Job 1:1-3 (p. 350) October 13, 2013
From the beginning of time there has been a philosophy that people believe...and it genuinely affects their relationship with God....Sometimes causing them to reject God altogether Here it is: “God things come to good people – and bad things come to bad people!”
That belief lets us put God in an easily understood box...Good people then go to heaven and bad people go to Hell.
Here’s the problem with trying to put God in that box...It’s a lie!!! And we will never have the capacity to understand the mind of God...or have His plan all figured out...Especially when we are in the midst of something “painful” or “bad.”
Job is introduced as a “good man.” He lived his life so he could look people in the eye...He was upright...He was “blameless.” Not perfect, but no one would accuse him of cheating on his taxes or the golf course...He was honest...But we learn something more about Him than just his morality...His goodness flowed from a relationship with God...He lived in Fear of God...that’s why he rejected evil things.
And what follows reinforces the good things come to good people philosophy...Lots of sheep, lots of oxen, Wednesdays were exciting cause 3,000 camels were all doing “Hump DAAAAY!” He had 10 children: 7 sons, 3 daughters...They even liked being together...When birthdays rolled around each would have a huge feast and invite the entire crew...
How conscious of sin was Job? Very!!! After these feasts he would sacrifice an offering for sin...Just in case something wrong had been committed at one of these birthday bashes...”Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Job did this regularly!
A good guy, with lots of worldly riches...A family that gets along...and a real concern with His and their relationship with God...I hear the theme song to “Little House on the Prairie” going off in my head.
Here’s what blows the good for good and bad for bad philosophy out of the water.
I. SATAN THE ACCUSER IS AT WAR WITH GOD
JOB 1:6-12 (p. 350)
Job is believed to be the oldest book in the Bible...written by an anonymous Israelite about 1500 B.C. The Pentateuch, The first 5 books were written about 1450 B.C.
But Job gives us a look into Man’s earliest relationship with God...after the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden...and this view point shows Satan the Accuser before God...having just returned from “roaming throughout the earth.” The angels are there...So is Lucifer..called Satan...Lucifer means “angel of light.” Satan simply means: The Accusser.
We know Satan’s rebellion happens before the fall of mankind in the garden...because Satan is there...listen...
REVELATION 12:7-12 (p. 867)
Please understand, Hell, the lake of fire, the 2nd death are reserved for Satan, his forces and all those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life...but reserved means that’s still to come...After Jesus victorious second coming...Right now, and since he rebelled and lost...He is “alive and well on planet Earth.”
How does he have access to God...because there is a “spiritual world” we cannot see...And there is war taking place even as we speak...Satan hates God...His motivation is wrath...His time is short...So he attacks that which God loves...people...us...Job...And yet, it seems he, meaning Satan, still must ask God’s permission. Verse 7 leaves out what Satan is doing while roaming back and forth on earth, but most scholars believe his name reveals his activity...He is accusing people before God...Counting them like notches in a gunfighters gun handle...and verse 8 has God saying, “Yeah, but have you considered Job? He’s good, He’s blameless...He fears me and shuns evil?”
And Satan says, “Yeah, but why wouldn’t he look how you’ve blessed him!” You put a hedge of protections around him...let me at him and watch how quickly he curses you!”
O.K. says God...”but don’t lay a finger on him.”
Satan leaves the presence of God to carry out his scheme.
And if you think you’ve ever had a bad day...Listen to Job’s
JOB 1:13-19 (p. 350)
Gone...everything...flocks, oxen, camels...all his children...gone.
How does Job respond? Job responds with
II. HUMILITY AND WORSHIP
You can tell the character of a person in how they respond to tragedy...or loss... Job is absolutely devastated...Heartbroken...He prepares to mourn...He’s driven to the ground because he cannot stand under such grief...
But he worships...and in that horrible place of pain, loss and worship he says...
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart...The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away...May the name of the Lord be praised.” (v. 21)
Being one of God’s people doesn’t exempt us from grief or loss or pain...The challenge is not to become bitter...and blame God...and charge Him with wrong doing.
Especially as we wage war with Satan and his unseen dark forces...Jesus said, “He is a thief, a murderer...His native tongue is lying...He has come only to kill, steal and destroy. (John 8:44, John 10:10)
Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:11)
And even though he continues and says, “Our struggles aren’t against flesh and blood...but against Satan’s unseen forces...
III. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PEOPLE TELLING YOU TO CURSE GOD
Job is 42 chapters long...The 1st chapter sets the scene...The Last chapter wraps up a powerful conclusion...Chapters 38, 39, 40, 41 reveal a conversation between Job and God where God teaches Job..His ways aren’t the ways of man...Don’t put me in a box...Don’t try to figure me out...You do not have the capacity...but that leaves 36 chapters...The bulk of Job is about people..His wife and 4 friends and with friends like his you don’t need enemies. Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and towards the end a young man named Elihu...In chapter 2 verse 9 Job’s wife says...”Just curse God and die!” Get it over with!!” These 4 plus Job’s wife believe the philosophical die...”Good comes to good people...Bad comes upon bad people.” What’s happening to Job is terrible x 100..therefore he must have done something even worse...”Job...just curse God and die...”
Folks...there are consequences for sin...painful ones. Yes God surely disciplines those whom He loves like sons and daughters...BUT as Jesus said “God causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45).
We have a choice when tragedy, heartache and difficulties come our way...We can understand we live in a world corrupted by sin and for those of us who love Jesus...and have been called by God to become like Him in attitude and action...We can trust Him to work all things for the good...for the purpose of making us like Jesus...in attitude and action...
Or we can sin...Blame God...listen to all the people who tell us to curse God and just let the bitterness well up inside you..and poison seeps out...Toxic unhappiness...Because all you can see is what is happening now...Satan lies...You believe Him above God’s Word..And your life becomes a curse instead of a blessing...
[I helped pick up Joni Eareckson Tada from the airport in Louisville so she could speak at our last session of the N.A.C.C. in July...The theme was Victorious...She spoke on “Desiring Heaven Deeply.” For 46 years she’s been in a wheelchair. Others have had to help her dress, bathe, eat, move every day for 46 years...She hates her wheelchair...She cannot wait until Jesus throws it into Hell. Each day she must choose whether to surrender to the attitudes of bitterness and hopelessness...or whether she will let God’s power be perfected in her weakness...So do we...Listen to her battle...]
(SHOW VIDEO 0:00 – 3:24 – LAME...LEAP LIKE DEER, STOP)
I’m not a big fan of those who chose to live life with a chip on their shoulder...Satan can easily lead you to a place of discontent and criticism...bitterness...If you want to find something you don’t like about me...it won’t take long...but pretty soon that becomes a habit...a habit becomes your character...and character becomes your life. Proverbs 23:7 becomes reality “As a man, or woman thinks in his/or her heart, so is he/or she.”
And whether you say it out loud or not...You blame God for all the injustices you encounter instead of looking for the opportunity to be part of his powerful plan. Please consider letting God out of the box!!!
For 36 chapters we read of a consistent assault against Job’s decision to praise God and trust Him in the midst of a worldly “Hell” we can’t even fathom...His counselors believe they have God all figured out...Bad for bad...good for good.
Here’s what God says about that!!!
JOB 38:2-18 (p. 370)
[I remember so many well meaning people coming to Kari and I when our youngest daughter Karissa got pregnant...She was so young, unmarried...And the daughter of a preacher...Some of those folks wanted to inform Kari and I that we must have been “ungodly parents” either we were too strict or too lenient...Both Kari and I knew we weren’t perfect parents...but we also knew we’d loved our children..built a foundation of faith and tried to be consistent in discipline and grace...In our hearts we knew God was working, but it was painful to listen to people who put God in a box...”good for good and bad for bad.”
At the end of Job’s life God restores much of what had been destroyed or taken away...in fact Job 42:10-17 says...twice as much as before.
JOB 42:10-17 (p. 373)
All of us are either stories of redemption or stories of sin...And every story of redemption comes because someone (like myself, or yourself, or my daughter’s self)...moves from simply hearing about God...to seeing His powerful grace in action...What does Karissa do now...She raises Peyton to love Jesus...and she, pours her life into other young women who need redemption...I, like Job will end with these words
JOB 42:1-6 (p. 372)
I didn’t understand...Most people will never understand that God doesn’t fit into a box very well...but my beautiful redeemed daughter, the preacher’s kid...went from just hearing about God...to seeing His grace in action...And for each of us with stories of sin...that is the beautiful story of redemption.
For Job...For Rick...For Karissa...For all mankind...from Fear to Faith.