Contentment (Part 2, Trusting God in Difficult Seasons)
Junior Level Lesson Plan
This week I feel led to continue with a series on being content in all things. Last week we studied how Paul learned to be content in all things; He did not allow his circumstances to dictate his happiness. This week we will be looking at the life of another man who knew very well what it was like to have abundant wealth and happiness, as well as abundant, and extreme misery, pain, and sadness. We will be looking into the life of a man named Job.
Handout: Contentment (Part 2, Trusting God in Difficult Seasons)
We will be taking our text from the Book of Job in God’s word, but first I want to review Ecclesiastes chapter 3 because we are doing a study of being content in all seasons of life. God’s word does teach that there are many different seasons in life and a time for all things. Let us review. It is my prayer that each person reading will be blessed of God.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Every time I read this passage of scripture, deep in my heart I can feel an ache that Solomon must have felt as he penned these words down. I can feel the wisdom, and the passion in those words. In those 8 little verses, Solomon summed up the very Essence of life on the Earth. In all Solomon’s wisdom, there was joy, but with it also came much responsibility and sorrow I believe. Oh but how much better it is to be wise than to not be. So in reading this, we understand that there is a season for all things and the man we are about to study, He experienced much of what is written here in Ecclesiastes. Turn with me if you will to the book of Job, Chapter 1.
A. Trusting God in Seasons of Tragedy and Loss
1There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
3His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
Reading these scriptures, we see that Job was very wealthy. It says that he was the greatest man of the East. Job lived in the land of Uz. It is believed that Uz was probably located northeast of Palestine, near desert land between Damascus and the Euphrates River. So here Job is, a very good moral man, one who respected and loved God and God loved Job and had blessed him abundantly. Job had lived his days thus far in the favor of Almighty God. Have you been there? I have and I can tell you that there is nothing more blissful than living in the favor of the Almighty. Life was good for Job and all his family and Satan was not happy about it. God was getting praise and Satan began to plot and plan to destroy Job. Job has been happy thus far he has experienced a time of joy but he is about to come into a winter season. He is about to experience a time to mourn. Are you in a season of winter in your own life? Is it a time of mourning for you? Friend, please know that everything that happens in the life of a child of God is for a purpose and a beautiful plan for your good and for God’s glory.
Reading further in the book of Job we find that Satan begins to accuse Job before the Lord, He said that the only reason Job is blameless, the only reason Job loves God and stays away from evil, is because there is a hedge around him and because he is so blessed. So God allows Satan to take everything away from Job, all his possessions, and his children. All of it happens at one time. Job is bombarded with messengers running in and telling him the horrible news of his loss. In all this overwhelming, painful news, what does Job do? What would you and I do in this situation?
Job 1:20-22 “ Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
In all this, Job chose to raise his hands and worship God anyway, even in all the emotional agony he was in, he bowed before God and he said blessed be the name of the LORD! What grace God gives to those who love and trust Him in times of tragedy! Thank You LORD. Job wasn’t letting his circumstances, hinder his praise and neither should you or I. God is always in control even when we don’t understand. Even in distress we can raise our hands and say Blessed be the name of the LORD, He is in control!
B. Trusting God in Seasons of Sickness and Physical Pain
Job 2:4-7 “ 4And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. 7So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
Satan saw that Job was still giving God praise in all these difficult things, so he went to God and asked for permission to take Job’s good health. Notice that Satan had to ask God for permission before he could do anything! Job knew that God had to permit these things to happen, and this would be his greatest trial, not understanding why. Are you in a situation to where something is happening or has happened and you just do not understand why God has allowed such pain to come into your life. You find yourself questioning if you are being punished, or what you have done to cause it? Sometimes we bring bad things on ourselves because we are sinning, but there are times when bad things happen and we are really trying to do what is right and good. In the book of Job we see this truth very clearly. Good people are not exempt from heartache, pain, and trouble. In Job chapter 14 we find Job revealing this truth.
Job 14:1-2 “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”
So now Job has lost his health as well and he is in horrible pain. If that wasn’t enough His wife then tells him to curse God and die, she offers no comfort. Perhaps she couldn’t bear to see him suffering so, we don’t know but Job still remains in his integrity and trusts God and he does not sin with his lips.
Job 2:9-10 “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
C. Trusting God in Seasons of Loneliness and Persecution
Job 2:11-13 11Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
12And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 13So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
This was the greatest thing Job’s friends did for him. They came and just sit with him not saying a word. But that wouldn’t last for long. Very soon they would still be with him, but their accusations would isolate him and he would experience a season of loneliness and persecution.
In Chapter 3 of Job, we read where Job begins to curse the very day he was born. His agony is so immense and he goes into a deep depression and he begins to wish he had never been born. Have you been in a dark place like that? I have. It’s not a good place to be. Still, even in times when we feel we have been forsaken by all, God will never forsake us and He did not forsake Job either! Praise the LORD! All others may leave us, they may falsely accuse us of sin, but Praise be to God, He will never.
