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Do We Accept Good from God and Not Trouble

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

     It is great to be together again and to be able to have the privilege to look into the Word of God and make it real in our lives by personal application. The title for the lesson, “Do we Accept Good from God and not Trouble?”   And the text is in the Old Testament, the book of Job chapter two verses seven through 10. Let’s listen to the Word of God.

     So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the souls of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him: Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die.   He replied: You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble? In all of this Job did not sin in what he said. This is the Word of God.

     Physical suffering, afflictions and diseases of all types is not something we usually want to dwell on.  We don’t want to talk about it. We all know as described in Scripture in, for example, 2 Corinthians chapter four and verse 16, that it says, in part: Outwardly we are wasting away. You might be thinking:  Yes, but I don’t want to be reminded of it.  I want to hear a positive, uplifting message. And that is what this lesson can be if we are willing to face reality and get really serious about our faith including to cope and grow from our troubles in our suffering, to learn to accept the good and the bad that God allows into our lives and the scriptural principles that can help us, that can uplift us even in our suffering. 

     The classic case in the study of suffering and overcoming is about a believer named Job.  So let’s look more closely at our study text in Job chapter two beginning in verse seven. It says there: So Satan went out form the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.  Here we have a unique, exceptional case with no other exact similar circumstances in all of Scripture, namely, that Satan, that is a devil, afflicted, he struck, he smote Job. Now it is true that in the gospels the demons  cause physical problems, emotional problems, even spiritual problems when they possessed and indwelt people, but that was not the case with the believer Job. Obviously God almighty allowed, he permitted Satan to afflict Job. He was not possessed by a demon. He was a believer.  Nevertheless, don’t discount the power of Satan if God allows. Satan can afflict us even physically if God allows it, which begs the question. Why would God allow Satan to afflict Job?  In this unique case Job was being tested. His faith and perseverance put on trial. Now, of course, obviously God can also  and does test our faith in many diverse and various ways.  After all, it is easier to be faithful when everything is positive,  going well, when we are healthy and prosperous and happy. So how much did God allow Job, a believer, to suffer, to be afflicted?
     Well, according to Job chapter two and verse seven it tells us he had painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head, sore boils. The exact diagnosis of this affliction is not known. But the book of Job has many descriptions concerning his affliction. In Job chapter two and verse 13 it says in part that it was great suffering. In Job chapter three an verse 24 it says, in part: My groans pour out like water. In Job chapter seven and verse five it says: My body is clothed with worms and scabs. My skin is broken and festering. In Job chapter seven and verse 16 it says, in part: I despise my life. My days have no meaning. So it also included mental and emotional anguish, certainly. In Job chapter 13 and verse 28 it says, in part, that he wastes away like something rotten. In Job chapter 16 and verse eight it says, in part: My gauntness or leanness rises up. In Job chapter 19 and verse 17 it says, in part: My breath is offensive. In Job chapter 30 and verse 17 it says: Night pierces my bones. My gnawing pains never rest. In Job chapter 30 and verse 30 it says: My skin grows black and peels. My body burns with fever.  And so, therefore, just in this short list it was an awful, terrible suffering.

     The closest afflictions to these descriptions could be the c word, the word that no one wants to hear said of them or their loved ones, the c word, cancer.  Cancer crashes many lives.  Cancer has struck just about every family today. Yes, there are, thankfully, survivors of cancer, but there are also many in which even the treatments sometimes can be worse than the disease. In America it is estimated that each year there are more than seven million new cases of cancer. And with cancer there are more than 100 different known forms of cancer. Cancer is about the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, cancerous cells that can spread though the bloodstream and through the lymphatic system of our bodies. What would you think? What would you do if you or I were told you have cancer of the blank? How would cancer impact your faith or any dreaded disease for that matter impact your faith?

     According to the National Cancer Institute, quote: No two people cope with cancer alike. Each has an individual way, end of quote.

     Obviously Job’s disease, his afflictions were unique at a time without very much if any medicine or pain relief.  Basically he only had his faith and some very primitive matters to sustain him. And so Job suffered intensively.
     In Job chapter two and verse eight it says there then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. Scraped probably to release the infection, the ashes because he was in deep, pitiful morning. In my own case, in my own family, my own father was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands. Back in 1983 when many treatments of this form of cancer were new some even experimental and yet his cancer spread eventual all over his body, even to his brain and my father died in three months at the age of 62.  My dad was 5’11”, 190 pounds normally.  But toward the end of his life I had to carry him like a young child to the bathroom. He had become skin and bones and my mother only cried and prayed.  Cancer is a terrible affliction.

