James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried*, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

There’s a children’s story where a little cork was swimming along on the wide ocean. A whale came and flipped his tail so the cork went under. The cork popped back up right away. The whale pounced on the cork, but it popped up again. The whale called his friends and they tried to keep the cork from popping up but couldn’t keep him under. They asked why he always floated up. He said because I’m not made of the same stuff as you are. When we’re saved and love God with all our heart, we’re not made of the same stuff as others out for their own purpose. We have bounce up again if trials try to sink us.

Another story is about Ned the mule. He helped the farmer with his work on the farm. One night Ned was grazing and fell in a well. The farmer tried to get him out with a rope but couldn’t get it on his neck. Neighbors tried to help the farmer but nothing worked. Ned kept braying for help. Finally the farmer decided to bury him. The farmer and neighbors shoveled dirt on Ned to bury him. When he stopped braying they saw that every time dirt fell on him, Ned shook it off and took a step up. Soon Ned was at the top of the well and just walked off. When accusations and garbage are thrown on us, God wants us to shake it off and just take a step up to him. We’re fighting an enemy and can’t let those things hinder us serving God.

Revelations 12:10-11 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser…is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb…the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

To endure to the end, we can’t love our life but must be willing to love God and do whatever he wants to the very end.

James 5:10-11 Take…the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job…end of the Lord…of tender mercy.

In trying times like we have, Job still had it worse. Job eschewed (avoided) evil, was perfect and upright. He was rich and was the greatest man of all the east and yet was perfect and upright. The enemy was out to conquer and destroy him.

Job 1:1 1 There was a man…Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

The Lord asked Satan where he came from and he said from going to and fro in the earth. Satan was never in heaven. He was created by God so we would have a choice to serve God or serve him. God asked if Satan had considered his servant Job. What if God asked Satan to put our name there? Are our actions going to show that we’re serving God?

Job 1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came…before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered…From going to and fro in the earth…And the Lord said …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? Then Satan answered…Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him…about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Satan said God put a hedge around Job but if it was removed and God touched everything of Job’s, he would curse God. When all Job’s herds and his children were destroyed, Job was in his grief but he fell down and worshipped God. His love for God was precious so he wouldn’t give it up for anything. We need to have the same worship when the devil tries us.

Job 1:20-22 Then Job…fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb… the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be…the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

God asked Satan again if he’d considered his servant Job. The devil said Job would curse God if he touched his flesh. God said not to take Job’s life. God always puts boundaries on how far the enemy can go. Scripture says we won’t be tempted above what we can bear and God makes a way to escape. When we come boldly to ask for help, God gives sufficient grace to help.

Job 2:1-6 Again…Satan came…Lord said…Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him…perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity…Satan answered…all that a man hath will he give for his life…touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee…Lord said…he is in thine hand; but save his life.

Job got painful boils over all his body. His wife said to curse God and die, but Job wouldn’t charge God foolishly for what happened to him. He wanted to serve God regardless of his circumstances. We need to have the same mindset.

Job 2:9-10 Then said his wife…Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said…Thou speakest as one of the foolish women…shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin…

Job’s friend’s came to comfort him and sat by him but didn’t say anything. When they spoke, they said Job was reaping what he sowed and God was correcting him, so he should be happy.

Job 2:12-13…they lifted up their eyes…and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle…they sat down with him upon the ground seven days…none spake a word…for they saw that his grief was very great.

Job 4:7-9…who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?…I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

It’s grievous when the Lord corrects us. Job’s friends were accusing and finding fault with Job.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Job’s friends said they searched it out and what they told him was for his good.

Job 5:27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.

Job’s grief was heavier than the sand of the sea. He wished he wasn’t born but he didn’t charge God foolishly.

Job 6:3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.

His friends said if he was pure and would seek after God, he would be prosperous. We’re not serving God to be prosperous.

Job 8:5-6 If thou wouldest seek unto God…If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he…make…thy righteousness prosperous.

They said God was asking less than Job’s iniquity deserved. We need to give encouraging words for those in hard trials.

Job 11:5-6 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

They said if Job would put his sin away, his grief would go away like water passing by. Grief doesn’t go away like that.

Job 11:14-16 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away…For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:

Job kept popping up, like the cork wouldn’t stay down. He purposed in his heart that if God slayed him, he would trust him. Job’s friends, family, and everyone left him, but he still knew his redeemer lived.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Job 19:25-26 For I know that my redeemer liveth…And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet…shall I see God:

His friends said Job was receiving the reward of the wicked.

Job 20:27-29…The increase of his house shall depart…This is the portion of a wicked man from God…

Job didn’t feel God near, but loved God above all and that God knew where he was. We know God is near to help in our needs.

Job 23:8-12 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there…I cannot behold him…But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps…I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than…food.

Job’s friends said he had fulfilled the judgment of the wicked. They were just accusing and finding fault in Job.

Job 36:17-18 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked…on thee…beware lest he take thee away with his stroke…

Job recognized God’s greatness and wanted to serve God with all his heart. God condemned his friends. He said to take sacrifices to Job and he would pray for them. Job didn’t have a bad attitude or want revenge. Job prayed for them and God restored all Job had before. In our hard trials, we gain more than we had when we determine to endure, to learn, and be faithful.

Job 42:4-5…I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by…the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)