Lesson 32: “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth”
The lesson in our current manual based on the book of Job is the standard one of facing adversity without turning against the Lord. In 1982, the Sunday School manual devoted two weeks to Job, the typical lesson on facing adversity following one on learning not to judge unrighteously.
Study Job chapters 1-20 and realize that we should not judge unrighteously.
Suggested Lesson Development
Read to the class the first paragraph of “A Family to Remember” (Resource Material).
* How would you feel about a family who moved into your ward under these circumstances? (Answers may vary: We should help them. We should help them only to a point. If they do not help support themselves, why should we help them?)
* How would you act toward them? (Do not wait for an answer; read the rest of the story.)
* What were some of these ward members doing? (Judging the family unrighteously.)
* What do the scriptures teach us about judging others? (We should not judge others unrighteously.) Read Matthew 7:1-2 (see also Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 7:1-2).
In the next two lessons, we will discuss the life of Job. Today we will evaluate Job’s character and the counsel his friends gave him.
According to the scriptures Job lived in the land called Uz (Job 1:1), probably located in the Arabian Desert southeast of Palestine or located in the land of the Chaldeans. (Point to these general areas on the map.) Even though many Bible scholars claim that Job was a fictitious character, the Lord referred to Job in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 121:10). Some scholars say Job lived during the time of the patriarchs (Adam and Noah); others say he lived much later, during the time of the prophets Abraham to Malachi. The scriptures do not refer to Job as a prophet, but he apparently must have been a righteous man of whom God was mindful and pleased.
Have the assigned class member report on “Job’s Character” (Resource Material).
In spite of his afflictions, Job was determined to serve the Lord. (Read to the class the last line of Job 2:10.) We will discuss Job’s suffering next week. When three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zopher, arrived to comfort him, Job greeted them cursing the day he was born and the fact that he was still living (3:1-12). For him, life had become unbearably difficult 93:20, 25-26). Each of his friends in turn made an effort to comfort him, but each ended up accusing him.
Have a class member read the argument of Eliphaz in Job 4:4-5, 7, 17.
* What did Eliphaz try to explain to Job? (“An innocent, righteous man has never been punished by God. A mortal man cannot be more just than God.”)
* What was Eliphaz assuming about job? Was he right? (He was assuming that Job must have done something wrong. What eliphaz had said about man’s relationship to God was correct, but his conclusion, based on a faulty assumption, was wrong.)
Have a class member read the words of Bildad (who was even bolder in his counsel to Job) in Job 8:3-6, 20.
* What did Bildad point out to Job in chapter 8? (God is a god of justice, and when his children sin against him, he casts them off.)
* What was Bildad telling Job? Was he right? (“Job, you have sinned. If you were pure, you would not be suffering. God will not afflict a perfect man.” What Bildad said about God’s relationship with man was correct, but his conclusion, like Eliphaz’s, was incorrect.)
Have a class member read Zopher’s accusations in job 11:3, 6, 11, 13-16, and 20.
* What did Zopher tell Job? (“Job, you are lying to us, and we are ashamed of you. God is always more merciful to men than men deserve. Men are sinners. You are vain. Prepare your heart. Confess to god. Repent of your sins. Only when you are pure will you forget your misery.”)
* The basic message of each of Job’s friends was the same. What was it? (“You need to repent of your sins. If you had not sinned, you would not be afflicted. righteous men and women prosper because God blesses them.”)
* What effect did their counsel have upon Job? (It depressed him and caused him to suffer even more.)
* What should Job’s friends have done instead of judging him unrighteously? (Realized that they did not know enough about Job to assume he had sinned. Helped him. Blessed him. Comforted him.)
Many people within the Church today are afflicted with diseases such as arthritis, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. Even though we may not judge them, many of us still undermine their faith by our thoughtlessness. Read to the class “Three Modern Friends” (Resource Material).
When counseling with those who may be ill or afflicted in other ways, we should be careful not to undermine their faith.
Job’s Challenge to His “Friends”
After each of his three friends had spoken, Job responded.
Read together Job 6:28-29; 7:20-21.
* What answer did Job give Eliphaz? (“My life is before you. I have not sinned. If I have sinned, why do you not help me repent?”)
Have a class member read Job 6:14-15, 21.
* What did Job say about Eliphaz’s counsel? (“You have shown me no mercy. You have tried to deceive me. You have seen what has happened to me and you are afraid.”)
Even though Job felt betrayed, he still was willing to listen to his friend’s counsel (Job 6;24). During this time Job was deeply puzzled about his personal relationship with God.
Have a class member read Job 9:2-4, 14, 22; and 10:1-15.
