Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
April 30, 2017
Central Passage
Job 42:7-17
Description

 

Neither the bad theology of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar…nor the good theology of Elihu…gives us the knowledge of God that changes a person's heart. Psalm 34:8 tells us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8).

 

There is a knowledge that comes only through tasting. Ten hours of lectures about the sweetness of honey won’t give you as much insight into that sweetness as five seconds of honey on your tongue. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

 

Until God gives you a taste of His goodness…all the theology in the world will not give you a knowledge of His goodness that changes your heart and saves your soul. Job tasted and saw that the Lord is good.

 

Job said nothing after Elihu had finished speaking the truth to him. It was only after God spoke in chapters 38–41 that he said in chapter 42, verse 5, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see thee.”

 

It was only after God Himself came…spoke and took the initiative to make Himself known…that Job tasted God. It was only then that his eyes were completely opened to the truth. That’s when Job obtained a new sense of God's reality. Suddenly it was more than intellectual or speculative knowledge. It was a knowledge of the heart. He had tasted…he had seen…and the result was a broken and changed man.

 

In chapter 42, verses 1–6, Job bowed in reverent submission to confess three great truths. First, he confessed the truth that God is sovereign: “I know that thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of thine can be thwarted.”

 

He then confessed the truth that God's wisdom made his own wisdom look like ignorance: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

 

And he confessed the truth that he was guilty of despicable sin in questioning the ways of God: “I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

 

Job became a broken and changed man…which is what happens when a person really sees God. It happened to Isaiah and he declared “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips…for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5).

 

And it happened to Peter when Jesus showed His power…causing him to say in Luke 5:8, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

 

It also happened to the centurion when Jesus came to his house…which is recorded in Luke 7:6 with him saying, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.”

 

Before Job saw God in the way that he did…he thought somewhat highly of himself…and he had not hesitated to proclaim his own righteousness. But after his encounter with the Lord…he saw himself in a different light…and it drove him to repentance.

 

If we don't grieve because of our sin…and if we don’t feel deeply unworthy of God's goodness…then we need to pray earnestly that God will show us Himself. God must become more than a mere doctrine we hear about in church. He must, instead, become an awesome being…an infinitely holy, dreadful and wonderful sovereign that we taste and see with our hearts.

 

Whether we realize it or not…most of us wrestle against God’s sovereignty. That’s because if we allow God to be totally in control we must give up too much of ourselves. But when we move self out of the way and accept His total sovereignty over our lives…the alteration to our minds gives us a sense of peace that truly does surpass all understanding. We suddenly have an inward and sweet delight in God and can honestly speak what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

 

That proclamation should be etched on our hearts and souls. Those words give us a sense of the glory of the God…a sense of His nearness and presence that is quite different from anything else we’ve ever experienced in life.

 

If a person wants it…they can have both a “new sense” and “taste” of the glory and sovereignty of God. When that happens in this self-exalting culture in which we live…it humbles a person to the dust…and it fills them with a sin of revulsion for all their sin. And we don’t really understand the deceitfulness and wickedness of our hearts until we understand…in just a small part…the infinite sovereignty of God.

 

I can’t fully explain that sovereignty…because it requires heaping infinite upon infinite…and multiplying infinite by infinite. But when God gives us just a little taste of His own majesty…and of our own wickedness…the Christian life becomes something very different than conventional piety.

 

The desires of a true Christian are humble desires. His or her hope is a humble hope. And their joy…even when it is unspeakable and full of glory…is a humble, broken-hearted joy…leaving them poorer in spirit…more like a little child…and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behavior.

 

That’s what God is after in all his dealings with his children…a brokenhearted joy that trusts in Him like a little child…and a spiritual attitude about His sovereignty that returns good for evil.

 

There are a couple more things that God did in relation to Job’s suffering. He eventually brought Job to a place where He was pleased with his brokenhearted joy…and He was going to reverse Job's fortunes…giving him back his health…10 new children and twice as many possessions as before. But before God performed this reversal for Job…He had two more things to bring about by this experience of suffering.

 

First was the humbling of Job’s three friends. God must have thought it important to bring Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar down into the dust along with Job. Here’s what chapter 42, verses 7-9 says: “…the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: ‘My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.’ So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job's prayer.”

