“I Know That My Redeemer Liveth”

Lesson 32 – Job 1-2, 13, 19, 27, 42

 

Introduction

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once told of farmers in the hot desert of northwest Mexico who “grow varieties of corn and beans that are unusually hardy and drought resistant. These varieties survive and flourish in a harsh climate where other plants would wither and die. One of these plants is the white tepary bean. Its seed will sprout and the plant will grow even when very little rain falls. It sends its roots as deep as six feet into the rocky, sandy earth to find the moisture it needs. It can flower and fruit in the 115-degree (Fahrenheit) desert temperatures with only one yearly rainfall. Its foliage remains remarkably green, with little irrigation, even in the heat of mid-July.”

Elder Wirthlin suggested what we might learn from this analogy that can help us endure adversity: “Perhaps members of the Church could emulate the example of these hardy, sturdy plants. We should send our roots deep into the soil of the gospel. We should grow, flourish, flower, and bear good fruit in abundance despite the evil, temptation, or criticism we might encounter. We should learn to thrive in the heat of adversity” (Ensign, May 1989, 7).

This lesson is about Job, a man whose faith and righteousness helped him endure severe adversity.

 

Job was sorely tested

From these scriptures, we gain insight into the character of Job:

·         Job 1:1 - He was a good man who feared God and shunned evil.

·         Job 1:3, 21 - He was wealthy but not caught up in wealth.

·         Job 2:3 - He had integrity.

·         Job 4:3-4 - He strengthened the weak.<

·         Job 23:10-12 - He walked in the Lord’s paths and estteemed the Lord’s words.

·         Job 29:12-16 - He was compassionate to the widow, thhe poor, the lame, and the blind.

·         Job 31:29-30 - He was concerned for his enemies and forgave them.

Trials Job experienced included:

·         Job 1:13-17 - Loss of servants, property, and incomme.

·         Job 1:18-19 - Loss of children.

·         Job 2:7; 7:5; 16:16 - Physical illness and pain.>

·         Job 7:4, 13-14 - Restless sleep filled with nightmares.

·         Job 2:9; 4:1, 7-8; 11:1-6; 19:13-22 - Cruel accusations and loss of supportt from friends and family.

·         Job 10:15 - Confusion about why he was asked to go through these trials.

·         Job 16:10-11; 30:1, 8-10 - Mockery by those who delighted in his downfall.

·         Job 19:6-8; 23:3-4 - The feeling that God had forgotten hiim or was not listening.

Job’s trials compare with the trials people experience in our day--loss of property, loss of children, loss of health, and loss of the love and companionship of friends and family.

Job 1:9-10 - Satan claimed Job’s righteousness was only motivated by the great blessings he received.

Job 1:11; 2:4-5 - Satan predicted Job would curse God wwhen his wealth and other blessings were taken away.

Job 1:20-22; 2:10 - Job reacted with humility when his blessings were taken away.  Obviously, there is a lesson we can learn from his reactions.

Job 1:22 - Despite his adversity, Job “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly”.

Some people do charge God foolishly when sorrow, misfortune, or tragedy strike.  They may blame God or question his wisdom or providence, feeling that he does not understand or love them. Some may even question his existence.

 

Job’s friends

Job 4:7-8; 8:6 - Eliphaz and Bildad, two of Job’s friends, explained his suffering as a punishment from God for sins that Job had committed.   It is dangerous to believe that all suffering comes as punishment.

 
Questions to ask during adversity

Elder Richard G. Scott said: “When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).

 

Job found strength in the Lord.

Job 13:13-16 - Job’s trust in the Lord was a great source of spiritual strength for him.

Romans 8:28; 2 Nephi 2:2, 11, 24; D&C 58:2-4, 122:5-9 – All of these passages teach us to develop trust in the Lord that will sustain us through trials. Trials are opportunities and can work for our good.  

Because the Lord loves us, he has assured us that as we are faithful, all things will be for our good and help us grow.

In Job 9, Job described the trials that had befallen him, then testified of the Savior. He acknowledged the justice and greatness of God and concluded that man cannot contend against him.

Job 19:25-27 - Job’s testimony of the Savior helped him endure his trials as shown in these verses. 

 

Job found strength in his personal righteousness and integrity.

Job 27:2-6 - Job’s personal integrity was another source of spiritual strength during his afflictions.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin defined integrity as always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more important, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant (Ensign, May 1990, 30). 

Personal integrity can help us during times of trial.  As we maintain our integrity, we can gain strength from knowing that the course of our lives is pleasing to the Lord.

 

After Job had faithfully endured his trials, the Lord blessed him.

Job 42:10-15; James 5:11 - After Job had faithfully endured his trials; the Lord blessed him with more blessings than he had previously enjoyed. 

Job 23:10; 3 Nephi 15:9 - The Lord blesses us as we faithfully endure trials.

Although the Lord blessed Job with “twice as much as he had before,” the spiritual blessings the Lord gives us as we faithfully endure are even greater than the temporal blessings.

Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven” (quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, 98).

 

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, … knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 304).

 

Keeping perspective during adversity

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective. … Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?  If all the sick for whom we pray 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. No man would have to live by faith” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1975], 97).

 
Conclusion

We can receive strength to endure our trials by trusting in the Lord, building our testimonies of him, and maintaining our integrity so we can know our lives are pleasing to him. Contemplate how you can apply the principles discussed in this lesson to help you endure adversity.

 

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