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Rev. Spavarie B. Taylor, Pastor
St. James AME Church
Sunday School Lessons
October 26, 2014
Things Too Wonderful for Me
BIBLE BASIS: JOB 42:1-10
BIBLE TRUTH: God can do all things, prevails over all things, and hears our prayers in trying situations.
MEMORY VERSE: READ – Job 42:2
LESSON AIM: By the end of the lesson, we will: explore the satisfactory conclusions of Job and God's conversation; affirm that God will answer our questions in ways best for us; and become involved in an active and hopeful prayer life.
1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said ,
2 I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
4 Hear , I beseech thee, and I will speak : I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right , as my servant Job hath.
8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept : lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right , like my servant Job.
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went , and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
10 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.
I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. —Job 42:2
After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. Tell how Job responded after God spoke to him and to Eliphaz.
2. Explain why Job needed to “repent” (v. 6) in light of God’s declaration that Job had spoken truth (v. 7).
3. Offer an intercessory prayer for someone experiencing a physical or spiritual crisis.
As children, we were warned of the dangers of “running off at the mouth.” Despite the warning, we eventually learned the lesson the hard way. An example is found in a memorable scene in the 1995 romantic comedy The American President, in which a lobbyist shows off in front of a colleague by speaking bold words against the president of the United States. Unbeknownst to her, the president walks into the room and listens in on the last part of her rant against him. The lobbyist is mortified when she realizes that the president has overheard her. Had she known he was there, she would not have run off at the mouth as she did.
Many of us have experienced something like this as we have spoken about others behind their backs only to learn that they were listening in all along. How much more problematic, then, to say incorrect things about God, who actually is listening at all times and in all places! That’s the situation Job found himself in.
B. Lesson Background
We are nearing the end of the book of Job, and a lot has happened since the previous lesson. Bildad was the last of Job’s three friends to speak (in chap. 25), and that only briefly—six verses. He added nothing new to the friends’ case against Job, so Job continued to assert his innocence while waxing eloquent on the nature of God (chap. 26-31).
Job was then followed by a man named Elihu (chap. 32-37). Elihu is not mentioned until this point in the book and is not mentioned again after he finishes speaking. Neither Job nor God responded to Elihu’s thoughts. The man just mysteriously showed up, offered his thoughts, and disappeared.
Then God finally spoke (Job 38:1-40:2). Posing a series of rhetorical questions, God accused Job of lacking knowledge. The gist of God’s line of questioning was that He and not Job was the one who established and sustained creation. God then invited Job to respond (40:2). Job declined to answer, merely citing his own unworthiness to do so (40:3-5).
God was not satisfied with Job’s reaction. God demanded a real answer, rejected Job’s accusations, and reminded Job that he could not justify or save himself, for no human could stand up even to creatures God had made—creatures such as behemoth and leviathan (Job 40:6-41:34). Job was required to answer for what he had said.
(Job 42:1) Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
After the LORD demonstrated to Satan and the heavenly host that Job loved and served the LORD for unselfish reasons, the LORD ended the test and trials of Job. God then answered Job’s questions as Job had requested. God demonstrated His power, wisdom, love, justice, and goodwill toward Job in His answers and behavior. At some point, God also explained the details, meaning, and purpose of Job’s trials with respect to Satan as revealed in the beginning of the Book of Job.
(Job 42:2) I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
When Job answered God as the Book of Job concludes, he told God that he now understood more about the power and majesty of the LORD. God can and will do whatever God wisely chooses to do. God does all that He does with a purpose, and God accomplishes all that He purposes. No being in heaven or earth can hinder God’s purposes.
(Job 42:3) Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Job quoted the LORD, who spoke to him out of the whirlwind (Job 38:2). Job answered God by confessing that he had spoken to God about things he did not understand based upon his observations. God was not unjust during Job’s trials, and God later repaid Job for all he had lost during his trials. Job confessed that what God did was more wonderful than he ever knew before.
