Welcome to our Week TWO discussion for “Laughing in the Dark: a Bible Study on the Book of Job” by Chonda Pierce and Dale McCleskey. It would be amazing to sit with you at a local cafe, sipping our lattes and discussing the Book of Job. Maybe you could do this with a local friend? Meanwhile, come to the online #BibleCafe and let’s chat!
This week Chondra introduces us to the term “rice Christian” and explains, “The Book of Job begins with Satan’s claim that Job was a rice worshipper…. These are people who seek the benefits of Jesus without desiring a relationship with Jesus.” This person seeks material benefits not spiritual benefits. God allowed Satan to test these temporal benefits with Job. “God simultaneously protected Job and allowed holes to be torn in that protection,” she writes.
Now…do you remember Chonda’s inside story from the video? Do you see both the protection and the holes?
While Job’s story is written as an example on testing faith, it’s not a guarantee that every person will be tested and should not be presumed doctrine. For example, if I’m a faithful servant of the Lord and I do not pay my mortgage, the bank will foreclose on my home. I have the option to seek employment and increase income, sell my home and grab my equity, or refinance. Neglecting to do these things is my responsibility and not a testing from Satan.
If your child dies and you become angry with God, then weap years and years of tears…that does not make you a failed student of the “test.” We don’t know why children die from cancer, or auto accidents, or depression and suicide. We do know that suffering is guaranteed in this world. We may experience it personally or observe it in our family and friends. We do know bad things happen to the innocent (Luke 13:1-5). Jesus wept when His friend died (John 11:35). He became angry at the money changes in the temple (Matt. 21:12-14). He was not tested by God in these situations. He is God (John 10:30).
Some of you may have been weeping through the study book this week. Emotions are stirred when Chondra shares her grief story on the death of her sisters and husband. If you feel intense emotions of your own, call a friend or look for a grief recovery program where you live. Don’t end the study on Job here because you felt pain….move through this and discover the victory over the darkness in the chapters ahead. Resist the urge to get stuck or to stop now. Resist the devil and he will flee.
STUDY NOTES from WBC leader Laura Ackerman: Last week, we discussed Job’s parenting. I don’t think Job was an enabler as much as he was a parent who did all he could for his children. (and every parent will have those who agree with and disagree with their choices). However, as I was driving home this week, I thought about how in the Old Testament that sacrifices were made on other’s behalf. I thought about how Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us even though we often, like Job’s children, don’t appreciate it or deserve it. I realized there are many similarities that can be made of Job to Jesus. He was blameless, he had a family, a life, but suffered pain and loss beyond belief. He was human and wished the pain be taken from him, but yet surrendered to God’s will and endured. Job sacrificed for his children. Jesus sacrificed for us. Not a perfect comparison as none can compare to Jesus, but just some thoughts as we continue to ponder Job.
BIBLE STUDY TIP: Do you struggle to finish your Bible study lessons? Author and publisher Michael Hyatt recommends Focus@will to his writing class to help tune out distractions, and it’s interesting. There is a free trial and I’m testing to see if it helps me stay focused while reading my Bible study books. Hyatt also has his own free playlist on his website: http://michaelhyatt.com/writingplaylist
ASSIGNMENT FOR THIS WEEK
- If you have not already done so, watch the Laughing in the Dark movie on DVD or streaming video.
- If you are not getting the WBC email updates, make sure you subscribe here
- Select a small group day and time that fits your schedule http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCSmallGroups/
- Read WEEK THREE in the Laughing in the Dark Study Book
- Deeper study: Read through the entire Book of Job, a chapter each day or a few chapters on the weekend.
- Share some of your favorite book quotes with your social media friends and hashtag #BibleCafe so we can find them too!
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE WEEK
(You will have the opportunity to share your answers to these questions during your small group time. You may also post them here. Consider also recording your answers in your spiritual journal)
- This week Chondra introduces us to the term “rice Christian” as she explains, “The Book of Job begins with Satan’s claim that Job was a rice worshipper…. These are people who seek the benefits of Jesus without desiring a relationship with Jesus.” The person seeks material benefits not spiritual benefits. Without naming names, what general kinds of examples of rice worshippers could you cite? (page 27)
- Regarding God’s hedge of protection around Job and possibly around us: What suggests to you that God has protected you at times in your life? (page 28)
- Job was unaware of the permission God granted to Satan, or the double portion blessing that would follow. We might say that Job, a faithful servant, was blindsided. Does the inability to determine the source of blame for suffering complicate your ability to deal with hurts? If so, how? (page 29)
- Some people relish sharing other people’s faults, blame or misery. Job had four messengers deliver the first calamities. Chondra calls the messengers “crepe hangers,” from a Southern practice of hanging a crepe on the door to show mourning. They “love to traffic into other people’s misery.” She then identifies “helpful naysayers” who give bad advice. How do you deal with such people? (page 33)
- If you had to boil everything you know about the Book of Job into one single teaching (or word), what would it be? (page 30)
- What is one thing that stood out to you this week?
Praying for you,