Summary: A sermon series on Job
God is Good…All the Time!
“I will Rise”
Did you hear about the two workmen who sat down for their lunch break? The first guy opened his lunch box, took out a sandwich, unwrapped it and said, “I can’t believe it! Baloney again. I hate baloney. This is the fourth time this week I’ve had a baloney sandwich!” The second guy said, “Well, why don’t you say something to your wife?” The first guy said, “What good would that do? I make my own sandwiches.” The truth is that some of the baloney in our lives is there because we put it there. When we make bad choices we have to suffer the bad consequences. But sometimes, we find ourselves struggling and suffering and as far as we know, we didn’t make the baloney sandwich ourselves.
Surveys have revealed Americans are more afraid now than they were ten years ago. People fear terrorist attacks, monster storms, escalating gas prices, or worse–no gas at any price. Jesus said that in the last days, “Men’s hearts would be failing them from fear.” (Luke 21:26) I think one reason people are more afraid is because we know so much more about what’s happening in the world. In a world of 24-hour news and weather channels, we can turn on the TV at any time day and night and hear about hurricanes, bird flu, and suicide bombers. That’s the nature of the news–to report on the bad news. When it comes to bad news, maybe ignorance is bliss. The Church of the Lord Jesus should be a 24/7 good news station! I’ve got good news for you today: If you’re afraid, if you’re in pain, if you’re lonely, if you’re suffering–there is hope–and that hope is found in Jesus Christ.
This morning we’re going to see that Job was a great example of a man who had hope in the midst of terrible pain. Job was a famous and wealthy man who lived almost 4,000 years ago. In the space of a few days, he lost everything, including his precious children. Today, it would be like Bill Gates and Microsoft going completely under in one day. To make matters worse, Satan inflicted a painful skin disease on Job. His body was covered with sores from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. Three of Job’s friends found him sitting in an ash heap scraping his inflamed skin with a piece of pottery. 90 percent of the book is devoted to the conversation Job had with these three friends.
In these middle chapters we learn how Job was feeling toward God and about himself. It is like reading someone’s personal journal. In today’s passage we can open Job’s journal and read two amazing statements Job made. Job was in a fight for his life. He was still grieving and suffering miserably. His friends were there, but they told him God was punishing Job for some terrible secret sin in his life. In spite of all that, listen to what Job said. Read Job 13:15-16. Job meant he would not give up hope in God–even if God killed him. God wasn’t going to kill him; God was the one keeping Job alive. But Job considered what we often call the “worst-case-scenario,” and decided he was going to maintain hope no matter what happened.
Job’s second amazing statement is found in Job 14:1-2. That’s right; this body we live in is temporary, like a flower it crumbles and withers away. But Job understood there is more to life than just the body. In Job 14:14-17 he asked one of the most profound questions in human history. “If a man dies, will he live again?” Then he provided his answer for the question. Remember I’ve said several times that Job, instead of letting his tears obscure his sight, he let his tears magnify his sight, which helped him to look ahead to what God had in store for him. Even in his pain, Job confessed his belief in the goodness of God. He confessed that no matter what God is Good…All the Time! He believed he would meet God and that God would forgive his sins. As we join Job on his journey in this lesson, notice three aspects of his life.
I. THE TEMPTATION JOB FACED.
Satan’s temptation was for Job to curse God. Even Job’s wife joined the chorus. She told Job to “curse God and die.” But Job resisted that temptation. He poured out his heart to God. We can learn two things about him.
1. Job never blamed God, but he did question God. How many questions do you think Job asked in this book? When you go through the book you see that Job spoke in 19 chapters. In those 19 chapters Job asked 114 questions. Job was constantly asking God what He was doing and why he was suffering. But Job never blamed God for his misfortunes. We read in Job 1:22, “In all this Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” What can we learn from that? We learn that it’s okay for US to question God, but don’t expect an answer. When God finally starts answering Job in Chapter 38, God answers with a few questions of His own!