Day 16: Becoming God’s Great Light! Pt 1 (Job & Psalms)

The books known as the writings in the Jewish tradition stand in the final position in the Hebrew Bible, after the law and the prophets. In the writings, the Psalms is in first position followed by the four books that belong to the wisdom tradition.

  • These five books of wisdom invite us into becoming God’s light to the world! That through faith and perseverance, worship and open and transparent communication, divine wisdom and passionate human love, God’s nature and heart can be revealed to the world!
  • And that is just the start. These are books designed to pass on our wisdom to our children, the next coming generation, so that they may add to this!
  • To begin, let’s start with…

I.      Job… faith and perseverance

  • The book of Job is one of the literary treasures of the world!
  • This is the oldest book in the Old Testament which is dated back to Isaacs’s time!
  • This book covers one year of time.
  • And its primary content wrestles with the issue of the suffering of the righteous and the justice of God while also        speaking to the larger question "Where is wisdom found?"
  • Job focuses on the mystery of God's relationship with his people through the story of suffering. Job is a righteous      man, a good man who like his friends can't understand why God permits him to suffer if he is innocent.



1.     JOB IN THE CRISIS OF LOSS (Ch. 1-2)


  • Ch 3-31 The many searing judgments of Job’s three “friends”, Zopher, Bildad, and Eliphaz, who insist that Job was afflicted because of the hidden sin his life. Job answers justifying himself.
  • Ch. 32-37 The wisdom of a fourth friend and a young man who speaks with more insight. He declares God is just and, in His sovereignty, can do what he will. He is the only one not reprimanded.
  • Ch. 38-41 These are God’s words to Job, in which He unveils His sovereignty. He does what He wills!



  • The very first part of this book shows us that Job was a very upstanding guy. It becomes clear throughout the book that his righteousness went far beyond most. He was blameless, up right, someone who shunned evil and feared God. Job also had a heart for the poor and fought for justice for the oppressed! Clearly, he was man of great integrity!
  • Then the book shifts in such a way that it makes this book unique to all the other books because it gives us a window into the unseen realm where we are introduced to a court room on a cosmic scale.
  • Job 1:6-12 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.  The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 
  • Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied.  "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?
  • You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

           -  Satan: In this story, Satan is seen as the prosecuting attorney, who is roaming around looking to bring accusations               against God's people. (John in his letter Revelations speaks of Satan being the accuser of the brethren, a role we                 see him playing here.)

           - Rev 12:10 "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his                      Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

           - God: is seen as the ultimate and supreme judge of all

           - Job: is on trial for his faith

           - Job Friends: are witnesses against him.

  • It is important to note here that Chapters 1 and 2 gives the reader access to what's going on that is not given to the participants themselves.
  • And so, from the reader's point of view, it becomes clear that Job's suffering is the result of a contest in the heavenly court where Satan has argued that God’s people are righteous only if they get "paid" for it! Thus, making this the crucial theological issue that is being put to the test.
  • To see this test transpire, God has to take his protective hand off Job. Which implies that God gives protection to those who put their faith in him as seen in this verse... Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?
  • It is this protection that God sovereignly removes for the testing and trial of Job’s faith.
  • And soon as that protection is lifted, look what happens! Job gets hit with one crisis after another, which recalls the phrase; when it rains, it pours!
  • Livestock, servants, transportation and then his sons and daughters and their families are gone!
  • The pain is overwhelming, the devastation almost too much to comprehend, yet look at Job's response; he worships God!
  • Job 1:20-22 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.
  • The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
  • Job’s true heart is seen by all! Both in the seen world and the unseen world! This whole scenario reminds be of what Paul said in his letter to Ephesus; Eph 3:10-11 God's purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • But unfortunately for Job, the test was not over yet, for Satan is a relentless one!
  • Job 2:7-10 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
  • And if that wasn't bad enough, his wife now becomes an instrument of the enemy as well!
  • 9 His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
  • But Job maintains his integrity and gives us one of the classic truths of this book!
  • 10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
  • Job’s point here is that life is filled with both pain and Joy. And that our faith in God should no be dependent on just what is going on circumstantially in our life. God calls us to trust him and follow him in both the good times and the hard times of life!
  • But once again, unfortunately for Job, his test is not over yet, because Job's three friends come over supposedly to encourage him, but then end up falsely berating him!

