Lesson 109: Job 38–42
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“Lesson 109: Job 38–42,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)

“Lesson 109,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 109

Job 38–42


The Lord responded to Job’s pleas and reminded him that He is all-knowing and all-powerful. Job replied humbly and was instructed further about the Lord’s power. The Lord chastised Job’s friends, accepted Job’s repentance, and made the remaining part of Job’s life more prosperous than it was at the beginning.

Suggestions for Teaching

Job 38–41

The Lord instructs Job concerning His power

To help prepare students to study Job 38–42, invite them to roll up a sheet of paper and look through it with one eye while closing their other eye. Invite a few students to explain what difficulties they might experience if they went about their daily activities with their vision limited in this way.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for some things that might cause us to have a limited perspective.

Cook, Quentin L.

“From the limited perspective of those who do not have knowledge, understanding, or faith in the Father’s plan—who look at the world only through the lens of mortality with its wars, violence, disease, and evil—this life can seem depressing, chaotic, unfair, and meaningless” (“The Songs They Could Not Sing,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 104).

According to Elder Cook, what can cause us to have a limited perspective? (Viewing earth life and its challenges without knowledge or understanding of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness or faith in that plan.)

  • What are some examples of challenges or trials that may be especially difficult to experience without understanding or having faith in Heavenly Father’s plan?

  • How are these challenges similar to some of the trials Job experienced?

Invite students as they study Job 38–42 to look for truths that can help them strengthen their faith in Heavenly Father and expand their vision of His plan in order to better meet the challenges they may experience.

Explain that after Job and his friends discussed possible reasons for Job’s suffering, the Lord spoke directly to Job. Invite a student to read Job 38:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look at the end of verse 3 for the instruction the Lord gave to Job.

  • According to the end of verse 3, what did the Lord say He wanted Job to do? (Answer the Lord’s questions.)

Ask a student to read Job 38:4–7 aloud, and invite the class to follow along, looking for the questions the Lord asked Job.

  • In your own words, how would you summarize the questions the Lord asked Job? (The Lord asked Job to consider where he was when the earth was created and who created the earth, implying that God has all power.)

  • Who do you think are the sons of God mentioned in verse 7?

To help the class understand verse 7, you may want to invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson. Invite students to follow along, looking for who was among the “sons of God” who “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).

Monson, Thomas S.

“We lived before our birth into mortality. In our premortal state, we were doubtless among the sons and daughters of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence. We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials, and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God” (“He Is Risen!” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 88).

  • How does President Monson’s statement help you understand the meaning of verse 7? (After students respond, you may want to suggest that they write the following truth in the margin of their scriptures near verse 7: Before we were born on earth, we lived with Heavenly Father and rejoiced in His plan of happiness.)

  • When we face challenges, why might it be helpful to remember that we rejoiced at the opportunity to experience life on earth?

Summarize the remainder of Job 38 as well as Job 39–41 by explaining that the Lord illustrated His knowledge and power by asking Job many questions about how He created and still directs the earth, emphasizing the limited knowledge and power of humans.

Job 42

The Lord blesses Job so that he is more prosperous than when he began

Ask a student to read Job 42:1–2 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Job said after the Lord spoke to him.

  • What did Job say he knew about the Lord? (After students respond, you may want to write the following doctrine on the board: The Lord has all power and knows all things.)

  • Why do you think it would be important to have a testimony of this truth—particularly during times when we face challenges?

Ask a student to read Job 42:5–6 aloud. Invite the class to look for how Job was affected as he learned more about the Lord.

  • What do you think Job meant when he said, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”? (Job 42:6). (Help students understand that Job did not hate himself. Rather, he humbly acknowledged his weaknesses, sins, and limitations before the Lord.)

Point out that after Job acknowledged his limitations and repented of his sins, the Lord spoke to Job’s friends who had misjudged Job and tried to convince him that he did not deserve the Lord’s mercy.

Invite students to consider a time in their lives when, like Job, they may have been misjudged by a friend (or friends).

  • Why can it be hurtful if we are misjudged by friends? How might we be tempted to react toward our friends when they misjudge us?

Invite a student to read Job 42:7–9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the instruction the Lord gave to Job’s friends.

  • What did the Lord command Job’s friends to do?