In the next verses we see where Job’s friends begin to talk to him. They begin to accuse him of some hidden or secret sins. They tell him that he would not be suffering such things if he had not sinned. They state that God is punishing Job for his evil ways. They were not comforting Job at all. He had just lost his family, his possessions, his health, his position and his good name. He wasn’t even getting respect from his wife or friends for suffering bravely and praising God in the midst of all this. Job was all alone as he begins to try to defend himself to his friends. Have you ever gone through a season of loneliness? Are you now? Does it feel as if you have been forsaken? Be encouraged and assured Beloved, God has not forgotten you and He will never forget you. All that you endure is for a good purpose. Raise your hands in praise and trust of the One that loves you more than any other will ever love you and trust that love knowing that this too shall pass and one day you will see the sun again!
Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”
D. Trusting God In Seasons When You Don’t Understand.
We read on to see that Job begins to be discontent; he begins to demand an explanation from God. He knows he has not sinned and he does not understand why God has allowed this to happen to him.
Job 30:16-21 “And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me. My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest. By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat. He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes. I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me not. Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.”
Immense suffering can cause the most Godly of people to experience discontentment. If not careful, one can even be disillusioned and disappointed with God.
Job was feeling like God had forsaken him, he was feeling as if God was being cruel to him for no reason. What Job did not understand was how much God loved him and how much faith God had in his integrity!
Beth Moore writes this about Job. (When Godly People Do Ungodly Things)
“Do you realize Job endured the entire excruciating ordeal without ever knowing he was in the middle of a match between the God of the universe and the head dragon of hell? Even at the conclusion of the Old Testament book, Job still had no idea. He had learned plenty about the sovereignty of God, but he still had no concept of the faith God had shown in him. Don’t you think Job would have had an easier time if God had said, “Listen, son. I know this is horribly painful, but something much bigger than you know is at stake here. You are a truly righteous man in an unrighteous world. Satan thinks you’ll crumble if I draw back some of your protection and blessing. I want him to see that you won’t. So, as hard as this is, you stand firm! All the hosts of heaven are rooting for you, and all the unholy hosts of hell are jeering at you. Win a big one for the team, won’t you?”
She goes on to write about when Job reached heaven after his life was over.
“Can you imagine how strange Job must have felt to realize he had been chosen by God to fight one of the hardest earthly battles in history? In humanly inexplicable ways, God allowed Job to be tested so harshly because He, God, had faith in him, Job. Amazing.”
That makes me want to jump up and down! Are you facing a battle, and you don’t understand why? Perhaps Dear One, God is allowing this Season of Testing because He has faith in you as well! What a blessing! What an honor! Stand firm! Trust Your Father! Score one for the team! Fight the good fight! We will understand it better by and by. Thank You LORD! God is good and His mercy indeed does endure Forever!
We see that even though Job didn’t understand, and he had been discouraged and discontent. He then repented and God was pleased with Job.
“Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 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. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job repented for being discontented and God forgives him. If you have been in a Season of pain, be it physical or emotional, if you have become discontent with God. If you have become discouraged, know that in our humanness we are weak.
God understands that and He will forgive us when we ask Him. He will forgive us and give us that grace to be content in all things that the Apostle Paul writes of in Philippians 4.
1John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Reading in the last chapter of Job, we find that God restored Job and replaced everything that had been taken away and added more. I will note that this happened after Job prayed for his friends.
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.”
Job had repented and God had forgiven him. Now Job was to forgive his friends for what they had done in falsely accusing him and God would only accept the prayer of Job for forgiveness of his friends. That is so interesting to me and therein lies a whole other lesson for us.
If someone has hurt you while you have been in a Season of Testing, forgive them. If you find it hard to do, ask the Lord to help you and He will. God forgives those who forgive others. Jesus said in:
Matthew 6:14 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
Job endured much more than most of us will ever have to face or even think of facing. Yet he learned to be content and to trust God in all things. He learned much about the Sovereignty of God and that God alone is the source of our comfort, joy and peace. God alone is what we need to live and be happy. All other people, possessions, and things are just extra blessings from God that we should be thankful for. God is our sole means of contentment and as long as we have Him, we have everything and He is the key to learning to be content in all things, in all Seasons of life. Praise His Holy Name!
Dearest and Most Righteous Heavenly Father.
We bow yet again before Your throne in awe of You and in thanksgiving for You. Father, we thank You for Your word and for the lessons that we learn and the encouragement that it is the Bible for us on our journey to You. Father we ask today that You help us to learn to be content in all seasons of our life and to trust You in all things be they joyful or sad. Father help us to always remember and trust that You know what is best and that You always have our best interests at heart and in mind. Father remind us that all things work together for good for those who love You and who are the called according to Your purpose.
Father, we ask You to please help us to learn from Job’s life, to Trust You even when we don’t understand. Help us to learn to trust You when all our friends are gone and we feel all alone. Father we praise You for Your magnificent works and we praise You that You are always in control and nothing surprises You! Father we love You, We desire to lift up the name of Your Lovely Son Jesus and we desire to please You. Father help us to be ones that You can trust to Praise You even when Satan is attacking from all sides. Help us to put on the whole Armor that You have supplied for us, and to fight the good fight of faith, being content in all things. We will ever praise You and worship You for Your Wisdom, Knowledge, and Your great Power. In the Mighty Name Of Jesus Name we pray, and thank You Lord for hearing and answering our prayers. Amen.
July 27, 2014