God, Why? – Radical Podcast

God, Why?

There are points in our lives where all of us ask, “God, why is this happening to me? God, why now? God, how long will this go on?” Gratefully, God can handle our questions, and though we don’t always get the answers we’re looking for, God doesn’t leave us without hope. We can trust that his wisdom is greater than ours, and we can persevere knowing that he will keep his saving promises to those who are in Christ Jesus. In this message, David Platt points us to Job 3 and the example of a man who suffered greatly but who found God faithful in the end. Regardless of our circumstances or our questions, we can rest in God’s sovereign care.

If you have a Bible—and I hope you or somebody around you does that you can look on with—let me invite you to open with me to Job 3. As you’re turning, I want to welcome you; it’s good to be together around God’s Word.

The original plan today, after our 21 days of prayer and fasting, was to start back in our series in the Gospel of Mark on following Jesus. But I’m going to move Mark back a week, because this last week has been for me personally one of the most emotionally, physically and spiritually tense and draining weeks of my entire life. The same has been true for my amazing wife, and to a certain extent, our kids.

Just to put it as plainly as I can, I’m standing before you today exhausted. I’ve not had sufficient time in Mark to be able to study and preach that text with the confidence I would want to have whenever I open a passage and say to you, “This is the word of the Lord for your life.” What I have had time in is in the book of Job, because this is where we are in the Old Testament part of our Bible reading.

This relates in part to what we’ve been walking through as a family this last week. I’ll share more personally at a later time, but I certainly don’t want our time in the Word today just to be about me or my family. I know I’m in a gathering right now full of people walking through a variety of hard things. I realize many of these things are far harder than what I’m walking through. Just emotionally trying, physically trying, relationally trying, spiritual trying things of all kinds are represented in this room and at other locations where we are, as well as for all different people online.

After praying about how I could best serve you today with God’s Word out of the overflow of what God is doing in my own life, here’s what I want to do. I want to invite everyone to start with me here, if you’d be willing, much like a couple weeks ago. So, from the youngest to the oldest person in this gathering—whether this is your first time in church or you’ve grown up in church all your life— I really want to encourage you to pause for a minute before we dive into God’s Word and think about this. I should add, whether you’re going through any kind of challenge right now or even if everything is perfect in your life. Regardless of your situation, I would also encourage you to write down your thoughts and struggles, just to get it out there on paper. A couple weeks ago, we talked about this being really helpful, even to kind of force yourself to put something down on paper. So every adult, student, teenager, child—I think this will go a long way in preparing your hearts and minds to hear from God today. I’m going to give you a few minutes to do this.

So here’s the question I want you to answer. When you think about your life, either right now or maybe in the past—it could be the recent past or it could be a long time ago—what are the biggest “why” questions you have before God? “God, why…?” How would you fill in that blank? When you think about your life—particularly when you think about hard things you’ve experienced, emotionally, physically, relationally, spiritually, any trying things in your life—what are the top one, two, three or four “why” questions you have before God?

As an example that relates to Heather and me, for years in our marriage we have found ourselves asking, “God, why has it been so hard for us to have children?” For many years early on in our marriage, it was, “God, why have You given us a desire for children, but You’re not fulfilling that desire? Please either fulfill that desire or take the desire away. Why, God?” More recently, it’s been, “God, why has the adoption of our precious three-year-old been on hold for over two years now? Why is he now five years old and we’re still waiting to bring him into our family? God, why?”
So what are the “why” questions in your life? I want to give you some time to put these all out there before God, to the extent possible, writing them down. Just put into words one, two, three or more. For some of you, these may just start flowing. What are the biggest “why” questions you have before God? If you don’t have anything to write with or write on, just very intentionally think, “If I was writing down, what would I be writing.” Do that now, then I’m going to pray for us.

