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Does Being Good Earn Me a “Good” Life? 

The Book of Job

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 18, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – No suggestions


  1. A man lives totally devoted to doing the Lord’s will. 
    1. Then the man gets cancer.
    2. He wonders what went wrong.
      1. He always sought the Lord’s will in everything;
      2. why did the Lord not seek the man’s will in everything?
        1. He always was there for the Lord;
        2. why was the Lord not there for him?
  2. A woman used whatever power the Lord gave her 
    1. to serve others, and
    2. to live a righteous life.
      1. Then her family suffers a great tragedy, and
      2. she also questions what went wrong.
        1. Does God still love her?
        2. Has it done any good to be “good”?


  1. Does Being Good Earn Me a “Good” Life? 
    1. Academically most Christians say, No.
      1. Yet, in reality they say, Yes.
      2. Because when troubles do enter their lives,
        1. they believe that God has abandoned them, or
        2. that they are being punished for something that they have done.
    2. Remember the truth of Romans 8.28–29.
      1. What is most important to the Lord?
      2. What is most important to the Lord should also be most important to us.

        28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8.28–29).
      3. The Lord uses both
        1. the teaching of Scripture and
        2. the experiences of life
          1. to work things together for good,
          2. using those things to conform us to the image of His Son.
    3. One of the teachings from Scripture is the Book of Job.
  2. How Job’s Friends Saw Suffering 
    1. Initially, his friends did the right thing, for
      1. when they heard of his massive suffering,
      2. they decided to go to him
        1. that they might mourn with him and
        2. that they might comfort him.
          1. Job 2 records one of the more touching scenes in the Bible,

            13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great (Job 2.13).
          2. All that changed when Job began cursing the day of his birth.
    2. They remembered Job as the man who always encouraged others.
      1. In Job 4, right after Job poured out his heart,
      2. not wanting to live anymore,
        1. his friend Eliphaz spoke, and
        2. listen to the first thing he said to his friend,

          2 “If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary?
          But who can withhold himself from speaking?
          3 Surely you have instructed many,
          And you have strengthened weak hands.
          4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,
          And you have strengthened the feeble knees;
          5 But now it comes upon you, and you are weary;
          It touches you, and you are troubled.”
          (Job 4.2–5)
      3. A few words later, Eliphaz blasted Job with these words,

        7 “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent?
        Or where were the upright ever cut off?”
        (Job 4.7)

        1. Had Eliphaz never seen a baby die?
        2. Had Eliphaz never seen or heard of
          1. a brave father dying to save his family?
          2. a brave mother dying to save her children?
          3. a soldier dying for his country?
          4. a law enforcement officer dying for the citizens of his town?
      4. Part of the problem was his friends compared his past and present lives.
      5. They believed
        1. that the righteous shall only experience blessings, and
        2. that the wicked shall only experience suffering.
          1. Therefore, when they saw Job doing well in this world,
          2. they concluded that he must have been doing something right.
            1. Then when they saw him not doing well in this world,
            2. they concluded that he must have done something wrong.
      6. See how they thought: Job lost all ten of his children at one time.
        1. Of that event, Bildad offered these words of comfort and compassion,

          4 “If your sons have sinned against Him,
          He has cast them away for their transgression.”
          (Job 8.4)
        2. What is that saying? With friends like this who needs…?
    3. Amazingly, we still see it the same way,
      1. although we have had the Book of Job since
      2. the time of Abraham or sometime after!
        1. We still reason as Job’s friends did.
        2. They thought Job suffered for wickedness, because
          1. it was obvious that his suffering had been orchestrated.
            1. It was not that just one of his children got sick and died.
            2. It was not that he got sick and suffered for a long time.
          2. He lost everything in a timed way,
            1. so that someone announcing one particular loss,
            2. did not finish speaking before another arrived.
          3. However, it did not seem to occur to anyone
            1. that it might have been Satan or something else.
            2. They all assumed it was punishment for sin.
              1. Even as His wealth had been attributed to God,
              2. so was his suffering.
    4. So, today we think that if we are good enough,
      1. nothing but good will happen in our lives.
        1. So we pray more.
        2. We worship more.
        3. We serve others more.
        4. We read the Bible more.
          1. Then we faint when suffering, especially massive suffering,
          2. enters our lives, and we give up on religion.
      2. We have to be careful to read the whole Bible,
        1. not just the positive parts that make us feel good, but
        2. we need a balanced spiritual diet.
  3. Job’s Response to His Suffering 
    1. After Job had lost
      1. his wealth,
      2. his workers,
      3. his children, then
      4. his health,
        1. he also lost the support of his wife,

          9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2.9).
        2. She also had suffered the loss of everything, and
          1. she must have wondered what they had done
          2. to lose everything, especially their children.
        3. Then Job got sick, real sick.
          1. Aha! He was the culprit.
          2. Thus, she told him to renounce God and die.
    2. Do not forget Job’s response to her,

      10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2.10).

      1. Right along with that, we have to keep in mind
      2. why Job suffered as he did,

        9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1.9–11).

