Summary: When Job had fully experienced God, he came to understand more about God, life, and himself.
Most preachers will tell you that the Book of Job can be tough to preach from. The story line itself isn’t exactly a feel-good experience, but you have to admit, it does make you think. Job discovered a new understanding of God’s purpose, and his suffering gave him a new perspective of himself as well. All through the story, Job keeps maintaining his innocence, but in the end, God calls it pride.
As you’ll recall, Job was a man who experienced life’s saddest turn of events. He went from riches and great blessings, to rags and the deep sorrow. In the end however, God gave twice the blessings to Job. While Job lost much, he also gained much. The fact is that every experience of our lives can be beneficial to our relationship with God – if we have the patience to look for it.
When we experience God, several things happen:
I. We begin to understand God (v.2)
The Bible says that, “the just shall live by faith.” Faith in God can only happen when we come to experience the truth of Job’s statement: “I know that you can do all things....” That’s a good summary of Job’s confidence in God’s ability to meet our every need.
Many of God’s people don’t live with this confidence because they haven’t “experienced him first hand”. In fact, most Christians today seem to perceive God rather like the person who said: “God is a lot like my pastor. I don’t see him all week long, and then on Sunday, I don’t understand him.”
Is that your experience with God? If so, maybe it’s because you haven’t really experienced God. Maybe you’ve only heard about Him . . . maybe even from childhood, and just hearing really isn’t enough.
It’s rather like a person from Brooklyn who’s read about farming and assumes he knows what it’s like. Or an accountant in Seattle who once watched a rodeo and figures he knows how to ride a Brahma bull. That’s just not how it works.
From our pain, we can learn of God’s mercy; and from our sorrow, we can learn of His comfort. When we experience God first hand, as Job did, we begin to understand Him as the loving and omnipotent God who can do whatever He desires, and what He desires most is a genuine relationship with each of us.
When we have a first hand experience with God,
II. We begin to understand Life (v.3)
If there’s one thing certain today, it’s that too many people, too many Christians, don’t understand the meaning of life.
One evening Ardie and I decided we needed to get out of the house. On an impulse, we went looking for a good movie. When we got to the theater, we didn’t recognize any of the movies that were playing, so we just picked one. It was titled “District 13” . . . big mistake!
It turned out to be a movie full of blood, violence and mayhem under the guise of entertainment. Within the first 15 or 20 minutes, we decided it was time to leave. On the way out, I couldn’t help notice the faces of those who were enjoying the movie. They were transfixed by the terrible images on the screen. In that instant, I thought, They don’t have a clue what life’s about!
Most people fit the character of Charlie Brown when it comes to understanding life. In one “Peanuts” comic strip, Lucy and Charlie Brown were talking. Lucy said that life is like a deck chair. Some place it so they can see where they are going; some place it so they can see where they have been; and some place it so they can see where they are now. Charlie Brown’s reply: “I can’t even get mine unfolded.”
A man in Burbank, California, seeking to repair an outdoor light, brought it indoors. He was working on it when his wife called out, “Are you sure you know what you are doing?” The instant she said that, he touched a couple of wires, and the shock sent him skidding across the floor – leaving his rear-end engraved in the shag carpet.
The man who got floored by 220 volts was Tim Allen of the sit-com, “Home Improvement.” Tim thought he had it right, but he didn’t understand what he was playing with. The same was true of those at the movie theater. They didn’t understand what the movie was doing to them personally . . . to their minds, their subconscious, their ability to feel the reality of life.
In psychology, it’s called “de-synthesizing.” After seeing so much blood and violence, people become de-synthesized to its horror. When we don’t feel revulsion at violence and death, then we don’t work so hard to avoid it.