Summary: There are times we are tempted to accuse God of negligence in the way he runs our lives. But God reminds us that we can trust him.
JOB 38:1-11 QUESTIONING GOD
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, who is also a pastor, and he was describing to me one of his members. “This member is a modern-day Job,” he told me. Why do you think he described one of his members as a “modern-day Job”? I’m sure it’s because of all the problems that man had. That man used to be an airline pilot. But then, for no reason, he began to have anxiety attacks. And as you can probably figure out, anxiety attacks and flying airplanes don’t go together very well, and so he lost his job. He began to have terrible back aches, just out of the blue – he would have to lay on his back for hours and stretch, just to make the pain go away. And then his child became terribly sick, and so in between stretching his back and looking for a job, he would be at the hospital seeing how his sick child was doing.
That man is a “modern-day Job.” If you were to give a definition to the term “modern-day Job,” what would that definition be? How about this – a “modern-day Job” is a child of God (not an unbeliever, but a faithful child of God) who suddenly experiences bad things for no reason. A “modern-day Job” is someone who seems to have a legitimate reason to complain to God.
Have you ever felt like a modern-day Job? You’re a child of God. But then suddenly a bad thing happen to you, out of the blue. You start to feel frustrated, and you feel that you have a legitimate reason to complain to God. Don’t you wish sometimes that God had a complaint department? At the local YMCA I see that there is a little suggestion box and a notepad next to it – you can drop your suggestions into the box. Don’t you wish that God had a complaint box? I bet each one of you has a number of things that you would put into that box if you had the chance.
This morning, we spend some time with the original Job, and we see how God responds to his complaints. And as we listen to God talk to Job, we see that God is talking to us too. Today we’re going to learn a few things about how God works. First, we will see that we are not as smart as we think we are. And secondly, we will see that God is much wiser than we’ll ever know.
Today we are beginning a sermon series entitled, “Quick Looks at Mysterious Books.” There are certain books in the Bible that are mysteries to the average person, books in the Old Testament that you generally skip over when you’re looking for things. But there are some real treasures in those mysterious books, and we’re going to be mining those treasures these next few weeks as we take quick looks at some of those mysterious books in the Bible.
Job is one of those mysterious books. People always talk about Job, but very few people have ever read the book. People always talk about the patience of Job, but very few people that Job eventually lost his patience. Do you remember all the things that happened to Job? Unbeknownst to Job, Satan was after him. Satan wanted to prove to God that Job was a “fair-weather-believer,” that the only reason Job believed in God was because Job’s life was going smoothly. God allowed Satan to turn Job’s life upside down. God allowed this to prove to Satan that Job was not a “fair-weather-believer,” but a true follower of God, even when things aren’t going well.
First Satan took away all of Job’s flocks and herds. Imagine if all of your bank accounts were completely wiped out, and you lost your job. That’s what happened to Job. Then Satan took away Job’s children – all of them were killed in a windstorm. Finally, Satan took away Job’s health – he was completely incapacitated, covered in sores from head to toe.
Through all of these things, Job remained a faithful believer in God. He was patient. Then his friends arrived, and they told Job that the reason these bad things were happening to him is because he had committed a certain terrible sin in his life. That wasn’t true, and Job knew it. And so back and forth, these people told Job to repent of whatever terrible thing he did. Job kept telling them that he hadn’t done any terrible thing that would because these things to happen. This back and forth argument goes on for many chapters.
Then Job started losing his patience. He began complaining to God. “Why are these people torturing me with their questions, God?” Job said, in so many words. And then Job began to tell God that he didn’t know what he was doing. “I have been faithful to you, and look at what you have done to me. Why me? Why these terrible things? You are not being fair! If I could talk to you face to face, I would have all kinds of questions for you. I would give you a piece of my mind!” Job had lost his patience, and was yelling at God.