Job And His Three Friends Job 2:11-32:1

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1 Lesson 138 Job And His Three Friends Job 2:11-32:1

2 MEMORY VERSE JOB 19:25 "For I know that m y Redeem er liv es, and He shall stand at last on the earth. " WHAT YOU WILL NEED: Black construction paper cut into 2 x 8 strips, white or yellow construction paper cut into 1 x 6 strips, markers, several small pebbles (aquarium pebbles), small 2 twigs, and clear contact paper. ATTENTION GETTER! Memory Game Have the children sit in a circle. Allow them to tell their name and something special about themselves, such as their favorite animal. As you go around the circle, each child must say what is special about each person who has already spoken as well as what is special about him or herself. Keep going around the room until the last person can name all of the special things about everyone in the room. This game will help your class to get to know one another better and develop friendships. LESSON TIME! Job, a righteous man, was put to quite a test. He lost family, possessions, and even his health. Satan had determined evil upon Job, yet not without God s permission. God remained in control of the events and circumstances of Job s life. Job did not know the reason for his suffering, yet he continued to trust God.

3 In today s lesson, three friends offer their support ( comfort and counsel ) to Job Bildad, Zophar Eliphaz. How would they deal with this difficult question: Why is Job suffering? Job declared his innocence to his friends. How would they respond? Bildad and Eliphaz each speak three times; Zophar speaks twice. Each time Job answers back to their statements, arguments, and accusations. These three men argue from the same basic perspective: Suffering is punishment for sin. Job is suffering greatly; therefore, Job must be a great sinner. This was not a small accusation to bear, especially by one whose world had been turned upside down. Job s answers defend his relationship with God and show an understanding of God. Though he could not account for his circumstances, he continued to trust in God. We can trust God even when our friends judge us wrongfully. J O B 18:1-12, 21 T h e n B i l d ad t h e S h u h i t e an s w e r e d an d s ai d : " H o w l o n g t i l l y o u p u t an e n d t o w o r d s? G ai n u n d e r s t an d i n g, an d af t e r w ar d w e w i l l s p e ak. Wh y ar e w e c o u n t e d as be as t s, An d r e gar d e d as s t u p i d i n y o u r s i gh t? Y o u w h o t e ar y o u r s e l f i n an ge r, S h al l t h e e ar t h be f o r s ak e n f o r y o u? O r s h al l t h e r o c k be r e m o v e d f r o m i t s p l ac e? " T h e l i gh t o f t h e w i c k e d i n d e e d go e s o u t, An d t h e f l am e o f h i s f i r e d o e s n o t s h i n e. T h e l i gh t i s d ar k i n h i s t e n t, An d h i s l am p be s i d e h i m i s p u t o u t.

4 T h e s t e p s o f h i s s t r e n gt h ar e s h o r t e n e d, An d h i s o w n c o u n s e l c as t s h i m d o w n. F o r h e i s c as t i n t o a n e t by h i s o w n f e e t, An d h e w al k s i n t o a s n ar e. T h e n e t t ak e s h i m by t h e h e e l, An d a s n ar e l ay s h o l d o f h i m. A n o o s e i s h i d d e n f o r h i m o n t h e gr o u n d, An d a t r ap f o r h i m i n t h e r o ad. T e r r o r s f r i gh t e n h i m o n e v e r y s i d e, An d d r i v e h i m t o h i s f e e t. H i s s t r e n gt h i s s t ar v e d, An d d e s t r u c t i o n i s r e ad y at h i s s i d e. S u r e l y s u c h ar e t h e d w e l l i n gs o f t h e w i c k e d, An d t h i s i s t h e p l ac e o f h i m w h o d o e s n o t k n o w G o d. " What attitude is revealed by Bildad s words toward Job? He certainly does not affirm Job s declaration of innocence. The name Bildad means son of contention. He charges Job with godlessness (Job 8:13). One of his main contentions is that God never twists justice (Job 8:3). Be careful! Sometimes, we need more information before we decide someone is guilty of sin! In this speech he was giving a lot of dark descriptions of the wicked man s fate. Why was he saying all of this to Job? The problem with Bildad was not that he was wrong in his descriptions, but that he was warning the wrong man! Let s see what Job says.