(Job 42:4) Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
In Job’s reply to the LORD, he quoted the LORD again (Job 38:3; Job 40:7). Job had questioned God about why he suffered, because he was an innocent victim. It is not that Job had never sinned at any time throughout his entire life, but if he had sinned (and I believe he had) Job repented and God put him back into a right relationship with him
again. Job knew that he had done nothing to deserve the severe troubles and trials that afflicted him. Job will now answer the LORD who had just answered him and questioned him about the justice of God.
(Job 42:5) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Previous to his testing, Job knew about God from all that he had heard, and he had done what he knew to do to remain right with God. Job knew that the righteous were not supposed to suffer. After God answered Job, Job could say that he had now seen God, which meant that he had come to know God more personally and not just “about” God from the things he had heard. From knowing God personally, Job now knew God always used His power wisely and justly.
(Job 42:6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Job came to despise himself because he came to understand the great gap between himself and the Almighty Holy God that he served. He repented for having said unwise things about God based on his limited understanding of God. Job had not sinned, but he wished he had not accused God of being unjust – which he had done because he did not yet have “the Book of Job” or the Bible as we have God’s Word today.
(Job 42:7) And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing
that is right, as my servant Job hath.
After speaking with Job, God spoke only to one of Job’s friends and He expected him to pass on His words to his friends. Because of the way they had falsely accused Job of sin and had refused to provide him comfort or consolation in his suffering, and no doubt for other reasons known to God, they had come under the just judgment of God. These men did not speak right of God because they had said God was punishing Job (among other wrong statements) when God was not punishing Job. Without knowing the facts, they refused to believe Job and kept accusing Job of hidden sins, which was wrong.3
(Job 42:8) Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you
after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
God commanded them to make a perfect burnt offering for themselves. Since the law of God had not yet been given (as it was later given through Moses to the Israelites), God did not tell them to make a sin offering, but to acknowledge the truth about Him and the truth about Job and themselves by making a public burnt offering. God insisted that Job had spoken correctly about Him. God did not discourage Job from asking questions about His situation and telling God how things looked to him: God answered Job’s questions. God showed Job’s friends that Job was right when He told Eliphaz that He would hear Job’s prayers and answer his prayers in their behalf.
(Job 42:9) So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
Job’s “friends” (or false friends and false comforters) obeyed God and Job prayed for them and God removed His just judgment from them. In this way, God brought reconciliation among them and restored peace between Job’s friends and Job. God did this through the repentant obedience of Job’s friends and their acknowledgment that
Job was right and they were wrong and Job’s prayers in their behalf showed Job’s forgiveness of them.
(Job 42:10) 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.
After Job did what God wanted and had prayed for his friends, God doubled what Job had possessed before. In some sense, God paid Job wages for having suffered and sacrificed so much to prove through severe testing that he was a man of integrity, who loved God because of what he knew and had heard about God – as limited as his
understanding of God was without the Bible as we have the Word of God today.
In verse 2 we read the last recorded words of Job. Gone was his pride. The combatant had become the worshiper. I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. Although we can’t understand or explain everything that happens in life, we can trust that our God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving.
Job went on to confess his mistake. I spoke of things I did not understand, he admitted. Even though many of his questions about suffering remained unanswered, Job confessed his weakness and inadequacy. No longer would he demand “Why?” as he suffered life’s injustices. He would leave such decisions to the perfect, powerful ruler of the universe.
My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you, he explained. With eyes of faith and new understanding, Job saw God. Because of his personal experience with the Lord God, Job no longer had to rely on what others had said about him. He knew firsthand. In light of this, Job concluded, Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. No longer did he have an overly high opinion of his own knowledge and judgment. Dust and ashes represent humility and contrition.
God then turned to Eliphaz, and his two friends, Bildad and Zophar. The Lord was angry with them because they had misrepresented him even more than Job did. Job was vindicated for saying that they had lied about his condition (13:4). Their lies were spoken deceitfully, as if on God’s behalf (13:7). As sure as they were of their knowledge and understanding, all three of Job’s friends were wrong in presuming they could speak on behalf of God (33:14-16).