* What were Job’s feelings about God? (God is mighty and powerful, and no one prospers who is against him.)
* Why was Job confused about hsi personal relationship with God? (He did not understand why all these calamities and sufferings had befallen him. He felt that he was righteous.)
Read to the class Job 7:1-3; 10:1; 13:15-16; 14:14-15. Even though Job did not understand why he was suffering, he still put his complete faith and trust in God.
Job suffered physical and mental affliction as many Latter-day Saints do today, not from his personal unrighteousness, but because of personal trials which tried his faith. Many, like Job, do not understand the nature of their affliction but need support – financially, physically, and especially spiritually.
Challenge the class members as brothers and sisters in the gospel of Jesus Christ to support one another. We need to learn to view the affliction of our fellowmen with compassion and empathy (see Mosiah 18:8-9).
A Family to Remember
A Latter-day Saint family, recently moved into a ward, needed help. A thoughtful bishop extended to them the welfare services of both the ward and the Church. At first, ward members who knew about it thought the assistance would be temporary. They found the father several jobs; all of these ended in failure. As the months and years passed, in spite of his good education, the father was never successful in any of his efforts to support his family.
The father seemed plagued by bad luck. On one occasion, after he had enjoyed only a few weeks of work, his new company declared bankruptcy. He received no compensation for the time he had worked. Several months later another job opportunity came to him, but an accident and the infection that followed kept him from work.
Ward members reacted in several ways. Most knew nothing about the family’s struggle, nor did they take the time to inquire. Some knew the situation but like Job’s friends wondered what the family had done wrong. They criticized the family, calling from lazy and implying that if they were really righteous the Lord would have blessed them. they reasoned that the ward had no obligation to help and the family was really nothing but a burden. Finally, some understood, because they had taken the time to inquire. This group willingly extended assistance and understanding and felt blessed to be able to help them.
Three Modern Friends
A man learned that he had cancer. After two major operations and extensive x-ray treatments, the doctors told him he needed further treatment. They sent him to a university medical center that pioneered in cancer research. The doctors there treated the tumor with chemotherapy, trying to control the disease with drugs. he returned home shortly, but later that same night he began to throw up. For eight days he could not eat; he vomited continually. During this time his body broke out in open sores, his tongue swelled up, and his mouth broke out in ulcers, causing him a great deal of discomfort and pain. For several weeks he could not chew food.
While he was taking these drugs, he talked with his wife about his situation. one evening he said to her, “If we’re prolonging my life and our Father in heaven wants me in the spirit world, then we would be doing the wrong thing.” She agreed and asked what he proposed. He explained that their family ought to fast – not that he get well, but rather to know their Father in Heaven’s will concerning him.
In connection with this fast, their home teacher and bishop came and gave him a blessing. During the blessing the bishop paused and said: ‘I bless you with peace, a peace so strong that I can feel it entering your whole being. At this moment I feel it, too. I bless you that your body will have power to mend itself.” After they had gone, he and his wife pondered in their hearts the truly marvelous and significant blessing he had received.
This blessing had an interesting effect upon his close friends, who asked about it. he told them what the bishop had said: “Your body will have power to mend itself.” One of them said, “Of course you’ll stay on the drugs?” The man told his friend he wasn’t sure they would be necessary. He responded, “What are you going to do if you get to the spirit world and the Lord looks at you and says, ‘What are you doing here? you’re forty years too early!’”
Another friend asked, “Are you really a man of faith, or are you afraid of the drugs because they hurt you and make you uncomfortable?” Even though these people meant well, their counsel undermined the blessing he had received until he became confused and lost the spirit of peace that had been with him. He did not know what to do.
Job, the Man
Note: do not present this information in class unless someone questions whether job actually lived.
Although some scholars have felt that the book of Job is not a true story about a real man, many scholars do. It is indeed a literary work with a prologue (chapters 1-2) and an epilogue (chapter 42) composed in narrative form and a body (chapters 3-41) composed in Hebrew poetry. this does not mean, however, that the story is not true, that it has no basis in fact. A book, play, or even a musical based on Joseph Smith’s life, for example, can still present the truth of his life and yet be an artistic or literary work. Ezekiel and James, for example, regarded job as historical and referred to him as one of the great individuals known for their faith (see Ezekiel 14:14, 20; James 5:11).
Job 1:1-8. Job was upright and honest, a person who feared the Lord. The Lord favored him because of his personal integrity (see also Job 2:3).
Job 1:9-12. Satan challenged the Lord to stop blessing Job, arguing that if he did, Job would turn against him.
Job 1:13-22. Job lost his wealth, but he continued to worship God, not curse him.
