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Summary: Proposition: When you are suffering, it is easier to agonize over the loss of God’s outward blessing and proper relationship to God Himself, than keep an upbeat attitude and keep from sinning in one’s inward spirit.

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STRUGGLING WITH SIN WITHIN DURING SUFFERING--Job 23:1-7, 15-17; 24:1, 4-6; 42:3-4

Proposition: When you are suffering, it is easier to agonize over the loss of God’s outward blessing and proper relationship to God Himself, than keep an upbeat attitude and keep from sinning in one’s inward spirit.

Objective: My purpose is to give hope those who are struggling with sin even when there seems there is no answer to our suffering.

INTRODUCTION:

Illus: The ’L I T T L E’ things that impacted lives on 9/11…

The head of a company survived 9/11 because his son started kindergarten that day and he wanted to be there to take him to class. Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts. One woman was late because her alarm clock didn’t go off in time. One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of an auto accident. One man missed his bus. One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change. One’s car wouldn’t start. One went back to answer the telephone. One had a child that dawdled that day and didn’t get ready as soon as he should have. Of all things, one couldn’t get a taxi to stop that morning to pick them up. The one that struck me was the man who put on a new pair of shoes that morning, took his usual various means to get to work but before he got there, he developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid. That is why he is alive today. Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, have someone else’s actions delay me or just turn back to answer a ringing tele-phone... you know, all the little things that usually would annoy me - I want to stop think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.. Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed, you can’t seem to find the car keys, your car doesn’t start, you hit every traffic light, don’t get mad or frustrated -- God is at work watching over you. God may actually be blessing you with all those annoying little things even though we may not understand their possible purpose. That was the problem Job had. He didn’t know that God was watching over him and sparing his life. He didn’t know that Satan was causing all these problems and God did not allow him to touch his life. He was struggling within that even though he did not “sin with his lips,” Sin is not just an outward demonstration but also an inward struggle that causes us to sin at times. Remember Paul writes in Romans 7:14-17: “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” He wants to live right, he wants to say the right things and think the right things, but before he knows what has happened, he has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When God says something is good, the flesh wants just the opposite. When the Law says something is bad, the flesh says that it is good. It is a contest between the old man and the new man.” Job didn’t have the revealed Laws of God that shaped many of the lives of the OT saints.

IS JOB GUILTY OF SECRET SINS? The third cycle of speeches starts in chapter 22 with Eliphaz once again, and he is making the same weary point insisting that Job is a wicked man, and now most starkly, "Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless?" (22:5). Eliphaz is ramming that point home to a godly sufferer who’s lost his children, his possessions, and his health so that he is a broken man sitting in pain on a dung heap scraping the matter from his wounds. Here is Eliphaz, with no subtlety or affection, declaring to Job that his wickedness is great and so he’s got what was coming to him. Something happens to Job through this long conversation with his three friends. He begins with utter dismay and he cries out against the wisdom of God in giving him birth. The duration of his disease had almost defeated the initial stand of faith that he took at the first. In every speech up ’til then Job had expressed the conviction that he would certainly die and go to the grave in misery. He longs for it. But there is a gradual change in the way he talks about dying. At first in 7:9-10 (his response to Eliphaz) he is sure that death is the end of everything, In his response to Bildad, he is still sunk in despair about death: "Let me alone, that I may find a little comfort before I go whence I shall not return to the land of gloom and deep darkness, the land of gloom and chaos, where light is as darkness." His suffering goes right on. God seems utterly arbitrary in the way he parcels out suffering and comfort in this life. He struggles within to the point of sinning against God. He finally puts them to silence. Job longs to plead his case before God 23:1--24:25 In Chapter 23 Job is asking, "Why is God so seemingly absent from human affairs?" He begins with expressing his own longing for God: He is having a bad day physically, but he cries, "Oh that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would learn what he would answer me, and understand what he would say to me." {Job 23:3-5}. Though his pain increases his frustration grows because he cannot find any way to get into contact and argue the point with God and get some answers to his problem. Many times we have seen this. Job feels that if he could get a chance to lay out before God the situation as he sees it, God himself, in his basic justice, would admit that he was right. That expresses a great deal of confidence that God is a God of justice. Job says "I don’t understand what I am going through. I felt I’ve been doing the right thing and still this torment goes on, but I know that God will explain it to me some day." That is as high as his faith can rise at the moment.

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