READ: Job 12-14
THINK: How can a loving God allow evil and suffering to persist? That common question shows a misunderstanding of what is normal and what is exceptional in the world. Because humankind has rebelled against God and chosen their own way over His way, sin and evil have taken hold in the world and turned things upside down and backward from the way God created it. Disorder and destruction have become the norm in our rebellious world, affecting all people, regardless of their relationship with God. The fact that any good exists at all-and can even come out of suffering-is proof of God's love and patience toward a world that continues to defy Him.
RESPOND: How did Job challenge the attitudes and perceptions of prosperous people regarding the way they often viewed the disadvantaged and their own relationship with God? (See 12:5 note.) What injustices did Job see between how wicked people often fare in life compared to good people (12:6)? When experiencing hardship, why does it help to remember God's ultimate power and wisdom? (See 12:13 note.) What perspective must you keep regarding difficult circumstances in your life? (See 12:13 note, subpoints 1-3.) What did Job understand about approaching and talking to God that his friends didn't grasp (13:3)? Why should we not hesitate to bring God our questions, frustrations and-with respect-even our complaints? What would Job do even if God took his life? (See 13:5 note) What does this reveal about Job's faith and devotion to God? Why is life often "full of trouble" (14:1), and what are some of the reasons for this? (See 14:12 note.) What hope do Christ's followers have despite troubles? What hope did Job have-even in death-and why (14:14-17)? (See 14:14 note.)
PRAY: Pray that you'll never take your relationship with God for granted when things are going well and that you'll never abandon Him when things are rough. Give God thanks for His power and wisdom that give you comfort and confidence through hard times. Thank Him for doing what is best for you in all situations.
ACT: Do something practical to help someone who's disadvantaged or has a need you could meet. If possible, do this anonymously. Keep trusting God to strengthen your faith and teach you more about Him through a tough time.
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