Summary: Today, I’m beginning a series of sermons from the book of Job. Suffering and pain is what the book of Job is all about. If you have ever gone through anguish and pain of a sudden and tragic loss you may know something of which this book of Job speaks.
“Introducing Job, a Man Loved and Admired by God.”
Job 1: 1:1-5, 13-22
Rev. Wm. A. Huegel
Jan. 8, 2006
Introduction to the sermon:
During the recent tragedy in West Virginia in which 11 coal miners were killed following an explosion in the mine, a woman, deeply shaken by the loss of a loved one said, “We’re good Christians. We have been praying for their survival. And now we don’t know if there is a God.” This a question that comes out of deep sorrow and may not be what is going to be remembered. In fact, had it not been recorded and broadcast on TV, there may come a time in which she would have forgotten that she made such a statement.
One of the things you must always remember is that the kind of questioning of God which is born of sorrow is very, very different from the kind of questioning that goes on in the classroom. This woman’s doubt was a wrestling with God, born out of her own heartache and sorrow. The people in the West Virginia coal mines are in deep mourning.
Today, I’m beginning a series of sermons from the book of Job. Suffering and pain is what the book of Job is all about. If you have ever gone through anguish and pain of a sudden and tragic loss you may know something of which this book of Job speaks.
It appears that this book was written during the time in which the Babylonians conquered and destroyed Jerusalem. The Babylonians dragged off all the inhabitants and insisted that they live in a foreign land as a way of weakening them and making sure they did not regain a position of political power.
Questions arose as to how God could allow His people to suffer like that. Soldiers were killed, women were abused, and even children were slaughtered at the hands of cruel Babylonian soldiers. Now, the rest were forced to live out their lives away from their beloved homeland, away from Jerusalem, the City of God.
If this suffering comes at the hand of God and is directed toward those who are unfaithful, it should be noted that even those who have been faithful also get caught up in the judgments of God. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes may be seen as God’s judgment of those who are terrorists, gamblers, drug pushers, child abusers, and other forms of basic immorality and lack of obedient faith in God; but innocent men, women, and children also suffer. So, there must have been innocent people who suffered during this difficult time.
Children were killed before their very eyes. The siege of Jerusalem was terrible. People suffered from starvation, pestilence, and plague. In captivity, they went hungry and were poorly clothed. Why was some of the wicked prospering?
At this most difficult time, God inspired a book to be written about a man who probably lived a very long time ago. The writer was a Godly Hebrew poet who understood the dynamics and interplay and conversations of forces unseen. So he writes:
“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” We find ourselves looking in on a drama that is unfolding. The story involves Job, but it involves far more than him. It involves God. It involves Satan who passes in and out of the presence of God and who almost appears to sneak into the heavenly realms.
Of course, He is noticed and is confronted by God. Thus the drama begins. God questions Satan. “Where have you been? What have you been up to lately”, asks God. Satan responds, “From roaming the earth. From going back and forth in it.” As if God didn’t already know that.
God knows why Satan has been roaming the earth. He is the enemy who has been seeking to pull people away from the kingdom of God into his own dark and damned kingdom. Interestingly, God says, “Oh! Have you considered my servant, Job? There is nobody like him? He is a blameless and upright man. He fears God and flees from evil.”
Satan responds, “Yeah, right! You have put a hedge of protection around him. (I love that. It is absolutely true. Christian, God has a hedge of protection around you). You’ve never let me get to him. You have blessed him abundantly. This guy has so much – so many flocks and herds, so many servants, and all those great kids of his. But I’ll tell you what. You just let me at him, and I’ll show you what kind of man he is. Just take away his stuff – and he will curse you to your face.”