Why Bad Things Happen to Good People
All things come from God—Job 1
We aim to see why bad things happen to good people from the life of Job—because all things come from God, including bad things. The two greatest reasons why people abandon God—1) worldliness, and 2) adversity. People turn away from God because bad things happen to them, or to others—and they end up blaming God. “How could a loving, just God do this?”
The answer to that great question comes to us from the book of Job. We shall proceed to answer the question in three parts, all from the life of Job. Job is the classic example of how bad things happen to good people. Here is how God describes Job.
1. Job was a good man–see 1:8 and 2:3, where God again affirms his goodness
2. Job was a blessed man–1:2-3
he had a blessed family and a blessed life (prosperous and famous)
3. Job was a caring man–1:4-5
4. Job was a protected man–1:10
Yet Job experienced extremely bad things.
I. Job experienced bad things Verses 6 to 19
A. The extent of his loss
1. His family
2. His possessions
3. His health–2:1ff
B. The source of his loss
1. Satan 1:9-12
2. People 15, 17
3. Nature 10, 19 and 2:1ff
C. The ultimate cause of his loss 12
Here is the hidden truth in why bad things happen to good people–the hand of God is there. This insight comes from reading God’s Word.
1. In the selection, no one can touch His people unless He permits it
2. In the limitation–1 Corinthians 10:13
Here is the believer’s comfort in our afflictions–God selects the affliction and sets the limit, so that we may have the grace to bear it.
II. The human reaction to bad things
Here is way most people respond to the events such as this
- Anger at God
There can be open anger or hidden bitterness towards God. When we lose our possessions or our loved ones, we end up losing our love for God, our daily reading of the Word, our attendance at church, our ministry to others, and our zeal for God. Even professing Christians can harbor bitterness towards God. Some are sitting on the sidelines or just going through the motions, because you suffered some adversity in your life.
- Accuse God
People may even accuse God of injustice and lack of love. In short, it is speaking against the character of God, which the Bible calls blasphemy. We stop thinking great thoughts about God. We lose respect for Him, as we would do to a person who let us down.
- Abandon God
Some, true to Satan’s accusation, do abandon God because their only loyalty to God was based on what God could do for them (1:9-11, 2:4-5, 2:10). They are as fickle as a person’s loyalty to a political party. Some choose not to believe in such a God who does not take care of his loyal subjects. “I would never believe in such a God,” they say.
The atheist has no problem. “All is pure chance.” Absurd question. Man left church because he was fired as a janitor of the church. Also, all the examples of people who blame the church for some “mistreatment”.
III. Job’s Counsel 1:20-22 and 2:10
It would be well to see Job’s life and listen to his counsel to answer this question.
- Our blessings are based on God’s grace
All we have is based entirely on the Giver.
- I deserved nothing–“Naked I came from my mother’s womb.”
Eliminates this feeling of endowment we possess, as though God owes us something. This is why the cleansing of the ten lepers is so instructive (Luke 17:17-18). The cleansing was all of grace, and yet they did not even return to give thanks. There should not be a thankless person on Earth.
- I deserve nothing–“and naked I shall return.”
Even in our present state, no matter how good we are, we deserve nothing from the hand of God (Luke 17:7-10). There is no merit to our goodness–it is only doing what is required of us. This is an amazing statement by our Lord, which is what Job is referring to in his response to adversity. The truth is that no one does what God expects from them.
Bad things happen to good people, because good people are not as good as they think they are.
- Our blessings are for this time only
The truth of this text is repeated in Scripture (Ecclesiastes 5:15-16, Psalm 49:16-20, I Timothy 6:7-8).
- We own nothing–we brought nothing into this world. We enter this world as absolute paupers.
- We take nothing with us–we earned nothing during this life.
This is why our Lord refers to the rich man as a fool (Luke 12:20). Why are we surprised when “the Boss” takes it away from us? Hence, be thankful for what you have for as long as you have it.
- Our blessings are subject to God’s will
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.” He gives because He is God (2:10, Acts 17:24-25). He is the source and the dispenser of all things. Even our adversity is for the glory of God (John 9:2-3).
He gives because He is good (Matthew 5:45, Acts 14:17). Our blessings far surpass our adversities, with very few exceptions. Too many are like convicted criminals–we want a vacation even in our prison cells. Giving and taking are the prerogatives of the Divine. We have absolutely no say so in the matter.
- Our blessings should make us draw near to God (Romans 2:4)
If we look at our lives and what we possess in the proper manner, we would draw near to God
- In worship 1:20–He is still God
Augie Herrera–“Whatever God does is fine; he has been good to me.”
- In blessing 1:21–give thanks
Even in so-called bad times (1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”)
- In deepening our trust in God 1:22–God does what is right
Compare 2:3, Job did not lose his integrity. He worshiped God because of who He was, and not because of what God did for him. Three Covid losses and their response–trust, worship, and joy.
There is one final blessing we should consider–the grace of God in salvation (Ephesians 2:1-9).
1. a forgiveness we did not deserve (2:8-9) compare to 2:1-3
2. a forgiveness we cannot lose (2:4-6)
Will you receive this blessing into your life?