Trials of Job…patience of Job…resilience of Job…when we think of this long-suffering Old Testament hero, we normally think of Job in terms of what he had to endure and what we can appreciate from that. However, there is another message in the book of Job that may be of even greater long-term value, and that has to do with God’s greatness. For an awe-inspiring reminder of how tiny we are (along with exciting mention of sea monsters and nature storms!), there is no rivaling the last few chapters of Job.
Lesson focus: God is powerful and un-beatable, and because of that we can safely trust that He has a great plan for us if we humbly seek Him.
Passage: Job 38-42
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th Grade (adaptable older or younger)
Materials Needed: Video clip, PowerPoint, or pictures of natural events (lightning storms, beautiful fields, animals, oceans, mountains, etc. – use google images); paper bags, papers, decorating materials, clay.
Optional: Download our Job Coloring Page (pictured above)
Lesson Opening: What an AWESOME God…begin the lesson with a few recorded displays of God’s omnipotent power. Share with students some pictures, or if possible video clips, of God’s wonders. Consider elements such as ocean waves, thunder storms, blooming flowers, newborn animals, trees, or other impressive features of creation. You may want to enhance the presentation somewhat by including music or sound effects with the pictures. Explain that (as kids will likely know) all of those things were made by God’s mighty hand.
Tell students that today they will be looking at a passage of Scripture that reminds us of God’s incredible works. Whet their appetites by saying that it is also a passage in which a whiny man pretty much gets “served” and God proves His utter awesomeness!
For those who may not know it (and refresher to those that do), provide a bit of background on the character of Job. In the Bible, God allowed Satan to make Job suffer, and he endured tremendous challenges. Job lost his money, his children, and even his own health. His wife advises him to give up on God and on life. His friends wonder what he has done to “deserve” such pain. Through all of this, Job does his best to remain upright and steadfast to God, albeit somewhat upset and wallowing in a bit of self-righteous pity party. At the end of the book of Job, though, he finally cries out to God. God answers with an incredible monologue of His greatness.
Note: there are several methods of approach to covering this passage. Chapters 38-41 are truly spectacular, but can definitely become lengthy for younger students. Here are a few possible ideas:
- Read a few verses from several portions of the chapters. Select ones that are the most meaningful and descriptive.
- Invite students to act out the words as you read. Maybe they swim like a fish or prance like a deer.
- Highlight the passages with “monster beasties,” especially if your audience includes boys.
- For older children, break the class into a few groups. Have each group read a chunk of the passage and illustrate it. Alternatively, they might make a clay model or dramatization. After allowing some time, have each group summarize and present their work to the rest of the class.
- Put some of the poetic imagery into simple terms for young students, making it digestible.
However you choose to exhibit these verses, there are a few that should not be left out…consider:
“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.
19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years! -Job 38:16-21
(This is a great passage to emphasize how SMALL we are compared to God’s knowledge and greatness).
“Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
and spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle soar at your command
and build its nest on high?
28 It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
a rocky crag is its stronghold. -39:26-28
This chapter is full of the animal kingdom and wonderful critters found therein.
“Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like rods of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God,
yet its Maker can approach it with his sword. -40:15-19
This is one of those intriguing beasts in the passage…here we see how mighty and marvelous a behemoth is, yet it is nothing compared to God, who made it.
“I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?
Who can penetrate its double coat of armor[b]?
14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15 Its back has[c] rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another;
they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Flames stream from its mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from its nostrils
as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from its mouth.
22 Strength resides in its neck;
dismay goes before it.
23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
they are firm and immovable.
24 Its chest is hard as rock,
hard as a lower millstone.
25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
they retreat before its thrashing.
26 The sword that reaches it has no effect,
nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27 Iron it treats like straw
and bronze like rotten wood.
28 Arrows do not make it flee;
slingstones are like chaff to it.
29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30 Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
31 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
one would think the deep had white hair.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal—
a creature without fear.
34 It looks down on all that are haughty;
it is king over all that are proud.” -41:12-34
This is a longer passage, but if any students are enamored with dinosaurs, dragons, or beastly creatures, it is a must-read. What a wild description…do we have these creatures still? Why not? Easy to get lost on a tangent here, but the key element is that GOD made it and can call it back or tame it as He sees fit.
“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know. -42:2-3
Here is Job’s meek and subdued answer after it all. One might imagine him like a cartoon character with his hair blowing back from his face at the thunderous power of God’s words. And Job humbly confesses that God’s ways are too much for him to understand. He had suffered and may still have struggled to understand why, but he learned better than to question the ways of the most high. How often do we whine and complain about our little issues or struggles? Is it really worth it, or can we look at God’s splendor and say with Job that His ways are beyond our understanding?
And by the way, the story does have a happy ending eventually…
Craft: Crazy critters. Invite students to make a puppet or paper version of one of the creatures described in these chapters. Or if they choose, they might simply illustrate their favorite part. Encourage them to use creativity, as God was creative to come up with them in the first place!
Close with prayer and reminder of God’s work in our lives. Confess our humility and smallness when compared with God’s Holy wonders, and thank Him for those incredible gifts He gives.