Summary: Job, in his troubles sought the Lord, but it seemed quite difficult to reach him. There are times we all face this same trouble. What do we do about it? Can we be assured that he is with us, even when we cannot seem to touch him?
From The Desk Of Toby Powers
Pastor Of Truth Baptist Church
LORD, ARE YOU THERE? Job 23:1-10
Intro: Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar had come to grieve with Job and had accused him of gross iniquity bringing about this intense suffering he was enduring, but job desired to reach God for a verdict on his life that would be more accurate than the opinions of these men (v. 4). Why was he enduring such trouble? He would ask God, but the problem is... he can’t find God! (v. 3, 8-9). Sometimes it is hard to find him; therefore, we are commanded to seek him:
Zeph 2:3 “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth”
Isa 55:6 “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:”
I Chron 16:11 “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”
I Chron 28:9 “if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”
II Chron 15:2 “The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Yet, of himself, no man seeketh after God (Romans 3:10). It is the circumstances of life that open our eyes to our need of him. It is the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). And godly sorrow worketh repentance in us (II Cor 7:10). In the experiences of life, things happen that drive us to him! Yet, in the midst of many of these times, we find ourselves looking for God and like Job asking, “Lord, Are You There?”
I. IN THE DARK: Job asked, “Lord are you there?” Job 30:26 “When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.” Job was in a dark time of life. Darkness itself is the absence of light, and God is light (I John 1:5 “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.”). When God took his protecting presence away from Job, it was a dark time in his life! In the Bible there is the issue of:
A. Sinners in Earthly Darkness: Eph 5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” I Peter 2:9 says that he “called us out of darkness” into his marvelous light.
B. Souls in Eternal Darkness: All throughout the Bible eternal punishment in Hell is depicted as everlasting darkness. Matt 22:13 “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
C. Suffering in Emotional Darkness: Job was here. Every person experiences times like this. It is a place where you don’t:
1. Understand His Providence
2. Know His Plan
3. Comprehend His Purpose
4. Experience His Presence
You look for God everywhere, but in your darkness, you just can’t find him. That’s where Job was! (Illustration: Caitlyn and I were riding a ride that went into a dark place. She said fearfully, “Dad, Are You There?” I simply reached out and touched her. She knew it was me by my touch without seeing me or hearing me say a word!) Job recalled, he was in the dark, but God sees in the dark! (v. 10).
II. IN THE DROUGHT: Elijah asked, “Lord Are You There?” I Kings 17-18. Elijah prophesied it would not rain again until God gave him word (17:1). But God fed him... first through ravens and a river (17:2-7), and later through a widow who was near starvation herself (17:8-16). God vindicated himself with fire on the altar in answer to Elijah’s prayer (18:31-39). And Elijah prevailed against all the prophets of Baal and the Grove (18:40). Elijah prayed for rain, and after a 3 ½ year drought, God answered with rain (18:41-46). But as rain began to fall again a drought set in on Elijah (ch. 19). Elijah was looking for answers from God. In serving God there are times of droughts of God’s presence when you least expect it. Elijah began to look for God:
A. In Wind: But God was not in the wind. I Kings 18:11
B. In Earthquake: He was not in the earthquake. v. 11
C. In Fire: He was not in the fire. v. 12
D. Still Small Voice: He was in the still small voice. v. 12. It is not in the spectacular and sensational where you experience God the greatest; it is in those quiet times where it is just you and him. There was no fire falling from heaven, no ravens bringing meat, no children being raised from the dead. He just experienced God in the solitude of prayer!