The Lord instructs Job concerning His power
To help prepare students to study Job 38–42, invite them to roll up a sheet of paper and look through it with one eye while closing their other eye. Invite a few students to explain what difficulties they might experience if they went about their daily activities with their vision limited in this way.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for some things that might cause us to have a limited perspective.
“From the limited perspective of those who do not have knowledge, understanding, or faith in the Father’s plan—who look at the world only through the lens of mortality with its wars, violence, disease, and evil—this life can seem depressing, chaotic, unfair, and meaningless” (“The Songs They Could Not Sing,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 104).
According to Elder Cook, what can cause us to have a limited perspective? (Viewing earth life and its challenges without knowledge or understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness or faith in that plan.)
What are some examples of challenges or trials that may be especially difficult to experience without understanding or having faith in Heavenly Father’s plan?
How are these challenges similar to some of the trials Job experienced?
Invite students as they study Job 38–42 to look for truths that can help them strengthen their faith in Heavenly Father and expand their vision of His plan in order to better meet the challenges they may experience.
Explain that after Job and his friends discussed possible reasons for Job’s suffering, the Lord spoke directly to Job. Invite a student to read Job 38:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look at the end of verse 3 for the instruction the Lord gave to Job.
According to the end of verse 3, what did the Lord say He wanted Job to do? (Answer the Lord’s questions.)
Ask a student to read Job 38:4–7 aloud, and invite the class to follow along, looking for the questions the Lord asked Job.
In your own words, how would you summarize the questions the Lord asked Job? (The Lord asked Job to consider where he was when the earth was created and who created the earth, implying that God has all power.)
Who do you think are the sons of God mentioned in verse 7?
To help the class understand verse 7, you may want to invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson. Invite students to follow along, looking for who was among the “sons of God” who “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).
“We lived before our birth into mortality. In our premortal state, we were doubtless among the sons and daughters of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence. We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials, and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God” (“He Is Risen!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 88).
How does President Monson’s statement help you understand the meaning of verse 7? (After students respond, you may want to suggest that they write the following truth in the margin of their scriptures near verse 7: Before we were born on earth, we lived with Heavenly Father and rejoiced in His plan of happiness.)
When we face challenges, why might it be helpful to remember that we rejoiced at the opportunity to experience life on earth?
Summarize the remainder of Job 38 as well as Job 39–41 by explaining that the Lord illustrated His knowledge and power by asking Job many questions about how He created and still directs the earth, emphasizing the limited knowledge and power of humans.
The Lord blesses Job so that he is more prosperous than when he began
Ask a student to read Job 42:1–2 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Job said after the Lord spoke to him.
What did Job say he knew about the Lord? (After students respond, you may want to write the following doctrine on the board: The Lord has all power and knows all things.)
Why do you think it would be important to have a testimony of this truth—particularly during times when we face challenges?
Ask a student to read Job 42:5–6 aloud. Invite the class to look for how Job was affected as he learned more about the Lord.
What do you think Job meant when he said, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”? (Job 42:6). (Help students understand that Job did not hate himself. Rather, he humbly acknowledged his weaknesses, sins, and limitations before the Lord.)
Point out that after Job acknowledged his limitations and repented of his sins, the Lord spoke to Job’s friends who had misjudged Job and tried to convince him that he did not deserve the Lord’s mercy.
Invite students to consider a time in their lives when, like Job, they may have been misjudged by a friend (or friends).
Why can it be hurtful if we are misjudged by friends? How might we be tempted to react toward our friends when they misjudge us?
Invite a student to read Job 42:7–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the instruction the Lord gave to Job’s friends.
What did the Lord command Job’s friends to do?
According to verse 8, what did the Lord instruct Job to do for these friends who had misjudged him?
What principle can we learn from this instruction? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: The Lord wants us to pray for those who misjudge us.)
Why do you think the Lord wants us to pray for those who misjudge us?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Job 42:10–17. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Job experienced in the remainder of his life.
What gave Job strength to remain faithful to the Lord in his trials? What specific trials that Job faced (loss of friends, loss of family members, loss of goods and possessions) might be difficult for you to endure faithfully?
How did the Lord bless Job after he remained faithful and endured such great trials?
What principles can we learn from Job’s experience? (As students share the principles they have identified, emphasize the following: If we remain faithful to the Lord in our trials, then He will bless us abundantly according to His will.)
Invite students to come to the board and list some things we can do to show we are faithful to the Lord during our trials. After students have written a list on the board, you may also want to ask them to give examples of ways the Lord can bless us when we do the things listed on the board.
To help students understand ways the Lord may bless us as we remain faithful in our trials, consider inviting a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite the class to listen for ways the Lord may bless those who are faithful to Him during their trials.
“The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.
“One of the blessings of the gospel is the knowledge that when the curtain of death signals the end of our mortal lives, life will continue on the other side of the veil. There we will be given new opportunities. Not even death can take from us the eternal blessings promised by a loving Heavenly Father” (“Come What May, and Love It,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 28).
According to Elder Wirthlin, how can the Lord bless us if we are faithful during our trials? (Help students understand that the Lord’s blessings can come to us in this life and also after we die.)