     In Job chapter two and verse nine it says his wife said to him: Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die. Perhaps her thinking was: If you curse God, God will strike you down and take you out of your misery. Nevertheless, nothing could be more devastating for a believer, whether an Old Testament saint or certainly today for a believer, yes, even suffering terribly, yes, that God allowed it obviously in his life, but becoming unfaithful at the expected point of death to curse God, to blaspheme God would only add eternal death and destruction which is to go from temporary bad to eternal worse,  a very unwise thing to do.

     So what can we learn from Scripture, from a believer with genuine faith in the one true God, from a believer that suffered probably much, much more than any of us will suffer to even grow, to mature through suffering?  In Job chapter two and verse 10 it says that he, that is Job, replied to his wife: You are talking like a foolish woman.

     Now the Hebrew word here for foolish does not mean silly or ridiculous, but, instead, it means unwise, especially unwise spiritually, unwise, foolish as one who rejects God, rejects the will of God. For example, in Psalm 14 and verse one it says: The fool says in his heart there is no God. That is foolish toward God or regarding any spiritual matter, unwise spiritually, foolish. Instead, Job’s wife should have been like the woman described in the New Testament, in Romans chapter 16 and verses one and two, in verse one regarding our sister Phoebe, a servant. And then in verse two the apostle Paul wrote of her: For she has been a great help to many people, including me. And so by application certainly when suffering strikes, suffering of any type, physically, spiritually, emotionally, economically, whatever trial or tribulation or trouble that we are going through, spouses, family, friends, especially at very difficult and trying times need to be a great help, great helps, not hindrances to be positive, not negative, to be praying, not cursing. And so the believer Job rebuked his unwise wife, possibly even unbelieving wife who only added to his misery. But that is not all. Then Job exposed, he exercised his faith in God in spite of his misery, in spite of his suffering, a prime example to all of us, especially in our suffering and coping and overcoming. Not to say in any stretch of the imagination that this would be easy, but yet the believer Job in Job chapter two and verse 10 said: Shall we except good from God and not trouble? Even believers have many troubles in this life allowed by God. You and I do whether we are believers or unbelievers.  It rains on the righteous and on the unrighteous, but God allows suffering even to his own, to his own family, to his own sons and daughters in Christ Jesus. And certainly God does block many troubles which we possibly will only find out in eternity. But God does not block all troubles, obviously, in this life. Even for believers.

     And even though it is obviously very hard, we should not question God’s goodness and wisdom, because we suffer. Job was a man of mature faith, accepting ultimately whatever God allowed into his life, an example for us. Often with troubles we don’t need to know the whys. But we do need to remain faithful to the whom we trust regardless. And as maturing believers we know that God never ever makes mistakes. God is never blindsided. Whatever he allows into our lives is in his permissive will, at least. And as believers if and when we are not healed here on this earth in this life, we will be healed over there. When the Lord comes in the air, we will have the redemption of these bodies. So we cannot lose. It is just a matter of time and location. Believers in the midst of suffering should never abandon God. And that is usually, of course, when we need him the most, when we really cry out to God, when God really gets our attention and when we need to be faithful. God does love us. Even if we feel he does not love us, we are to live by faith, not by feelings, by faith from first to last. And Job remained faithful.

     In Job chapter 13 and verse 15 Job gave his great testimony of faith when he said: Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.  Ultimately even though he questioned God, which is only and was only human and certainly even for us, ultimately Job trusted. His faith persevered. If you and I are afflicted with a dreadful disease like cancer, could, would we say the same to the Lord? Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. And God proved his love, not just for believers, but for all of mankind he proved it by allowing his own Son to suffer terribly, to pay to pay the price of pain on the cross, to become the path to paradise when he died on the cross for us. And it is effectual through saving faith in him and his work on the cross on our behalf for our salvation.

     And so we need to trust God or are we to accept only good from God and not trouble? We must accept both in this life. And so, my friends, trust God in all.

 

     David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8