NEW PROVIDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH

WHERE GOD IS CALLING YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunday School Lesson

October 26

Lesson 8

Things Too Wonderful for Me

Devotional Reading: Galatians 1:11-19

Background Scripture: Job 42; Psalm 86

Job 42:1-10

1 Then Job answered the Lord, and said,

2 I know that thou canst do every thing, 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.

Key Verse

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. —Job 42:2

Lesson Aims

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.

Lesson Outline

Introduction

A. Running Off at the Mouth

B. Lesson Background

I. Job Responds (Job 42:1-6)

A. Humility (vv. 1-3)

Misdirected Antagonism

B. Repentance (vv. 4-6)

II. God Rebukes (Job 42:7-9)

A. Anger and Truth (v. 7)

B. Sacrifice and Prayer (v. 8)

The Same Boat

C. Action and Acceptance (v. 9)

III. God Restores (Job 42:10)

Conclusion

A. Awesome God

B. Prayer

C. Thought to Remember

Introduction
A. Running Off at the Mouth

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.

I. Job Responds

                                                                                    (Job 42:1-6)

A. Humility (vv. 1-3)

1, 2. Then Job answered the Lord, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Job begins by acknowledging God’s power—God can do whatever He wills. This response does not contradict anything Job has said previously. All along he has expressed disappointment that God does not do anything to right the wrongs that he and others suffer. This disappointment would not be appropriate if Job believes that God lacks the ability to do something about injustice.

The phrase and that no thought can be withholden from thee is a bit tricky to translate and interpret. The Hebrew behind the word thought is translated “devices” in Job 21:27 (likewise in Psalms 10:2; 21:11; 37:7; and Jeremiah 51:11). The idea, therefore, seems to be not merely “thoughts in and of themselves,” but “thoughts that lead to concrete plans.”

The fact that such plans cannot be withholden from thee has two possible interpretations: (1) human plans cannot be hidden from God or (2) humans do not have the ability to prevent plans that come from God. Although both are certainly true, the context suggests that the second interpretation is better here, since it builds on the statement just before it.

What Do You Think?

How should our knowledge of the fact that God knows all things affect our daily life?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

Regarding thoughts

Regarding words

Regarding actions

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 paraphrases God’s question to him in Job 38:1, 2, then responds to it. We may wonder why God is confronting Job so forcefully, since God himself has affirmed Job’s truthfulness in 42:7. Despite that affirmation, there are several times throughout Job’s speeches when he oversteps his bounds. He has not cursed God in response to his suffering (compare 1:11; 2:5, 9, 10), but he certainly has called God’s justice into question (see especially 9:15-10:7).

Job has been correct in claiming to be innocent and in rejecting the simplistic cause-and-effect “wisdom” of his friends. Even so, he is wrong to pretend to know about God’s role in his misfortune and that of other oppressed persons. Though God does not let Job in on His conversation with Satan, God’s forceful expression of His role as Creator of the universe alongside Job’s comparative smallness—even before nonhuman creatures—is enough to remind Job of his proper place.

It is interesting that God takes this approach. Why not tell Job what has been happening behind the scenes? Why not do a little “image management” by placing the blame on Satan where it belongs? Why not explain that this was all a test to resolve the bigger question of Job 1:9-11?

Were God to lay out all the facts, there would be no room for faith. God is concerned that humans know their place in relation to Him. Were God to share the specifics of His debate with Satan, Job may be satisfied for the time being, but later he probably would want new explanations for new injustices encountered. God would then find himself in a position of perpetually explaining himself.

We see an example of such a cycle starting with regard to the prophet Habakkuk. God’s answer to that man’s first complaint about injustice (Habakkuk 1:1-11) leads the prophet to ask yet another question (1:12-2:1). After God’s second reply (2:2-20), He puts the brakes on further queries by telling the prophet in a polite way to shut up (2:20).

