JOB

JOB

Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to the Book of Job. This morning I want to talk about suffering. Yeah, woo! (laughter) You know, suffering is not something that we spend a whole lot of time talking about; it’s not something that we’re particularly good at, and one of the reasons is because we live in the most comfortable time in history. I graduated with my bachelor’s in history, so I’ve done a little bit of studying other cultures and other time periods. If you gave me a choice between living my life right now today and being a king at any other point in the history of the world, I would choose my life, easily, hands down. For reasons like air conditioning; that I have a refrigerator in my house that I go into, there’s a little window in it, I put a cup in and ice comes out and goes into my glass. Because I have a refrigerator in my house that keeps all my food cold. Because we have things like antibiotics, and Amazon, and Netflix, and because of my couch, and because of my bed. They didn’t have Posturepedic beds until recently. They’re designed, you can change which number you want to sleep on. Because of athletic wear. We have invented new kinds of fabrics that flick the sweat off of our bodies, that are lightweight. I would take whatever Nike just came out with this last season against any kind of imported silk from the Orient back in, you know, 500 years ago. Because of things like Home Depot, right? Home Depot, go to the hardware aisle in the Home Depot and what kind of screw do you want? Do you want and eighth inch, do you want a quarter-inch, half-inch, one inch, what do you want it made out of? What kind of tip do you want on it? What kind of head do you want on it? What color do you want it? Two hundred years ago if you wanted a screw, you had to go out to the woods, cut down a tree, and try to whittle a screw out of a giant branch. And we just go into Home Depot and you get whatever you want. As far as convenience and comfort goes, we have accomplished some really phenomenal, really amazing things. And so, when it comes to suffering, there’s this temptation to just gloss over it.

 

Our lives are so comfortable we don’t really have to think all that much about suffering. And so, there’s this tendency, this temptation we have to just kind of gloss over it, or push it over to the side, or not look at the uglier parts of it quite as much. It made me think of a story I heard from this past Olympics. It was in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, and when you fly into Rio, what you would get is you drove away from the airport, is this wall that stretched for five miles long, and it’s just this giant, beautiful ornate advertisement for the Olympics and for Brazil, and why you should invest there, and why you should come travel there. But what was on the other side of that wall were 16 of the worst favelas, or slums, that were totally crime-ridden, that were totally impoverished, that Brazil did not want you to see when you flew into Brazil. And that’s kind of human nature. It’s easy for us to kind of want to gloss over the uglier parts and highlight the good stuff or the nice stuff. And we can do that theologically, too. We can do that in our approach to God. In fact, Christian book stores are going out of business all over the United States of America, and I thank God for it. Partly because, have you been to a Family Christian book store (they went bankrupt two years ago, but) before they went bankrupt? They have like, 10% of the store is Christian books, 50% of which are garbage, and the rest of the store is made up of basically, random wall-art, tchotchkes, coasters, welcome mats that have the kind of verses on them, Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and plans to bless you”, and Amen to that, but that’s not the whole story. And so what we have is we have Christians that have developed sort of a bumper-sticker kind of theology of God. And it actually has created kind of a whole section of theology that we call the prosperity gospel that is basically that God wants you to be healthy and God wants you to be wealthy. At its best, it’s a misunderstanding of God, and at its worst, it’s a damnable heresy. Because, listen, God does not promise to make you rich. God does not promise to make you healthy in your life. And there are three primary reasons that it’s wrong; the first is that it’s just not true. It’s man-centered and not God-centered. Good theology should center around God and who He is, not put you at the center, and your comfort, and your ease. The second part is that it’s not biblical by any stretch of the imagination. You don’t have to read the Bible for very long before you realize that the people of God have a long, rich, history of going through very difficult times, very hard times and God accomplishes purposes through that. And the third thing is this, and maybe most importantly for us here this morning, is that at some point in your life, the Bible promises that you will suffer. In this life, you will have tribulation. Just… boom! So you’re going to run into places in your life that you’re going to encounter difficulty, hard times, trials and tribulation. And if you’ve spent the time leading up to that kind of papering over or glossing over what God has to say about suffering, you’re going to find yourself in a very dangerous spot. But thank God that Christianity is not some superficial philosophy full of wish-fulfillment, but it’s a hard-as-nails religion that deals with the realities we find; both the good and the bad. God’s purposes in your pleasure and your pain, and God’s purposes in peace and tribulation. And that’s what we’re going to jump into. We’re going to look at that through the lens of Job.

