BIBLE PASSAGE: Job 3
BACKGROUND: The story of Job is probably the darkest in the Bible. The pain and suffering he goes through is second only to that of those he loses, and his response is understandable. When it all goes wrong, he basically says: “I hate myself and all that I am.” None of it is Job’s fault, yet he has to live with the consequences.
There are big theological issues around whether the events here literally happened. The issue of God having a bet with Satan is difficult to accept at the best of times.
However, these events are recorded to help us address the issues Job faced, and that will be the focus of this session’s Bible passage.
Share out your refreshments and invite the group to share what they have been doing over the past seven days. As they share, encourage them to talk about any issues they may be having and any situations they may be feeling negative about. Remember to be pastorally aware of any issues your group might be facing during this session.
Ask if anyone has heard of the Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs. You may need to explain the premise before saying that we are going to think about essential desert island items. What items do we love? What couldn’t we imagine living without?
Get the young people into pairs and ask them to discuss their favourite songs, books, luxury items, TV series, films and items of clothing. Bring the group together and ask the pairs to feed back about their desert island items. Ask if they could imagine living without any of those things.
You will need: Bibles
Use the following short drama to explore the Bible passage. You could practise it before the session or ask confident readers to read it out on the day:
TV anchor: Welcome to Channel YCW. I’m your host Ward Wordly. Today we have an exclusive live broadcast featuring Job, dubbed the unluckiest man in the world. He has lost everything in the past few days. Once he was a business tycoon, now he’s an infected buffoon. We all like a good hard-luck story. Let’s go live now to see what he has to say.
Job: Well, I was born, and that was pretty much the low point. No, scratch that. From the moment my parents knew I was going to be born, that was the low point. And things have gone downhill ever since then.
Reporter 1: Excuse me, Mr Job, but you were once a successful businessman with lots of livestock. You had everything.
Job: But what’s the point of having these things if they’re just going to be taken away? Look, we come into the world with nothing, and we leave with nothing. It doesn’t matter whether you are a monarch, a successful entrepreneur or a slave. In the end, we’re all in the same boat when we die. What’s the point of even being born?
Reporter 2: It’s interesting hearing you say all this. I thought you were a good man who trusted God.
Job: Yes, I believe that God gives, but he also takes things back. Why has all this happened? Why have I lost everything? My business has gone, my children have gone and now my health has gone. I’m alive, but what’s the point of living like this?
TV anchor: Well, there you have it. Mr Job is not just the unluckiest person in the world, but probably also the most depressing guy. Let’s cheer ourselves up with the weather report. Gail, I hear there’s a hurricane on the way…
Ask someone to read out Job 3. Explain that this is a very difficult passage, but one that feels very real. Anyone who has gone through loss will understand Job’s words. Point out that Job was a very good and devout man, but he had lost everything: his children, his business and his health. This all happened because God allowed Satan to take those things from him. (You might want to read Job 1 if you have time.)
As you talk about today’s passage, be aware of any sensitivities in your group. Like all the other sessions in this series, this could bring to light issues that group members may or may not be coping with. Ask the following questions:
- How do you cope when bad things happen?
- Have you ever said “Why me?” when things got tough?
- Is Job’s problem that he is just not thankful for what he has? Why? Why not?
- If we thank God for the good things we have, should we blame him for the bad things that happen in our lives?
You will need: pens; paper
Explain that our prayers and our journey of faith are often ‘nice’. The danger with this is that when we face difficulties they don’t fit in with our faith. Our prayers should contain a full range of human emotion. It isn’t about blaming God, but it is about letting him know how we feel, sharing all our emotions. Holding in and hiding our emotions can lead to issues in both our mental and physical health.
Naomi hated herself and had a low self-image as she went through her struggles. Elijah ran away and felt all alone, perhaps experiencing depression, and Job wished he had never been born. However, Job shows us that complaining to God, and being real about how he feels, is OK. The challenge is working out how to complain.
Write a prayer of complaint to God.
Explain that these prayers are private and no one else will see them. Encourage the young people to be open and honest in the words they write to God. They can be about something personal or about a wider issue in the world. Make the point that God made us emotional beings, so therefore our prayers should also be emotional.
Close with this short prayer: “Dear Lord,
Help us to be honest with our words to you.
If we are happy, let us share that joy. If we are sad, let us tell you why.
If we are angry, hear our cry.
Be with us as we live the precious gift of life.
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