2.  Job in the crucible of misunderstanding

  • At first, when Job's friends come to see him, they do the best thing a friend can do with someone who has experienced as much grief as Job has, and that is not to say a word, but just sit with him, offering him moral support for his grief.
  • Unfortunately, they did not stop there. His friends tried to play the role of God and confront him with what they thought was his sin without any evidence except for the fact that he is going through such a crisis.
  • You see the common belief back then was that suffering only came to those who were in sin. Job believes this too, but when he looked at his life, he saw no sin that should merit this type of catastrophes in his life.
  • Nevertheless, this whole experience forced Job and his friends to examine the foundation of their faith and question their very concept of God, which was not an easy thing to do because they thought they had God all figured out.
  • The implication here, is that this book is meant to challenge us in the same way! Are we willing to admit that perhaps the idea we have of God may not be God at all?
  • Now enters in a fourth friend, who plays the role of the overconfident youth, who thinks he is wiser than his elders. At the same time, ironically, he does in fact have an additional point to make that the other three do not, that beyond Job's obviously deserved punishment there is a chastening value to such punishment that Job ought to be willing to accept.
  • But this still does not help Job understand why he is going through all this suffering! He still has no corresponding sin that would result in such devastation. So, he petitions God and wants to know why.
  • Then we find God speaking and revealing himself to Job in chapters 38 to 40! But instead of explaining himself, God reveals himself as all powerful, and then compares that with the power of man, which of course there is no comparison. This then silences all the human voices that insist that God must explain himself to them.
  • The brilliance of this book lies in the fact that although it looks as though it were humans being putting God on trial, insisting on explanations for his actions, it turns out to be a story of theology, where God was putting human beings on trial as to whether they will trust him! A trust not based on receiving immediate benefits. A trust and faith not dependent on being given the explanations they demand!
  • Job response is found in 42:3-6. Here he recognizes who he is and accepts his position.
  • Job 42:2-6 "I'm convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, 'Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?' I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, 'Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.' I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand — from my own eyes and ears! I'm sorry — forgive me. I'll never do that again, I promise!
  • Through this experience, Job lost all trust in his own righteousness. And in view of God's almighty power, is brought to a place of trusting simply in God's goodness!


3.     Job is crowned with triumph Job 42:7-17

  • Job 42:12-15 GOD blessed Job's later life even more than his earlier life. He ended up with fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand teams of oxen, and one thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first daughter Dove, the second, Cinnamon, and the third, Darkeyes. There was not a woman in that country as beautiful as Job's daughters. Their father treated them as equals with their brothers, providing the same inheritance.
  • Here lies the key to a rich life: We can't understand God, but we can put our trust and faith in God.
  • What else can we glean from Job? The reason he was able to come to the conclusion he did, was because he was willing to look at his belief system and was open to change.
  • How significant is that? During the time of Kings, people recognize this book as having great authority and insight into the ways of God because of Job’s learned humility, therefore included this as the first book of wisdom!


II.    Psalms

  • In view of our lesson from the book of Job, that our position before God, the Almighty, who is omnipresence, omnipotent, and all knowing, should always be one of humility and trust. The question now becomes; How do we relate to God?
  • The Hebrew’s understood and recognized the book of Psalms as the Hallel, the book of praise. It is a literal book of songs which when taken along with the emphasis in the book of Colossians and Ephesians:
  • Eph 5:19-20 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Col 3:15-16 And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
  • Convey the idea that both Israel and the New Testament church were a singing people! A people who could have intimate communication with their creator through song and worship!  
  • Most of the psalms were written over a time period of 600 years, by different authors, representing different experiences.
  • Of these 150 Psalms, David wrote 73 of them while others wrote the rest.
  • The book of Psalms is broken down into five books and are carefully arranged so that they follow the story of Israel from the time of David until after the exile.



I.         THE FIRST BOOK OF PSALMS – (Ps 1-41) were written in the time of the early monarchy... (the era of David.)

II.       THE SECOND BOOK OF PSALMS — Containing select songs by various choristers and poets, mainly David (Ps 42-72)         (David s overlaps with Solomon era)

III.     THE THIRD BOOK OF PSALMS — (Psalm 73-89)

IV.    THE FOURTH BOOK OF PSALMS — (Psalm 90-106) (books three and four were collected during the time of exile)

V.      THE FIFTH BOOK OF PSALMS – (Psalms 107-150) (This book of Psalms were collected during Ezra's time)



       While the psalms are not organized by topics, there are certain themes we can identify. Here are seven of the most recognized themes:

1.     Praise: Did you know that David organized 4000 musicians to worship God around-the-clock?

2.     Historical: Their goal was to continually remind Israel of God’s hand in their lives.

3.     Relational: Which explores our personal relationship with God!

4.     Imprecatory: (To call down harm) Worshipers during certain times of hardship or persecution, would call on God to                overturn the wicked!

