The Book of Job:

Relating to God While Suffering in Life

 

Why do we suffer? How can a good and mighty God allow good people to suffer? These questions have troubled human beings for eons. The Book of Job provided its readers the big picture that remained unknown to the characters in the story. The Book of Job explains that God is not obligated to answer humans, though He has His own reasons behind any allowed suffering. Trusting in the goodness of God is the ultimate stage of the divine-human relationship. Faith answers questions by removing the demand that we receive answers, trusting instead in our Father and his Commands and Promises.

 

Please join us in person at Abilene Bible Church for fellowship, prayer, and the study of God's Word.

Pastor Daiqing Yuan, Ph.D.

Sermon #1 - Historical Contemporary of Moses: An Introduction to Job

Preached on Sunday, June 14, 2020

 

Is Job an historical person? If he is, when did he live? Why did tradition attribute the book to Moses? Is there an overlap between the lifetime of Job and Moses? Did they face the similar issue (the suffering of the righteous without apparent reason)? This introduction uses diverse resources, not only from the Bible, but also Egyptology and Jewish Seder Olam, providing a systematic, plausible answer.

 

Sermon #2 - The Righteous Are Blessed and Suffer: A Cosmic Picture

Scripture: Job 1:1–2:10

Preached on Sunday, June 21, 2020

 

The author of Job, apparently by divine inspiration, gave us a big picture of cosmic proportion. God was making a point to Satan, and Job was a pawn on the board. God says that true believers believe because of what God is and not because of what He does for them. Satan believes otherwise, for the concepts of love, trust, and noble intentions are beyond him. Thus, the sufferings began, seemingly random to people, but under control by God.

 

Sermon #3 - Why Should I Live? The Opening Statement of Job

Scripture: Job 3:1-27

Preached on Sunday, June 28, 2020

 

Job gave the opening speech of his dialogue with his friends by cursing the day of his birth and the night of his conception, then lamenting of his misfortune, which literally came “out of the blue.” Basically, he was asking these questions: “Why Should I Live?” “Who Should I Blame?” “What Can I Do?” Those are the typical questions we would ask when facing adversities.

 

Sermon #4 - You Are Punished for Sins! Eliphaz to Job (Round 1)

Scripture: Job Chapters 4 & 5

Preached on Sunday, July 5, 2020

 

Job’s friend, Eliphaz, represents reason, and he provides comfort to the suffering Job while also questioning the latter’s fear of God and overall integrity. He asked Job to be patient, consistent, realistic, and submissive to God. While his words are 90% true, and sometimes quoted by NT apostles, the 10% that are wrong make his whole approach unfit and injurious. Much of Eliphaz’s advice comes from personal experience but at times sounds like it is actually from Satan.

 

Sermon #5 - Where Was I Wrong? Job to Eliphaz (Round 1)

Scripture: Job Chapters 6 & 7

Preached on Sunday, July 12, 2020

 

In Chap 6, Job defended his speech in Chap 3, saying that God was hurting him, and that he wished that God would rather kill him. He wished his friends were reliable and that they would truthfully tell him where he did wrong. Job’s friends, nevertheless, indicated that they were terrified by his lot, and we see that they, themselves, stopped thinking rationally. Under such a situation, Job felt that he had the right to complain. In Chap 7, Job laments that life as a human is already hard with regard to the overall condition of laboring. The natural desire for rest and the fruit of work had turned into the desire to die for Job, for he had no rest. Life was already short and quick, and Job now, given his incredible condition, wanted to go into Sheol with no return. He wondered why God put such attention on him, as if looking for fault. He asked God to leave him alone or grant him a pardon.

 

Sermon #6 - You Must Repent! Bildad to Job (Round 1)

Scripture: Job Chapter 8

Preached on Sunday, July 19, 2020

 

Job’s friend Bildad was an emotional person, and he called Job a windbag. Bildad used simplistic reasoning in his conversation with Job, trying to persuade Job to repent so that he might be restored to his former glory.

 

Sermon #7 - I Will Argue My Case! Job to Bildad (Round 1)

Scripture: Job Chapters 9-10

Preached on Sunday, July 26, 2020

 

Job recognized that his friends would never understand his true situation, so he sought to argue his case before God. The problem, however, is that God is too holy for humans to stand before Him. Job dreamed of having a mediator to represent him in Heaven.