Don’t let me stop you if you’re not finished writing. Before I pray, I just want to say, I hope you realize in this moment, whatever you’re writing down, that you are not alone. We all have these questions. I do. You do. What I want to show you today is that people throughout the Bible have asked these questions. God in His Word has not left us alone with our “why” questions. There’s David in the Psalms, Habakkuk in the prophets. We’re going to be looking at a whole book together. We have all kinds of “why” questions that are full of emotion. I trust we realize the things we’re writing down are probably not merely intellectual inquiries, although we do want to understand that most of these questions are deeply emotional. They’re really heavy questions that, if we’re honest, we avoid asking because we may not want some of those emotions to rise to the surface. Thank you for stepping into this with me.

I want to pray for us as we start, asking God for His help with all these “why” questions. I’ll go ahead and say from the start, I’m not going to presume to answer all of these “why” questions; I don’t think you’re expecting that. There are no easy answers to these questions, but I do want to show you in God’s Word a couple of anchors that you can hold on to amidst the waves of “why” questions in this fallen world. So let’s pray.

God, You see all these questions, whether we’ve written them down or not. You know every circumstance better than we do. So we come before You today, honestly asking these questions. We ask for Your help with these questions on our hearts, in our minds and in our lives, as well as all they carry with them. We pray that You would speak to us now, in this supernatural moment, Through your Holy Spirit, through Your Word, speak to each of our hearts and help us with these questions that are on our minds and hearts. We look to You humbly and honestly now with these questions. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

One other thing I want to mention as a side note is that whenever we have moments like that, we sometimes start hearing baby sounds and I know that’s one of the biggest fears a parent has—or maybe you have a child with special needs. You’re like, “Oh no, a quiet moment. What’s going to happen?” I just want you to know we love baby sounds in this church family. And we love the sounds of children with special needs. So don’t ever be concerned about that. If somebody gives you a bad look, you just give them a bad look back on my behalf. Be like, “David’s with me.” Just give it to them.

So we’re in Job 3, which means we’re jumping past the start of this book. We’ve studied before as a church family, so I don’t want to go back over all of Job 1 and 2. For those of you who may not be familiar with this story, here’s the setup. In the beginning of Job 1, Job had everything he desired—a wife, a house full of children, a wealth of possessions, good health, plus he was blameless and upright before God. He feared God. He did good and turned away from evil. Then in an instant, all of his possessions are stripped away from him. Job 1 tells us of waves that come one after another after another. Then all ten of Job’s children die instantly. In Job 2 he loses his good health. Physically he is in miserable pain and his wife is telling him to curse God and die.
Yet after all of this, at the end of Job 1 and 2, he is still worshipping God. Job 1 says that when all this happened to him, to his possessions and then his children:

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong (Job 1:20-22).

Then at the end of Job 2, now mired in physical pain, his wife telling him to curse God and die, we read, “But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:10-11). These are two of the most remarkable statements of faith ever recorded in history. They’re statements of trust in and worship of God, in the middle of unimaginable tragedy, loss and pain. Yet this was just the beginning.

It’s one thing to experience a sudden tragedy. It’s an entirely different challenge, isn’t it?, to experience the pain of that loss for days and months and years afterward. That’s the journey that begins to unfold in Job 3, as we see this blameless, upright man, who is completely committed to God, now wrestling and struggling deeply with God over the mysteries of God’s ways. Job was wrestling with “God, why?” questions. He’s wrestling with these questions in a trash heap amidst unimaginable physical pain and hurt.

Then before long, some supposed friends show up—Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. After Job initially speaks in Job 3, a threefold cycle begins. First Eliphaz speaks, then Job responds. Then Bildad speaks and Job responds. Zophar speaks and Job responds. They do this rotation three times, although the third time one of them basically drops out and a new guy named Elihu comes in.
On the whole, the counsel these friends give is extremely unhelpful. As you read through the book of Job, if you’re following along in our Bible reading, remember that just because something is in the Bible doesn’t mean it’s an example for us to follow. There are many things in the Bible that God gives us as examples not to follow, including much of the counsel we see from these supposed friends. Now, don’t be mistaken. Much of what these friends say at different points is true, but the way they apply that truth is often unhelpful, or their timing or tone in sharing certain truths is unhelpful. Then some of the things they say just aren’t true. At the core of their unhelpful counsel is an insistence that surely Job has done something to deserve this, when that was not the case. But these guys had no category for innocent suffering. They thought if something bad happens to you, then you deserve it. If something good happens to you, you deserve that.

