When Bad Things Happen to Good People – A Look at the Story of Job

Ten years ago, God gave me a message that summarized the book of Job. I covered the 42-chapter book in record time. God has used this message in great ways wherever I have preached it. I pray He will use this outline and the lessons from Job’s life to help you.

  1. The Character Displayed by Him (1:1) – He was an upright man who shunned evil.
  2. The People and Possessions that Surrounded Him (1:2, 3) – He had several children, livestock, and a wife.
  3. The Trials That Shook Him (Chs. 1-2) – He lost his children and livestock and was given boils all over his body. A few things to note: Job offered animal sacrifices for sin before they were required. The devil had to have God’s permission to touch Job. God first only allowed his property and family to be touched but prohibited the devil from touching Job’s health. God later allowed the devil to affect Job’s health. In the first chapter, job recognized the Lord gives and takes away but blessed His name anyway. Remember that nothing happens to you over which God does not have complete and total control. The devil is on a leash.
  4. The People Who Discouraged Him (Chs. 2-31) – His wife told him to curse God and die. His friend, Eliphaz,blamed Job’s suffering on his own personal sin (5:17), Bildad blames Job’s suffering on his refusal to repent (8:5-7), and Zophar said Job should suffer more because of his sin (11:1-6). Sounds like great friends, right?
  5. The Friend Who Helped Him: Elihu (Chs. 32-37) – Elihu was not the perfect friend, but he did highlight a few good points. He taught that the purpose of suffering is to mould and train (33:16) and the proper response to suffering is to be still and allow God to teach you wisdom (33:33).
  6. The God Who Sustained Him – He gives and takes away (1:21). He must first permit the trial to touch us (1:12;2:6). He was longsuffering through Job’s confusion, allowing Job to process his emotions before He ever spoke. He corrected Job’s misconceptions about God (38:1-41:34). He rebukes Job’s Friends (42:7-9). In the end, He restored to Job what he lost (42:10-17).

Bad things do happen to good people and vice versa. Being a Christian does not exempt you from difficulty. You just have the benefit of God making you stronger and a warrior that the devil will fear when you come out strong on the other side. When the bad things come, remember specifically the last point of this that God does sustain you. He is in complete control and does work all things together for His greater good not our definition. Trust His purpose and plan!

14 thoughts on “When Bad Things Happen to Good People – A Look at the Story of Job

  1. A great book to get into and lots to learn about how we can respond to our suffering, the suffering of others and how good God is. Thanks for sharing Matt.

    Is anyone really good though?

  2. Amen, this is a great tool for teaching the book of Job!!!!

    I’m going to add this post to the Community Spotlight. 🙂 The post comes out at the end of the month.

  3. I have also heard it taught that Job lived as he thought God wanted him to for the reward it would bring. But God brings Job through the torments from Satan to make him realize He wants a relationship with him more than worship for what He gives. Once Job understands this (Ch 42: 1-6), God increases his gifts in the latter part of Job’s life 42:12-17. I’m almost sure this is what you meant by He corrected Job’s misconceptions about Him?

  4. Point #3 is intriguing yet complex. When I was a teenager, I got to meet the members of my favorite Christian band at the time, For Today. They insisted that Satan was causing me to be disabled, not God. They prayed over me, and when I didn’t “feel different,” it was implied that I should work on believing in miracles more/ work on my faith. Almost 10 years later, I look on my life and think my being disabled serves a mysterious but greater purpose. What do you think–is there a valid reason to think that Satan messes with us without God’s permission?

    1. It is difficult in our minds to balance the sovereignty of God with the onslaught of the devil. I can understand why people would think that the devil messes with us without God’s permission, but I see that God can bring beauty from ashes and use a disability to serve a greater purpose.

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