 

Job is primarily given to us to help us understand this question that comes up about suffering. Why do we suffer? Where is God in our suffering? How should we think rightly about it? Job is most likely the oldest book in the Bible. Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, and it’s most likely that Job pre-dates Moses. And so it’s one of the oldest books we have in the Bible. In my home group, we just finished up a four-week series on the Book of Job, and the reason it was four weeks is because Job kind of nicely breaks down into four different parts. It’s three different sections on his sufferings, and then the final section is on God’s answer to him and his restoration. And so that’s what we’re going to do this morning, we’re just going to take a quick fly-over all 42 chapters of the Book of Job. Before you get scared, we’re going to go through it quick, and take a look at “What can we learn about our own suffering from Job?” Look at Job 1:1, it sets up the context for us.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright and one who feared God and shunned evil.

Job 1:1 (NASB)

 

What we find out right away about Job is that Job is a very godly man. It’s going to say later on that he was the greatest man in the east. He was the greatest man in his part of the world. He was godly, he was righteous, he was blameless, and he feared God and shunned evil. But what we find out in the next couple of verses is that Job is also a very wealthy man. That God had blessed the fruit of Job’s labors and he had become extremely wealthy. And we also find out that Job is a father. He has seven sons and three daughters whom he loves very much. And he’s regularly making intercession for and praying for them. And then the camera shifts, and we get a different scene in verse six. We get a scene that shows us this picture of what’s happening in Heaven. And listen, one of the things we’re going to find out about the Book of Job is that we’re going to find out some very challenging, very bizarre, very strange things about how God is and how God works. Things that you likely, if you haven’t studied Job before, might surprise you.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.

Job 1:6 (NASB)

So God has all the angels coming to give Him a report; an accounting of what they’ve been up to. And among those angels, Satan came also. Now, I’d always kind of envisioned Satan as like a fugitive, like on the run from God. And that God was looking for him, and as soon as he found him, Satan was going to be in big trouble. That’s not how it works at all. God says “Come” and Satan comes. And so we find this scene where Satan is now standing before God, and he’s giving an account.

The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?”

Job 1:7a (NASB)

 

Now let’s just stop right there. Anytime you see in the Bible where God asks a question, your little antennae should go up. You should stop and say, “Wait, what’s going on here?” And the reason is, God doesn’t ask questions for the same reason you and I ask questions. You and I ask questions because we need some information that we don’t know. One of the immutable attributes of God is that He is omniscient. He knows everything; there is nothing He does not know. He knows exactly where Satan is coming from, and exactly what he’s been up to. And so whenever God asks a question, it’s not because He’s trying to find out some information He doesn’t know, it’s going to serve a different purpose. And so He says here, “Satan from where are you coming?”

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

Job 1:7a (NASB)

Now, you’ve got to remember, anytime Satan talks, you can’t trust him, because he’s a liar. But he’s giving a half-truth here. That is where he’s coming from, and God knows it. And we know it too, because God tells us in 1 Peter 5:8.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)

 

And so Satan says “I’ve been roaming about, walking about on the earth”. He has been. Like a roaring lion, looking to devour God’s creation, looking to destroy the good things that God has created; chiefly among them, looking to destroy the imago dei, those human beings who were made in God’s image. And so, Satan’s been down there causing trouble for the people of God, trying to jam them up. And then, verse eight is one of the most strange, most troubling verses in the entire Bible.