That is horrible theology. Nevertheless, in the middle of all these conversations between Job and these guys, we do find some anchors to ground our hearts and our minds amidst the waves of our “why” questions. And Job 3 is exactly the place to start, because of how many times Job asks, “Why?” I want to read the whole chapter and I would encourage you to circle every time you see the question “Why?”

1 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 And Job said: 3 “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ 4 Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. 5 Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. 6 That night—let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. 7 Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it. 8 Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan. 9 Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none, nor see the eyelids of the morning, 10 because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes. 11 “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire? 12 Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? 13 For then I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept; then I would have been at rest, 14 with kings and counselors of the earth who rebuilt ruins for themselves, 15 or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. 16 Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light? 17 There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. 18 There the prisoners are at ease together; they hear not the voice of the taskmaster. 19 The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master. 20 “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, 21 who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, 22 who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave? 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? 24 For my sighing comes instead of my bread,
and my groanings are poured out like water. 25 For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. 26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.”

Wow! Talk about heavy. This is the first time we hear Job speak after his declarations of faith in God. Six times in this chapter, Job asks, “Why?” His “why” question is really the most fundamental of all: “Why was I even born? If this is what I was going to experience, why did You even make me, God?” Feel the depth of emotion in this man who is coming before God, in faith, hurting and broken, asking, “Why am I even here?” There is a clear implication here of Job thinking, “I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to live.” He’s longing for death.
Yet in the chapters that follow, I want to show you the fruit of this kind of honest faith. I want to show you the anchors that Job—amidst real, raw emotions and questions—is holding on to in his “why” questions. These are the same anchors God has given you and me to hold on to, so I would encourage you to write this down.

Anchor #1 – Remember that God is all-wise.

First, amidst all your questions about “why,” remember that God is all-wise. I tried to intentionally phrase this in a way that would be memorable. When you think of “why” and all your questions about “why,” remember that God is all-wise. There’s so much we could look at here, but you’ll see it in the next couple weeks if you’re following along in the Bible reading plan.
Now I want you to jump ahead with me to Job 28, because this is what many biblical scholars say contains the central scene and the literary climax of Job’s journey. Obviously when you get to chapter 28 and God speaks to Job, that’s a climactic moment for sure in the last few chapters of the book. Right in the middle here is why the book of Job is referred to in the Bible as wisdom literature. It’s in large part because of chapter 28. So as Job is wrestling with “Why?” listen to what he says starting in Job 28:12: “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” He starts talking about wisdom much like we see in the book of Proverbs.

13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. 14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ 15 It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. 16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. 17 Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold. 18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls. 19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold. 20 “From where, then, does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air. 22 Abaddon and Death say, ‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’ 23 “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. 24 For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. 25 When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, 26 when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, 27 then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out. 28 And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

That’s so much like the wisdom in Proverbs. Job is searching for wisdom and understanding here. He’s frustrated because he knows God possesses it and he doesn’t have it. So when you get to verse 23, you see something that’s so key for us amidst our “why” questions. I want to show you three ingredients that are necessary for wisdom. So look at this picture with me.

  • One, wisdom involves knowledge. “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place.” So to be wise is to have knowledge.
  • The second ingredient: wisdom involves perspective. Verse 24: “For [God] looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.” Wisdom is the ability to perceive. It’s to know and to perceive.
  • Then third, wisdom involves experience. Job starts talking about how God has created everything. “He gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure…He made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder.” God made everything Himself and He’s the One Who “saw” wisdom. He “declared” wisdom. He “established” wisdom. He “searched it out.” God formed wisdom from the beginning.

