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Lessons from Job

This series captures the 42 chapters of Job in 3 sermons.  It deals with suffering, dark nights of the soul, the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, and even includes some advice on counseling discouraged people.  I first preached a 3-sermon version of this in 2000, then revisited it in a single sermon in 2009.  But to construct this series for posting I did a major revision.

This series can fit most anywhere in the calendar. If you are a lectionary preacher, the best fit is any 3 of the 4 Sundays of Year B Ordinary Time (Proper 22, 23, 24, 25). 

3-sermon series:

Job 1: When Tragedy Strikes

Job 1-2 (B Proper 22)

Thesis: God is all-powerful, and he is completely just. But he loves us, even in our broken state, so much that he chooses to delay justice.

After connecting listeners to the position of Job in the Old Testament and looking at an overview of the 42 chapters of the book, this sermon reads a large part of the first two chapters of Job.  It's a great story worth dividing into sections for 4 parishioners to read.

Next the sermon identifies a few secondary messages from the passage before moving on to the primary one: orthodox answers to life's questions are useless when the bottom falls out.  The sermon then wrestles with the difficulty of how can God be all powerful and all good and let all of this happen to me?

Job 2: When God Doesn't Show up

Job 23.1-16 (B Proper 23).  This sermon deals the whole section of Job where he's interacting with the four counselor-friends.  This is Job 3-37.

Thesis: When God seems far away, we can know that he has not forgotten us, gain help from the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, and rest in the fact that Jesus is our High Priest who intercedes on our behalf.

This one begins by extending the overview of the whole book of Job to a closer look at the rounds of interchange between the counselors and Job. Next comes a series of observations from the book before it moves on to the messages of Job:

  • God is big enough to take our complaining.
  • God has three responses to our prayers.
  • We can learn from the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.
  • Expect some "dark nights of the soul."
  • Realize that we're better off than Job.

Job 3: When God Shows Up

Job 38 (B Proper 24) when the Lord challenges Job.  And Job 42 (B Proper 25) when the Lord blesses Job. This sermon uses a lot of scripture, including Job 31 (Job's last complaint) and various passages from Chapters 38-42.

Thesis: When God shows up, his overwhelming presence supersedes all our questions.

The sermon begins with a light personal story about our house cat, reminds people of where we are in Job, and then spends a little time giving parishioners some tips on how to be better counselors than Job's friends.

Then the sermon gets to the heart of the issue.  We revisit Job's anguish by using quick excerpts from chapter 31, followed by selected verses where God speaks in chapters 38-41. Then we read Job's response to God before unpacking the message: when Job sees from God's perspective all his questions fall away, he finally rests in God. This ties back nicely to the light story used at the outset.

Finally, we read the last few verses of the book where God blesses Job, including by replacing his possessions and family. Through Job, God blesses his pathetic counselors. And in leaving an inheritance to his daughters we see that Job's heart has grown remarkably to look like God's heart. 

It's a solid series.  Hope you find it useful.



(edited with Grammarly)