Summary: Discover two ways trust in God sustain you when bad things happen
A few weeks ago, my wife made some blueberry Jello. When she took a bite of that blue Jello, she said that it brought back a strange but good feeling from the past. She couldn’t recall the event, only the feeling. A song that is associated with an event in your past, when heard in the present, can also bring back certain feelings and memories.
The first time I studied the book of Job was when I taught Life Sciences and Biology at Mission High School in San Francisco, in 1992. When I opened up the book of Job again this past week, to prepare for this morning’s message, some of the memories as well as the feelings came back.
I was 23 years old, and the students were 16 to 18 years old. Some of them were twice my size in height and width. And I could still hear the threats in my mind, "Mr. Chau, I’m going to give you hell this semester." Or, "Mr. Chau, I’m going to slash your car tires." I can still feel the anxiety and dread of driving to school each Monday morning to face these kids who didn’t want to be in the class.
God used the book of Job to get me through that year of teaching. I thought, "If Job endured what he went through, then I can endure what I’m going through." So opening the book of Job brought back a sense of comfort and encouragement.
Let me give you an idea of what we’ll be doing this morning in our study of Job. I will take about half of the time to introduce the book and the first chapter. Then we will look at the difference trusting in God makes in the life of Job and can make in our lives.
Job is an epic poem, a heroic story in poetry form. The main human character is Job, and we don’t know a great deal about him, other than what is written in the book of Job. From the book of Job, we can surmise that Job lived before the time of the Jewish temple, since there is no record of temple worship. And geographically, some identify Uz as Edom, southeast of the Dead Sea.
I’m going to point out three observations from this first chapter of Job before I move into the main teaching of this chapter. The first observation is related to the legacy of Job. The second observation is related to the happening in heaven. And the third observation is related to the interaction between God and Satan.
In verses 1-5, we see the legacy of Job. Job, as we will see, although not perfect, was a man of integrity. He feared God, worshipped God and shunned evil. We also see that Job loved his children and wanted his children to have a right and healthy relationship with God also.
The greatest legacy we can leave with our children is a right and healthy relationship with God. We can leave memories with our children, but memories will fade. We can leave material possessions, but possessions can be lost, stolen or sold for less than cost. Our relationship with God is the most valuable and lasting legacy we can leave with our children.
In verses 6-12, we see the happening of heaven. Something is happening here that we wouldn’t know, except that God revealed it to someone, and it was later recorded down. What we see are angels, good and bad ones, entering the presence of God, and God showing Himself worthy of trust and devotion by mankind, as represented by Job.
In other words, God stakes His reputation on the way mankind responds to Him, and the angels of heaven are the witnesses. We read something similar in New Testament. Ephesians 3:10 tells us, "[God’s] intent was that now, through the church [those who trust and worship God], the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms."
My reputation is at stake each time Esther responds to fear, hurt or happiness. When Esther is afraid and runs to me, that says she sees me as her strong protection. When Esther is hurt and runs to Mom, that says that she sees Mom, and not me, as her compassionate nurturer. When Esther is happy and runs to me or Susan, that says that she sees me and her Mom as friends she wants to share her joy with. God lets the angels see how great a God He is by showing them how mankind, and in particular, the church, responds when we are afraid, hurt or happy.
In verses 13-19, we see the interaction between God and Satan. The Bible reveals that there is one great power in the universe, and that God and Satan are not equals. Satan can only do what God permits him to do, and nothing more. There is not a good God and an evil God doing battle. Satan, although powerful and evil, is nonetheless a created being, subject to God.