5.     Penitent: Basically, they are psalms of repentance, where we express sorrow over our failures.

6.     Messianic: These are prophetic Psalms that refer to the coming of Christ; 2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 45, 69, 72, 89, 102, 109,132.

7.     Liturgical: These are the Psalm that Israel used during certain times of the year for worship.


Seven reasons why we should study the book of Psalms:

1.     It teaches us how to worship God as our king!

      -       Question: How do we approach the king of the universe in worship?

A.    Come with high praise!

  •  Ps 100 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
  • Ps 95:1-5 Come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us give a joyous shout to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving. Let us sing him psalms of praise. For the LORD is a great God, the great King above all gods. He owns the depths of the earth, and even the mightiest mountains are his.  The sea belongs to him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land, too.


B.    The act of submission. 

  • Ps 95:6-7 Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,  for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the sheep under his care.
  • Shaka means to bend, to kneel, to bow, to sink down to one's knees in reverence!
  • In other words, the act of submission is choosing to place your life under His authority and his protection!


C.    Bring our gifts!

  • Ps 96:6-8 Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. O nations of the world, recognize the LORD; recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship him.
  • Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.
  • Rom 6:13-14 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
  • Significantly, in the New Testament, the gifts we offer to God is our very lives. All our abilities, talents, and experiences!


D.    Bring our petitions…

  • Ps 20:1-5 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice. May He grant you according to your heart's desire and fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!
  • Meaning, that at the very heart of worship, God wants us to bring to him our requests, our petitions and all our needs!


E.    Listen for his response!

  • Ps 4:1 “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”


2.     Psalm’s will help you grow in intimacy with God: Concerning our intimate communication between us and our heavenly father, there are three clear understandings found throughout Psalms that are foundational for us to grow close to God.

a.     Seeking God is not an event, but a lifestyle.

b.     He wants us to be totally honest with him, which means it is okay to be yourself. For many of us growing up, we were            taught that it is not okay to be angry, sad or afraid. So, we tend to shut down our emotions. Yet all through the book of          Psalms we see the writers expressing the whole range of human emotion. They shared openly, without hesitation their        anger, fear, and jealousies. Implying that we too should feel free to express our deepest emotions knowing that God is        not surprised or offended or upset with us when we do.

  • Furthermore, not only do we learn its ok to express any kind of emotion that we might be feeling at the present, but Psalms also shows us how to process our negative emotions! First, the psalmist identifies the source of their frustration, and then the emotions that go along with that frustration.
  • But somewhere along the way, they get their eyes off their circumstances and back unto God and his character and promises, which usually leads them to a time of worship and praise! Psalm 73 is a great example of this.

c.     We must always remember that there is hope. And hope always comes from the revelation of God's character!


3.     To better understand Christ and his message: The psalms find their fulfillment and ultimate meaning in Jesus! Luke 24:44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." In other words, we hear in the Psalms the very heart of Jesus! That God wants to save us and deliver us and restore us and forgive and mend our broken hearts.


4.     The psalms will arm us for battle: Life is warfare! But according to covenant, it is his war, his battle and his victory! In 1 Chronicles 25 we discover that David's military strategy was to take 288 people (24 teams of 12) and provide worship every hour of the day. This is important because God inhabits the praises of his people in such a way that no enemy can even approach because God is there.


5.     We must read the psalms to help us reconstruct a biblical worldview of life: A life that sees God and his throne at the very center of our universe! A life that revolves around God’s plans, God’s desires, and God’s purposes. Not a life that revolves around our plans, wants or even needs.


6.     We must read the psalms to rebuild a sense of community. Many of the songs are meant to be sung by Israel as a community, not as individuals, because they had a corporate mindset! Something we sorely are lacking here in America. Here it is all about individualism. But from the Hebrew’s perspective, everything was seen from a community point of view! They always saw and identified themselves with something bigger than them as individuals. They were part of a family, that was part of clan, that was part of a tribe, that was part of Israel, the people of God!


7.     We must read the psalms because it teaches us how to pray: Interestingly, the early church used to teach people to pray by having them pray through the book was Psalms by personalizing it!


In conclusion: while we have focused on seven subjective purposes for reading psalms, let's not forget the real purpose of Psalms, which is not to enhance human experiences, but to exult and magnify God! Praise and worship is our response to God's revelation of himself and the knowledge revealed to us about his character and his acts. But it is even more than that, praise is meant to be the very expression of our delight in God himself, the love of our lives! Not just some religious duty we were supposed to perform.