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job?…”

Job 1:8a (NASB)

God, that seems like that’s a bad idea (laughter). I thought about entitling this message, “When God brings up your name to Satan.” It is God who introduces Job into this conversation. “Hey Satan, have you considered my servant Job?” Listen, whatever we’re going to find out through this entire time, it’s important for us to remember the entire fate, the entire story, is going to turn at this one moment and it’s because God has introduced Job into this conversation with Satan. Now God knows everything. He knows that Satan hates Job. He knows that given the chance that he would destroy Job. He knows that Satan wants to kill him. He wants to jack him up. Yet…

The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

Job 1:8 (NASB)

And Satan knows that, too, because Satan hates him for it. Satan hates Job because of his God-likeness, because of his righteousness, because of his faithfulness, because he is without blame. And so you can almost feel Satan seething and angrily says…

Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?

Job 1:9-10a (NASB)

Satan is saying, “Yeah, I know Job, and I’d love to destroy Job, but You haven’t let me because You’ve protected… You’ve set up this hedge around him and everything else, and everybody in his life. And so I haven’t been able to get to him.”

Have you not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

Job 1:10 (NASB)

“You know, God, the only reason that Job worships You is that You’ve taken such good care of him. Because of the good things You’ve given him.”

11 “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” 12 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.

Job 1:11-12 (NASB)

Now what’s going to happen next, it’s important for you to understand, that Job has no idea about the conversation that’s just taken place between God and Satan. Job is just continuing on his life as normal. He has no idea about the storm that is about to hit his life. Now, we have a little more perspective because we get this inside information, but I want to note, also, that we also do not know what God is thinking. We know what God has said to Satan, but that’s not what God is thinking. God is provoking or baiting Satan to afflict Job but we don’t know why. This is a little illustration; our lives are a little bit like this cup (holds up a cup). And, you can see the outside of this cup, you know what’s outside, but you don’t know what’s inside of it. And we spend a lot of time working on the outside of our cup trying to present ourselves in a way, and make sure we look put together, and make sure that what people can see when they look at us is nice and good, but it’s really what’s inside the cup that actually matters. But when you’re from the outside, you don’t actually know what’s inside of the cup, right? But if I get bumped or jostled, what you’re going to find out is what’s inside the cup, right? Because what’s inside is what’s going to automatically just spill out. And tribulation and difficulty and trials in this life have the effect of showing you what’s actually inside of your cup. Because whatever it looks like on the outside, when you get bumped or when you get jostled in this life, what’s on the inside is what comes out. And here, we’re going to find out what’s inside of Job’s cup because he’s about to encounter his first test which is the test of sorrow.

A messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Job 1:14-19 (NASB)

And in a moment, Job suffers the total destruction, the total annihilation of everything that he has ever held dear. And worst of all, the tragic death of all 10 of his kids. Now look, all of us have experienced sorrow at some point. Whether it was failing at something that was really important to you, or whether it was losing a relationship or losing someone’s life that you held really dear. And if you haven’t experienced any of that sorrow, you can expect to. Because nobody gets out of this life untouched by sorrow, but it’s doubtful you that will ever experience the kind of crushing sorrow that Job has just experienced in a moment. Because of some unknown reason to Job, the favor and protection of God that Job has experienced for his entire life has evaporated in a moment. And all that is left to him is the smoking rubble of everything he’s ever cared about. And we’re going to find out in this moment what’s inside of Job’s cup.

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” 22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Job 1:20-22 (NASB)

 

Job’s response in the moment of his deepest despair was to bow down and worship God. What came to Job’s mind in that moment when he had no idea what to think, what bubbled out of him was praise and honor of God.

 

