Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Faith Formation
Mystery Worship Series, week 4 — RESTORED
October 28, 2018
Small Groups: From Worship To Discipleship
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
Fellowship—Snacks or a Meal. (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes) — In pairs or groups of three, discuss: “How has being part of this group been meaningful for you?”
Optional Opening Exercise — Have participants draw or color an image that represents being restored. An alternative exercise, especially for more tech-savvy participants, is to have them use a cell phone, tablet, or other device to find images that represent restoration. Have participants share their images with the group. Another option is to have participants talk about times when they have felt restored.
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Opening Question: What does restoration look like?
Read: Job 42:1-6, 10-17 (If time permits, read the whole chapter)
- How would you feel if you were Job after your encounter with God and the restoration of your property and relationships? (Job’s cattle are actually doubled!)
- Do the abundant gifts given to Job make up for the trials he endured? If not, why do you think God blessed Job with so much? [They are signs of restoration of the relationship.]
- Does Job get what he wants from God? [Job wanted an encounter with God. Moreover, Job wanted an acquittal from God that he was innocent.] How does Job get more or less than he desired?
- How do you think Job’s understanding of God has enlarged since the satan first encountered him (42:1-6)?
- When God mentions (v. 7) that Job has been right, do you think that refers to Job’s response to God or that Job has been right all along?
- Do you think Job’s action (v. 15) of giving his daughters a share equal to that of their brothers (not a common practice) and his prayers for his friends (v. 10) had something to do with his trials? [Interestingly, Job was already offering sacrifices for his children just in case they might have sinned (1:5). Though, as the note below on inheritance points out, giving his daughters names and an inheritance seems a step further.]
- (R) Do you agree with the sentiment, “Being with God is more important than understanding God”? Why or why not?
- (R) What might we learn from Job about what it means to trust God in all situations? (See note below on faith.)
Though it is not unheard of in the ancient world for daughters to receive an inheritance, it was highly unusual. Inheritance was not usually spread equally among all the descendants. It was customary that the first-born son would receive a larger share of the inheritance than the rest of the sons, with daughters often receiving no share in the inheritance. What is perhaps more surprising in this passage is that the daughters are given names, and the sons are not.
Faith is not our ticket to heaven. Faith is our trust that God will not leave us or forsake us in this world and in the world to come. Faith is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Faith expresses itself in trust-filled dependence that the God of resurrection, the Father of Jesus Christ, is present to us through the Holy Spirit and that our relationship with the Triune God is defining to the core of our identity.
Early in John Wesley’s life, the notion of faith was almost exclusively synonymous with intellectual beliefs. Through a series of crises (including feeling as though he would drown by shipwreck), Wesley grew in his understanding of faith to include trust and assurance in God’s grace. In Wesley’s later writings, he began to talk about “degrees” of faith. For Wesley, when faith and assurance were joined, the result was a heart filled with love of God and neighbor. That’s why, for Wesley, faith could not help but result in holy “tempers” or holy habits, such as acts of mercy (compassion and justice) and acts of piety (devotion and justice).
Job learns that although God can be trusted (and encountered), God cannot be manipulated or controlled. Likewise, it is not that our faith is rewarded with heaven or is our ticket through the heavenly gates. Faith, also, does not protect us from the chaos that persists in this world. Whatever trials or suffering we experience here, our hope is that the God of resurrection will be at work in all things to bring ultimate redemption (Romans 8:24-28).
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (1 minute). Ask for a volunteer to lead the group or read the following prayer in unison:
“Gracious God, in your presence alone we find our acceptance, reconciliation, and our heart’s true home. While answers to our questions elude us, your love reaches out for us and constantly offers us the way of abundant life. Help us to choose to place our feeble hands in the strength of your amazing grace. Amen.”
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
1 Then Job answered the LORD: 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” … 10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. 12 The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. 17 And Job died, old and full of days.
Our verses for today are Job chapter 42, verses 1 and 2: “Then Job answered the LORD: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.’”
Let’s think about what this means.
Job talked to God. He said that he God is the most powerful being of all.
Nothing is impossible for God. God performs miracles every day.
To “thwart” is to get in the way or stop something from happening.
But no one is able to prevent God’s plans from happening.
Job realized that God is the one in charge of everything.
Can you think of miracles—big or small—that God has performed in your life?
(Affirm the responses. Add other suggestions as you feel led.)
Dear God, thank you for being our God. You are the Lord of everything, yet you care about each person. Please send your Holy Spirit to help us trust you. Thank you for working your will in our life, even when we don’t understand. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.