 

God humbled these three friends of Job in two ways. He told them they were theologically wrong…and he made them seek forgiveness through the very one that they had reviled.

 

When God told this threesome that they had not spoken of Him what was right as Job had…He was not saying that everything Job had said was right. He was simply telling them that when it came down to the basic theological dispute they had engaged in with Job…Job was right much more than they were.

 

They had said that the wicked suffer and the righteous prosper. Job had said that the world proves no such thing…that the wicked often prosper more than the righteous…and that the righteous often suffer more than the wicked. And Job was certainly right about that.

 

The three friends also saw all justice working itself out in this life. But in chapter 19, verses 25-27, Job eventually broke through to the truth that much that is amiss in the world would be made right in the life after death. Again, Job was right.

 

So, God humbled these three friends…showing them that Job…even though he was not perfect…had a better grasp of theology than they did.

 

But their humbling was not yet complete. They were not allowed to simply go into their closets…say a simple prayer for forgiveness and be done with it. They had to go to Job with their sacrifices…and they had to ask him to pray for them. This had to be deeply humiliating. The very one that they had accused of being far from God was appointed by Him as a priest to bring them near to Him. In other words, God was seeing to it that the only way the three friends could experience reconciliation with Him was through experiencing reconciliation with Job. They had to humble themselves before Job…as well as before God.

 

A second thing God did was to prove Job’s repentance before he restored his health and fortune. When the three friends come to Job seeking his intercession with God…it's wasn’t just their humility that was on trial. Job was now being asked to love those who had wronged him…and to pray for those who had abused him. He was being asked to bless those who cursed him…to not return evil for evil. He was being asked not to get even…but to forgive.

 

At this point in the story Job is still a very sick man. God hasn’t yet reversed his misery. If you want to know why…or what lesson there is here…isn’t it the same as what’s found in Matthew 6:14? That’s where Jesus said, “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

 

The Bible teaches that both repentance and faith is essential in receiving the forgiveness of God. And the genuineness of repentance…the authenticity of faith…and the reality of a person’s change of heart must prove itself in his or her willingness to forgive those who sin against them. If a person claims to have repented…and the forgiveness of God does not flow through him or her to others…the claim is a delusion. Their claim of repentance is a lie…because they are still holding on to their sins.

 

So, God put Job to one last test. To get a passing grade…it required him to lay down the weapons of revenge and unforgiveness…and to accept the terms of God's treaty…extending amnesty to his three friends the way God had done.

 

Job passed the test. He was a broken man. His own sins had bent him down in dust and ashes. There was no way he could exalt himself above another man. No matter what they had done to him…he could not deny others the forgiveness that God had freely given him. So, verse 9 ends, “The Lord accepted Job's prayer.”

 

The book closes with that sediment of pride that existed in Job being strained out of his life through the sieve of suffering…the bad theology of his three friends corrected…their foolishness humbled…the brotherhood of God's servants restored and purified…and the honor of God's name vindicated over against the accusations of Satan.

 

May the Lord grant us the grace to learn that…while his ways may not be our ways…and His thoughts may not be our thoughts…they are the wisest of all ways and thoughts. And they are always full of mercy for all those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.

 

The book is summed up quite succinctly in James 5:11, which says, “We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings; that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.”

 

It may sound contradictory…but while God is in control…He’s not the reason for any of our earthly problems. You can lay those at the feet of Satan and his minions. God and Jesus are in heaven…and there’s no sickness, sorrow or death there. And when we get there we won’t have any of the problems we have on this old earth.

 

The Holy Spirit is available to us here on earth…willing to help every Christian with every problem that he or she faces. We call on Him too little…and depend on ourselves too much. We also understand that Satan’s followers surround us every day…attacking and attempting to destroy our fellowship with Jesus.

 

It’s hard for us to understand why God allows Satan so much leeway in the world…and we’ll probably never understand it this side of heaven. But the book of Job gives us some valuable insight, which is why we should study it and pray more and more. Just remember not to blame God for not getting the answers you want to life and prayer. Look to your soul and to heaven. That’s where you’ll find your answers.

Contact Us
The Church on Thistle Ridge
Bible Search