My oldest son is in the middle of his first season of T-ball. T-ball is just one big accident unfolding in front of your eyes. There’s kids running everywhere, they don’t know which base is what, it’s just so hard to get them to find their helmet, and it’s just this kind of chaotic thing happening. But one of the things they spend a lot of time doing is just practicing fielding ground balls. And, what’s interesting is, the Padres are going to be playing the Giants this afternoon. I hate the Giants. But one of the things that you’re going to see if you go to the game today is you’ll see, in between innings, you’ll see Major League Baseball Players doing the exact same thing that Wilson and his teammates are doing, which is fielding ground balls and throwing to first, right? What they’re doing, you’ve done this if you’ve ever played any kind of sport or any kind of competition, is you just practice and drill the fundamentals. Because, in the middle of the competition of the game, you don’t want to have to think about it, you just want your body to respond. You just want to do what you’re supposed to do. And so you spend a lifetime just drilling and working on the basics, on the fundamentals, so that when the moment comes, your instincts kick in, your body just reacts, and that’s what we see here in Job. We see a lifetime of focusing and focusing on worshiping God and putting his mind on worshipping God so that when he’s hit like a ton of bricks, out of left field, not knowing anything, with the worst possible news, he automatically knows what to do which is to worship God. And listen, you’re going to encounter difficulty in your life, and when people encounter difficulty, everybody has an impulse or an opportunity to turn to God in that moment. And it’s certainly better to turn to God than to not turn to God. But if you have not drilled into your life the absolute praiseworthiness of God in the dark moments of your despair, you are going to struggle with coming up with why God is worthy; with why God is good. When you can’t see anything except for fear and hopelessness, the praiseworthiness of God is not going to be evident to you unless you’ve worked hard to seek God in your life. And that’s what we find here in Job’s response. Well, the story’s not over because right on the heels of Job chapter one, we get Job chapter two. And we get unbelievably almost the exact same formulation that happens in Job chapter two that happens in Job chapter one.

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? (God, listen, it’s not working out that good for Job! Cut him some slack.) For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” (Satan says, “Yeah, because he didn’t actually care about that stuff. He cares a lot more about his own skin than about the skin of his children. But, God, if you let me afflict his body, he’ll curse You to Your face). So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”

Job 2:1-6 (NASB)

 

So God dismisses Satan and says, “The only restriction you have is you have to keep him alive.” And I want you to just use your imagination for a minute. If God gave Satan permission to do whatever he wanted to do to your physical body and his only rule was that he had to keep you alive, you can bet everything that you have that death would be a lot better than what’s about to come your way. And all we get is we just get one single verse.

 

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.

Job 2:7-8 (NASB)

 

Now all of us know what it is to be sick. And you can count on that your body, you’re not going to get out of this thing with your body. Your body’s going to fail you at some point. One out of one. It happens to everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re running 20 miles every day and you’re eating some crazy Himalayan berry that, you know, is going to help your antioxidants and free up your whatever, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter, because listen, it’s going to get you, OK? Some of us get a little bit of time, some of us get a long time, but none of us get out of here with our bodies not failing us. But what we’re going to get here in Job is such a sorry, miserable failure of his physical body that as he sits there on the ashes of his life, the only thing that’s left to him, his body, is going to begin to flare up. And his skin is going to become diseased. And he’s going to get these horrible boils and welts on his body so bad that he sits there with an old piece of pottery just trying to slash them open to relieve some of the pressure of the oozing and the festering pus that is in his body. Because his body is decaying right there in front of him, diseased. From the bottom of his soles, to his mouth, to his eyelids, to the top of his head, is Job’s pain and misery, is horrifyingly amplified. And as he’s sitting there, diseased, at his lowest point, the one thing that he has left to him, the one person that’s still left in his corner is going to turn on him.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”

Job 2:9 (NASB)

I want you to remember back to what Satan said to God, “You touch his body; he’ll curse You to Your face”. And here’s his wife using the exact same language that Satan was using. And you don’t have to think very hard to know who is behind this test, too. That Satan is tempting his wife to tempt Job, to try to bring about his destruction. And she’s looking at Job, and she’s saying, “Job, why don’t you just curse God and kill yourself because that would be better than what I’m looking at right now in front of me.”

10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.”

Job 2:9a (NASB)

Job has learned that little lesson that some of us guys know. “No, no, no, I didn’t call you crazy. I said you were acting crazy.” Right? (laughter) “No, no, no, babe, I didn’t say you were a foolish woman. I said you’re speaking as one of the foolish women.” Right? (laughter) But Job says…

…Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Job 2:9b (NASB)