So with these three ingredients—knowledge, perspective and experience—let’s meditate for a moment on our limited wisdom. Let’s just think about how we lack all of these things as human beings, as creatures and not the Creator. We lack knowledge. How often do we act unwisely because we don’t know everything? How many times have you found out something later and thought, “If I’d known that, I would never have done this; I wouldn’t have said this, if I would have known that”? We don’t know everything which leads to foolishness. We’re not wise, because we don’t know everything. The more we grow in knowledge, the more we grow in wisdom.

Similarly, we lack perspective. We don’t see everything; we certainly don’t see everything clearly. Our perspective is always at best limited; at worst it’s jaded or distorted, even sometimes just wrong. We never perceive all the factors at work in every situation, all the effects of a decision we might make. Or maybe we’re just not able to see things from another’s point of view. We can do unwise things. We can say, “Oh, if I had known how this would be taken, if I’d have seen it from that perspective, I would have said something different. I would have done something different.” We lack perspective.

Third, we lack experience. We learn some things the first time we walk through a situation, knowing for the next time how to better handle that. The more we grow in experience, the more we grow in wisdom, but we’re obviously limited in our experience. So we lack knowledge, perspective and experience which is why we find ourselves searching for understanding and wisdom.
Let’s meditate for a moment on God’s limitless wisdom. Think about how God has perfect knowledge. He knows everything—past, present, future. God always has all the facts. God never finds out something later and says, “Ah, I didn’t realize that. I would have done something different if I knew that.” That never happens in God. God always acts in light of all the facts because He has perfect knowledge.

Secondly, God has eternal perspective on everything at all times. In verse 24, He “looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.” True wisdom sees everything in proper perspective and God has eternally proper, perfect perspective. God sees and understands how any one thing will affect every other thing, including every person at every time throughout all time, throughout eternity. God sees millions of things we cannot see.
Finally, God has infinite experience. He’s the One Who made the world, including wisdom. He’s always acted wisely in all He has done. In other words, God is no rookie when it comes to wisdom. He’s wisdom’s Author. God has infinite experience as the infinitely wise God.
So amidst all of our questions about “why,” what should we remember? We need to remember that we are not all-wise, but God is. We lack so much knowledge, perspective and experience, but God lacks none of these things. This is why, in the middle of Job’s “why” questions, right in the middle of the book of Job, we have this central, climactic declaration that God is all-wise and as a result, God is trustworthy.

You and I honestly ask, “How can we trust God when this or that happened or this or that is happening?” You can trust God when you remember that His knowledge is perfect, that He knows all things and that He knows what is best in all things. You can trust God when you remember that His perspective is eternal, when you remember that He sees so many things you do not see, including the effects of all these things on every single person in history for all eternity. You can trust God when you remember that He has infinite experience, that He was and is and always will be, and that in His wisdom He knows how to take even evil and suffering and turn it for good.

Isn’t this the gospel story at the center of this book? It’s the story of Jesus, the perfect, innocent, blameless Son of God, being beaten, tortured and nailed to a cross to die. Why, God? See this. You’re not alone when you’re writing out your “why” questions. Jesus was on the cross and said, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus, in His humanity, in His suffering, was asking, “Why? Why the cross? Why the pain? Why death?”

The answer is because God the Father, in His limitless wisdom, has perfect knowledge of every single one of our sins. God, in His eternal perspective, has designed a way for every one of us who trusts in Jesus—2,000 years later—to be here today and to be saved from all our sins. Because God, in His infinite experience, knew what was best to bring us to Himself for all eternity. So praise God, Jesus trusted the wisdom of the Father and endured the cross. The most evil act in all of history—the crucifixion of the blameless Son of God—ushered in the most wonderful reality in all of history, salvation for every person from every nation who trusts in Him. Behold the wisdom of God! Behold the trustworthiness of God! God is infinitely wise; we are not.
So, amidst all your questions about “why,” we must remember that God is all-wise. It honors and glorifies God when we trust in Him even when we admittedly and honestly don’t understand what He’s doing. This leads right into the second anchor.

