trust in God
Week 32 is scheduled for study August 1-7, 2022. In times of trouble and sorrow our trust in God can be put to the test. Yet it is this very trust that will give us our needed strength.

Day 1

As you read about Job, the Spirit will guide you to discover important truths relevant to you. Write down what you discover, and ponder how these truths apply to you.

Job 1-3; 12-13 – My trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can help me remain faithful in all circumstances.

I read once that the word Satan wasn’t intended to be a personal name. It means “an adversary or accuser.” But like so many expressions in the English language, it was used as a noun, and is now the name of the man we identify as God’s greatest adversary or foil. What a fitting descriptor for the role he fills in our life. He opposes all that God is and loves, and he stands ready and willing to accuse us for the crimes he so eagerly entices us to commit. He cares nothing for us or our welfare. There truly is opposition in all things. As Christ loves us perfectly, and suffered an infinite amount for our sakes, so too does our accuser hate us perfectly and betray us at the drop of a hat. He is eager to bring about our destruction. These are the forces at play in the book of Job, and in our personal lives.

Some claim Job is not a real person, but his story is just to illustrate some spiritual points. It is enough for me to know that God refers to Job as He refers to any other person (Doctrine and Covenants 121:10), so whether Job was a real man or not is immaterial to me. I will follow God’s lead and refer to him as though he was a real person.

I would like to illustrate that Satan’s arguments about Job’s faith in God are identical to the arguments of the world at large. They always have been and always will be the same. Here is the first argument in Job 1:9-11.

Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Remember that most of the time in the Old Testament, when the phrase “fear God” is used it refers to one who respects God above their respect for other authorities. Here the accuser is saying, (and I am paraphrasing the verses) ‘Why do you think Job has such respect for you? You have protected him on every side. Nothing can touch him. (That is the reference to the hedge about him) You have blessed him and the works of his hands in all things. You have made him rich. Of course he honors you! But reach out and strip away your blessings, and see how he views you then!’

Here Satan/world is saying that faith in God is self serving and only exists because we believe service to God’s cause results in blessings. The idea here is that there is nothing above self-serving interests that motivates us. Satan doesn’t come out and directly say it, but he is denying that faith exists at all.

In the story Satan gets permission to take away all that God had blessed Job with, his possessions, and his family. In a few moments time his children were all killed, and all his livelihood was stolen or killed. Job was left with nothing but the roof over his head and his own health. But even with this blow he remained faithful to God – Job 1:20-22.

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

The blow that has caused lesser people in the world to commit suicide resulted in Job still honoring God and His judgments in his life. So the gloves came off. Satan approached God and said, ‘Okay, so possessions weren’t Job’s weakness, but everyone will do anything to save their own skin. Allow me to make Job suffer as no one else has had to suffer and see how he spits in your eye then!’ So God allows Satan to afflict Job with whatever he wanted to do to him, as long as he didn’t take his life. Satan chose to cover Job with boils from the crown of his head to the souls of his feet. If you are not familiar with boils, look them up. They are miserable mounds of puss and blood that weep, itch, and are excruciatingly painful. The only semblance of relief Job could find was to take a shard from an earthen pot and scratch (gently I’m sure) the pustules. Here are Satan’s words in Job 2:4-5.

And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

The argument here is still that faith doesn’t actually exist. For all a Christian’s protestations otherwise, you bring them right to the brink of death and they will all deny God and curse the day they ever chose to have anything to do with Him. Does this sound familiar? The world today claims that the Bible is just a mythology that is based on even older mythologies from older societies. The world claims that our faith in God is just a copy of the beliefs of even older civilizations, and that there is absolutely no proof that anything we believe in has ever happened, so of course, it couldn’t possibly have actually existed. What does that say about those who base their lives on the teachings of such beliefs? Small wonder the world thinks so little of us. After all, to them we honestly believe in fairy tales.

Faith exists

The point, in my mind, is that Job exemplifies what it means to exercise faith in God. His worldly possessions were nice. They made his life comfortable, but had nothing to do with whether he would remain true to his core beliefs. And belief is a choice we all have to make. So Job lost all his earthly possessions, including his posterity, and still remained faithful. When Satan afflicted Job with excruciating suffering, for no apparent reason, Job genuinely suffered. So many of us naturally believe that when bad things happen to us it must be because we have done something wrong. This is false. Earth life brings suffering and bad things. It is the very nature of mortality to have to face hardship and suffering. That was openly declared by God when Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden.

In Genesis 3:16-19 God declares what life in mortality will be like. Read these verses then you tell me, where in these verses does God paint a rosy picture of ease and comfort while in mortality?

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Mortality is meant to be difficult. Abraham 3:25 tells us that this whole experience is meant to be a proving ground, a testing of our willingness to obey God.

25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

If we had proof of everything that happened anciently, would we need faith that it happened? No! For we have proof. The whole point of faith is that we place our belief in something that is true for which we have no proof. To the world this is folly, for they only believe what they can see, touch, or experience. Faith goes beyond the physical and deeply into the spiritual realm. It is through our exercising of faith that we experience spiritual things. All things spiritual must be revealed to us, for the mortal mind cannot grasp the spiritual. They cannot understand spiritual things. Only those who place their faith and trust in Christ and God will have such things revealed to them.