Job didn’t harden his heart. And his basic response to his wife was, “I was never worshipping God for the camels, or for the sheep, or for the money, or for the houses, or for the family, or for the peace, or for the health. I was worshipping God because He’s worthy to be worshipped.” So Job endures his second test, which is sickness. And then we get the third test, coming right on the heels of that, which is scorn. And what sorrow and sickness could not do in Job, time and scorn is going to begin to test Job’s grip on God. It says that Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came to sit with Job and his affliction. It says they saw him afar off and they began to weep because they didn’t even recognize him. It says they came and they sat with him and they didn’t say a word. And for seven days they just sat and they wept with Job in silence. And if they’d just left at that point, they would’ve been better men. We don’t get any of the same kind of set up we had before about Satan and God but you can almost guarantee that Satan is now going to stir up Job’s friends to begin to condemn him because in chapter 3, they start to just call into question Job’s righteousness, Job’s faithfulness to God. They say, “Job, Job, God’s not just letting this happen to you. There’s a reason it’s happening to you because you’ve offended Him somehow. You’ve done something in your life, there’s some sin, there’s some wickedness, there’s some unfaithfulness that God is trying to discipline you for this.” And yet that’s not true. What is it that God said about Job? “Have you considered My servant Job? Blameless and upright.” And God is going to address these three dudes at the very end, He’s going to say “My wrath is kindled against you, for you did not speak what was right of Me.” And so they’re not speaking what’s right of God. And this whole thing goes on for the next 34 chapters, until chapter 37. And you just have them condemning Job and them just calling Job’s character into question and saying “Job, the reason is this…” and, “Job, tell the truth. You’re lying, Job”. And you have Job responding to them but every time, they’re saying, “Then why is this happening to you, Job?” It’s like that question is being thrown in his face, and he doesn’t know. And Job, who so faithfully passed those first two tests, begins to question God himself. “Yeah, I don’t know why this is happening. That’s a good question. God, why is this happening? Do You see me? Do You care?”

“I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; Let me know why You contend with me. Is it right for You indeed to oppress,
to reject the labor of Your hands, and to look favorably on the schemes of the wicked?’

Job 10:1-3 (NASB)

“But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God.”

Job 13:3 (NASB)

“Even today my complaint is rebellion; His hand is heavy despite my groaning. 3Oh that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him And fill my mouth with arguments.”

Job 23:2-4 (NASB)

You know, when you’re standing across from someone who is condemning you, and who is lying about you, and who is rejecting you, it’s a different kind of a test, right? I don’t know how many of you guys have ever experienced where there’s someone that you have a problem with, and there’s some drama going on with you and this person, and you’re going to be somewhere where this person is going to be, like Thanksgiving dinner or something, right? And your wife’s like “Hey, you know, so-and-so is going to be there, right?” “I’m fine, I’m fine. I’m fine. I am fine. But if they open their mouth, I am not fine.” Right? Because there’s something different when that person who is against you is standing in front of you and is speaking lies or condemning you, and that’s the situation that Job is in here. And in his pain, when he’s the worst, when he’s the lowest, and he’s getting kicked by the people who are supposed to love him, that doubt is creeping in. And he begins to speak differently about God than he had before. Listen, here’s what you can know for sure about Job, is that he’s doing a lot better than you would do. He’s the most righteous in his part of the world. God, only through Christ, is saying that you are blameless and upright. And then, everything starts to change in chapter 38. In 37, there’s a fourth friend who is talking, and he says that there’s a storm that’s beginning to brew, and that the clouds are turning black. And God is now going to speak to Job through this storm. This whirlwind forms, and God speaks to Job and in chapter 38:1 it says this…

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!”

Job 38:1-3 (NASB)

Listen, if God ever tells you to gird up your loins like a man, you’re in trouble, alright? (laughter). You’re in trouble. And Job’s in trouble here. Because God says, “You have darkened counsel with words without knowledge. I’ve been listening to you guys talk about this for the last 34 chapters, and you guys have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re all dumber now for this conversation you just had. And so, Job, you’ve been asking Me? You’ve been questioning Me? Let Me turn it on you; let Me ask you some questions.”