God therefore chooses not to explain himself to Job, but rather to remind him that the Creator is not answerable to His creation. When doubts arise, we need to reflect on God’s majesty and avoid questioning His way of running the world, lest we end up having to say I uttered that I understood not.

What Do You Think?

How does God rebuke people today? Why is it important to consider this question?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

In moments of pride

In moments of bitterness

In moments of envy

Other

Misdirected Antagonism

The darkest moment of my 30-plus years of marriage was after an interstate move. My husband was deliriously happy with his new dream job. I was miserable in my attempt to rebuild my life from scratch.

My mind grew darker, and I blamed my husband for choosing his own happiness above mine. Eventually, the fact that I had been a part of the decision confronted me. What’s more, I can see looking back that the move was an answer to years of prayer to be able to move closer to family.

The truth is, I knew my husband hadn’t moved us capriciously. The truth is, we made the decision together with much prayer. The truth is, I was angry with God. But since there is no way to be right when at odds with God, I had transferred my dissatisfaction to an easier target. Job was wrong in questioning God’s ways. But Job acted more nobly than did I—at least he was honest in naming his primary antagonist. If you’re angry with God today, confess your anger to Him. Don’t take it out on someone else!—V. E.

B. Repentance (vv. 4-6)

4. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

Job now quotes God from the beginning of God’s second speech at Job 40:7; this is where God refuses Job’s nonanswer of 40:3-5. Job has tried to dodge God’s question by acknowledging his own vileness. Though Job is right in that regard, this does not absolve him of responsibility for his words.

5. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

Job acknowledges that his encounter with God exceeds all previous experiences. In the past, Job had only heard of God. Job undoubtedly has had conversations with friends and family who have speculated about God. Most people in the ancient world believe in a deity or, more likely, multiple gods. Many ancient people acknowledge that humans are creatures, that the world is the product of divine activity, and that the world works in such a way that good actions produce good results and bad actions produce bad results. Yet such knowledge is incomplete.

If Job lives in patriarchal times (that is, prior to about 1800 BC; see the Lesson Background to lesson 6), it means that God has only begun to reveal himself to Abraham’s descendants. The exodus from Egypt, the receiving of the law at Sinai, etc., are centuries in the future. There is so much about God that people do not know before the events of God’s self-revelations noted in the book of Genesis. The absence of those revelations does not inhibit people from speculating about God or attempting to explain His involvement in human affairs, however. In being confronted by the self-revealing God, Job is seeing Him in a brand-new light.

Even so, we should be careful not to press too literally the statement now mine eye seeth thee. Exodus 33:20 says that no one can see God’s face and live. Those who are said to see God are likely seeing a theophany (meaning “appearance of God”; see Genesis 32:30; Isaiah 6:1). It is not clear what exactly Job sees as God addresses him. Job 38:1 and 40:6 simply state that God speaks to Job “out of the whirlwind.” Perhaps Job sees dark clouds with flashes of lightning. Whatever Job sees, it changes him.

6. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Job ultimately responds the only way one ought to respond after speaking out of turn about God: he repents. Sitting in dust and ashes is an outward sign of repentance in the ancient Near East (examples: Ezekiel 27:30; Jonah 3:6). Posturewise, this may not be much of a change for Job, since he’s been sitting in ashes since Job 2:8. However, he is no longer lamenting his situation in general or protesting God’s injustices; instead, Job abhors himself.

What Do You Think?

What are some ways people express repentance today? How do these compare and contrast with using “dust and ashes”?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

2 Chronicles 7:14

Ezra 10:1

Ezekiel 18:21

2 Corinthians 7:10

Other

This does not mean that Job hates himself in the same way he hates what has happened to him. Rather, he regrets having spoken against God. He realizes his rightful place with relation to God, and he determines to move forward with a proper perspective. Such abhorrence is analogous to Jesus’ teaching that those who follow Him must hate their parents (Luke 14:26). Jesus is calling people to view their parents in their proper place with relation to God. Though unbelievers might place their earthly families before all other loyalties, believers will place God first in all things.