Anchor #2 – Hold fast to God as your hope.

Amidst the “why” questions we have in this fallen world, in the depth of your despair, hold fast to God as your hope. Think back to Job 3. I think “depth of despair” is an appropriate description of Job, don’t you? He’s despairing of life itself. A number of times he talked about darkness, this picture of despair, and that continues throughout his various responses to his friends. Here are a few examples.

  • Job 6:8-9, “Oh that I might have my request, and that God would fulfill my hope, that it would please God to crush me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!”
  • Job 7:16, “I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.”
  • Job 10:20-22, “Are not my days few? Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer before I go—and I shall not return—to the land of darkness and deep shadow, the land of gloom like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where light is as thick darkness.” See that repetition: darkness, thick darkness, thick darkness.
  • Job 7:13-15, “If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness, if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?” Do you see it? Job is in the depth of despair. And what’s he longing for? Hope. “Where is my hope? Who will see my hope?” This is the challenge, right? It’s what despair is. It’s darkness with no sign of light on the horizon. Have you ever been there?

Job hits rock bottom in a sense in chapter 19. Listen to these words he says to his friends, as he feels like everyone and everything is against him:

13 “He has put my brothers far from me, and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me. 14 My relatives have failed me, my close friends have forgotten me. 15 The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger; I have become a foreigner in their eyes. 16 I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer; I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy. 17 My breath is strange to my wife, and I am a stench to the children of my own mother. 18 Even young children despise me; when I rise they talk against me. 19 All my intimate friends abhor me, and those whom I loved have turned against me. 20 My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth. 21 Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! 22 Why do you, like God, pursue me? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?

Despair, desertion, destruction—and seemingly no hope. It’s at this point, in the depth of Job’s despair, that we read one of the most remarkable, thrilling, triumphant parts of this entire book. Listen to Job in the very next sentence: “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!” Just feel the intensity here. “Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!” What words? Here it is, verses 25-27:

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”

Wow! In the depth of Job’s despair, he cries out, “I still have hope!” Now let’s be clear. Job still has “why” questions. It’s not like all of a sudden they’ve been answered. Quite the opposite. Job doesn’t seem to have any of them answered. He doesn’t know why, but follow this: He does know Who. So he cries out, “I know this. There are a lot of things I don’t know, all these questions I don’t know, but I know that I have a Redeemer Who lives.”

A Redeemer. A vindicator. This word is used in Ruth to describe the champion of the oppressed. It’s used in Exodus to describe the deliverer of the captives. It’s used in Proverbs to describe the defender of the weak. Job says, “I, even I.” There’s emphasis there. “For myself. Me. Not another. I—I have a Redeemer Who lives. And at the last…” That’s a great phrase. Don’t miss it. This is not the last. This pain, suffering, hurt and heartache—this is not the last. This is not the end. “At the last He will stand upon the earth and will deliver me after my skin has been thus destroyed.” There’s something after your skin is destroyed. There’s something after the pain, hurt, heartache, sickness, loss and grief. “After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” In my flesh? Yes, “In my flesh I shall see Him for myself, with my own eyes. “My eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” My heart longs and yearns and hopes within me.

Oh, friend, no matter how young or old you are, no matter what you have been through, no matter how hard and painful your “why” questions are, I urge you: hold fast to God in hope! Do not turn away from God in your despair. Where in this world will you turn? Who or what in this world is infinitely wise and perfectly worthy of your trust? There is only One.

For all who trust in Him, when you hold fast to hope in Him, you will behold Him as your Redeemer, your Vindicator, your Defender, your Deliverer, your Provider, your Healer. He’s the One Who alone can make all things new in your life. In this fallen world of sin, evil and suffering, in your flesh you will see God, your hope, face to face, and He will wipe every tear from your eyes. He will satisfy you forever and ever and ever. So hold fast to hope in the all-wise, infinitely, eternally trustworthy God today.