5 J O B 19:1-8, 14-21, T h e n J o b an s w e r e d an d s ai d : " H o w l o n g w i l l y o u t o r m e n t m y s o u l, An d br e ak m e i n p i e c e s w i t h w o r d s? T h e s e t e n t i m e s y o u h av e r e p r o ac h e d m e ; Y o u ar e n o t as h am e d t h at y o u h av e w r o n ge d m e. An d i f i n d e e d I h av e e r r e d, M y e r r o r r e m ai n s w i t h m e. I f i n d e e d y o u e x al t y o u r s e l v e s agai n s t m e, An d p l e ad m y d i s gr ac e agai n s t m e, Kn o w t h e n t h at G o d h as w r o n ge d m e, An d h as s u r r o u n d e d m e w i t h H i s n e t. " I f I c r y o u t c o n c e r n i n g w r o n g, I am n o t h e ar d. I f I c r y al o u d, t h e r e i s n o j u s t i c e. H e h as f e n c e d u p m y w ay, s o t h at I c an n o t p as s ; An d H e h as s e t d ar k n e s s i n m y p at h s. Ve r s e s M y r e l at i v e s h av e f ai l e d, An d m y c l o s e f r i e n d s h av e f o r go t t e n m e. T h o s e w h o d w e l l i n m y h o u s e, an d m y m ai d s e r v an t s, C o u n t m e as a s t r an ge r ; I am an al i e n i n t h e i r s i gh t. I c al l m y s e r v an t, bu t h e gi v e s n o an s w e r ; I be g h i m w i t h m y m o u t h.

6 M y br e at h i s o f f e n s i v e t o m y w i f e, An d I am r e p u l s i v e t o t h e c h i l d r e n o f m y o w n bo d y. Ev e n y o u n g c h i l d r e n d e s p i s e m e ; I ar i s e, an d t h e y s p e ak agai n s t m e. Al l m y c l o s e f r i e n d s abh o r m e, An d t h o s e w h o m I l o v e h av e t u r n e d agai n s t m e. M y bo n e c l i n gs t o m y s k i n an d t o m y f l e s h, An d I h av e e s c ap e d by t h e s k i n o f m y t e e t h. " H av e p i t y o n m e, h av e p i t y o n m e, O y o u m y f r i e n d s, F o r t h e h an d o f G o d h as s t r u c k m e! Ve r s e s F o r I k n o w t h at m y R e d e e m e r l i v e s, An d H e s h al l s t an d at l as t o n t h e e ar t h ; An d af t e r m y s k i n i s d e s t r o y e d, t h i s I k n o w, T h at i n m y f l e s h I s h al l s e e G o d, Wh o m I s h al l s e e f o r m y s e l f, An d m y e y e s s h al l be h o l d, an d n o t an o t h e r. H o w m y h e ar t y e ar n s w i t h i n m e! Job appeals to his friends to have compassion. No one wanted to be around him. It seemed there was nothing in his life to be happy about. Could things have gotten much worse? He knows God has allowed these bad circumstances and feels wronged ; yet he does not curse God.

7 Though he does not understand the reason for his circumstances, what he does understand is very significant. He understands there is a Redeemer that in the end will stand on the earth. He understands that he himself will live again after his death. He goes from the valley of despair to the peak of hope because of his faith in a God that he cannot see, nor fully understand. His heart yearns for God and trusts God even though he cannot account for his circumstances. J O B 20:1-11, 21 T h e n Z o p h ar t h e N aam at h i t e an s w e r e d an d s ai d : " T h e r e f o r e m y an x i o u s t h o u gh t s m ak e m e an s w e r, B e c au s e o f t h e t u r m o i l w i t h i n m e. I h av e h e ar d t h e r e bu k e t h at r e p r o ac h e s m e, An d t h e s p i r i t o f m y u n d e r s t an d i n g c au s e s m e t o an s w e r. " D o y o u n o t k n o w t h i s o f o l d, S i n c e m an w as p l ac e d o n e ar t h, T h at t h e t r i u m p h i n g o f t h e w i c k e d i s s h o r t, An d t h e j o y o f t h e h y p o c r i t e i s bu t f o r a m o m e n t? T h o u gh h i s h au gh t i n e s s m o u n t s u p t o t h e h e av e n s, An d h i s h e ad r e ac h e s t o t h e c l o u d s, Y e t h e w i l l p e r i s h f o r e v e r l i k e h i s o w n r e f u s e ; T h o s e w h o h av e s e e n h i m w i l l s ay, ' Wh e r e i s h e?' H e w i l l f l y aw ay l i k e a d r e am, an d n o t be f o u n d ; Y e s, h e w i l l be c h as e d aw ay l i k e a v i s i o n o f t h e n i gh t. T h e e y e t h at s aw h i m w i l l s e e h i m n o m o r e, N o r w i l l h i s p l ac e be h o l d h i m an y m o r e.