How have you been blessed as you have remained faithful to the Lord during your trials? (After students respond, you may also want to share an experience.)
You may want to conclude this lesson by testifying of the truths you have discussed today. Invite students to select from the list on the board one thing they can work on to help them remain faithful during their trials. Encourage them to do the thing they chose.
Scripture Mastery Review
As a simple review to help students remember the location of the 10 scripture mastery passages that have been introduced thus far in the course, ask each student to draw a four-by-four grid on a piece of paper.
Invite students to write each of the 10 scripture mastery references randomly in the squares on the grid. Ask them to repeat 6 of the references in the remaining squares.
Read a portion of one of the 10 scripture mastery passages aloud, and ask students to place a finger on the reference on their grids that they think corresponds with the passage. Say the reference aloud, and have students check their answers. If they are pointing to the correct reference, ask them to mark the square with an X.
Instruct students to call out “Scripture mastery!” when they mark four squares in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally). You could continue until everyone has four in a row or until students have marked all of their squares.
BIBLE STUDIES ON SUFFERING
© Copyright Rosemary Bardsley
11. GOD'S RESPONSE TO THE SITUATION
A STUDY IN THE BOOK OF JOB
A. Things we must remember
- God's statements about Job in 1 & 2: that 'he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.'
- God's statement in 42:7 that Job spoke what was right about God.
- The devil's accusation that Job's faith lacked integrity, focusing on the blessings God gave rather than God himself.
- The sources from which the three friends got their knowledge of God: experience, tradition, and the limits of the human mind.
B. Job's conclusion about knowledge of God (28)
 Man is capable of finding treasures hidden in the earth that not even birds of prey, with their keenest of eyesight, can see, nor the strongest of animals come near (28:1-11).
 Even so (28:12-22), man is incapable of either discovering, appreciating the value of, or purchasing wisdom:
it can't be found in the depths of the oceans (14); it cannot be bought with even the most valuable of man's possessions (15-19), for none of these treasures can compare with it; it is hidden, and even the grave knows nothing about it (20-22).
 Only God understands and knows (28:23-27).
 And he has told man how to find it: 'The fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding' (28:28).This verse tells us exactly why Job was right and the friends were wrong: he was a God-fearer - a believer. That, God has said, is wisdom, and that is understanding. There was a lot about God and his working that he didn't know, but he knows God. Confronted now by the trauma of his own massive suffering he also knows this other thing: that the traditional explanation, which up to the point of his suffering he had carelessly and thoughtlessly assumed to be true, cannot be true about what God is now doing to him. He knows there has to be some other explanation.
But when God speaks, it is not with answers and explanations, but with a whole series of questions (38:2-41:34). By these questions, and their implied answers, he teaches Job.
C. What God said to Job (38-39)
 That he is the creator and sustainer:
- He was there at the beginning, Job wasn't (38:4).
- He is the great architect and builder (38:4-6).
- He set the limits (38:5,8-11).
- He keeps the whole system running (38:12).
- His creative work brought forth praise and joy (38:7).
 That he knows things that Job hasn't even thought of:
- The depths of the oceans (38:16).
- Death (38:17).
- The immensity of the earth (38:18).
- Where light and darkness come from (38:19-20).
- Where snow, hail, lightning and wind come from (38:22-24).
- The gestation periods of wild animals (39:1-4)
- Why some wild creatures are the way they are (39:5-18).
 That he does things Job cannot do:
- He forms and sends the rain, ice and frost (38:25-30).
- He created and controls the stars (38:31-33).
- He controls the floods and lightning (38:35).
- He put wisdom in man's heart and mind (38:36), but only he has enough to count the clouds (37).
- He can send rain from heaven to break the drought (38:37-38).
- He provides food for the creatures (38:39-41).
- He made the horse what it is (39:19-25).
- He commands the hawk and eagle to live as they do (39:26-30).
This self-revelation of God to Job makes no attempt to answer Job's 'WHY?' Instead it
- identifies the enormous contrast between God and man, contrasting the greatness and control of God to the insignificance and real helplessness of man; and
- draws attention to the unlimited knowledge, the incredible power, and the delicate carefulness with which God governs the world.
Thus it teaches Job that, despite what may appear, God knows what he is doing and is in control. Thus God's revelation on the one hand, vindicates Job's conviction that God is not punishing him for sin, and on the other hand, calls him on to an enlarged knowledge of God, and thus to an enlarged faith (40:4,5). Job's knowledge of God had been true; what it needed was a massive filling out of the meaning of that truth.
From 40:6 to 41:34 God points out that just as it is impossible for man to capture or subdue behemoth or leviathan so also it is impossible for Job to call God to account for his justice, or even for Job to administer justice on earth.
D. Job's response (40:4,5; 42:1-6)
God has revealed himself, making known his power and wisdom. Such a self-disclosure draws only one response from the man of faith: 'God, be merciful to me a sinner' (Luke 18:13 KJV);'Woe to me! ...I am a man of unclean lips... and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty (Isaiah 6:5); '...now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes' (Job 42:5b-6).This is always the response of faith, face to face with almighty God.