 

Sermon #8 - You Must Shut up! Zophar to Job (Round 1)

Scripture: Job Chapter 11 ◦ Audio File Unavailable

Preached on Sunday, August 2, 2020

 

Job’s friend Zophar was a willful person. He had heard enough of Job’s excuses and believed that Job was blaspheming when the latter implied that God might be unjust. He wanted Job to shut up, and he used “enhanced interrogation” techniques to coerce Job to confess and repent. Otherwise, dying would be his good luck.

 

Sermon #9 - You Are Wise, huh? Job to Zohar (Round 1)

Scripture: Job Chapters 12-14

Preached on Sunday, August 9, 2020

 

Job fought fire with fire. He pointed out that his friends were not the only wise men in the world, for he (Job) understood and valued the system of a moralistic universe just as much they did. However, he makes clear that his friends were no wiser than the animals, who can see that Job’s sufferings are acts of God. In contrast to the inept human wisdom, God’s wisdom is powerful, just, and scary. The friends were useless physicians, and because of that, Job wanted a hearing with God. He warned his friends not to lie for God, for God will not appreciate their partiality for Him. Job is confident that he could win his case, even if his only hope is in a resurrected next life. He prayed that God would stop the heavy hand, and let him speak. He felt mortality coming near, and he understood that the lifelessness waiting in Sheol would be no good for him or God. Job felt the sadness of insignificance more than he felt his physical pain.

 

Sermon #10 - Who Do you Think You Are? Eliphaz to Job (Round 2)

Scripture: Job Chapter 15

Preached on Sunday, August 16, 2020

 

Eliphaz started the second round of the dialogue by pointing out that the words of Job were dangerous self-condemning. He advised Job to be humbler so that he would then admit his nature as a sinner, which, in turn, would cause Job to see his personal guilt as the source of his suffering. He painted a traditional picture of the fate of the wicked, implying that Job’s life was a close parallel.

 

Sermon #11 - Who Understands Me? Eliphaz to Job (Round 2)

Scripture: Job Chapters 16-17

Preached on Sunday, August 23, 2020

 

Job judged his friends as “sorry counselors” who provided him nothing but windy words. Nevertheless, Job believed in the same system as his friends, and could have said the same things if he and his friends could have switched places, but he would not do it. He laid the responsibility on God, who blinded the “friends,” who acted as beasts and enemies of Job. He maintained his piety and conscience, crying out for a mediator to represent him before God. He asked God for a pledge to do justice on those who had done evil, as he felt that he, himself, was at the gate of Sheol.

 

Sermon #12 - You Are Dangerous! Bildad to Job (Round 2)

Scripture: Job Chapter 18

Preached on Sunday, August 30, 2020

Special New Feature: ABC's Communion Devotional Is Now at the Beginning of the Sermon, YouTube Video at right!

 

Bildad gave a powerful sermon concerning the fate of a confident but wicked man who found himself in hell. However, the artistic prowess of his position was misused because it was wrong both in terms of theology and application: The Law of Retribution does not stand without exception in all of its four logical forms, and God testified that Job was righteous.

 

Sermon #13 - I Don’t Deserve This! Job to Bildad (Round 2)

Scripture: Job Chapter 19

Preached on Sunday, September 13, 2020

 

Job complained that his friends were masterful torturers of his soul. He believed that God allowed this torture. God was the one who surrounded Job, fighting against him, treating him as an enemy. All was against Job, even his own body. He questioned his “friends,” asking them why they were not satisfied by his physical suffering, and he hated his own soul by being convinced of his guilt. Nevertheless, and based on two facts, Job believed that God is Just and himself to be innocent. Job was convinced of the need of a redeemer and resurrection. He warned his “friends” about being erroneous.

 

Sermon #14 - You Deserve It! Zophar to Job (Round 2)

Scripture: Job Chapter 20

Preached on Sunday, September 20, 2020

 

Zophar developed a theme about his friend Bildad, describing the fate of the wicked man in hell. He did it artistically and masterfully, and he was possibly correct. The problem was that he implied that Job was the referent in the story, which is totally opposite to the description by God. This showed the bifurcation of human minds due to different perceptions of reality. How should humans establish consensus? The four basic questions of philosophy are revisited, and the importance of the testimony of the persecuted is reevaluated.

 

Sermon #15 - Your Theory Is Wrong! Job to Zophar

Scripture: Job Chapter 21

Preached on Sunday, September 27, 2020

 

Job challenged the system of a Moralistic Universe that his “Friends” held as their worldview, pointing out in particular one glaring failure: the promised punishment for the wicked is often not fulfilled in reality. The wicked appear to be blessed and happy in this life, their children multiply as their wealth, and even immediately after death, their legacies are carried on by many admirers. The system is crap! It is not true, and it cannot comfort suffering souls.

 

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