A theology of something means you look at that thing in its big perspective. To get a proper understanding of the theology of suffering, for example, you ask questions like: what is the purpose of suffering? Where does suffering come from? What does it accomplish? How is God related to suffering? What is God doing in suffering? That is what we mean by a theology of suffering.
If you derive your understanding of suffering on the basis of Job chapters 1-31, you will end up with a theology of suffering that recognizes the following basic facts:
(1) God rule,
(2) God is just and wise;
(3) God's ways are hard to understand but
(4) In the age to come, all wrongs will be righted and justice will be established.
(5) God has loved us and saved us in Christ.
(6) Trust God in your suffering.
This theology is not bad, but it is a narrow, partial and inadequate theology of suffering.
In this message, Dr. David Eby brings to our attention a complete and adequate theology of suffering that he expounds to us in the context of the Speech of Elihu in Job 32-37 and the rest of the Bible. Let us listen to him as he teaches us the word of God.
In this fourth message of our study on the book of Job, we will look at the following 10 profound lessons that we ought to learn from the long-term suffering of Job:
- Beware of theological statements that are superficial and wrongly applied
- Beware of a man-centred God and man-centred formulas for living before God
- Free the false popular theology that always sees suffering as related to specific personal sins
- Suffering and prosperity are not distributed in this world in proportion to personal evil or good
- Remember that God is still absolutely sovereign over all suffering and overall prosperity
- Remember God's wisdom is behind all appearances of severity and our betrayal in this world
- Don't be surprised by the sense of distance from God in the midst of your suffering
- Be careful in your complaints to God, but pour out your heart before Him
- Hold fast to God no matter what!
- Hold fast to the gospel no matter what!
Although Job got resounding victories over Satan both in test number one and in test number two, Job's faith and worship and his obedience were not exactly rewarded.
Job's misery dragged on for months. It dragged on for a long time. And the question we have is "Why did Job's pain continue for months? Since God got the victory at the moment of calamity and Job triumphed by grace throughout this time of testing, why wasn't he restored and healed immediately? Why didn't God just heal Job right away in Job chapter 2 and thereafter take us immediately to the happy ending of Job chapter 42? The reason can be found in the following two questions:
- Is God worthy of worship even in prolonged suffering?
- Is God powerful enough to create a heart that worships and delights and treasures God even in long-term suffering?
These are the two main questions that Job chapters 2-31 and this message are intended to answer. These two main questions were not answered in Job chapters 1 and 2. God, therefore, wanted to use Job chapters 2-31 to answer these two questions.
Let us join Dr. Eby and learn more from him.
Why is it that the wicked often escape suffering? And why is it that the righteous suffer? The book of Job is a timeless book because it deals with these two important questions that many people of God have been asking themselves throughout human history.
The book of Job has been written as part of God's word to help us understand the issue of suffering. This book is designed both to encourage us and to instruct us on how to deal with suffering.
In this message, we will continue on from where we stopped in Job chapter 2 to explore this aspect.
Please visit Teaching the Treasures website for more messages in this series by Dr. David Eby and for more inspirational messages from the word of God.