8 H i s c h i l d r e n w i l l s e e k t h e f av o r o f t h e p o o r, An d h i s h an d s w i l l r e s t o r e h i s w e al t h. H i s bo n e s ar e f u l l o f h i s y o u t h f u l v i go r, B u t i t w i l l l i e d o w n w i t h h i m i n t h e d u s t. N o t h i n g i s l e f t f o r h i m t o e at ; T h e r e f o r e h i s w e l l - be i n g w i l l n o t l as t. The name Zophar means hairy or rough. He speaks very bluntly, sometimes displaying a holier-than-thou attitude. In his first speech, he charges Job with boasting (Job 11:26); he calls Job a witless man and rebukes his idle talk. One of his main contentions is that God knows iniquity when He sees it (Job 11:11). In this second speech, he again seemed certain that Job only imagined his innocence. He, as did the others, talks about the fate of evildoers, inferring Job needed to repent and turn from his evil doing. How does Job answer? J O B 21:1-3, 7-15, T h e n J o b an s w e r e d an d s ai d : " L i s t e n c ar e f u l l y t o m y s p e e c h, An d l e t t h i s be y o u r c o n s o l at i o n. B e ar w i t h m e t h at I m ay s p e ak, An d af t e r I h av e s p o k e n, k e e p m o c k i n g. Wh y d o t h e w i c k e d l i v e an d be c o m e o l d, Y e s, be c o m e m i gh t y i n p o w e r? T h e i r d e s c e n d an t s ar e e s t abl i s h e d w i t h t h e m i n t h e i r s i gh t, An d t h e i r o f f s p r i n g be f o r e t h e i r e y e s.

9 T h e i r h o u s e s ar e s af e f r o m f e ar, N e i t h e r i s t h e r o d o f G o d u p o n t h e m. T h e i r bu l l br e e d s w i t h o u t f ai l u r e ; T h e i r c o w c al v e s w i t h o u t m i s c ar r i age. T h e y s e n d f o r t h t h e i r l i t t l e o n e s l i k e a f l o c k, An d t h e i r c h i l d r e n d an c e. T h e y s i n g t o t h e t am bo u r i n e an d h ar p, An d r e j o i c e t o t h e s o u n d o f t h e f l u t e. T h e y s p e n d t h e i r d ay s i n w e al t h, An d i n a m o m e n t go d o w n t o t h e gr av e. Y e t t h e y s ay t o G o d, ' D e p ar t f r o m u s, F o r w e d o n o t d e s i r e t h e k n o w l e d ge o f Y o u r w ay s. Wh o i s t h e Al m i gh t y, t h at w e s h o u l d s e r v e H i m? An d w h at p r o f i t d o w e h av e i f w e p r ay t o H i m?' " H o w o f t e n i s t h e l am p o f t h e w i c k e d p u t o u t? H o w o f t e n d o e s t h e i r d e s t r u c t i o n c o m e u p o n t h e m, T h e s o r r o w s G o d d i s t r i bu t e s i n H i s an ge r? T h e y ar e l i k e s t r aw be f o r e t h e w i n d, An d l i k e c h af f t h at a s t o r m c ar r i e s aw ay. T h e y s ay, ' G o d l ay s u p o n e ' s i n i qu i t y f o r h i s c h i l d r e n ' ; L e t H i m r e c o m p e n s e h i m, t h at h e m ay k n o w i t. L e t h i s e y e s s e e h i s d e s t r u c t i o n, An d l e t h i m d r i n k o f t h e w r at h o f t h e Al m i gh t y.

