Delivered By
C.C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
April 23, 2017
Central Passage
Job 38:1 and Job 42:6
Attached Document
Open Document
Description

 

Job had been lying in unrelieved misery for months…open sores all over his body. During that time he had grieved the deaths of seven sons and three daughters. All his wealth had vanished in one afternoon. He had become repulsive to his wife…loathsome to his brothers…and even little children despised him as he lay on the ash heap outside of town.

 

Job had at first bore these calamities with amazing submission…stating “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord” and “Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?

 

But after his misery had dragged on for months…Job wavered in his confidence that God was for him. In defending himself against the bad theology of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar…he said things about God that were not true. He began to insist on his own righteousness at the expense of God's justice.

 

Job began to think that God was ignoring his faithfulness and treating him as an enemy…saying “Make me know my transgression and my sin. Why dost thou hide thy face, and count me as thy enemy?” (13:23–24).

 

He finally reached the point where he confessed that after death he would see God as his Redeemer (19:25–27)…but for the moment thought God was treating him as an enemy.

 

So he complained to God…“Oh that I knew where I might find him that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments…Why are not times of judgment kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?” (23:3–4; 24:1; cf. 13:23–24).

 

Job's three friends had taken the position that the severity of Job's suffering must be the sign of some grievous sin in his life…and that God was punishing him for it. But Job silenced them by saying that there is no correlation in this world between righteousness and prosperity…or between wickedness and suffering.

 

In chapters 32–37 another and younger friend Elihu rebuked Job and his three friends for their bad theology. Elihu said Job was a righteous man…and though not perfect…was loved by God.

 

God initially allowed Job's sufferings in order to show Satan and the armies of heaven that Job cherished the worth of God more than his possessions…his family and his health. But after Job showed that he did love God more than all else in the world…Elihu said there was another purpose that

 

God sought to achieve by letting his suffering drag on. It was to purge out of Job's life a residue of pride that had lain quietly at the bottom of his life. When Job was shaken by suffering long enough…the sediment of pride was stirred up and showed itself when Job tried to justify himself at God's expense.

 

So, there’s a twofold explanation to Job’s suffering. First, it was to demonstrate God's value and glory. And second, it was to refine Job’s righteousness. And removing the disease of pride was the most loving thing God could do for Job.

 

After all, Jesus said it was better to suffer the excruciating pain of a gouged-out eye than to let any sin remain in your heart. If it’s not obvious to us that sanctification is worth any pain on this earth…it’s probably because we don't abhor sin and prize holiness the way God does.

 

Toward the end of Elihu's speech (32–37) a thunderstorm had gathered…which filled him with awe. It was as if he sensed the approach of God in this storm…so brought his words to a close. And sure enough…out of the whirlwind came the voice of God out of the whirlwind speaking to Job and asking, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (38:1).

 

Then Job responded…“Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (38:3).

 

What we have here is Job going on trial before God…and God saying, “Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.”

 

The lesson here is that when a person questions God…he or she had better be prepared for God to question them. So, put yourself in Job’s place…facing God and trying to answer His questions to you.

 

In chapter 38, verses 4-7, God focused on the earth and asked, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” Let’s face it, we weren't there and don't know how God did it.

 

Then, in chapter 38, verses 8–11, God focused on the sea and asked, “Who shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth from the womb?” We weren't there…so we don't know how God did it.

 

In chapter 38, verses 12–15, God focused on the dawn and asked, “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place?” Obviously, we never did and don’t know how…but God has always done it and He always will.

 

In chapter 38, verses 16–18, God focused on the depth and breadth of the sea and land. He told Job that until he had been to the bottom of the ocean and every inch of the world he had no business arguing with Him. And we don’t either.

 

In the last half of chapter 38 God took His focus off the world below and turned it on the world above. In verses 19-21, God asked the way to the dwelling of light and where is the place of darkness? Job didn’t know…and neither do we. But God knows, because He made the light.

 

In verses 22–33, God asked Job about snow, hail, rain and frost…whether he knew anything about how to store up hail for the day of battle…or how to cut a channel in the sky to make it rain on an unoccupied land. He asked if Job knew the ordinances of heaven…and whether he could establish their rule on earth.

 

God went on to ask if Job could make it rain…whistle for the lightning…or count the clouds with his wisdom. What God made clear was that if Job focused on any of the things mentioned…the earth, sea, dawn, snow, hail, constellations or rain…the upshot was that he would be ignorant and impotent about where they came from or how to make them work. In other words…above and below he was surrounded by unexplained mysteries.

