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Chapter 1 Discussion

posted Nov 1, 2011, 9:23 AM by Lynn Squire   [ updated Nov 1, 2011, 9:23 AM ]

The lessons from God’s Word in this study are as much for me as they are for you. I’m no expert on enduring hardships (Praise the Lord), but I know that through my life experiences I’ve found God’s words not only to be true but able to provide incredible comfort.

If there is one thing I wish to accomplish through this study, it is for us to see that, as born again believers, there is nothing that can happen in this world that we cannot face when we keep our eyes focused on eternity and our hearts full of faith and trust in God. We need to fear neither death nor life. We have no need to fear of death because we know where we spend eternity. And we do not need to fear life because our lives are not our own and life here on earth will past faster than the blink of an eye in light of all eternity.

If we could only grasp that we are to live our life here on earth with one purpose: to glorify and bring God pleasure. We are not here for our pleasure. In fact, we need to get over our fascination with and love for comforts and pleasure. While God wants us to enjoy life, He does not want us to place comfort, rest, and pleasures ahead of Him. If we want to endure tragedy and hardship with grace, then we need to embrace the fact that the things of this world are of no value in comparison to what we will have in eternity.

Already this year, we have seen tremendous tragedies: earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, fires, and no doubt, if the Lord does not return, we’ll see more in the coming months.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are in the end times, that soon, perhaps even this minute, the Lord will sound the trumpet and we’ll join Him in the air.

However, if we continue on earth, we are going to experience more hardships, famines, earthquakes, wars, etc. So we need to be prepared spiritually for such events.

I pray that through this story and the Bible study, we will gain the knowledge to better handle these coming trials.

Chapter 1 Discussion Questions

Read Job chapters 1 and 2.

Describe Job as God saw him:

Job 1:8

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job 2:3

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Describe Job as Satan saw him:

Job 1:9-10

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

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.

Keep these in mind as we go through this chapter.

To recap Chapter 1:

Sergeant Dixon, our main character, considers himself the guarding of the region to which he has been assigned. As such, he carefully observes any newcomer, and when a strange albino steps off the train, his “spider senses” are tingling.

Distracted by a fight between two local yocals he doesn’t see a young boy, Joab Black’s son, cross the railroad tracks and be killed by wild dogs after having spoken with the stranger.

The unusual circumstance causes the conspiracy theory-minded sergeant to believe the stranger had something to do with this event, though logic would state it otherwise.

1. Dixon saw himself as the guardian knight of his regional post. How is this like Job in Job 1:5?

Job 1:5

And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job thought he could protect his family, that through his diligent worship he could keep bad things from happening to them.

Are we able to keep our loved ones safe from any harm that might come to them?

While living godly lives before our children will set an example that they might follow, we cannot cause them to choose God or ask for God’s forgiveness for their sins. That has to come from their own heart. We can have a lot of influence over them, but their relationship with God ultimately rests on their own shoulders.

We can teach them right from wrong—we are commanded to do so. We can help them see the consequences of sins and warn them not to do things, but in the end, their salvation is a matter of their own choice.

We can work to protect them…and we should, but their lives are ultimately in God’s hands, not our own. We would be wise to be diligent in the task of raising them, but not to fall into the trap of believing we can be their stronghold (that’s God’s place) or their high priest (that’s Jesus’ position). We are not wise enough; we are not God.

Yes, we can pray for them; yes, we can teach them; yes, we can be diligent to keep them from harm, but ultimately we must recognize they are God’s to care for—He might choose to take them home to be with Him—they are His, He’s only allowed us to have them out of His good pleasure for the time He has chosen. Set your mind to be willing to surrender them to Him.

When Chenisse was born, when I went to nurse her for the first time, she choked on mucus. I didn’t know what was wrong.

My mother was there. She snatched her from me and raced her to the nurse’s station where they had to clear the mucus from her throat. Had my mother not been there, Chenisse would have died in my arms. It was as though God was reminding me that Chenisse was His and He could take her at anytime, should He choose.