Job 2:7-10.Job was afflicted with boils. Though his wife told him to curse God and die, Job remained faithful.
Judgment of Others
Exodus 18:13-26; Leviticus 19:15-18; Deuteronomy 1:16-17; 2 Chronicles 19:5-7, 9; John 7:24; Moroni 7:14-18.
Study Job chapters 21-42 and see in Job’s life that faith in the Lord helps one endure to the end.
Assign two class members to read “Faith and Sacrifice” and “Job’s Suffering” (Resource Material) to the class.
Suggested Lesson Development
* What is the purpose of earth life? (Answers might include: to gain a body, to become like God, to prove oneself.
Read Abraham 3:24-26 to the class.
As each of us desires to gain a greater witness of God, we are tried and tested.,
Have a class member read Ether 12:6.
* What does Moroni teach us about receiving a greater witness? (A person must have faith. He cannot receive a witness until after the trial of his faith.)
Have a class member read Joseph Smith’s statement in “Faith and Sacrifice” (Resource Material). Faith in Jesus Christ, along with our personal commitment and sacrifice as we try to become like the Savior, is the only way we can know God.
Last week we studied Job’s character and found him to be a just and a righteous man in the eyes of the Lord. You may want to review quickly Job 1:5, 2:1-3). In today’s reading assignment we discovered more about Job’s life-style as he recalls the days when life was uncomplicated with trials.
Have a class member read Job 29:1-11.
* What does Job remember about his earlier life? (God blessed him. His children were about him. Men respected him and often asked him for advice.)
Have a class member read Job 29:12-17, 21.
* Why did the noble and great as well as his neighbors respect Job? (He helped the poor, the fatherless, the widows, the blind and the lame. He opposed those who were unjust.)
* What do you conclude about Job from reading these verses? (Job was a thoughtful, generous, righteous man.)
In last week’s lesson we discussed Job’s confusion about his relationship with God. He could not understand his own suffering or the sudden change in his life-style. A careful study of his suffering shows it to be unusually severe.
Have a class member read “Job’s Suffering” (Resource Material).
In our own lives tragedy sometimes strikes without warning: a family member is stricken with a serious illness or death comes suddenly. We are left to ponder: Why was that young mother killed? Why does a faithful member who has lived the Word of Wisdom have cancer? Many times the questions of the survivors are much more difficult: Why did his mother die when he needed her so much? Why did her husband die, leaving her with several young children to raise?
Read to the class “Tragedy or Destiny (Part 1)” (Resource material).
We cannot possibly understand all the experiences of this life. The Lord never intended us to understand while in mortality all our earthly experiences. It is our response to tragedy and suffering that helps to increase or limit our wisdom and understanding.
Have a class member read Job 1:20-22.
* How did Job react when he learned that he had lost his family and all his worldly goods? (He fell down and worshiped God and blessed his name. He recognized that everything he had previously owned had been given to him by God.)
Have a class member read Job 5:8-10, 23:1-12, 31:35-37.
* In spite of his personal suffering (so intense that he wished for death), to whom did Job look for a solution to his problems? What did he expect to receive? (He looked to God and a righteous judgment. He expected to receive strength and an answer to his prayers.)
* How did Job feel about himself and his relationship with God? (He felt confident. He had kept the commandments. He felt the commandments were more necessary in his life than food. See Job 19:25-27.)
The Lord’s Conversation with Job
The Lord listened to Job and called upon him to give an accounting.
Have a class member read Job 38:1-8.
* What basic question did the Lord ask Job? (Do you have knowledge of your pre-earth life? Were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth?)
A careful reading of chapters 38-39 shows that the Lord asked Job to explain the simplest things about God’s power. (See “Things to Note” in Resource Material). After showing Job his power, God called upon Job for an answer. The Lord was really asking Job to consider his relationship with the Lord by asking whether he knew how to do some of the things the Lord had done and why he had done them. Job, like us, had to learn that God is in control, and that sometimes there are no clearly defined answers.
Read together Job 40:4-5; 42:1-7.
* What answer did Job give to God? (I am nothing. You have told me many wonderful things that I have not understood. I have listened to thee, “but now mine eye seeth thee” (Job 42:5, see Moses 1:11).)
Have a class member read Job 42:7-8.
* What did the Lord say to Job’s friends? 9Job spoke the truth. They ahd not spoken the truth. They were to go to Job and offer a sacrifice.)
* What did the Lord command Job to do about them? 9Pray for them.)
Read Job 42:10-17 to the class.
* How did the Lord reward Job? (He gave him twice as much as he had before. His friends comforted him. He had a second family. He lived a long, full life.)
