Bible Study: July 23, 2017
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passages: Job 9:27-35
Discussion Questions: How do you view suffering in others and in your life? God has not left anything half done. You are a work in progress. How has God used suffering to complete His work in you?
Food for Thought:
We live in a real world with real hurts. Many people have experienced financial setbacks. Others have suffered the grief of losing a child, spouse or other loved one. Some are in the midst of major health issues. Still others may feel their spouses don't understand them, or the friends they thought they could count on the most let them down. Pain is real and ignoring it will not make it vanish magically. The pain is still there. There are Christians who pretend that things are fine when in fact they are hurting. But doing so could actually hurt their witness to others.
Sunday after Sunday, Christians ask one another how they are doing. The somewhat automatic response seems to be "fine," but in reality we are not always fine. Lying about or ignoring our problems has become commonplace. And just about everyone seems to be doing it! Are you trying to fool those around you into believing that everything is fine, OK or even great? What are you trying to hide?
As Christians, we also tend to want answers when answers are not always available. Job was no different. This lesson challenges every believer to realize that all issues surrounding suffering are not always straightforward.
In Job 9, Job came to the conclusion that he could not will his problem away. His predicament seemed to become more hopeless by the minute. He felt hopeless. He felt that he was blameless. He rationalized in his mind that God had already placed judgment on him. Job felt that if God was against him, nothing else mattered. And although he could pretend to be happy and positive, this still would not hide his pain. A happy face does not equal a happy heart.
In verses 32-33, Job says that God is not on his level. God is limitless and man is limited. God is independent and man is dependent. Job sees God as big and powerful, but concludes that He can't help: "I'm out here by myself." In his great losses and suffering, Job cried out for a mediator to stand between him and God, someone to arbitrate between him and God. He desired an officer of the court, an advocate, arbitrator, umpire or a referee who could see the Lord's side as well as his side. He wanted someone to fight for him and who would go to bat for him. Job wanted someone in his corner who would speak about his innocence.
Today, we too have a lawyer, a friend and a mediator who loves us and fights on our behalf. His name is Jesus.
Today's lesson asks the question, "What did I do wrong?" When evaluating the source of our suffering, it's important to note that it does not mean that it's because of wrongdoing on our part. In fact, a suffering person does not necessarily equal a sinful person. Sometimes God allows us to suffer not because of sin but because He is trying to have us to rely on Him completely. He allows suffering to demonstrate that in His sovereignty He receives glory, even when His people suffer and persevere in faith without understanding why. Peter also tells us that God can use this time to "restore, establish, strengthen and support" (1 Peter 5:10). Everyone does not suffer for the same reason. It is also important for us not to attribute a fellow believer's suffering to sin.
In a shifting cultural context, it's more important than ever before that people connect, grow, serve, and go in their Christian life. YOU is committed to doing just that by providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multicultural lens that provides relevant, engaging, and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals, and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.