After suffering great afflictions, Job defended himself against his friends’ accusations and testified of his Redeemer. Elihu, one of Job’s friends, challenged Job’s claims of innocence.
To prepare students to study Job 17–31, ask a student to read aloud the following account:
When President Thomas S. Monson was a youth, his 15-year-old friend and neighbor named Arthur Patton enlisted in the United States Navy to serve in World War II. President Monson recalled:
“Arthur’s mother was so proud of the blue star which graced her living room window. It represented to every passerby that her son wore the uniform of his country and was actively serving. When I would pass the house, she often opened the door and invited me in to read the latest letter from Arthur. Her eyes would fill with tears; I would then be asked to read aloud. Arthur meant everything to his widowed mother. …
“… While at Saipan in the South Pacific, the ship [Arthur served on] was attacked. Arthur was one of those on board who was lost at sea.
“The blue star was taken from its hallowed spot in the front window of the Patton home. It was replaced by one of gold, indicating that he whom the blue star represented had been killed in battle. A light went out in the life of Mrs. Patton. She groped in utter darkness and deep despair.
“With a prayer in my heart, I approached the familiar walkway to the Patton home, wondering what words of comfort could come from the lips of a mere boy” (“Mrs. Patton—the Story Continues,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 22).
Invite students to ponder what they would say to comfort someone who was grieving the death of a loved one.
Point out that like Mrs. Patton, we may experience times when we will grieve the death of a loved one. In addition, each of us at some time will die. Invite students, as they continue their study of the book of Job, to look for truths that can help us when we or our loved ones are confronted with death.
Briefly review Job’s afflictions by asking the following questions:
What had happened to Job’s children? (See Job 1:18–19.)
What physical affliction was Job suffering from? (See Job 2:7.)
Invite a student to read Job 17:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Job said about his condition.
What do you think Job meant when he said, “The graves are ready for me”? (Job felt that he was near death.)
Ask a student to read Job 17:15 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for the question Job asked.
How do you think Job may have felt when he asked, “Where is now my hope?” (Job may have been lamenting and sorrowing about his circumstances.)
Summarize Job 18 by explaining that after Job mentioned that he might soon die, one of his friends, Bildad, spoke about the state of the wicked who do not know God, implying that Job was also wicked.
Invite a student to read Job 19:1–3, 19–22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Job said to his friends. (You may want to explain that the phrase “my flesh” in verse 22 means the state of Job’s body, or his suffering [see Job 19:22, footnote a].)
How would you summarize Job’s response to his friends?
Invite a student to read Job 19:23–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Job testified that he knew.
What did Job testify that he knew?
Explain that the phrase “after my skin worms destroy this body” in verse 26 refers to the death and decay of Job’s physical body. Then point out the phrase “yet in my flesh I shall see God.”
How is it possible for Job to see God in his physical body after he dies and his physical body decomposes? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board: Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we too will be resurrected.)
How can knowing that Jesus Christ has brought about the Resurrection of all mankind help us as we experience trials? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: Our testimony of the Savior and the Resurrection can give us hope in the midst of our trials. Consider writing this truth on the board.)
Point out that our testimony of the Savior and the Resurrection can give us hope not only when we are confronted with death but also when we experience other challenges. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love, such things as the physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies we bring with us at birth or acquire during mortal life. Because of the resurrection, we know that these mortal deficiencies are only temporary!” (“Resurrection,” Ensign, May 2000, 15).
When have you witnessed someone’s faith and testimony in the Savior and the Resurrection give them hope in the midst of a trial?
Point out that Job not only possessed a testimony of the Savior but also desired to write it down, preserve it, and share it with others (see Job 19:23). Explain that recording and preserving our testimonies can help us during future times of trial to remember the comforting and hopeful doctrines we know to be true. Ask students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals their testimonies of the truths you have discussed concerning Jesus Christ and the Resurrection. Invite students to share their testimonies of the Savior with the class. You may also want to share your testimony.
Remind students of President Monson’s experience in which he went as a young man to comfort Mrs. Patton after her son, Arthur, was killed. Invite a student to read aloud the conclusion of President Monson’s account.
“Mrs. Patton gazed into my eyes and spoke: ‘Tommy, I belong to no church, but you do. Tell me, will Arthur live again?’ To the best of my ability, I testified to her that Arthur would indeed live again” (“Mrs. Patton—the Story Continues,” 22).
Twenty-five years later, after President Monson had lost contact with Mrs. Patton, he gave a talk during a general conference of the Church entitled “Mrs. Patton, Arthur Lives!” (see Conference Report, Apr. 1969, 126–29). President Monson recalled:
“I expressed to Mrs. Patton my personal testimony as a special witness, telling her that God our Father was mindful of her—that through sincere prayer she could communicate with Him; that He too had a Son who died, even Jesus Christ the Lord; that He is our advocate with the Father, the Prince of Peace, our Savior and divine Redeemer, and one day we would see Him face-to-face.
“I hoped that my message to Mrs. Patton would reach and touch others who had lost a loved one.
“… I had little or no hope that Mrs. Patton would actually hear the talk. I had no reason to think she would listen to general conference. As I have mentioned, she was not a member of the Church. And then I learned that something akin to a miracle had taken place. Having no idea whatsoever who would be speaking at conference or what subjects they might speak about, Latter-day Saint neighbors of Mrs. Terese Patton in California, where she had moved, invited her to their home to listen to a session of conference with them. She accepted their invitation and thus was listening to the very session where I directed my remarks to her personally.
“… To my astonishment and joy, I received a letter … from Mrs. Terese Patton. I share with you a part of that letter:
“‘… I don’t know how to thank you for your comforting words, both when Arthur died and again in your talk. I have had many questions over the years, and you have answered them. I am now at peace concerning Arthur. … God bless and keep you always’” (“Mrs. Patton—the Story Continues,” 23–24).
Why is it important for us to share our testimony of the Savior with others?
Invite students to prayerfully seek opportunities to share their testimony of Jesus Christ with others.
Summarize Job 20–22 by explaining that Job’s friends insisted that the wicked cannot prosper. Job acknowledged that sometimes the wicked do prosper in terms of their worldly possessions, but ultimately the Lord will administer justice on the Day of Judgment.
Summarize Job 23 by explaining that Job taught about the ways the Lord had blessed him by allowing him to experience trials. Copy the following statements on the board or provide them on a handout for students:
Invite students to read the scripture references and complete the statements based on what they read. Students may identify principles such as the following: If we turn to the Lord in our afflictions, then He will strengthen us. Our trials can help refine and purify us. Our trials can help soften our hearts. To help students understand and feel the truth and importance of these principles, consider asking questions such as the following:
How have you been strengthened in your afflictions as you have turned to the Lord?
How have your trials helped to refine and purify you?
How have your trials made your heart softer or more tender?
Summarize Job 24–31 by explaining that Job’s friends continued to challenge Job and he responded to their accusations by expressing his faith in God, thereby showing his humility and integrity.
Summarize Job 32–37 by explaining that Elihu, another of Job’s friends, spoke out against Job and his other friends because he believed they had not been firm enough with Job and had failed to answer Job’s questions. Elihu also discussed some challenges that are common to all people.
To conclude you may want to briefly review the doctrines and principles students have identified in this lesson. Consider closing by inviting the class to sing “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 136).