The experiences of Job and his friends are similar to those of many Church members today. Good and righteous individuals are afflicted by disease and spend countless, and in some cases, most of their days in great pain.
Read to the class “Tragedy or Destiny (Part 2)” (Resource Material). The book of Job deals with the mystery of suffering as well as faith. It shows how even the righteous suffer in mortality as part of the plan of life.
While we cannot take away the sorrows and pain we see in the world, we can exercise faith and accept it as part of God’s plan, which we (like Job) do not fully understand.
Challenge the class to trust in our Savior and our Father in Heaven, to seek to comfort those who suffer, and to look to the day when we too can see god.
Study 1 Kings chapters 1-8.
Faith and Sacrifice
“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation, for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life, and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
“Those, then, who make the sacrifice, will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God, and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life, and will be enabled, through faith, to endure unto the end, and receive the crown that is laid up for them that love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“All the saints of whom we have account, in all the revelations of God which are extant, obtained the knowledge which they had of their acceptance in his sight through the sacrifice which they offered unto him, and through the knowledge thus obtained their faith became sufficiently strong to lay hold upon the promise of eternal life, and to endure as seeing him who is invisible, and were enabled, through faith, to combat the powers of darkness, contend against the wiles of the adversary, overcome the world, and obtain the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, pp. 58, 59.)
We must recognize that Job suffered greatly without knowing exactly what it was that he suffered from physically. Some have said that it appears from his symptoms that he had elephantiasis. Sore boils, a symptom of this disease, had “attacked every portion of Job’s body, forming large pustules which itched so greatly that a piece of pottery was used to scrape them. Job’s face was so disfigured that his friends could not recognize him. Worms or maggots were bred in the sores (ch. 7:5). His breath became so foul and his body emitted such an odor that even his friends abhorred him (ch. 10:17ff.), and he sought refuge outside the city on the refuse heap where outcasts and lepers lived. Pain was his constant companion (ch. 30:17, 30) as were also terrifying nightmares (ch. 7:14).” (The Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, p. 641.)
Tragedy or Destiny (Part 1)
“Now, we find many people critical when a righteous person is killed, a young father or mother is taken from a family, or when violent deaths occur. Some become bitter when oft-repeated prayers seem unanswered. Some lose faith and turn sour when solemn administrations by holy men seem to be ignored and no restoration seems to come from repeated prayer circles. But if all the sick were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended.
“If pain and sorrow and total punishment immediately followed the doing of evil, no soul would repeat a misdeed. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil – all would do good and not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, no Satanic controls.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Tragedy or Destiny,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1966, pp. 180, 210.)
Tragedy or Destiny (Part 2)
“The Lord does not always heal the sick, nor save those in hazardous zones. He does not always relieve suffering and distress, for even these seemingly undesirable conditions may be part of a purposeful plan.
Being human we would expel from our lives, sorrow, distress, physical pain, and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort. but if we closed the doors upon such, we might be evicting our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery. The sufferings of our Savior were part of his education.
“‘Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. …’ (Heb. 5:8-9.) …
“God controls our lives, guides and blesses us, but gives us our agency. We may live our lives in accordance with his plan for us, or we may foolishly shorten or terminate them.
“I am positive in my mind that the Lord has planned our destiny.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Tragedy or Destiny,” Improvement Era,, Mar. 1966, pp. 210, 216.)
Things to Note
The Lord reminds Job of the power of God by asking him, among other things: Do you know –
Job 38:12. How to set the time of the days?
Job 38:15. How light is withheld from the wicked?
Job 38:17. How to overcome death?
Job 38:18. The breadth of the earth?
Job 38:19. The place of light and darkness?
Job 38:20. The limits of light and darkness?
Job 38:22. The treasures of snow and hail?
Job 38:25. How to make thunder and lightning?
Job 38:26. How to make rain?
Job 38:29. Where ice comes from?
Job 38:33. The ordinances of heaven?
Job 38:35. How to send lightning?
Job 38:41. Who provides food for the raven?
Job 39:1-2. The time goats and cows give birth?
Job 39:10. How to bind the unicorn?
Job 39:13. How to give wings to the peacock or wings and feathers to the ostrich?
How to give the horse strength?
Job 39:20. How to make the horse afraid of the grasshopper?
Job 39:26. How to make the hawk fly?
Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 4:5-8; Exodus 19:506, 1 Samuel 15:22; John 14:21; 1 Nephi 3:7; Helaman 10:4-5; Doctrine and Covenants 59:3-4; 82:1-0; 98:12-15; 130:20-21; Abraham 3:25.