Stage Left is Satan?!

10/3/2021

Message Title: Stage Left is Satan?!
Theme:
In Our Sorrows
Season: Ordinary
Main Text: Job 1:1, 2:1-10
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
RCL Scripture: Genesis 2:18-24 or Job 1:1, 2:1-10 Psalm 8 or Psalm 26 Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 Mark 10:2-16
Focus: Job is a parable told through two vantage points.
Function:
To reframe our brains about the Parable of Job and consider our own experience with faith and suffering.
Other Notes:
First World Problems // communion Sunday

SCRIPTURE READING: Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 1:1 In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son. God made his Son the heir of everything and created the world through him. The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being. He maintains everything with his powerful message. After he carried out the cleansing of people from their sins, he sat down at the right side of the highest majesty. And the Son became so much greater than the other messengers, such as angels, that he received a more important title than theirs. 2:5 God didn’t put the world that is coming (the world we are talking about) under the angels’ control. Instead, someone declared somewhere, What is humanity that you think about them? Or what are the human beings that you care about them? For a while you made them lower than angels. You crowned the human beings with glory and honor. 8You put everything under their control. When he puts everything under their control, he doesn’t leave anything out of control. But right now, we don’t see everything under their control yet. However, we do see the one who was made lower in order than the angels for a little while—it’s Jesus! He’s the one who is now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of his death. He suffered death so that he could taste death for everyone through God’s grace. 10 It was appropriate for God, for whom and through whom everything exists, to use experiences of suffering to make perfect the pioneer of salvation. This salvation belongs to many sons and daughters whom he’s leading to glory. 11 This is because the one who makes people holy and the people who are being made holy all come from one source. That is why Jesus isn’t ashamed to call them brothers and sisters when he says, 12 I will publicly announce your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you in the middle of the assembly.

SERIES INTRODUCTION: IN OUR SORROWS–Job is a misunderstood book in scripture that Christians approach in different ways: 1. Avoid, 2. Justify, 3. Doubt God’s goodness, or rarely 4. Do some cultural and literary exploration to see a broader picture. Over the course of 4 Sundays, we will explore parts of Job and consider new angles while also considering grief. In fact, next Sunday we’ll hear from a retired Hospital Chaplain about his experiences in grief. Here’s the schedule.

  1. Job 1 & 2
  2. Job 23 – by John Amick
  3. Job 38
  4. Job 42

You’re invited to read through Job. It is a beautiful and troubling book (we’ll unpack more of that together today.)

SERIES DISCLAIMER: Job will discuss suffering through loss of loved ones, illness, relationship problems and more. I cannot solve every question or parse every translation that we may have for this book. We’re going to skip across this text rather than dive in. Perhaps we can do a bible study on this someday and unfold all of our questions. You willing?

FIRST WORLD PROBS: As Job is a heavy book, with deep topics; let’s start out with something light. We’ll be considering first world problems.

  1. Introduce “First World Problems”
    1. a relatively trivial or minor problem or frustration (implying a contrast with serious problems such as those that may be experienced in the developing world).
  2. Bed & Night time 1st world probs
    1. Example 1: When I just got into bed and realize I have to pee
    2. Example 2: I hate when my phone charger won’t reach my bed.
  3. Don’t our problems seem so insignificant when put in a bigger perspective?

TRANSITION: This is a light-hearted way of providing us humility, right? The thing is, problems unfold when we compare our suffering to others and then rank them in order of worst to best. Is there one person in the world who is at the very bottom of the suffering food chain?

As we explore droplets of Job, I want us to set a precedent for being kind to ourselves and our neighbor. We all experience things differently. It’s no use comparing stories to rank suffering.

MAIN TEXT: Job 1:1, 2:1-10 1:1 A man in the land of Uz was named Job. That man was honest, a person of absolute integrity; he feared God and avoided evil. 2:5 5But stretch out your hand and strike his bones and flesh. Then he will definitely curse you to your face.” 6The Lord answered the Adversary, “There he is—within your power; only preserve his life.” 7The Adversary departed from the Lord’s presence and struck Job with severe sores from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. 8Job took a piece of broken pottery to scratch himself and sat down on a mound of ashes. 9Job’s wife said to him, “Are you still clinging to your integrity? CurseGod, and die.” 10Job said to her, “You’re talking like a foolish woman. Will we receive good from God but not also receive bad?” In all this, Job didn’t sin with his lips.

