Summary: A sermon on Job centered around the praise song by Matt Redman called "Blessed Be Your Name." (Outline adapted from Rich Warren article called "How to Worship When You are Wounded" and an article by Michael Card)
Sermon for 3/11/2007
Blessed Be Your Name
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains- it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
A. Everybody goes through wounding experiences in life.
B. So what do we do when we are wounded? Worship. It’s the antidote to our pain.
C. Job is a great example of this. He lost everything- his wealth, family, friends, and health- all in a few days. In a few days, Job goes from a hero to a zero.
D. Throughout the book of Job we see a man who is deeply wounded: physically, emotionally, and relationally. Yet the book also tells the story of how Job worshiped God instead of becoming bitter.
E. How do we do that? How do we connect with God during a crisis in our lives?
F. Many of us had a crisis this week. Others have been carrying around wounds our entire lives and have not been able to get rid of them.
Thesis: To worship in the midst of pain, we need to do 5 things.
A. Tell God exactly how we feel. We need to unload all of our feelings. When we share our feelings with God, when we trust Him with our pain, we are worshipping- even when those feelings are negative.
B. Job expressed his pain to God. (Job 1:20 NIV) At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
C. In the ancient Middle East, this is what people did when they wanted to express frustration, anger, or deep grief- they tore their clothes.
D. God did not make our bodies to handle negative emotions. God never designed them that way. When we swallow our emotions, our stomach keeps score.
E. Throughout the book of Job, we see that Job expressed his complaints to God. Every time that Job speaks in this book he expresses his heart in honesty and humility. (Job 2:10 NIV) In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
F. But isn’t it a sin to express doubts, frustrations, and anger to God? Is it not a sign or rebellion and faithlessness? No, the Bible encourages this. Portions of the Bible are devoted to laments. Laments express grief and deep regret.
G. Every major Biblical character from Abraham to Paul can be heard praying to God by means of lament. If laments are faithless or rebellious, why does God preserve so many of them in His Word?
H. Let’s put it this way: People like Job, David, Jeremiah, and even Jesus show us that prayers of complaint can still be prayers of faith- because they are voiced as a stubborn refusal to let go of God when He seems absent or uncaring. If this is true, then a lament is one of the most intimate moments of faith, not a denial of it.
I. A lament is supreme honesty before a God I know I can trust. He is a God who encourages me to bring everything to Him as an act of worship: my disappointment, my frustration, even my hatred. Lament brings me face to face with God, without pretense, in a desperate effort to understand God’s heart.
J. Job displays a brutal honesty with God in an effort to be authentic with God. (Job 7:11 NIV) "Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
K. Then he says, (Job 7:20) If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?
L. Job’s relationship with God is stretched to the limit. Yet he wrestles with God through lament, clinging to God and pressing Him for the meaning to it all.
M. Protesting and even accusing God is really an act of faith. The lament of faith does not deny the existence of God. Rather, it appeals to God on the basis of His loving kindness, in spite of the conditions that suggest otherwise.
N. Job simply will not let go of God- in spite of death, disease, isolation, and a fear that God has abandoned him. Job’s friends attempt to explain God’s behavior. His wife pleads with him to “curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). But Job holds on, insisting that he will not be silent, even when God seems to be silent.
O. Listen to what Job says in (Job 13:3 NIV) But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.
P. Job continues to offer up to God all his suffering, confusion, and hurt- even his deep disappointment with God. He has come to the understanding that there is no other place to take these things but to God. Despite his heartbroken and heartbreaking accusations against God, Job sees with clarity that only suffering provides: He simply has no place else to go.