II. God Rebukes

                                                                                  (Job 42:7-9)

A. Anger and Truth (v. 7)

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.

Having corrected Job, God now turns to Job’s friends. Only Eliphaz is named in this verse. But thy two friends means that Bildad and Zophar, mentioned by name in verse 9, are included in the rebuke. Elihu (chap. 32-37) is left out of the rebuke—he seems to be ignored altogether. The fact that Eliphaz is identified as the Temanite likely means he is a descendant of Esau (see the Lesson Background of lesson 6).

God’s wrath is now turned toward these men because they have misrepresented God even worse than Job has. It is clear above that Job has misspoken about God in attributing to Him injustices. Yet Job is right in claiming that his devastation is not the result of wrongdoing on his part. He is right in challenging the notion that one can determine unrighteous behavior in himself merely by observing the fact that he is not prospering. In this regard, Job has been correct in accusing his friends of lying about his condition (Job 13:4); Job correctly interprets their lies as flattery that speaks “wickedly” and “deceitfully” on behalf of God (13:7).

This means that Job is closer to knowing God than are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Paradoxically, to know God is to know that we cannot completely figure Him out (Isaiah 55:8, 9). Job has the healthier sense of distance from God. Job’s friends, by contrast, presume to know God’s ways so well that they think they can speak authoritatively on His behalf (compare Job 33:14-16).

B. Sacrifice and Prayer (v. 8)

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.

Job’s friends have attempted to shame him, but now it is they who are to be shamed in Job’s presence! The commanded sacrifice of seven bullocks and seven rams will be quite expensive, indicating the severity of the friends’ sins. By having Job’s friends ask Job to invoke God’s blessing upon them, the friends will be admitting that Job is their superior; “without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better” (Hebrews 7:7).

It will not be enough for the friends to apologize to Job; they must show by their actions that he was right and not they. Seven is a significant number in the Bible in various contexts (see Genesis 2:2, 3; 7:4, 10; 8:10; 21:27-31; etc.).

The Same Boat

My husband’s family moved to the suburbs of Kansas City in the 1970s and found a local church where they could participate and grow. After a short time, however, a conflict arose and the minister was pressured to leave the church. My husband’s family stopped attending church altogether as a result. My father-in-law didn’t believe that the ungracious behaviors he had witnessed were Christlike. I have seen conflicts arise within church families many times. Sadly, the outcome is too often a parting of the ways, with most being emotionally if not spiritually battered.

Job and his friends did not hold back in expressing their viewpoints, everyone hoping to see Job’s situation eased. Each had some things right, other things wrong. When God showed up and made things clear, each person had to undergo divine correction. God restored the relationship between Job and his friends, delivering blessings through the hands of former sparring partners.

Our relationship with God is the most important one we have. Our relationships with one another are precious to Him and beneficial to us as well. Even when we are on opposite sides of an issue, we frail children of dust are more alike than we would like to believe. Conflicts often seem unavoidable. In their resolution, forgiveness and reconciliation are worth pursuing (1 Corinthians 1:10; Philippians 4:2). We are in the same boat, the boat of God’s forgiving grace.—V. E.

C. Action and Acceptance (v. 9)

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.

The friends are not too proud to obey. They have encountered God, and this experience must affect them deeply. Eliphaz, whose designation the Temanite refers to a place known as a center of wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7), learns that he is not so wise after all. We easily imagine Bildad the Shuhite (see “Shuah” in Genesis 25:2) and Zophar the Naamathite (location uncertain) meekly complying as well.

We see no “I told you so” attitude on the part of Job. Realizing that the issue is not “the man Job compared with friends” but “humans compared with God,” Job heeds God’s instructions to the letter on behalf of those who had condemned him. God is pleased to accept Job’s intercession.

What Do You Think?

