The Book Of Job And Suffering: A Sermon -- By: Russell T. Fuller
SBTJ 17:4 (Winter 2013) p. 50
The Book Of Job And Suffering: A Sermon
Russell T. Fuller is Professor of Old Testament at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He earned his Ph.D. from Hebrew Union College, and he is the co-author of Invitation to Biblical Hebrew: A Beginning Grammar (Kregel, 2006).
The Apostle Peter tells us, “that the testing (or proof) of your faith, more precious than gold which is perishable, though tested by fire, may be found to the praise and glory and honor in the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:7). God tests the faith of his saints. Such testing, when successful, strengthens our faith by working patience in us. And when patience to rely upon God and upon Him alone has its perfect work, we become complete and whole, lacking in nothing (James 1:3-4). Such testing, while difficult, is always profitable. God tested Abraham, for example, in commanding him to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise (Gen 22:1). Abraham relied upon God, stating to Isaac that, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Gen 22:8). Indeed, Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead if necessary (Heb 11:19). Such testing rendered Abraham’s great faith in God even stronger. The same may be said of Joseph as well. The word of God—that his family would bow down to him—tested him as he lived a slave and prisoner for some twenty years (Ps 105:19). Joseph learned to wait patiently on God.
The book of Job teaches the same lesson that God tests his people that they may learn to rely upon Him, and Him alone for all things. In fact, God designed this book as a pattern to aid us for the testing and strengthening of our faith. Trials and testing will come our way: loss of health, loss of family and friends, and even death itself. But the question is clear—will we live by faith as Job did or will we live by sight like many of the children of Israel did in the wilderness as well as the way the world daily lives? Job shows us how to live by faith.
Job: His Piety And Prosperity (Job 1:1-5)
The book introduces Job by his godliness, not by his nationality. Four attributes characterize Job’s piety. The first is “blameless.” Used of animals without blemishes for sacrifice, blameless describes Job’s character as without essential
SBTJ 17:4 (Winter 2013) p. 51
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