10 F o r w h at d o e s h e c ar e abo u t h i s h o u s e h o l d af t e r h i m, Wh e n t h e n u m be r o f h i s m o n t h s i s c u t i n h al f? Job used logic to show that their major argument all suffering is the punishment of sin--does not hold up well. In verses 17-21, Job asks, How often are the wicked judged? He had observed many people being wicked, yet few had been judged for their wickedness. Job knew there must be a deeper meaning and purpose for suffering. Though Job did not know what that deeper meaning and purpose was, he continued to trust God. Next, Eliphaz evaluated the situation. J O B 22:4-5, " I s i t be c au s e o f y o u r f e ar o f H i m t h at H e c o r r e c t s y o u, An d e n t e r s i n t o j u d gm e n t w i t h y o u? I s n o t y o u r w i c k e d n e s s gr e at, An d y o u r i n i qu i t y w i t h o u t e n d? " N o w ac qu ai n t y o u r s e l f w i t h H i m, an d be at p e ac e ; T h e r e by go o d w i l l c o m e t o y o u. R e c e i v e, p l e as e, i n s t r u c t i o n f r o m H i s m o u t h, An d l ay u p H i s w o r d s i n y o u r h e ar t. I f y o u r e t u r n t o t h e Al m i gh t y, y o u w i l l be bu i l t u p ; Y o u w i l l r e m o v e i n i qu i t y f ar f r o m y o u r t e n t s. T h e n y o u w i l l l ay y o u r go l d i n t h e d u s t, An d t h e go l d o f O p h i r am o n g t h e s t o n e s o f t h e br o o k s. Y e s, t h e Al m i gh t y w i l l be y o u r go l d An d y o u r p r e c i o u s s i l v e r ;

11 F o r t h e n y o u w i l l h av e y o u r d e l i gh t i n t h e Al m i gh t y, An d l i f t u p y o u r f ac e t o G o d. Y o u w i l l m ak e y o u r p r ay e r t o H i m, H e w i l l h e ar y o u, An d y o u w i l l p ay y o u r v o w s. " This is the third speech of Eliphaz. The name Eliphaz has two possible meanings: God is dispenser, or God is fine gold. Eliphaz acts as lead spokesman as well as the scientist of the group. His speeches show clearer reasoning and more considerate criticism than those of the other two friends do. He is seen to be noble, sincere and wise. His main arguments are that God is perfectly pure and righteous (Job 4:17) and that man brings trouble on himself (Job 5:7). Though, he does not know what evil Job has committed, he accuses him of evil. For the second time, he urges Job to turn back to God, to repent, to submit to God and be at peace with God. Can you imagine how difficult this is for Job to hear? He was living a blameless, upright life when all this trouble came upon him. Though he does not understand his circumstances, he knows he does not need to repent. Our friends may judge us wrongfully or say things that are not true about us. How important it is that we know God s character and His Word. We, as Job, must learn to trust Him no matter the circumstances. Helping Friends Have the children find a partner and pair up. Then have the pairs line up near a wall. Next have all of the children find a spot in front of the wall. Have them face the wall and stand arms-length from it. Their feet should be close together. Next the children should carefully lean forward against the wall so that only their forehead is touching the wall. They must keep their body stiff and

12 straight with their arms crossed. Next, say, On the count of three, try to stand upright. Remember to keep your body stiff, arms crossed and no bending of the knees. Count to three. Children will struggle to stand upright without bending at the waist or using their arms. Allow a few seconds for children to attempt this, and then have the pairs choose who would like to try. The partner will help their friend to stand upright. Give them another couple of seconds to try this. Ask the children if it was easier with a friend s help. Next trade spots and have one child lean forward, but this time the partner will only tell their friend, You will have to do better, Can t you do it right? or If you would only do it this way! They can be creative. As an alternative activity you can have them try scratching the center of their back and tying their shoe with only one hand. Have the children sit down and ask them which was the most help; telling about how someone should do better, or actually helping them. In today s lesson, we have seen Job s friends attempting to comfort him. Unfortunately, it really did not provide much comfort. In fact, they only caused Job misery! Let s look at how Job handled his situation. We can trust God even when our friends judge us wrongfully. J O B 23:1-12; 24:22-25 T h e n J o b an s w e r e d an d s ai d : " Ev e n t o d ay m y c o m p l ai n t i s bi t t e r ; M y h an d i s l i s t l e s s be c au s e o f m y gr o an i n g. O h, t h at I k n e w w h e r e I m i gh t f i n d H i m, T h at I m i gh t c o m e t o H i s s e at! I w o u l d p r e s e n t m y c as e be f o r e H i m, An d f i l l m y m o u t h w i t h ar gu m e n t s.

