Welcome back to our online Inductive Bible Study on the Book of Job, “Trusting God in Times of Adversity” by Kay Arthur. This week we continued with Part Two of the study and completed Week Eleven in our study books which is entitled “ God Does No Wrong.”
This week’s reading covers Chapters 32-37 in the Book of Job. In these chapters we hear from a new character in the story – Job’s friend, Elihu, who up until this point has been silent. Elihu gives a speech that is 6 chapters long. In his speech Elihu talks about God and applies what he knows about God to Job’s current situation. Elihu says many of the same things Job’s other friends have already said. However, he says them with a different purpose. Elihu is not trying to prove that Job is a sinner. Rather, he says that Job’s view of God is incorrect and incomplete. Elihu introduces the concept of suffering not as punishment for sin but as a means of character development.
In Chapter 32, Elihu tells why he is speaking. He says that he has waited to speak because he is younger than the others and because he wanted to hear their arguments before he spoke. He says that he is angry at both Job and his three friends who have already spoken. Elihu then claims to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak. Elihu concedes that he is young and does not have much life experience, but states that he has wisdom given to him by God. Elihu then claims to be impartial as he has no reason to take sides in this matter. Finally, Elihu states that he is compelled by God to speak.
In Chapter 33, Elihu introduces a new concept. While Job’s other friends have stated that Job’s suffering is evidence that he has sinned, Elihu takes a different approach. Elihu says that sometimes God permits suffering as a means of keeping us from sin and that God is gracious in doing so. Elihu than describes three ways God uses to speak to mankind. God may speak through dreams and visions. God may speak through suffering as a means of keeping man from sinning. And God may speak through angels who mediate on behalf of man. In his commentary on the Book of Job, Warren Wiersbe describes this interceding angel as “the Angel of the Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ” who “visited the earth in Old Testament times to deliver special messages and accomplish important tasks”.
In Chapters 34 and 35, Elihu talks about God being just. Job has argued that God’s treatment of him is unjust and unfair. Job has asked God to appear and tell him what he has done wrong. Elihu presents the argument that God is not capable of injustice because God cannot be wrong. An unjust God cannot exist. To say that God is unjust is to say that He is not God.
In Chapters 36 and 37, Elihu discusses the greatness of God. He states that God is mighty, powerful and great. Elihu advises Job to appreciate God’s greatness and begin praising Him instead of questioning Him. Doing so is evidence that Job has learned his lesson and has repented of whatever it is that is causing his current distress. Finally, Elihu speaks of God’s greatness as illustrated in nature, using the seasons of the year as an example.
BIBLE STUDY TIP: When reading an Old Testament book such as the Book of Job, our understanding of the Bible as a whole is enhanced by looking for hints of the coming Messiah. Certainly there are many examples of foreshadowing of the birth and ministry of Christ. How can we recognize these? Some you may recognize by yourself but do not beat yourself up if you can’t! This is where study bibles with notes can be very helpful. Commentaries such as the ones referenced here by Warren Wiersbe can also shed a lot of light on our Bible reading. Try to get in the habit of adding additional resources to your Bible study time.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
• Join a small group and join other women for a time of study and fellowship. This week we will be discussing Week 11 of the study. Small groups meet at http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCInductiveStudies/ A schedule of meeting times is pinned to the top of that page.
• Complete Week 12 in your study book before your next small group meeting. This lesson is broken down into seven daily lessons so ideally, you will complete one daily lesson each day.
• Pray before you begin your study time each day. Invite the Holy Spirit to be your guide and teach you as you study.
• Do an online word study on the PIT using www.blueletter.org. Instructions for doing a word study are located in the “Files” at the top of the page in the Inductive Studies Chat Room. You will also find a form for doing the coming week’s Word Study posted there on Monday of each week.
• Complete a “Store in Your Heart” form for Job 34:12. The Store in Your Heart forms are also located in “Files” at the top of the page in the Inductive Studies Chat Room.
• Fill out the “Job at a Glance” chart on the top of page 97 in your study book. As you complete your study each week, decide what you think the main them of each chapter is and record the theme on this page. There is no right or wrong answer, so don’t worry about that! Use whatever theme will help you to remember this study when you look back at it later. This is your study and this assignment is designed to help you, not anyone else.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK’S SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS:
1) At the beginning of Chapter 32 we are introduced to a new character, Elihu. What do we learn about him in this week’s lesson?
2) Elihu had apparently remained silent as he listened to Job and his friends. Yet he had a lot to say. How does it feel to have a lot to say but to have to wait and listen before speaking?
3) What is the difference between being sinless (as Elihu accused Job of saying he was) and being blameless (which is what Job actually called himself)?
4) How can we reconcile the truths that God is just and sovereign with the truth of the injustice we see in the world?
5) How did this week of study go for you? What was your biggest take away from this week’s lesson? What did you learn about God this week?