Seven is an important number in Scripture.
There are seven miracles in John,
all called “signs.”
We come to the seventh sign,
The last sign before the cross,
the raising of Lazarus.
After my husband died, I saw the
connection between the seventh sign
and a passage in Job,
and it comforted me as nothing else had.
Let me tell you a story.
Most of you have experienced the death of a loved one, and you know death, as Paul tells us, is “an enemy.” It is the last enemy for a believer, but still, it is an enemy. You may, as I did, have seen cancer tear the one you love apart, and finally, take him. I wanted to have the coffin opened and see Steve’s body once more before he was buried and the coroner had my son tell me that I must not, for Steve’s body was “not the same.”
A sword in my heart. You cannot wax elegant about death.
IT IS AN ENEMY!
When pain is deep, you either back away from God (which is what the enemy is rooting for) or you press in with all your heart. Like Peter, I thought, Lord, where else can I go?
The Lord led me to the sermons of Tim Keller, and I began to listen (repeatedly) to his sermons on Job. Job never knew why so much suffering was coming into his life, but we do. We know that it was God’s proof to Satan and the world, that there are those who love God for God and not just for His gifts. Keller said, “God could never say to Job:
This is going to be really rough, my child, but hold on, for one day I will make you famous, name a book after you, and you will comfort millions.
For if God told him that, Job would be suffering for something.”
Job had to be in the dark about his suffering.
But because Job truly loved God, he didn’t back away. He lamented, which is what we are taught to do when we do not understand what God is doing. And three times, God comes to Job with comfort in the midst of one of Job’s laments. God never tells Job why he is suffering, but He does give him comfort.
It is the first time that God comes to Job that I want to share with you, for it is linked to the seventh sign in John.
I want you to discover this with me, rather than my simply telling you. You will remember it better.
- What stands out to you from the above and why? What questions or comments do you have before we begin?
- If you have been through a traumatic death of one you deeply loved, what helped you the most?
Monday: The Lament
In a typical lament, there are three parts:
- The Lament — you honestly tell God of your pain and how you are feeling about Him.
- The pause or question — you ask God a question and allow Him to speak into your heart.
- The resolve — His Spirit reminds you or shows you a truth and you resolve to trust Him.
3. Read Psalm 5 and see if you can identify the three parts of the lament using verses numbers.
4. This is a bit more challenging, but so meaningful. Even Jesus lamented before the cross.
A. How do you see a lament in his pleas to his friends? (Matthew 26:38)
B. Can you see a question, a plea, in Matthew 26:39? What is it?
C. Can you see a resolve in that same verse? What is it?
5. If you soul is troubled, practice the lament here.
Tuesday: Job: Getting Honest
Keller pointed out that Job seems very strong in the beginning.
6. How do you see this in Job 1:2-22?
But Keller said it isn’t until his friends “sit shiva” for him that Job begins to be really honest. “Sitting Shiva” is Jewish custom that when a friend is hit with tragedy you go and sit seven days (seven meaning perfection, or, as long it takes) in silence, mourning with those who mourn. Job’s friends did this outwardly, but inwardly they were planning to attack him when the seven days were over. This painting is by Tissot.
A. How do you see his friends “sitting shiva” outwardly, if not in their hearts?
B. Job doesn’t know what they are thinking yet, for they have not spoken. And now,
Keller says, Job gets honest. What do you see in the opening of Job 3?
8. Why is it, do you think, that when someone truly mourns with you, that you are more likely
to become honest about your pain?
9. How did Job’s friends fail him? How did Jesus friends, likewise, fail him in Gethsemane?
Wednesday: God’s First Speaks To Job
10. What two things does Job ask of God in Job 13:20-21?
11. How does Job continue his lament in Job 14:1-2?
12. Why does Job think a tree is better off than a man according to Job 14:7-12?
13. We see the turn with a plea and a question in Job’s lament in Job 14:13 and the first line
of 14:14. Find them,
14. The Spirit of God now speaks to Job’s heart, showing him truth. Find at least four truths God impresses on Job’s heart to comfort him in Job 14:14-17.
Thursday: You Will Long for The Creature Your Hands Made
All things were made by Jesus, John tells us in his prologue.
He knit each of us together in our mother’s womb.
God showed Job that He loved him, and that when Job died, and his body decayed,
that Jesus would “long for the one his hands made.”
15. Again, what does Job realize from the Spirit of God in Job 14:15?
16. How do you see Jesus’ grief in John 11:33-38?
17. How do you see Jesus doing for Lazarus what God promised Job He would one day do for him in John 11:43?
18. Imagine the day that Jesus will do this for your loved ones in Him and for you! What names will He be calling? And what will we be like?
19. Jesus had brought others from death to life, but this is the first time He had done it so
publicly. What was the reaction according to John 11:53?
20. In order to raise Lazarus, what did it mean for Jesus?
21. What do you think is the spiritual meaning behind the 7th sign?
Friday: Keller Seminar or Other Devotional
22. Share anything you learned from the Keller Seminar or other devotional.
23. What is your take-a-way and why?