned evil." Now to "fear God" doesn't
mean that Job stood before God shaking in his boots!
It wasn't that kind of fear. It means that Job
respected God and the things of God. He didn't
mock or ridicule the things of God.
That's why the last phrase of verse 1 says that
he "shunned evil." To "shun evil" means to turn
away from those things that displease God! Here's a
man that was a force for righteousness in his
community because he stayed the course of
righteousness! Friend .. before you can be a force
for righteousness you must stay the course of
righteousness! And how I pray that every member of
First Baptist Church would stay the course of
righteousness so that you would be a force for
That was Job's devotion to God!! And that's
not what Job said about himself . . . that's not what his
mother said about him! That's what God said about
him! That's God's description of Job! Look down to
verse 8, "Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you
considered My servant Job, that there is none like
him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one
who fears God and shuns evil?" What God knows
about you is more important than what others think
about you! You can't fool God! You might be able
to fool others but you cannot fool God!
So there's Job's devotion to God. But next we
read about Job's . . . -possessions from God.
James 1.17, "Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the
Father of lights .."
Job 1.2-3, "And seven sons and three
daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions
were seven thousands sheep, three thousand camels,
five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female
donkeys, and a very large household, so that this
man was the greatest of all the people of the East."
Job was the largest stockholder on Wall Street!
But what impresses me most about Job was not so
much his fortune . . . but his family! For instance
. . .Verse 4 tells us that his children got along with
Verse 4, "Now his sons would go and feast in
their houses, each on his appointed day, and would
send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink
with them." And some of you parents didn't think it
You see . . . because Job was godly father .. he
was a good father! Look at verse 5, "So it was,
when the days of feasting had run their course, that
Job would send and sanctify them . . ."
To "sanctify them" means he set them apart . . .
he dedicated them to the Lord! I believe what Job
practiced when his children were small he continued
when they were grown! And may I say to every
parent here today that the greatest thing you can do
for your children is to be concerned about their
I know some parents that are more concerned
about their children's social development than their
Now . . . their social development is important!
But a wise parent will have concern for the spiritual
welfare of their sons and daughters!
So here is a man sold out to God! His life
pointed those around him to God! He pointed his
children to God and his faith became their faith!
There wasn't a phony bone in him! He was for real!
He was good and godly! And yet .. we're about to
read how he went from riches to rags! He lost his
wealth and his health! He went from a billionaire to
a bum! Job lost everything!
He lost his farm . . . his fortune . . . his family . . .
yet he never lost his faith and he cried out, "Naked I
came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I
return there. The Lord have, and the Lord has
taken away; Blessed by the name of the Lord" (1.21)
Let's begin reading in chapter 1.6-12 . . .
now in this dialogue between Satan and the Lord . . .
Satan asks in verse 9, "Does Job fear God for
nothing?" Now what's he saying to God? Well ..
he's saying this: "Job is good and godly because of
what he's getting out of it. No wonder Job is
blameless and upright! Look what he's getting out
of it! Now . . . you take those things away and Job
will curse you to your face!
Let me ask you a question: are you here
worshipping God today because of what you can get
out of it .. because of God's blessings or are you
worshipping God because He's God? Is God worthy
of worship because of who He is or because He
bribes you by giving us good things? Are you
serving Him because He's worthy or because of what
you'll get out of it? Do you love God for what God's
done for you or do you just love God?
Well . . . that's the charge Satan brought to God
regarding Job. Satan said that if all the blessings
were removed from Job .. that Job would curse God
rather than bless Him!
And so we read in verse 12, "So the Lord
said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your
power; only do not lay a hand on his person." And
keep in mind that Job didn't know what has
happening! He didn't know about this conversation
between Satan and God!