 

And so are we. The scientific advancements of the last 200 years are like sand pails of saltwater hauled from the ocean of God's wisdom and dumped in a hole on a beach while the tide is rising. God is not impressed with our perceived knowledge. We should, in fact, be overwhelmed with our ignorance…not impressed with science.

 

In chapter 38, verses 39–41, God asked Job who he thought provided lions and birds with their food. “Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?” God does. Job didn’t…and neither do we.

 

God wanted Job to be aware that He was responsible for every birth in the world…every wild deer and turkey in Texas…and every mountain goat in Switzerland and Nepal. No matter what person or thing is born...God is there. So, no matter what is happening…God is there. He sees a person’s suffering in its connection to 10,000 other realities in the world…so how do we dare not trust His wisdom?

 

God mentioned to Job a number of other creatures that are the work of His hands…that things are in order…and that we have nothing to do with that order. He concluded in chapter 39, verses 26-30, saying “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high?

 

The answer is “No.” Whether we consider the prey of lions…the birth of mountain goats…the freedom of the wild ass…the insubordination of the wild ox…the stupidity of the ostrich…the might of the war horse…or the flight of the hawk and eagle, the conclusion is the same. Like Job we are ignorant and impotent. We didn’t make them. We don’t know how to control them. We can’t see what they’re doing. But God made them…controls them…knows what they’re doing at all times…yet we ignorantly presume to question the ways of God.

 

In chapter 40, the LORD said to Job, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”

 

Then Job answered the Lord: “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.”

 

Job was finally getting the point…that a finite creature who has no wisdom to run this world…and who is utterly ignorant of more than 99 percent of its processes…has no business instructing his Maker and Ruler on how to run it…or condemning God for the way He runs it.

 

God further pressed his case against Job in chapter 40, verses 6–9, as He spoke again out of the whirlwind. “Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?

 

There is no greater reality than God by which we can judge His actions. He would not be God if he submitted to something outside Himself. But God wants us to see that His might is purposeful…so in chapter 40, verses 10-14, He challenges Job to join him in this holy and purposeful might. “Deck yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. Pour forth the over flowing of your anger, and look on every one that is proud, and abase him. Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. Then will I also acknowledge to you, that your own right hand can give you victory.”

 

God employs His might to clothe Himself with splendor…to abase the proud…and to exalt the humble. In other words, the rightness of God's might is not merely that it is His…but also that its purposes are consistence with his excellence.

 

In bringing Job to submission…God was basically saying, “There are trillions of things about running the world that you know nothing about…things that I know perfectly. So, it’s presumptuous on your part to assume that you can counsel Me about how to run a more just world. You can't begin to know all that has to be taken into account in making decisions about how to run the world for My glory and for the joy of My people.”

 

God’s might is not arbitrary…it’s purposeful. And that purpose is to uphold His glory by abasing the proud and blessing the humble. We should never presume to accuse God of being arbitrary, capricious or irrational. We should submit to the wisdom and goodness of God's dealings and hold fast to the promise found in Psalm 84:11 that “God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly.”

 

Chapter 42, verses 1-6, tells us of three acts of submission by Job. First, he answered the LORD saying, “I know that thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of thine can be thwarted.” So, he submitted to God's absolute sovereignty…that He can do whatever he pleases and is not constrained by anything outside Himself.

 

He also said, “Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know." This was submission to God's infinitely greater wisdom and knowledge…acknowledging that he has spoken about things of which he was very ignorant.

 

And finally, Job said, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore, I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

 

Four lessons in this message that are plain and simple, yet profound:

  • The first is that you must believe with all your heart in the absolute sovereignty of God…and you must pray that God will give you that conviction.

  • The second is that you must believe with all your heart that everything He does is right and good…and you must pray that God will give you that assurance.

  • The third is that you must repent for all the times you have questioned God or found fault with him in the way he has treated you…and you must pray that God will humble you to see your murmurings as being sinful.

  • And the fourth is that you must be satisfied with the holy will of God and not murmur about it.

 

So, there it is. We can believe in the absolute sovereignty of God…or not. We can believe that everything He does is right and good…or not. We can repent of all the times we have questioned God and found fault with how He treated us…or not. And we can be satisfied with the holy will of God and not complain about it…or not.

 

The choice is ours. God has provided us with all the information we need about His sovereignty…but He allows us to make the choice of whether to accept it…or not. We can’t change God…but He can change us if we allow Him to.

 

Salvation requires acceptance of God’s sovereignty over your life…which involves belief in and acceptance of Jesus as Lord of your life. That sounds easy…but it isn’t. It means turning your life over to God…and accepting His will for it. And that’s hard for most people to do.

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