        1. Satan challenged God about Job’s goodness.
        2. Satan thought Job was good because God was good to him.
          1. Therefore, Satan told God to take Job’s things away from him, and
          2. he would curse God to His face.
            1. That is exactly what Job’s wife told him to do.
            2. That is precisely what Job did not do.
    3. Are you good for the sake of the blessings, or
      1. are you good for the sake of goodness?
      2. are you good because you love God and He wants you to be good?
        1. Suffering shows
        2. why you have been good.
    4. Job wanted his wife to understand
      1. that we need balance in our lives,
      2. that both good and adversity form the life that God gives us.
        1. You will hear atheists complain of the adversity that God allows, but
        2. you will never hear atheists complain of the good that God allows.
  4. The Bible Shows Blessings for the Righteous and Suffering for the Wicked 
    1. Yes, the righteous suffer.
    2. Think on this: Sometimes we suffer for the sake of others.
      1. Does a woman suffer as she delivers a child into the world?
      2. Do soldiers and police officers suffer for the sake of the safety of citizens?
      3. Army veteran Chris Mintz rushed the shooter in Roseburg, but
        1. in the process Chris was shot 7 times.
        2. He now suffers although he was doing something good.
      4. Was Jesus good?
        1. He was perfectly good.
        2. Yet, He suffered,
          1. not for His sake, but
          2. for the sake of the world.
    3. Is all our suffering for the sake of others?
      1. I do not know, but
      2. keep your mind open to it.
  5. Sometimes Suffering Intensifies for the Righteous 
    1. Moses came and the suffering of Israel increased,

      20 Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. 21 And they said to them, “Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us” (Exo 5.20–21).
    2. The Jews said they did better while serving the queen of heaven.

      15 Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: 16 “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you! 17 But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. 18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine” (Jer 44.15–18).
    3. Job would not have suffered as he did had he been wicked.
      1. The reason Satan went before the Lord was to challenge the Lord,
      2. asking, “Does Job fear God for nothing?”
        1. Job’s blameless, upright, God-fearing, evil-shunning character
        2. caught Satan’s attention and he attacked him.


  1. The Book of Job helped me. 
    1. As I taught the Book of Job to a men’s class at the North Long Beach Church,
    2. I discovered that I had Focal Segmental Glomerulosclrosis, and
      1. that it had no cure.
      2. My only option was a transplant.
  2. I had converted to Christ, 
    1. quit my job,
    2. attended preaching school, and
    3. devoted my life to the Lord’s cause.
      1. Then I got hit with this news.
      2. While it stunned me,
        1. I never questioned God, nor
        2. did I become angry with Him, nor
        3. did I seek to bargain with Him.
  3. A major subject in school had been suffering. 
    1. We studied how atheists use suffering.
    2. We saw what the Bible said about suffering.
      1. We also learned about our sin.
        1. The wages of sin is death.
        2. Therefore, what life I have, comes from the grace of God.
      2. We learned about the nature of God,
        1. especially His goodness toward us
        2. in spite of our sin.
      3. We learned that He created the heavens and the Earth.
        1. If He created everything and
        2. works it to provide us life,
          1. I came to realize that He certainly knows what He is doing.
          2. Job had to learn that lesson.
  4. As Job began to question God’s handling of the patriarch’s life, 
    1. God Himself appeared (Job 38–41), and
    2. He fired off many questions to Job,
      1. all asking Job if he knew about the operations of nature.
      2. In other words, God knew
        1. how to make nature,
        2. how to maintain nature, and
        3. He knew what He was doing in Job’s life.
          1. God did not need Job’s counsel.
          2. Job realized that he could not answer any of God’s questions, and
            1. that if God could create the heavens and the Earth,
            2. then He certainly knew what He was doing in Job’s life, and
              1. He did not need some man’s opinion on how to do things.
              2. Job had no qualifications to judge God’s work.
    3. Then Job confessed to the Lord God,

      2 “I know that You can do everything,
      And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
      3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
      Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
      Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
      4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
      You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
      5 I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
      But now my eye sees You.
      6 Therefore I abhor myself,
      And repent in dust and ashes.”
      (Job 42.2–6)
  5. Job exceeds my wisdom. 
    1. Therefore, how could I question God’s work in my life.
    2. If a man such as Job suffered,
      1. who was I to think I should not suffer?
      2. Yet, we still think that we can tell God what to do.
        1. Back in the late 80s or early 90s, I attended a preacher’s luncheon.
        2. The subject of suffering and inspiring struggles came up.
          1. My story got mentioned.
          2. One preacher pulled out a pad of paper and a pen,
            1. ready to write of my dramatic struggle with God, and
            2. how I became angry with God, but
              1. how I eventually worked things out, and
              2. how it made me a better husband, father, man, Christian.
    3. Then I told this preacher that no such struggle occurred.
      1. You should have seen the life come out of him.
      2. He slumped down.
        1. His hands weakened.
        2. He put down his pen and paper.
          1. He did not have the great sermon illustration that he anticipated.
          2. The truth is, the Bible, especially the Book of Job
            1. taught me things about life
            2. that have made my life better.
  6. You do the same thing. 
    1. Read the Scriptures and believe whatever they say.
    2. Accept what they say about Jesus of Nazareth.
      1. If you do,
      2. you will see dramatic changes in your view of life.