So here's Satan getting permission from God to
attack Job. And may I tell you that the Devil and all
his demons cannot touch you without permission
from God! Psalm 34.7, "The angel of the Lord
encamps all around those who fear Him, and
I heard about a mother who was exasperated
with her five year old son who had been giving her
trouble all afternoon. She said to him, "Would you
please straighten up and be good?" He said, "I will
if you will give me $5.00." She looked at him and
said, "Why can't you be good for nothing like your
That's the reason Satan attacked Job! To prove
once and for all that people like Job were not good
So .. once Satan got permission from God the
suffering began with four assaults. One right after
The First attack is recorded in Verse 13-15!
The second attack is recorded in Verse 16!
The third attack is recorded in Verse 17!
The fourth attack is recorded in Verses 18-19
You talk about a bad day! Job quickly
slid into the valley of suffering! Blow by blow! And
in one day he lost it all! And it that wasn't bad
enough . . . as you continue reading in chapter 2 you
find that Job also lost his health! Not only his wealth
but his health!
Job 2.4-10 .. He lost his property .. his family
. . . and his health! Now . . . what can we learn from
the sufferings of Job? In our time remaining . . . let's
find out what to do when suffering strikes. First
comes . . .
(1) THE EXAMINATION OF OUR SELF.
When you examine yourself . . . you'll
sometimes find that the reason for suffering is . . .
When suffering strikes . . . examine yourself for
sometimes we bring on the suffering ourselves!
That's what happened with Jonah! He suffered
because he chose to rebel against the Word of God!
There are times we bring suffering into our lives
because of our choices! If you smoke for years ..
chances are you'll suffer from emphysema or cancer.
If you participate in sexual relationships outside of
your marriage partner .. chances are you may suffer
from herpes or AIDS.
I'm saying that when suffering strikes . . .
examine your self! You make sure you're right with
God and if you're not . . . repent and get right!
That's one source of suffering: your choices.
Still another source of suffering is for . . .
Believe it or not .. there are times you need to
suffer. Now you say, "I don't need suffering." Oh
yes you do and I'll tell you why! For correction! For
disciplene! That is . . . to get you back in line with the
will of God!
Proverbs 3.12, "The Lord disciplines those
He loves, as a father the son he delights in." If you
belong to Him don't think you can sow wild oats six
days a week and then come here on Sunday and pray
for crop failure! When you sin against God you can
expect to spend some time in the wood shed with
You see . . . some times suffering comes from
God to bring out the best in you. Other times
suffering comes from Satan to bring out the worst in
you. So when suffering strikes ..the place to begin is
the examination of your self! Use it as an
opportunity to make sure you're right with God!
(1) THE EXAMINIATION OF YOUR SELF.
(2) THE DEDICATION OF YOUR SERVICE.
God uses suffering to make you more like
Jesus! He uses suffering to teach you to depend more
upon Him. When suffering strikes . . . keep in mind
that God uses it to chip away those things in your life
that doesn't look like Him!
2 Corinthians 1.3-7 . . . When suffering
strikes .. don't waste it! How you respond to it
determines if God can use you to minister to others!
Suffering allows your service to others to broaden!!
Matthew 10.27, "Whatever I tell you in the
dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the
ear, preach on the housetops."
Edith Schaeffer, "No one can really
comfort anyone else unless there has been a
measure of the same kind of affliction or some kind
of suffering which has been brought about an
understanding and in which we have ourselves
experienced the Lord's comfort."
God wants to use your suffering to broaden
your ministry! Yes .. some suffering comes from
Satan. Still other suffering comes from Sin. But
there is some suffering that comes from God. But far
more important than the source of suffering is how
you choose to respond to it and I'll tell you why:
suffering is God's most effective tool for deepening
your faith and commitment to Him!
In Dave Dravecky's book , "Do Not Lose
Heart" . . . he tells about a lady suffering from
terminal cancer. Here's what she said to him, "The
one thing that gets me through this as I lie here in
my hospital bed is knowing every morning that, if
God once more allows me to open my eyes, the first
thing I'll see is a picture of Jesus hanging on my
wall at the foot of my bed. When I see that picture
of Jesus, somehow I get the strength to make it
through another day."
Friend .. the way to get through the valleys is by
looking to Jesus!