Would you bow your heads with me? I want to pray over you.
God, amidst all of the “why” questions on our hearts and minds, we look to You together right now. I just want to intercede on behalf of every single person within the sound of my voice. I pray that they would know, in this moment, that You, the all-wise God, love them.

O God, for anyone who has not put their trust in Jesus as Redeemer, may this be the day. May this be the moment when they trust in You, Jesus, in what You did on the cross to forgive them of their sins and to restore them to relationship with You.

God, for all who have put their trust in Jesus, may they know that You have given them eternal life for the next ten trillion years and beyond, so they can trust you with today, tomorrow, this week, no matter what is ahead. We praise You for Your wisdom. We confess together right now that we lack knowledge, perspective and experience, so as a result we don’t understand why. But we’re trusting that You’re all-wise, You see all things, You know all things, You’re working all things together for the good of those who love You and have been called according to Your purpose (Romans 8:28). We’re trusting in You.

God, we pray for this kind of faith on days when faith is hard to come by. I know there are weary heads in this gathering right now where this faith is hard to come by. I pray You would give faith, strength, comfort, peace that makes no sense, joy in chaos and hope that transcends anything this world brings our way.

Jesus, we praise You for Your death on the cross for us and for Your resurrection from the grave. We praise You that You are Redeemer and You live. We long for and look forward to the day when we will see Your face and You will wipe every tear from our eyes. Help us hold fast to hope until that day when faith becomes sight. O God, we love Your Word. We need Your Word. In this fallen world, we honestly confess that we don’t understand so many things, but we trust Your Word. We trust Your wisdom. We praise You.

God, even as I’m praying this right now, I’m thinking, “What would it be like if the sovereign Creator of all was not all-wise? What if You didn’t have all knowledge and perspective, but You were just doing the best You could. God, we’re so thankful You’re all-wise. We’re so thankful that You’re all good and all loving. So keep our eyes fixed on You, we pray. In Jesus’ name I pray all these things and all God’s people said, “Amen

What does the passage say?

  1. Read Job 3 aloud as a group and take some time to let group members share observations about the passage. 
    • Ask a volunteer to remind the group of the context of the book of Job up to this point. What has brought Job to this level of despair?
  2.  Observe from the text the depths of Job’s desperation. How would you describe Job’s suffering in your own words?
  3. What does Job curse? Yet, what (or whom) does Job not curse? See Job 2:9-10, Job 3:1.

What does the passage mean?

  1. How can suffering deepen our understanding of who we are? How can our suffering deepen our understanding of who God is? See Job 28:20-28.
  2. Job continually asks God, “why?” How does perspective and experience give deeper understanding than knowledge alone? Stop to reflect on the fact that God’s wisdom and understanding are limitless. See Proverbs 4:5-7, Job 28:28.
  3. Job was not given full understanding, instead he was given the One who has full understanding. How is that a comfort to Job and to us?

How can we apply this passage in our lives?

  1. Even an upright, righteous man of great faith can cry out to God in desperation. Are there things in your life that you are afraid to bring to God or to share with others? Take time as a group to speak to God (and others) honestly and openly if there are areas where you are suffering, confused, or in need of help.
  2. Consider how the church is uniquely equipped to care for people in desperation and pain. (See Gal 6:2, Gal 6:10, Phil 2:4, and John 13:34-35.) What might be the impact on our church family if we take this role seriously? How can our Church Group help care for one another deeply and point each other to the hope found in Jesus alone?

Sermon Recap

  1. Amidst all your questions about why, remember that God is all-wise. (See Job 28:12-28)
    • Wisdom involves knowledge. 
    • Wisdom involves perspective. 
    • Wisdom involves experience. 
  2. Consider our limited wisdom.
    • We lack knowledge.
    • We lack perspective.
    • We lack experience.
  3.  Consider God’s limitless wisdom.
    • God has perfect knowledge.
    • God has eternal perspective.
    • God has infinite experience.
  4.  In the depth of your despair, hold fast to God as your hope.
David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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