13 I w o u l d k n o w t h e w o r d s w h i c h H e w o u l d an s w e r m e, An d u n d e r s t an d w h at H e w o u l d s ay t o m e. Wo u l d H e c o n t e n d w i t h m e i n H i s gr e at p o w e r? N o! B u t H e w o u l d t ak e n o t e o f m e. T h e r e t h e u p r i gh t c o u l d r e as o n w i t h H i m, An d I w o u l d be d e l i v e r e d f o r e v e r f r o m m y J u d ge. " L o o k, I go f o r w ar d, bu t H e i s n o t t h e r e, An d bac k w ar d, bu t I c an n o t p e r c e i v e H i m ; Wh e n H e w o r k s o n t h e l e f t h an d, I c an n o t be h o l d H i m ; Wh e n H e t u r n s t o t h e r i gh t h an d, I c an n o t s e e H i m. B u t H e k n o w s t h e w ay t h at I t ak e ; Wh e n H e h as t e s t e d m e, I s h al l c o m e f o r t h as go l d. M y f o o t h as h e l d f as t t o H i s s t e p s ; I h av e k e p t H i s w ay an d n o t t u r n e d as i d e. I h av e n o t d e p ar t e d f r o m t h e c o m m an d m e n t o f H i s l i p s ; I h av e t r e as u r e d t h e w o r d s o f H i s m o u t h m o r e t h an m y n e c e s s ar y f o o d. " B u t G o d d r aw s t h e m i gh t y aw ay w i t h H i s p o w e r ; H e r i s e s u p, bu t n o m an i s s u r e o f l i f e. H e gi v e s t h e m s e c u r i t y, an d t h e y r e l y o n i t ; Y e t H i s e y e s ar e o n t h e i r w ay s. T h e y ar e e x al t e d f o r a l i t t l e w h i l e, T h e n t h e y ar e go n e. T h e y ar e br o u gh t l o w ; T h e y ar e t ak e n o u t o f t h e w ay l i k e al l o t h e r s ; T h e y d r y o u t l i k e t h e h e ad s o f gr ai n.

14 " N o w i f i t i s n o t s o, w h o w i l l p r o v e m e a l i ar, An d m ak e m y s p e e c h w o r t h n o t h i n g?" In the midst of his desperate circumstances, Job searches for God. He desires to inquire of Him, to present his case before the righteous judge of the universe. Job laments an unsuccessful search. He recognizes that though he cannot see God, God sees him and is still overseeing this trial. Faith and hope once more emerged as Job declared, But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. Perhaps you will experience a trial you do not understand. It may seem God does not hear your prayers or respond to your cries. How important it is when we suffer that we learn to receive comfort from God. Our friends may fail us they may add grief to our wounds, but God will never leave us or forsake us. Indeed, He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. We can be confident God does hear us and no circumstance or event can separate us from His love (1 John 5:14; Romans ). Through Job s encounter with his three friends, we also learn some lessons on friendship. Job s three friends may have been sincere in their desire to help Job; but by wrongfully judging, they only caused him more pain. They did not understand 1) Job s heart he was upright before God and 2) the reason God was allowing Job to suffer. What kind of friend will we be to a person who is suffering? Remember, our understanding is limited. We do not see the whole picture or story as God does. We must be careful before attempting to put our two cents in.

15 Whether we are the ones in the midst of a difficult trial or we are the friend of one who is suffering, may we know we can trust God even when we can not account for the circumstances we experience. He remains our Redeemer, who we will one day see face to face; He knows the way we take, and He is working a good plan in our lives. Sticks and Stones Bookmark To be a good friend we need to be careful about what we say. Job s friends accused him of things that were not really true. In doing so, they only added to his suffering. This bookmark will help us to remember that we need to watch what we say to others. You will need black construction paper cut into 2 x 8 strips, white or yellow construction paper cut into 1 x 6 strips, markers, several small pebbles (aquarium pebbles), small 2 twigs, and clear contact paper. Use a marker to write Psalm 141:3 on the smaller of the two strips. (Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3). Using glue stick, paste the smaller strip centered in the larger strip. Next glue the twigs and the pebbles to the bookmark. Then cover the bookmark with clear contact paper over the front and the back. Trim with scissors if necessary. PRAYER Lead the children in a prayer of commitment to trust in the Lord even in difficult times and to continue to trust in Him no matter what our friends say. May we keep our attention focused on Him! If there are any children who have not yet responded to the Gospel, give them opportunity.

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