This connection between God and man is what Satan/world was missing in Satan’s arguments to God. Satan was claiming that Job couldn’t experience anything but what any mortal can comprehend. To the world there is no higher power. The world casts about in spiritual darkness, for their unbelief denies them access to the understanding belief and action (faith) reveals to the soul. Job understood faith. He put all his trust in the commandments of God, and the faithfulness of God to keep His own covenants. Hence, when he experienced unimaginable suffering in mortality he truly did suffer, but that suffering did not affect his faith in God, for faith lies outside the realm of just the physical.

Faith is sustained and strengthened through the grace and revelations given to us by God to support us in our greatest trials. God understands that though we will all have physical trials in this life, it is our spiritual trials that are the most important and life changing, for their outcome will affect our eternal standing before God. It is our constant acceptance of Christ and his mission to bring us to God that keeps us going when all else around us fails us. As long as we are duped into accepting the argument that proof is required before belief is rational we will never have the staying power to last through our trials. We must always remember that faith is seeing things with an eye into the eternities. Those with faith see beyond the confines of mortality and think with an eternal perspective, and with eternal hopes.

Day 2

As you read about Job, the Spirit will guide you to discover important truths relevant to you. Write down what you discover, and ponder how these truths apply to you.

Job 19 – Jesus Christ is my Redeemer.

I think it is important, at least to me, that we recognize that Job never dismissed how much suffering he was going through. He rent his garments, shaved his head, and genuinely felt sorrow and suffered for what had happened to him. This ordeal wasn’t any kind of a cake walk for Job. He was really hurting. The same should be able to be said for us when horrible things happen to us in life. It is okay to feel the hurt, to endure the suffering, and to experience the full depth of sorrow that is appropriate for what we are going through. At no time has the Lord ever expected, nor has He said we should ignore these things, as though they don’t actually exist.

What the Lord wants from us, especially when life is doing its level best to yank us away from the Lord, is to remember that peace, calm, and joy is found only in and through His Son, Jesus Christ. We know that God is the great law giver and dispenser of justice in the universe. But He is also infinitely kind, gentle, and loving. The expression of His eternal love for His children is seen in His gift to us of a Savior who can help us through all the hardships of mortality and show us how to land our souls back into the bosom of our Father in Heaven. After all, His work and His glory is to exalt as many of His children as are willing to make covenants with Him and keep them. We need to look to Christ for this to happen.

The first set of verses mentioned in the manual – Job 19:1-22 – walks through some of Job’s recognition of just how hard his life was at the moment. Even his “well meaning” friends were there accusing him of committing sin. They also bought into the fallacy that evil only comes to those who do evil. They just couldn’t imagine that Job was actually as good as he seemed. Surely he had done something to offend God to cause this kind of calamity to come upon him and his household. They were as spiritually blind as many of our own friends can be when they come to us offering “kind” advice, assuming that we have sinned to merit the punishments we apparently have been made to bear.

Job’s list of sorrows however, is limited. Despite his acknowledgment that he is being made to suffer many things, his eye of faith has not been dimmed or shut. He still sees his bright future, that of standing before his God in his resurrected flesh. His hopes are not confined to what happens in mortality, but to his eternal hopes for his future living in God’s presence. So despite how much he currently is depressed, crushed, reduced, and feeling forsaken, he knew that it was all temporary, for mortality is only temporary. These challenges and sorrows cannot follow us out of mortality if we are faithful to God, for He will wipe away all our tears and bring solace to our hearts. Job knew that proving himself worthy of God’s presence was more important than anything that could possibly happen to him while in his mortal flesh.

Each of us needs to inventory our attitudes and perspectives. When life crashes down around us, and the world becomes chaotic and spirals out of control, do we immediately turn to God and seek forgiveness for our sins through Christ’s atoning power? Do we just focus on the physical distress, or do we instead seek for the comfort and rest our views of eternity have provided us? Our views of eternity don’t change our physical circumstances, but they do provide us with hope and comfort, peace and gladness of heart. Think of how many times the Lord has answered the pleadings of His prophets who were going through physically horrible challenges with the statement “lift up your head and be of good cheer.” The Lord wants us to focus on eternity, not mortality, and by remembering that Christ is our Redeemer and Savior we can indeed lift up our head and rejoice that he has already overcome anything the world can throw at us.

Day 3

As you read about Job, the Spirit will guide you to discover important truths relevant to you. Write down what you discover, and ponder how these truths apply to you.

Job 21-24 – When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Both Job and his friends were under the impression that wickedness causes swift retribution from God. Since it seems to be a given that people are evil in this life, it is often assumed that trials come to us because God is punishing us for our sins. Job, nor his friends, were aware that the nature of mortality is such that unpleasant things happen to everyone. Some may have more bad things happen to them than others, but everyone lives a life where unfair treatment and circumstances abound. That’s life – for everyone.

