Sermons

Summary: Pour out your heart to God in times of Despair; seek consolation in his love for you.

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. He eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. It was just more than he could take. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!"

The next day he woke to the sound of a ship approaching the island to rescue him. Astonished by his sudden change of luck he asked, "How did you know I was here?" The crewmembers answered, "We saw your smoke signal.”

[Why didn’t he think of that when he saw his hut was on fire? Because his despair was so great, he could no longer rationalize the things he saw happening.]

I. INTRODUCTION

1. In times of deep despair, it is hard to focus on the “good that may come…” When times get tough?really tough?it’s hard to embrace the promise of Romans 8:28, “that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose”

2. Face it; sometimes life just isn’t fair. We see people touched by unimaginable crisis for which there is no explanation. We feel duty-bound to offer advice and counsel; we’re tempted to defend God in the midst of their suffering.

3. Ever try to do that? Defending God is an exercise in futility. What makes us think we understand his ways well enough to defend him? Why do we feel the need to defend him at all? Any attempt we make at explaining God’s actions is likely to fail.

4. When a person reaches a state of complete despair he needs to empty his heart, get things off his chest and seek relief from his woes. He needs relief, not advice.

A. That’s where we find Job this morning. Pouring out his heart, making his feelings known; trying to release the anxiety that overwhelms him. The questions he asks are rhetorical; he doesn’t expect an answer.

B. Some of Job’s friends show up when they hear of his fate. They don’t recognize him at first because of the toll anguish and stress have taken on his appearance.

[You can pour out your heart to God in times of despair; you can seek consolation in his love for you. Open your Bible to Job 3, and we’ll see Job do this very thing in the midst of his despair.]

II. JOB CRIES OUT IN DESPAIR (3:1-5)

1. At first glance, it might seem Job has taken his wife’s advice; to curse God and die. This is not the case; at no time does Job curse God in this passage. Instead, he curses his birth, and questions the value of his life given his circumstances.

A. At this point, Job’s doubts and fears are more excruciating than the physical pain. He is a godly man, having built his life in piety and honesty. It seems God has turned against him.

B. Ever felt that way? Be honest now…have you ever reached a point where you felt God turned against you? Think of the worst circumstances you have ever experienced; how it tore away at the fabric of your existence. That’s where Job is…

C. It’s OK to admit that Christians sometimes feel this way. We get to thinking we must BE STRONG?KEEP A STIFF UPPER LIP, while things crash down around us. Let me tell you something, it ain’t so…

(i) God made us from the dust of the earth; does any part of our nature shock him? Is he surprised at our despair when he himself gave us these feelings?

(ii) Here is LESSON 1 from this passage; God is neither shocked nor antagonized by our doubts and fears. The first words of heavenly messengers? FEAR NOT. When Jesus met with the disciples after his resurrection, FEAR NOT! If we were not prone to doubts and fear, these calming words would not be necessary, would they?

(iii) Jesus taught about fear and doubt in his SOTM. He reminds those prone to fear, doubt and worry about God’s care for the birds of the air! As believers, we are assured that God hears us when we groan, and has compassion on us. Why wait?

[Pour out your heart to God in times of despair; seek consolation in his love for you.]

III. JOB SEEKS CONSOLATION (11-13a)

1. Just like we do when we feel bad. [1] It’s the reason we want to be pampered when we’re sick; [2] why we seek reassurance from others when we fail, and [3] why a young child clings to his mother after a frightening experience.

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