Explore the Bible Study: Dependence Declared

10:16 AM


Would you describe yourself as being a highly independent individual? Human beings are generally fiercely independent. We pride ourselves in the ability to take care of our families and to accomplish things. But when we face difficulties or experience suffering, we quickly realize how little control we have. This is why the Explore The Bible Study: Dependence Declared, is so timely. 

In Job 42:1-11, Job confesses that he is completely dependent upon God for all things. His confession leads to a healing of Job's life, restoration of broken relationships with others, and a new understanding of God's grace and work in one who becomes fully dependent on God. It is a testament that all who profess to follow Christ should strive to attain.

First, Job repents of his lack of dependence on God - Job 42:1-6

  • Job confessed that he spoke about things he did not understand. 
  • Job admitted he had spoken of things too wondrous for him to know. 
  • Job committed to rejecting his own words and apologized for them.
  • Job humbled himself before the Creator by acknowledging that he was God’s creation (dust and ashes). 

As you read Job's confession, consider how confession opens the door to a greater understanding of God and the relationship we have with Him.

In Job 42:5, you will see that his faith is strengthened because he has moved from hearing reports about God to an actual encounter with God as indicated in his words, “now my eyes have seen you.

  • Remember, God spoke to Job from a whirlwind, so he didn’t physically see God but knew it was God who was present and speaking to him. How would you describe to someone what it means to see God? 
  • Seeing God indicates a personal encounter with Holy God. What is different between hearing about God and “seeing God”? Why is this vital to understand when facing difficult circumstances?
  • Can you describe a time in which your faith moved from simply hearing about God to “seeing God” during a difficult circumstance?

God now turns His attention to those who were trying to mislead Job - Job 42:7-9

Notice what God said to the friends regarding Job’s integrity – Job spoke the truth about God and was God’s servant. Ironically, the one they had been accusing of hiding sin was the only one who had spoken truth!

These friends had not only offended God but had misled their “friend” Job. The friends had to make it right with God and the person they offended. Additionally, Job had to respond to their forgiveness by praying for them just as he had done for his children in Job 1:5.

  • How hard do you suppose it was for Job to accept his friends' forgiveness and to pray for them? 
  • Why should believers graciously accept apologies from others? What do we communicate about God when we do?

Understand that, as a believer, you must move beyond forgiveness and pray on behalf of those who have wronged you. This is very difficult to do, but, if they come to you with repentant hearts, and even before they come, you should be praying for them. God will use your prayers to reconcile people to Himself and to you. Most importantly, prayer will remove your hurt and bitterness toward individuals and replace it with a love that demonstrates the power of God’s forgiveness to all who come to Him with repentant hearts.

Restoration for Job included more than one could imagine - Job 42:10-11

When you read all the ways Job was restored, what goes through your mind? Did Job ask for or expect any of the blessings he received in return for repenting (No)? How would you explain the picture of restoration this presents in terms of what God does for us through Jesus Christ?

Job’s restoration began with the very ones who had been so hard on him and had distanced themselves from him when he needed them most (see Job 6:14-23; 19:13-22). With repentance comes reconciliation and the restoration of relationships. Job’s friends and family were now eating together and comforting one another, which is a reversal of what had happened before. Before, his friends had multiplied Job’s suffering; now they multiplied his wealth by presenting him with money and gold rings. What a wonderful ending to a painful and troubled life.

Is it OK?

In June of this year, some of you may have seen the powerful song on America’s Got Talent that was sung by a young lady who calls herself, Nightbirde. The title of the song she wrote and sang was, “It’s OK.” 

After her performance Angela Davis captured her story in a June 26, 2021 Gospel Coalition article. Here is what Nightbirde, who is only 30 years old and whose real name is Jane Marczewski, has experienced as described by Angela Davis:

“In 2017, Nightbirde first received the diagnosis we all dread: cancer. She learned she likely had six months to live as she began her battle with stage-three breast cancer. In 2018 she was declared cancer-free, but her celebration was short-lived. Just a few months later she began a second battle with cancer, facing single-digit chances of survival. If fate didn’t already seem to be against her, the battle became all the more lonely when her husband of five years left her. She went on alone—winning this second battle in July 2020”

The article goes on to describe things Nightbirde has said regarding her pain and suffering such as:

“I believe that God can heal in one instant. I also believe that no good thing does he withhold . . . I want to be the bird that sings in anticipation of the good things that I trust are coming . . . When it comes to pain, God isn’t often in the business of taking it away. Instead, he adds to it. He is more of a giver than a taker. He doesn’t take away my darkness, he adds light. He doesn’t spare me of thirst, he brings water. He doesn’t cure my loneliness, he comes near. So why do we believe that when we are in pain, it must mean that God is far?

I am still reeling, drenched in sorrow. I am still begging, bargaining, demanding, disappearing. And I guess that means I have all the more reason to say thank you because God is drawing near to me.”

Nightbirde, who is a graduate of Liberty University, proclaims that in God’s grand plan, “It’s OK,” even if she continues to suffer or leaves this life early. She has graciously placed her entire life in the hands of God, expressing a heart of complete dependence.

CHECK OUT NIGHTBIRDE'S PERFORMANCE

The Book of Job ends with another victorious God follower who totally depends on God. Verses 16-17 tells us that, Job lived 140 years after this and saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. Then Job died, old and full of days. Job was OK with his life. In the end, Job died an old and happy man, leaving behind a large, prosperous family and beloved friends. 

While God doesn’t promise to restore all losses or to fully reward His people this side of Heaven as He did Job, we too can live a life of trust, knowing that “It’s OK.” God has a plan, and His love and grace is always present, even in the midst of suffering. Spend some time this week alone with God. Give your worries and concerns over to Him, and express gratitude for the gift of His presence. Express a desire to depend on Him completely for whatever you may face in this life.

If you desire to learn more about how to depend on God during difficult times you might want to check out the following from GotQuestions - "How Depend on God Alone"

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.


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