Job’s frustration was that he was living such a clean and virtuous life (remember God called him “perfect and upright”) that he couldn’t think of anything he had done wrong. His friends felt it their duty to list his possible sins until they found the one that had caused these calamities to befall Job. (After all, what are friends for?) Yet to every accusation from his friends Job was able to answer that he was innocent of offense. He was just as confused as to why he was being made to suffer as his friends were.

It is because he could not find anything for which he was guilty that he was able to say that when God put him in the fire to test his honesty and virtue, like refined ore, Job would come out as gold. When gold comes out of the earth it is usually contaminated with other substances. To purify it the gold is melted down to allow the other metals and impurities to separate and be skimmed off, leaving the pure gold behind. Job could not find or see any of these impurities in his life, and was confident that God would see this as well.

As soon as I thought to myself, “What if I did this same inventory on my own life? Would I be able to claim that all God would find was the purest gold?” I was immediately smitten with a sense of guilt, because I know that there are weaknesses that need addressing, habits that need changing, and thoughts that need purging. I don’t even want to know what by products God would find in my life if I was tried in the fires of affliction. That tells me that I have something to shoot for. I want to be as Job, knowing that I am cleansed already of the impurities that so easily beset all our lives in today’s world. His statement, “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” should be our personal goal.

Day 4

As you read about Job, the Spirit will guide you to discover important truths relevant to you. Write down what you discover, and ponder how these truths apply to you.

Job 38; 40; 42 – God’s perspective is greater than mine.

There appears to be a fine line between judging your own behavior and what we expect from God in our life. Job and his friends gave him a thorough review of his behavior seeking a reason for his apparent punishment. When no apparent reason could be found, Job vented his frustration to God that life isn’t fair, and that God should answer him and tell him why he is still being made to suffer. It appears that this impatience with God is what God chastises Job for in chapter 40.

It appears that the goal of God’s discourse to Job when He speaks to Job out of the whirlwind, whatever that is, is to help Job see that what Job sees as the whole of life is so small and finite in its scope as to be embarrassing. Yet here Job is, chiding the Lord, who made all things, because God hasn’t answered Job’s question when Job wanted an answer, nor has God acted as quickly as Job thought He should act. The questions in chapter 40 address things of cosmic scope, causing Job to shrink in embarrassment that he had spoken so out of turn. The things God presented to Job in His list of questions were things Job had never before considered. He now could see that his view of the Almighty was severely limited, and not accurate at all. This is why in the first six verses of chapter 42 Job basically says, ‘Okay, I’ll shut up now and go sit down and be quiet.’

Isn’t it interesting that as “perfect and upright” as Job was, by God’s own declaration, Job still had cause to be chastened and humbled. Even Job still had need to repent to bring his thinking and attitudes into alignment with God’s greatness. In many ways we are like our own children. We see only a narrow view of life, and sometimes have very limited perceptions of what is fair or just. What may seem so obvious to us, upon further reflection and greater acquisition of knowledge from God, we begin to see that we were out of line and speaking in ignorance. His ways truly aren’t our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Job shows us we should never think ourselves in any way superior to the Almighty, that we should always be seeking His greater wisdom and knowledge.

Today’s lesson reminds me of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. The Prophet felt justified in his complaints of God’s apparent absence and silence as the Saints suffered. The first thing the Lord told Joseph was that he needed to learn his place. God compared Joseph to Job and told him that he was not yet suffering as Job had been made to suffer. The Lord’s answers to Joseph’s respectfully worded complaints was to give Joseph a glimpse at the bigger picture and his place in it. Liberty Jail was where Joseph learned, as did Job, not to question the Lord’s behavior or His timing. I suppose this is a lesson we all have to learn sooner or later for our self.

FHE/Personal Study

Job 16:1-5 – Can we comfort?

I am uncomfortable with the amount of self reflection this week’s lessons require. But if the shoe fits I suppose I should wear it.

All of us know someone who is, was, or soon will be having difficulties in life. If we don’t know of anyone today that needs a listening ear, or who might benefit from comforting words, we just need to wait a day and something new will surface we didn’t see yesterday.

What kind of friend am I? This is a question worth asking. When my friends are in pain, have been wronged, are suffering from depression, doubt, loss, or whatever the flavor of sorrow is today, do I chide them for not being happier, not doing more to pull themself up by their bootstrap and soldier on? Am I the accuser that Job’s friends were to him? Do I find ways to make my friend feel even guiltier or more hurt than they felt the hour before I showed up on their doorstep with my brand of friendship?

This is a ministering challenge for all of us. Ministering is helping in the best way possible. Preferably we will do what we do under the direction of the Spirit, but even if not, are we seeking for the welfare of our friend? Are we supportive, kind, patient, tolerant, loving, and honest with them? Are we so busy trying to solve their problem for them that we fail to see that what we are trying to fix may not be what is broken? Do we exercise patience to listen as they unburden their heart, free of judgmental phrases or statements that just makes the hurt go deeper?

In these verses Job is telling his friends that they haven’t done a very good job of being friends, for they have just accused him of everything under the sun that would be offensive to Job’s sensibilities. Job tells them that if he were in their place he would want to comfort them, assure them, and help them feel safe or good about themselves. This is why I ask, “What kind of friend am I?”

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OT32-2022 – Yet Will I Trust in Him

Week 32