Intro: In 1988 The L.A. Dodgers were playing the first game of the World Series against the Oakland A’s. One of the Dodgers best players was Kirk Gibson, but in winning the pennant, Gibson played so intensely that he injured both legs. As the dodgers walked out for the opening game of the World Series, Gibson was sidelined, out of uniform. He sat in the clubhouse and listened to Dodger announcer Vince Scully repeat, “Gibson will not be playing tonight. He’s not even I the dugout.”
In the ninth inning it was announced that the pitcher would be hitting. When Gibson heard this he made up his mind to call Tommy Lasorda from the clubhouse and ask to bat for the pitcher. Kirk remembered thinking, even though I’m injured, when I walk on that field at Dodger Stadium and I hear that crowd, I won’t hurt anymore. I’m gonna go up and do my job. And I when I went out their the crowd went nuts; and it didn’t hurt. I looked at the pitcher and said under my breath, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got coming. We’re going to win this game, and I’m gonna win it for us.’“
The scene was played out in front of millions of television spectators. Commentators still recall today with awed fascination how out of the dugout came a severely limping Gibson. He winced with each step toward home plate. Despite his obvious pain, his eyes were on fire. He bravely took the first pitch from relief pitcher Dennis Eckersly. Strike one! The second pitch came past. Strike two! The pitcher struck out two of the previous batters and had walked only one. The tying run was at first base. Gibson would become the winning run.
Kirk was in emergency mode. He fought back and fought and fought until He got up to three balls and two strikes. One more strike and He was out. Now the scouts had told Kirk if Dennis Eckersly got him to three balls and two strikes, he would throw a backdoor slider. So Kirk stepped out of the batter’s box and said to himself, ‘as sure as I’m standing here I’m going to see a back door slider.’ Kirk stepped back into the box and connected with the backdoor slider and hit the game winning home run. The stadium erupted. The off-balance gait of Gibson as he hobbled around the bases with his hands arms in the air has been replayed in sports highlights over and over. He made the most triumphant lap of his life in the most important game of his life when he was hurt the most! The Oakland A’s never recovered, and the Dodgers went on to win the World Series.
Kirk Gipson could have quit and opted not to try. But it was in his adversity that the world witnessed what resolute drive he had. He became a hero to millions of sports fans around the world.
Many people today are hurting and have taken themselves out of the game of life. They can hear all the excitement going on outside but are trapped by fears, anger and hurts that haunt them from there past. Have you taken yourself out of the game of life because of some hurts you’ve experienced? What motivated Kirk Gibson to get out of the clubhouse even though he was injured? It was his will to win; it was that fire in his eyes that was driving him from within. Have you lost all motivation, all desire to move on, to get back to where God wants you to be?
Transition: The question isn’t WILL I face hurts? But, HOW will I face my hurts? This morning we’re going to look at hurting hero by the name of Job. We can learn from the life of Job how to endure the hurts that we experience in this life.
(Job 1:1-5) A thankful heart. A glimpse of the hero. It’s clear from the first five verses of Job chapter one that Job had a thankful heart. This text does not paint a picture of an ungrateful wealthy man, but of a man with a devoted heart to God. As a faithful father he also had a desire for his children to be God fearing. The feasts that his children underwent likely were birthday feasts. So after all the parties had been celebrated for the year Job would have a type of prayer breakfast for his children. As we can see from this text Job had a deep love and concern for the spiritual well being of his children.
In verse 5 were it is translated “sinned and cursed God in their hearts”. This could also be translated "peradventure my sons may have sinned, "nor" blessed God in their hearts," (from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft).
Job was not only thankful for all the blessings God had given him but he was also attempting to teach his children to be thankful and bless God for His goodness to them.
(Job 1:6-19) A hurting heart. A glimpse of the villain.
Job 1:6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.
One thing the enemy of our soul desires is to make us believe that he doesn’t exist. If we fall into this deception we have succumbed to the first step in ignoring all evil that he is instigating in the world around us. The Word of God makes it very clear that he not only exists but also has access to heaven.
Rev 12:10 For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
Job 1:7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Not only does he have access to heaven but also his main stomping grounds are here on earth.
John 12:31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
Jesus referred to the devil as the prince of this world.
Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
What if God mentioned your name in heaven? Have you considered my servant ________? Place your name in the blank. What would follow? God has His eye on you, He knows exactly where you are spiritually. Now let me ask you another question, would you want your name mentioned in heaven? The trail that follows was to test the question at hand to see if the piety of Job was genuine.
9"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10"Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
DOES JOB FEAR GOD FOR NOTHING? Is Job’s religion tied only to what he can get from God? Satan accuses Job of a religion that is based on blessings. The more God blesses Job the more Job fears God and wants to please Him.
It should be asked of every Christian is his faith based on selfish motives? Is it because God has blessed us with great earthly advantages? Is it the result of mere gratitude? Is it because he has preserved us in peril, or restored us from sickness? Or is it merely because we hope for heaven, and serve God because we trust he will reward us in a future world? All this may be the result of mere selfishness; and of all such persons it may be appropriately asked, "Do they fear God for nothing?"
A HEDGE AROUND HIM AND HIS HOUSEHOLD AND EVERYTHING HE HAS: This wall of protection is liken to a fence made of razors to keep out all attacks that may endanger the safety of all Job possesses. This is an encouraging verse for those who will give their all to God that His divine protection is too strong for the devil to penetrate without first having permission from God. Satan doesn’t have as much power as God. Some people think he does and he and God are fighting to see who will control the universe. Satan only has as much power as God allows him to have.