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding…”

Job 38:4a (NASB)

And this just goes on for four chapters of God asking Job questions like this, “Job where were you? Look around you. This whole earth, I spoke it into existence; where were you when I did that?” And Job’s answer is, “I was nowhere to be found, I have no idea.” God says, “I tied the belt of Orion, I put Pleiades in the sky. Job, tell Me what you know about that. Job, I tell the sea it can come this far and its waves can come no further, Job, do you know anything about that? Do the waves and the sea obey your command? Job, I make the sunrise every morning and I appoint the moon in the sky, Job, do you know how that works?” And listen, we are tempted to kind of have modern snobbery and think, “Yeah, Job didn’t understand the solar system or the universe, but we do. We know these complex theories of physics and how things interact and operate.” And listen, what we know is that the world is so much more complex than Job could possibly understand. Job cut himself and knew that blood comes out. But we know that in blood there’s white blood cells and red blood cells and plasma, and there’s cholesterol, and we know all these things that make it up, right? Because we know, we look at it and we see how much more complicated it is. And what we find out is that the world is so much deeper, God is so much more creative… what this should create in us is a greater degree of awe and amazement of God’s magnificence and of His power. And God says, “Job, I made the tiger, and I made the Great White Shark, and I made Killer Whales, and I made dinosaurs. And Job, they would shred your feeble body to pieces, and yet, Job, they obey My commands.” And just for four chapters, God goes through and asks Job. And at the end of it, God stops speaking. And what you find at the end of it is that all these things that God has said, He has never answered the question that Job is asking. He’s never answered the question of, “Why?” All He has said, is “Job, I am God. You are not. Job, I am big. You are small. Job, I judge you. You don’t judge Me.” And Job’s response to this at the very end in chapter 42…

… “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.”

Job 42:5-6 (NASB)

Job’s response to God’s questioning was to bow down in fearful reverence and worship Him. And what you find out is that God’s answer to Job is so much better than answering why because when He says, “Job, you’re small”, there’s something really important for Job to understand about his smallness; and it’s something that when you encounter sorrow in your life you’re going to find out, “I’m not big enough to fix this.” You’re going to meet the end of your limitations. “God, I am not strong enough to fix this myself. I cannot command the elements or the world to be the way I want it to be.” And so you’re going to be encountered by your own smallness. But the flipside of that is that God is big. And your limitations are not His limitations.

 

I have these four kids that God has given me. Our youngest is 6 months old, but I wrestle with them all except for the 6 month old. When she’s older I will wrestle with her, too. And we wrestle all over the place; we wrestle in our house, on the bed, we wrestle on the couch, we wrestle on the trampoline, we wrestle at home, at the store, we’re always wrestling. And there’s one thing that I will not do which is ever let my kids win. In the VanMeter house, you’ve got it earn it. So, we’re wrestling and I take these kids and I throw them, and I flip them, and I spin them around. The other day I was arm-wrestling my son, and he’s using both hands and his legs, and I’m just putting him down. And I was thinking in my mind, “It’s good for my son to know that his dad is strong.” Because listen, every kid knows, every kid has had this conversation, that just says, “My dad is stronger than your dad. My dad can beat up your dad.”. And the reason every kid has had that is because every kid who has ever grown up wrestling with his dad, “I don’t know about your dad, but my dad is other-worldly strong. He can flip me around; he can toss me around like a ragdoll. Trust me; my dad could beat up your dad.” (laughter) There is such security in knowing that there’s somebody who loves you that is stronger than you. Because when you encounter things in your life that you’re not strong enough for, you know that there’s somebody on your team that’s stronger than you. There’s somebody on your team that’s smarter than you. And what God is saying here to Job is “Job, you don’t even understand how strong I am.” He’s saying “Job, it’s better to know God than it is to know why. In the midst of your suffering, I know you don’t understand it, Job, and you probably wouldn’t even understand it if I explained it to you, but Job, the more important thing is, do you know Me?” Let me pray for us.

 

Lord, in the midst of loss, God, in the midst of suffering, Lord, in the midst of having things stripped away from us, Lord, that were important to us, Lord, and painful for us to go through, Lord, I pray, Jesus, that we would learn like Job learned; that You are enough, God. Lord, You are enough to sustain us, Lord, You are enough to satisfy us, God. And Lord, when we encounter various trials and tribulations, God, would we, like Job, respond in worshipping You.