The Lord then commanded the friends to offer animals as a sacrifice for their sins. Interestingly, they were to take them to the very man they had been running down—their friend Job! God promised, My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. By their actions they would be admitting to Job that he was right and they were wrong.
God did not condemn Job, as his critics had. He noted Job had not sinned in what he said (42:8). God still did not answer all the questions that had been raised. What he did, however, was establish the fact that he is God.
After the sacrifices made by the friends, God poured out his blessings on Job. The Lord restored his fortunes again and gave him twice as much as he had before. The book concludes, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part” (42:12).
James Burton Coffman wrote, “As we come to the end of Job, we are amazed that no answer whatever has been provided for the overriding question regarding the reason behind human suffering. ‘God is not so much concerned with strengthening man’s faith by giving him answers to his questions, as he is with encouraging the kind of faith that does not demand answers.’”
Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further
1. Read Job 42:2. Do you agree? Explain.
2. Read Psalm 100. What more do you learn about God from this Psalm?
3. Why is the Bible important to you?
4. Job did not sin against God by asking questions of God. List some of the ways that God answers questions today.
5. How did Job express his humility before God?
The final chapter of Job teaches two important lessons, and we must be careful not to allow the second lesson to negate the first one. The first lesson is that we must never think that we fully understand God. Job and friends learned the hard way that it is easy to slip into dangerous speaking patterns in this regard. We can become so comfortable with God that we lose our “reverent distance” from Him—distance that results from awe. True, we are in God’s image, but in important ways He is not like us. He is not our personal buddy as some well-meaning Christian songs misrepresent Him.
This does not mean that we should say nothing about God or fail to speak on His behalf. As readers of Scripture, we are able to echo God’s words in new situations. Yet even as we do so, we exercise caution. Much of what Job’s friends said echoes sentiments that God’s Word itself expresses in Proverbs and elsewhere. A word about God that is appropriate to one situation is not necessarily appropriate to all situations.
We therefore exercise discretion. Before pronouncing a “thus saith the Lord” in a new situation, we ought to read the Scriptures together and ask God’s Spirit to lead us into an understanding as to whether this or that passage applies in our specific situation.
The second lesson is that God is just, and He will ultimately restore the fortunes of His people (James 1:12). God did not leave Job in the ditch. From the beginning, God cared for him. This does not mean, however, that all believers will be restored in this lifetime. Some die in painful misery. We cannot predict when God will or will not restore people in this life, so we must never turn Job’s restoration into a promise for all people as if it always happens in all situations. As one commentator said, God cannot be domesticated.
Father, we thank You for the reminders of this lesson. We must be speechless when confronted with Your majesty even as You commission us to speak Your Word on Your behalf. May we speak of You properly always. In Jesus’ name; amen.
Thought to Remember
Speak on God’s behalf—but think first.
Next week Lesson
11-2-14 God’s Divine Glory Returns or God’s Glory Fills the Temple, Ezekiel 43:1-12
Things Too Wonderful for Me
Job's Confession and Repentance
1 Then Job answered the LORD and said: 2 "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 'Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.' 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
The Lord Rebukes Job's Friends
7 After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: "My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.
The Lord Restores Job's Fortunes
10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Find the words
Things Too Wonderful for Me
C F P J F H K A E U K K N V U
O A L H O H S R P E D I R R G
M H J U S Q U L T C D J Y S F
F A S Q W O H W C D E Y A R P
O E L U F I T U A E B S Y E K
R H B O L E D J S N O U D T D
T Z V A S L L O R D K E J H B
E Y T O O W P R E V L I S G N
D S N O I T A R E N E G I U N
Z S W W D D E R O T S E R A A
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R I N G O F G O L D L D A E L
O J H V J B V O H L W Q P J A
J T P M S R E T S I S E T O P
RING OF GOLD