Summary: This is the first sermon in a series entitled, "When Life Takes a Turn for the Worse"
We are beginning a new series this morning based on the book of Job. Even though the book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible, it is still very relevant for today. In fact, it will always be relevant as long as there is suffering in the world. You see, this book tackles one of life’s toughest subjects: Why does a loving God allow good people to suffer?
They say, "There are only two things that are certain: death and taxes." I submit there are three: death, taxes, and suffering. Sooner or later life will take a turn for the worse and it will shatter your world and shake your faith. And you need to be ready.
That’s why I want to spend the next couple of months in Job. This book records the suffering of a good man and how it stretched his faith. I believe it contains several important lessons about life that we need to hear and understand. I’m calling this series, "When Life Takes a Turn for the Worse." And the best way to start off is by asking "Are good people exempt from suffering?
The answer is obvious. No, good people ARE NOT exempt from suffering. I ask this question because we tend to forget that knowing and following Jesus doesn’t exclude us from the troubles and trials of life. Our reasoning goes something like this: God is in control (Right?) (Right! ), He blesses those who trust and obey (Right?) (Right!), therefore nothing bad will ever happen to me if I trust and obey God (Right?) (Wrong!)
Let’s think about a good man whose life took a turn for the worse. He lived several thousand years ago and his record is found in the oldest book of the Bible: the book of Job. The first two chapters reveal three facts about his life.
I. The Devotion Job Had.
Chapter 1 begins by telling us that he was DEVOTED TO GOD. Verse 1 says that he was "blameless" (well-balanced, a good relationship with his God, his neighbors, and his family), "upright" (treated others right), "feared God" (treated God with respect), "shunned evil" (consistently avoided that which is wrong). That’s a good example for us to follow! Our lives should be characterized by the same qualities! So Job was devoted to God and . . .
He was DEVOTED TO HIS FAMILY. Verse 2 tells us he had 7 sons and 3 daughters. Verse 3 tells us that he was more than able to support and take care of his family. And verses 4 and 5 tell us that he was even concerned about their relationship to God - he made sure they were right with Him. This is another good example for us to follow! God help us to treat our family the way Job treated his! He was devoted to God and He was devoted to his family. Wouldn’t you like to have him for a friend? Wouldn’t it be great if he was a member of our church and you had him for a SS teacher? He has his life together! He’s walking the straight and narrow! He’s setting a good example! And if anyone should be exempt from suffering, it should be Job! But that isn’t the case. Chapter 1 reveals the Devotion Job Had, then it describes . . .
II. The Disasters Job Experienced.
Verse 6 takes us to Heaven where God is meeting with a group of Angels and Satan is with them . . . (verses 6-12). Disaster strikes and Job looses his finances and his children (vs. 13-19). How does Job respond? (Read verses 20-22) WOW! So far, he’s taking it a lot better than I would. But as the old saying goes, "When it rains it pours." That’s what Job is experiencing.
In chapter 2, the Devil invited himself to another meeting in Heaven (vs. 1-6). And verse 7 says . . . Disaster strikes a third time and Job looses his health. In verse 8, his wife is so upset and angry that she wishes he would go ahead and die. Now, picture Job in your mind. He has lost his finances, his children, his health, and his marriage. He’s grieving over the death of his kids. And his body is covered with painful sores. That’s a sad picture isn’t it?
I wonder, can you relate to just a little bit of what he’s going through? Some of you know what it’s like to loose your finances and not be able to support your family. Some of you know what it’s like to suddenly loose a loved one. Some of you know what it’s like to loose your health. And some of you know what’s it like to loose your marriage. Most of you can relate just a little bit to Job. And the rest of you will be able to relate on down the road - because no one is exempt from the trials and troubles of life (ILL: Everybody hurts). Everybody hurts, grieves, and suffers, at some point in their lives. And in the midst of that hurt, there is a decision you have to make. This brings us to the third fact . . . .