  • According to verse 8, what did the Lord instruct Job to do for these friends who had misjudged him?

  • What principle can we learn from this instruction? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: The Lord wants us to pray for those who misjudge us.)

  • Why do you think the Lord wants us to pray for those who misjudge us?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Job 42:10–17. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Job experienced in the remainder of his life.

  • What gave Job strength to remain faithful to the Lord in his trials? What specific trials that Job faced (loss of friends, loss of family members, loss of goods and possessions) might be difficult for you to endure faithfully?

  • How did the Lord bless Job after he remained faithful and endured such great trials?

  • What principles can we learn from Job’s experience? (As students share the principles they have identified, emphasize the following: If we remain faithful to the Lord in our trials, then He will bless us abundantly according to His will.)

Invite students to come to the board and list some things we can do to show we are faithful to the Lord during our trials. After students have written a list on the board, you may also want to ask them to give examples of ways the Lord can bless us when we do the things listed on the board.

To help students understand ways the Lord may bless us as we remain faithful in our trials, consider inviting a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite the class to listen for ways the Lord may bless those who are faithful to Him during their trials.

Wirthlin, Joseph B.

“The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.

“One of the blessings of the gospel is the knowledge that when the curtain of death signals the end of our mortal lives, life will continue on the other side of the veil. There we will be given new opportunities. Not even death can take from us the eternal blessings promised by a loving Heavenly Father” (“Come What May, and Love It,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 28).

  • According to Elder Wirthlin, how can the Lord bless us if we are faithful during our trials? (Help students understand that the Lord’s blessings can come to us in this life and also after we die.)

  • How have you been blessed as you have remained faithful to the Lord during your trials? (After students respond, you may also want to share an experience.)

You may want to conclude this lesson by testifying of the truths you have discussed today. Invite students to select from the list on the board one thing they can work on to help them remain faithful during their trials. Encourage them to do the thing they chose.

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Scripture Mastery Review

As a simple review to help students remember the location of the 10 scripture mastery passages that have been introduced thus far in the course, ask each student to draw a four-by-four grid on a piece of paper.

Invite students to write each of the 10 scripture mastery references randomly in the squares on the grid. Ask them to repeat 6 of the references in the remaining squares.

Read a portion of one of the 10 scripture mastery passages aloud, and ask students to place a finger on the reference on their grids that they think corresponds with the passage. Say the reference aloud, and have students check their answers. If they are pointing to the correct reference, ask them to mark the square with an X.

Instruct students to call out “Scripture mastery!” when they mark four squares in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally). You could continue until everyone has four in a row or until students have marked all of their squares.

Commentary and Background Information

Job 42:12. “The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning”

President Spencer W. Kimball explained that the trials we experience can be a source of personal growth:

“Is there not wisdom in [God’s] giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?

“If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.

“If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil—all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 97).

Job 38–39. The Lord answers Job’s prayers

The Lord finally answered Job’s prayers. He did not seem, however, to answer the questions Job and his friends raised about why Job was suffering. Instead, the Lord gave answers in the form of more questions. The Lord’s questions give us perspectives about His greatness and about life that are very important to people facing trials in their lives. Job 38–39 explains how Job could have more confidence in the Lord so that he could more fully trust that his trials would be for his benefit.

Job 42. When we remain faithful to the Lord, He will bless us

Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy taught how individuals have been blessed as a result of remaining faithful to the Lord during trials:

“A pattern in the scriptures and in life shows that many times the darkest, most dangerous tests immediately precede remarkable events and tremendous growth. ‘After much tribulation come the blessings’ [D&C 58:4]. The children of Israel were trapped against the Red Sea before it was parted [see Exodus 14:5–30]. Nephi faced danger, anger from his brothers, and multiple failures before he was able to procure the brass plates [see 1 Nephi 3–4]. Joseph Smith was overcome by an evil power so strong that it seemed he was doomed to utter destruction. When he was almost ready to sink into despair, he exerted himself to call upon God, and at that very moment he was visited by the Father and the Son [see Joseph Smith—History 1:15–17]. Often investigators face opposition and tribulation as they near baptism. Mothers know that the challenges of labor precede the miracle of birth. Time after time we see marvelous blessings on the heels of great trials” (“More Than Conquerors through Him That Loved Us,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 78–79).