Satan never has control over the Christians life unless God gives it over to him.
Luke 22:31"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. Notice Satan had to ask for permission in the New Testament as well as the Old.
11But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
The devil thinking that all of Job’s faith was based on his prosperity went to destroy all of Job’s possessions thinking this would cause Job to openly renounce God.
This included the death of all ten of his children. Abandonment from a loved one and the loose of a child are two of the greatest pains a person could bear in this life. It’s hard to imagine all at once a person loosing ten children. At this point we need to remember the love that Job felt for his children as he prayed for them and taught them to fear God. Now Job stands over 10 fresh graves and stares into his barren fields that once were full of life and all he hears, sees and feels is the silent reminder of the sting of death.
(Job 1:20-22) A worshiping heart. Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship.
Job does a powerful thing in the midst of his hurt, he worships. Notice Job doesn’t ask the three questions we always ask when tragedy strikes.
1. WHY is this happening to me?
2. WHERE is God?
3. WHEN will my suffering end?
It’s not necessarily wrong to ask why, when He was suspended between heaven and earth on the cross Jesus asked, “why?”
Matt 27:46"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
But just as no answer came to Jesus on the cross we have no promise in God’s word for the WHY, WHERE, and WHEN questions. Here is where we need to reword our question with HOW. HOW O Lord are you going to help me through this? How is this hurt going to strengthen my relationship with you? How are you going to work this out for my good?
Job 1:22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
This is the transaction that gave the strong and vivid coloring to the character of Job, in this, and in this alone, he was a pattern of patience and resignation. In this Satan was utterly disappointed; he found a man who loved his God more than his earthly portion. This was a rare case, even in the experience of the Devil. He had seen multitudes that bartered their God for money, and their hopes of blessedness in the world to come for secular possessions in the present. He had been so often successful in this kind of temptation that he made no doubt he should succeed again. He saw many whom, when riches increased, set their hearts on them, and forgot God. He saw many also who, when deprived of earthly comforts, blasphemed their Maker. He therefore inferred that Job, in similar circumstances, would act like the others; he was disappointed.
Job had a real relationship with God that had nothing to do with his circumstances, possessions or position in life.
Illustration: The royal palace in Tehran, Iran has one of the most beautiful entrances of all palaces in the world today. As one enters the royal palace the doomed ceilings, sidewalls, and columns seemed to be covered with diamonds. When the Royal Palace was planned, the architects sent an order to Paris for mirrors to cover the entrance walls. The mirrors finally arrived in their crates. When they took the crates apart, all the broken pieces fell out. They were all smashed while being transported. They were going to throw them all away when one of the men had an idea to see how the broken pieces would look if they fitted them together. The result is an enormous distortion in reflections, and it sparkles with diamond like rainbow colors.
Broken to be more beautiful!
That is exactly what God can do with the broken pieces of our lives if we will just turn it over to Him.
(Job 2:1-10) Job 2:3
3Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."
God mentions Job’s name again stating that he is truly a man of faith and integrity. Pointing out that his faith wasn’t based on selfish motives.
4"Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."
The lust of evil is never satisfied it always wants more. Whenever a person gets into any kind of sin they are never complacent to stay were they are they always must take it a step farther. Whether it is pornography it always has to get a little more explicit to satisfy the lust. Gambling, drunkenness no matter what it may be the devil is always pushing for more.
Satan is pushing God to torture Job to a greater extent. Once again Satan is going after the hopes that Job is a selfish man, who cares only for himself and his person physical comfort. Thank God that all the Christian martyrs down through the years where willing to give their lives so the gospel and the Word of God could make its way to us today.
7So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
Job removes himself from everyone and makes his way out to the city dump, where he finds a piece of a broken jar and uses it to scrape the painful boils that cover his body. Can you see Job lying on the ground with no way of getting comfortable covered with boils sprinkled with ashes and filled with pain?
9 His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
It’s easy to berate Job’s wife when we hear her seemingly insensitive words. But sometimes it hurts very badly when someone you love is in pain and there is nothing you can do to help them. It may be that Job’s wife couldn’t stand to see him suffer like this and for his relief was wanting him to bring his hurting to an end. She could have said this out of love and good intentions although she was wrong to tempt him to turn from God.
10He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Do we loose all confidence in God when He removes all our comforts? Is this our understanding of God, to receive only good from Him and not trouble? Do we have a choice? We have no choice in what God gives us whether it be good or bad, we only have a choice in how we respond to what God gives us. Job’s wife responded with her emotions leading, “you would be better off dead”. Job responds with his faith leading, “I’ll take whatever God gives me”. God doesn’t give us what we want He gives us what we need.
Jonni Erikoson Tada said that when she gets to heaven she is going to fold up her wheel chair hand it to Jesus and say, “thanks, I needed that.”
God had at least two reasons: to prove Satan wrong and to strengthen Job’s faith. God had a purpose behind Job’s suffering, and the same is true for you.
Conclusion: There is this poster of a football player. He is setting on the bench, his helmet thrown down in front of him, mud on his face, tears rolling from his eyes, and his elbows on hi knees. He was dejected. With big words underneath it said, “I QUITE!” In the bottom corner of the poster, shown from far away, was a picture of a black hill, and on the hill was a cross. Underneath the cross were the words: I didn’t.