How do we know if and when our repentance is acceptable to God?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

Psalm 51:17

Matthew 11:20-24

Luke 19:8, 9

2 Corinthians 7:9, 10

Other

III. God Restores

                                                                                       (Job 42:10)

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.

Turned the captivity speaks to restoration. It is interesting to observe that God does not restore Job until after he intercedes on behalf of his persecutors. The reasons are not stated. Perhaps to double Job’s wealth without Job first being reconciled to his friends would be to leave Job embittered toward them. Such bitterness could prevent Job from fully enjoying the blessings God subsequently lavishes on him.

What Do You Think?

What are some possible steps to take to restore broken relationships today?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

Regarding relationship with God

Regarding people whom we have wronged

Regarding people who have wronged us

The story comes full circle as Job receives twice as much as he had before. Job originally had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and many servants, which made him “the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3). To double all this results in an incredible fortune (42:12). This new prosperity doesn’t simply fall from the sky, however. God brings many people to Job who lavish him with gifts (42:11). Of course, there is no way to replace Job’s original children, but he receives a number of sons and daughters at least equal to before (42:13-15). Part of the twice as much blessing in this regard is seen in the fact that Job lives another 140 years, enabling him to see four generations of offspring (42:16).

Conclusion
A. Awesome 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.

B. Prayer

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.

C. Thought to Remember

Speak on God’s behalf—but think first.

Visual for Lessons 3 & 8. Start a discussion by pointing to this visual as you ask, “In what area of your life do you most need this reminder today?”

How to Say It

behemoth bee-heh-moth or beh-hee-moth.

Bildad Bill-dad.

Elihu Ih-lye-hew.

Eliphaz El-ih-faz.

leviathan luh-vye-uh-thun.

Naamathite Nay-uh-muth-ite.

patriarchal pay-tree-are-kul.

Shuah Shoe-uh.

Shuhite Shoe-hite.

Sinai Sigh-nye or Sigh-nay-eye.

Temanite Tee-mun-ite.

theophany the-ah-fuh-nee (the as in thief).

Zophar Zo-far.


November 2

 Lesson 9

 God’s Glory Fills the Temple

Devotional Reading: Psalm 138

Background Scripture: Ezekiel 40:1-43:12

Ezekiel 43:1-12

1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:

2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

3 And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

4 And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east.

5 So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house.

6 And I heard him speaking unto me out of the house; and the man stood by me.

7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

8 In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger.

9 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.

10 Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.

11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

12 This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

Key Verses

The glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house. —Ezekiel 43:4, 5

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:

1. Summarize what Ezekiel saw regarding the return of God’s glory to the temple.

2. Explain how Ezekiel’s description of God’s glory filling the temple and of God’s expectations applies to Christians as God’s holy “temples” today.

3. Identify and “put away” (v. 9) one habit that doesn’t belong in the temple of the New Testament era.

Lesson Outline

Introduction

A. God Amidst the Rubble

B. Lesson Background: Ezekiel’s Times

C. Lesson Background: Foreshadowing

I. Seeing a Vision (Ezekiel 43:1-5)

A. Movement of God’s Glory (vv. 1-4)

Imagining God’s Glory

B. Movement of God’s Prophet (v. 5)

II. Hearing a Message (Ezekiel 43:6-9)

A. Promise and Prediction (vv. 6, 7)

B. Defilement and Destruction (v. 8)

C. Practice and Presence (v. 9)

III. Conveying a Message (Ezekiel 43:10-12)

A. Confronting Sins (v. 10)

B. Conforming to a Plan (v. 11)

C. Closing Statement (v. 12)

Redecorating

Conclusion

A. Under Construction

B. Prayer

C. Thought to Remember


Standard Lesson Commentary 2014-2015 (KJV).

"Suggestions for families are taken from Standardlesson.com,

Standard Publishing Group, LLC. Used with permission. More resources for families are available at Standardpub.com.


God Bless