OceanSide church of Christ

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Reasons #5 & #6

Lesson Four

Victor M. Eskew




A.   Suffering comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes.  Sometimes it comes quickly and ends quickly.  Sometimes it lingers for a long time. 


B.    One of the age old questions is:  “Why do bad things happen to good people?” 

1.     Two of the simplest answers are sin and freedom of choice.

2.     These answers provide some understanding, but they do not provide much comfort or hope.


C.   We have been looking at many of the reasons bad things happen to good people.  These are intended to encourage us and provide us with hope in our suffering.


D.   Thus far, we have examined four reasons why bad things happen to good people.

1.     So an unseen victory can be won

2.     To expand our perspective of God

3.     To deepen our humility before God

4.     To produce greater intimacy with God




A.   A comparison


Job before Suffering (Job 1:2-3)                       Job after Suffering (Job 42:12-13)


          7 sons                                                               7 sons

          3 daughters                                                      3 daughters

          7,000 sheep                                                      14,000 sheep

          3,000 camels                                                     6,000 camels

          500 yoke of oxen                                              1,000 yoke of oxen

          500 she-asses                                                    1,000 she-asses


          Question:  Why didn’t God double the number of Job’s children?


“The answer is that the loss of Job’s first ten children was only temporary.  He was to be united with the first ten in heaven” (21 Reasons, Earley, 52).


Job 42:16-17


After this lived Job another hundred and forty years, and saw his sons and his sons’ sons, even four generations.  So Job died, being old and full of days.


B.    Many of us could not be good stewards of more than what we have unless we first lost all that we have.

1.     There are certain values, character traits, and skills that are needed to manage great abundance.  They often come through suffering.

2.     Evidence of this is found in many of the lottery winners in our nation.

a.     “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in 1988.  Within one year, he was $1 million in debt.  During his life, he spent some time in jail.  Today, he lives on food stamps.

b.    Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice (1985, 1986).  Her total winnings were $5.4 million.  Today, all of her money is gone and she lives in a trailer.


C.   Buffeting prepares us for blessing.




A.   My dad was an electrician and my mom was a bookkeeper.  As their son, what would be the likelihood of my becoming the Vice-President of the United States or Secretary of State?


B.    Such a thing did happen to a Hebrew shepherd, the eleventh-ranked brother in his family.  He became second-in-command in the most powerful nation of the world in his day, Egypt.


C.   The elevation of Joseph came through much suffering and hardship.

1.     Family suffering

a.     Hatred (Gen. 37:4-5)

b.    Angry words (Gen. 37:4)

c.    Envy (Gen. 37:11)

d.    A plot of death (Gen. 37:20)

e.     Sold into slavery (Gen. 37:28)

2.     Potiphar’s house

a.     Constant temptation to sin (Gen. 39:7, 10)

b.    Lies of evil behavior (Gen. 39:16-18)

3.     Prison

a.     Whose feet they hurt with fetters:  he was laid in iron (Ps. 115:18).

b.    Forgotten by the king’s butler (Gen. 40:23).


D.   Eventually, Joseph was raised up to a lofty position in Egypt (Gen. 41:40).


Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled:  only in the throne will I be greater than thou.


E.    Joseph could only assume this position because of all the things that he learned in his sufferings.

1.     Leadership is often hated, envied, and spoken evil of.

2.     Leadership sometimes involves separation from those who are closest to us.

3.     Leadership knows that there are those who are against them that are plotting evil against them.

4.     Leadership comes with great temptations.

5.     Leadership will be charged falsely of various crimes and sins.

6.     Leadership will have hopes that will not come to pass due to the actions of others.

7.     Leadership needs to understand how to deal with finances, government, and volunteers.

8.     Leaders must learn to trust in God’s timeline and not in their own timelines.

9.     Leaders must come to recognize who it is that is blessing them (Gen. 41:160.

10.  QUESTION:  How many of these things would Joseph have learned by merely tending sheep?  (NOTE:  This is not to say that tending sheep did not teach him lessons.  This same process will be seen in reverse in the life of Moses).




A.   Suffering is often God’s training class.

1.     He may be training us to receive greater blessings.

2.     He may be training us to receive a higher position.


B.    The key is to use our suffering in such a way as to increase our learning and to improve our character.


C.   NOTE:  Do not let bad things:

1.     Drive you from God

2.     Turn you into an evil person.