EXPLAINATION:

  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: I need 2 people willing to draw in front of others
    1. Vantage point 1: Earth
      1. Job’s household: Job, Wife, 3 daughters, 7 sons, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoked oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and an abundance of slaves/servants.
      2. Job’s friends: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite
        1. (Ch 32 we’ll meet Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite)
    2. Vantage point 2: Heavenly Court room?
      1. God, “the sons of God,” “the Adversary”
    3. So, the story of Job bounces between these two scenes, though Job is not privy to the conversations in the heavenly spaces.

INTERPRETATION:

  1. Myth Busting: Let’s do some myth busting for a second
    1. Job is not a history book, it’s a wisdom book.
      1. Job is a wisdom literature. It is not a history book but a parable to glean wisdom from.
      2. The author appears to be intentionally ambiguous about this story’s historical settings.
        1. Job is not an Israelite, he’s from Uz—but we’re not exactly sure where that is
        2. There is no clear dating by kings or rulers or special events
        3. Our goal is to use the story of Job to wrestle with our own questions of the human experience.
    2. God is not hanging out with Satan in Heaven in the story of Job.
      1. First off, because this is a parable and not a historical story like Abraham or Moses.
      1. Second off:
        1. הַשָּׂטָ֖ן haś-śā-ṭān
        2. (Biblehub.com/Hebrew/7854.htm)
        3. “Satan” some translations of the Hebrew say Satan. However, the Hebrew suggests a role rather than a name (RA-HB)
        4. However, The Adversary is not to be considered a “saintly celestial being.” Jealousy and a cynical attitude appear in his accusations.
  2. The Problem of Suffering: Even with these two myths busted, this story isn’t any easy one.
    1. To God, the Adversary accuses Job of being materially motivated and if God takes away his blessings that Job will lose his faith. God says, alright, take it all- Job’s special, but don’t hurt Job.
      1. Through wars and natural disasters, Job loses all his children, all his livestock, and apart from the messengers, Job loses all of his servants.
      2. YET Job still praises God.
    2. To God, the Adversary then accuses Job of only being faithful for self-preservation. God says, no Job is special. You can affect his health but not kill him.
      1. Job loses his health. He’s covered in boils and copes graphically YET Job does not curse God… even when his wife says he should.
      2. Then his friends come to sit with him…they’ll be on stage for A WHILE!! They each get chapters of words to say.
    3. Job suffers immense loss and experiences deep suffering, but he still praises God. The Adversary was wrong. (But they’re not done poking at Job’s life. The book of Job is 42 chapters long.)

APPLICATION: To reframe our brains about the Parable of Job and consider our own experience with faith and suffering.

  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: You don’t have to answer out loud. Consider this question: Have you ever experienced loss and suffering and thought to yourself, “Really God, can’t I get a break?”
    1. Perhaps even this year you’ve felt that way.
    2. Perhaps even a few times since March 2020.
    3. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the things have been hard recently. *Deep breath*
  2. The Psalms teach us it is totally acceptable to ask: “Where is God in the midst of my suffering? Does God even care?” (Check out Bible study on Wednesday night as we study psalms)
    1. God won’t give up on us or smite us for asking questions or crying out for help.

CONCLUSION: As we continue to study the Parable of Job, we will see in greater detail the relationship between our lives and God.

COMMUNION: In Job’s suffering, his friends gathered with him and were present. In chapter 2, they simply sat with him, though that won’t last for long.

Today is World Communion Sunday—This is a day to remember our connection to our Christian family throughout the world. As we partake of the gifts of Jesus, so do our siblings. We are connected with them in this moment, though each of us is filled with stories that others may not know. In this moment, we practice like Job’s friends—sit with each other in our suffering, in our life experiences, and remember the grace of Jesus.

No matter the suffering you are experiencing- self-inflicted, nature inflicted, or the casualty of someone else’s actions, you are invited to the table of God for nourishment and rest. The bread and the juice remind us of Jesus’ ministry and promise that suffering and pain will end finally when he returns.

*deacon prays* –if enough deacons, pass plates, if not come forward.

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