Summary: From the model of Job, we discover some principles about "getting through" the difficulties of life. (Warren Wiersbe contributes much to this message)
GETTING THROUGH THE STRUGGLE
* These past couple of weeks have been weeks of fiscal struggle in our nation and arguably in the world. It would seem that every fiscal pillar of this world has now been threatened. Like it or not savings, investments, retirements, real estate, and much more has now taken a bit hit in our economy and our lives. It is no stretch of the facts to say that our society is struggling. And if the society is struggling so are we.
* Struggles come from many different sources. To name just a few, they can be seen in financial, family, job-related, and social. It matters not who you are struggles will come your way. The Bible tells us that struggle is a part of life. The fact that we have struggle does not make us good or bad, it makes us human. The character question is; “How do we handle the struggle?” Handling struggles tell us much about who we are. And if we are to handle struggles well and in a way that honors our Lord, we need to have an example to follow. We find such a model in Job.
* You do remember the story of Job. The story begins with God bragging to Satan about Job. Think about what it would mean to have God brag on you. So God allowed Satan to make Job struggle. Talk about a bad day? What began, quite likely, as a beautiful day turned sour fairly quickly. Without a break, he received four cell phone calls to say, “Your ox and donkeys have been stolen, a lightening storm burned up your sheep and servants, your camels have been taken,” and the icing on the cake was “your kids have been killed by a storm.” Even the person in this room who has experienced the most heartache and struggle cannot touch the depth of Job’s despair.
* But don’t miss this; ‘the big issue is not the struggle that he felt and faced, but rather “how he handled this struggle. Let’s consider two revelations about His response.
I) ATTITUDES UNDERSTOOD – His attitudes can be understood in verse 20.
A) Of the Mind – Hearing all this news was more than Job could stand. No wanting to believe all this bad news was coming on the same day and in rapid fire succession, He probably sat down to let it sink in. When he absorbs all the news, his mind is filled with all the “can’t believe it” information, the first he does is to stand up. His mind is so full of pain that he can’t stand it anymore. Can you see his response?
B) Of the Body – He then tears off his robe and shaves His head. Both of the actions indicate deep grief. He was heartbroken, devastated, and even crushed. Can you picture the actions? His actions indicate a man who feels like his world has come to an end. What does he do? Does he do like we do on occasion? We see his progression.
C) Of the Heart – “He fell to the ground and worshipped?” May I just offer this thought; we seem to hold people in the Bible to a higher standard than we hold our self. We think it is very natural for Job to worship in times of heartache, so we are not surprised. May I ask you this question: What do you do when struggle, turmoil, and heartbreak comes your way? Job fell down. Most of us will fall, but will be fall toward our Heavenly Father or our Earthly passions?
* Most of you know where I live. When we bought the house there was a big, old, and dying tree in the front yard. It was getting into our sewage line and needed to come down. One Saturday morning, the big four showed up at my house. (Jack, Rodney, Larry, and Gary) The came to take down the tree. Guess what? It mattered which way the tree fell.
* When you have a difficulty in your life, it matters which way you fall. Do you draw closer to God or do you take matters in your own hands?
* TRANS: Now, let’s move to what actions Job took.
II) ACTIONS UNVEILED -
A) He looked back – He began by remembering his birth. It is fair to say that the word “naked” is both literal and symbolic. Literally, no baby is born wearing clothes. However, for the symbolism, think of the ways in which the Bible uses the word, “naked”. In Genesis we are told that Adam and Eve were in the garden and were naked. This spoken of their innocence as well as their intimacy which they had before sin entered the world. In Matthew Jesus uses this same word to express need, “When I was naked, you clothed me.” In 1 Samuel 9, it demonstrates openness and transparency. In Ezekiel it is used to express shame.