Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Job 42:10–17; Genesis 4:8; Matthew 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Daniel 2:44; Job 14:14, 15
The August 2016 flooding in Louisiana has been called historic, unprecedented, and “the 1,000 year rain” with moisture content in the atmosphere at record levels. The catastrophic flood submerged thousands of homes and businesses. It’s the worst US natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy. Most homeowners did not have flood insurance.
Over 146,000 homes were damaged by the flooding and thousands of Louisianans were forced into one of 11,000 state-operated shelters. More than 100,000 people have applied for FEMA assistance. Many homeowners were not in “flood high risk areas” so they didn’t take out flood insurance. In the St. Helena parish, which was one of the hardest hit by the floods, only 1 percent of homes had flood insurance.
Though FEMA could pay up to $33,000 to residents without flood insurance, it will likely be much less. After Hurricane Katrina, households without flood insurance received an average of $6,000 per grant. Those who suffered from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 received an average of $8,000.1
Our Sabbath school lesson this quarter is on the book of Job—a man who suffered disastrous losses. Not only did Job lose almost all his earthly belongings, he also lost all his children, and then nearly died himself from painful boils that covered his body.
Instead of starting at the beginning of the book, this week’s lesson begins at the end. It looks at how God blessed Job after the flood of calamity wiped out all he owned. There was no FEMA standing ready to toss him a life buoy of money to cover his losses. Besides three friends who weren’t very helpful, he was alone. Yet he was not alone because the Lord never forsook Job.
The book of Job ends on a joyful note. “Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…” (Job 42:12, NKJV). Not only was his livestock restored to greater numbers, he had seven sons and three daughters who were the most beautiful women in all the land. “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations” (verse 16).
It’s almost a “happily ever after” ending, except for one small truth. “So Job died…” (verse 17). Isn’t that the way it ends for everyone? Thirteen people died in the Louisiana floods this summer. Most homeowners never recover from their losses. The blight of sin on our planet makes it seem as if even good endings still end in death.
Is there something more that we can count on as Christians? That’s what this quarter’s lesson is all about.
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