A couple of years ago, He reminded me of this again when she had a severe asthma attack. A few days after the hospital stay we visited the doctor for a follow up. I wanted to know just how serious this was, and what course of action I should take in case it happens again.

The doctor made it clear that had I waited much longer to take her in, the likelihood of her dying was quite high.

I used to think the most horrible thing in the world would be to lose a child. I don’t mean to be hard hearted or to sound like I don’t love my children, but I have learned I must remember that they are God’s, not mine—and should tragedy strike, I pray God will help me remember the lessons I learn from His word, so that I might endure with the grace He can provide.

2. Why do you think the stranger went to see Pastor Perkins?

Who does the stranger represent? Satan

Who does Pastor Perkins represent? God

The stage is being set for the trying of the Blacks.

Why do you think Dixon was suspicious of the stranger?

Many people can sense when evil is near. Some are more sensitive to the presence of evil than others, even though they may not be able to explain it. Genesis 3:22 tells us that when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were able to “know good and evil.”

Genesis 3:22

And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Even those who do not know the Bible know that evil exists. They can sense it just like those who are saved can. Some people even seek it out for the adrenalin rush. We, as Christians, need to know how to face evil.

In Zechariah 3:1–2, Zechariah was shown Joshua, the high priest, and Satan standing near him. Satan sought to keep Joshua under his control, but in verse two God calls Joshua a brand plucked out of the fire.

Zechariah 3:1-2

And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

In the verses that follow we read how God took away Joshua’s filthy garments and gave him new raiment, symbolizing the removal of Joshua’s iniquity.

Zechariah 3:3-4

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.

A spiritual battle was being fought over Israel, and ultimately, the world. This was revealed to Zechariah.

Jesus often spoke to evil spirits and was tempted by Satan (Luke 4). He recognized Satan speaking through Peter (Matthew 16:23).

Evil is present in this world. We are capable of knowing it, and an evil spirit is capable of possessing a human being. However, God is more powerful and has the victory, as we see in Zechariah 3:2, when He rebukes Satan.

When trials come, those who are saved can take comfort in God’s presence. Read Isaiah 43:2–3.

Isaiah 43:2-3

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:

3. Do you think the stranger had anything to do with Rupert’s death?

Read Judges 2:21–22.

21I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died:

22That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.

The Bible tells us that God allows things to happen to us in order to test and prove us. When the Israelites entered into the Promised Land, they were told to keep God’s commandments and to drive the inhabitants from the land. However, they failed to obey.

Read I Peter 1:6–9.

6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

God tells us through the Apostle Peter that we should rejoice through opportunities to prove our faith when we endure hardships. Trials and hardships will come our way. What can we do to prepare for them mentally and spiritually?

Read I Peter 5:6–11.

6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

10But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

11To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

I read a story in the History of the Welsh Baptists, by J. Davis, about a man named Thomas Parry. He was plagued by a dream and after hearing a couple of sermons, he believed in Jesus Christ as his Saviour.

p. 44 “for the preacher showed him what was that bread of life, without which he could not go to heaven, and described the tribulation that he must expect to meet with on his way there; and that it was to continue only for a short time, in comparison with that eternity to which he was hastening. These were the means of his conversion to God; and from this time to the end of his life, he suffered affliction with the people of God.”

We cannot expect that just because we are saved we’ll not experience hardships. In fact, I’d venture to say that if we are standing strong for Christ, those hardships will increase, but the whippings of the world will be like roses if we keep our focus on God and on the eternal life He promises us.

This quote is from Obadiah Holmes biography who was whipped by the Puritans for holding a Baptist meeting:

There were thirty strokes, with a three-cord whip, held by the executioner, not in one hand, but in both hands. The strokes did not follow each other quickly or lightly. They were laid on slowly and with all the strength of the officer wielding the instrument of torture. Throughout, there was not a groan or murmur from the victim. The first sound from his lips were the words to the magistrates, who stood about as witnesses, "You have struck me as with roses."

These men, and women like them, have endured hardship, lost family, suffered for the cause of Christ. I have found my faith strengthened by seeing how they endured.