Summary: One of the reasons why God allows the godly to suffer is to answer the blasphemous accusations of Satan and prove throughout the seen but also, the unseen world that man will honor and worship God simply because of who He is.
All of you parents out there this morning can probably remember many of the enjoyable phases your children went through or are going through. But there is 1 phase which is not always enjoyable. It is the “why” phase. Remember that phase – where they ask “why” after almost every sentence they say. And I won’t ask how many of you have been guilty of saying to your child after that 50th “why” – “Don’t ask me why again!” Yes, I see some of you have been there.
But after a few months or a year they grow out of that phase or do they? For you see, as adults we may not vocally ask “why” but in our hearts we have a tendency to ask God “why” quite frequently, don’t we?
-when we do not understand,
-when God allows difficult things to happen,
-when God tarries longer than we feel He should,
-when it simply makes no sense, we ask
"Why” - it is such a simple word but oh, how it creates such tension, turmoil & doubt within us.
I would like for us to look at a man this morning who was struggling with this issue. You are quite familiar with his story. In fact, there is a whole book devoted to his story. His name is Job. And you are aware of all that happened to him so I will not go over it again this morning. Needless to say, he was in the trial of his life. He had been receiving counsel from some of his “friends.” The basic thinking of that time was that if you obeyed God good things happened but if you disobeyed God bad things happened. Therefore, with that kind of theology, it was quite easy to determine how someone was living. Yet that kind of thinking was not just limited to Job’s time period for much of that same thinking carries over to our day, probably more so than we acknowledge.
The problem was Job had not committed some secret sin that brought on this crushing trial. And while his friends did not believe him, Job knew he was innocent of some deep sin against God so he was greatly perplexed. As you read through the book you observe different swings in his thinking and responses. At some points, he was a rock of faith, but at other times he bordered on irreverence. Today I would like for us to pick up his story in chapter 10, where he is really struggling as this trial continues to linger on.
-10:1-7... (read from the NASB)
-v.3 NIV – “Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked?”
Job has reached the point where feels like he is being unjustly treated, that he is being judged when he has committed no crime. He knows he has not committed some wretched sin as he is being accused by his friends. And because of this he cannot find an explanation as to why God is allowing, even causing, these terrible things to happen to him.
If you remember Job’s initial response to this trial it causes us to stand back in utter amazement – Job 1:20-22...
Worship (Webster) - “to regard with extravagant respect, honor or devotion.” And in his deep hurt that is what Job did. I suggest to you that Satan could not have been more defeated than at that moment for he was so sure Job, when stripped of all his blessings, would curse God. And yet, instead of cursing Him, he worshipped Him and in his worship, as v.22 states, he did not blame God. What a defeat for Satan. Let us learn from this example.
But as you are aware when a trial begins to continue on longer than we thought it would, longer than we thought it should, especially when we have responded biblically, it then becomes harder & harder to stand firm, to trust in God, to have hope and to continue to respond appropriately. And as that trial continues it also grows more difficult to live without some kind of explanation of “why,” of “Lord, what are You trying to do here?” We know that we are to live our lives based on promises, not explanations, but the longer a trial drags on the more intense our desire grows for an explanation. And that is what is beginning to happen with Job.
In the beginning, he responded phenomenally. If you were writing the script of a model response that is how you would write it. But this trial has now been going on for months and his foundation is beginning to crumble. He is beginning to question God’s goodness. He is beginning to question all the things he has believed about God. And he has reached the place where he desperately feels he needs to know WHY. Promises are no longer good enough; he needs some type of explanation. And so he says in 10:2b(NASB) – “Let me know why You contend with me.”