Summary: A sermon series on Job
God is Good…All the time!
What you don’t know can hurt you. Did you hear about the guy who walked into a drugstore and asked the pharmacist, “Do you have anything to cure hiccups?” The pharmacist said, “Look on aisle three.” While the guy was looking the pharmacist snuck up behind him and screamed, “Boo!” while at the same time knocking the guy’s legs out from under him. The dazed customer looked up from the floor and said, “What’d you do that for?” The pharmacist said, “I’ll bet you don’t have the hiccups any more.” The guy said, “I never did. It’s my wife out in the car who has them!” If he had only known! Have you ever said that? “If I had only known!” Over the past three months we’ve been studying the amazing story of Job. Job’s life was full of pain and suffering– and the whole time he never knew he was the subject of a test. What a difference it would have made if he had only known his suffering was part of God’s plan. If he had only known God had given Satan permission to afflict him in order to disprove Satan’s allegation that if Job suffered he would curse God to His face. In the end, God was right–as He always is!
As we come to Chapter 42, we learn Job experienced four important turning points. A turning point may be described as a change of direction leading to a change in destiny. Historians write about turning points in history. For instance, the D-Day invasion of Normandy was a turning point in WWII. We’ve all had personal turning points as well. In June of 1997 I met a cute college girl from Tahlequah named Erin Abels. Since that time we’ve had a strange and wonderful relationship: I’m strange and she’s wonderful. That was a turning point that changed the direction of my life. October 27, 2001 and September 18, 2003 and September 7, 2006 were turning points that changed the directions of Erin and I’s life, because that’s when our daughters were born. In this message we’ll examine these four turning points in Job’s life. Each turning point served as a trigger for the next turning point. Then we’ll learn a personal lesson from each of these turning points. His turning points may be where you are, or where you need to be.
1. JOB HAD A TRANSFORMATION.
The first turning point Job experienced was when he repented. In chapter 38 God began to speak to Job out of the storm. God didn’t give Job the answers he was seeking, He simply reminded Job He was greater and more powerful than Job could ever understand. After hearing from God, Job had no more arguments; instead he repented. He changed his mind about who God was and how God was dealing with him. You can find this turning point in Job 42:5-6. The Hebrew word for “repent” is nacham, which means “to change.” When Job repented, he was still in the middle of his suffering. His grief over the death of his children was still tearing at his heart. His body was still covered with painful sores. But after seeing God, he changed his mind–he changed his attitude about God.
Lesson: You can change your attitude easier than you can change your circumstances Sometimes we have little or no control over our painful circumstances. The only thing you have power to change is your attitude about your unpleasant situation. The Apostle Paul was a convict in prison when he wrote these powerful words: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12b-13) Our natural response to suffering is to complain against God and try to change our circumstances. Paul wrote that he had “learned the secret.” Repenting, or changing your attitude, in the midst of pain is learned behavior; it isn’t instinctive. Suffering can either make you bitter or it can make you better–it’s your choice.
Ted Turner is a famous media mogul worth millions. He grew up in a religious family and even once considered being a missionary. But all that changed when his younger sister, Mary Jane was diagnosed with lupus and died. Reflecting on her death, Ted Turner said: I was taught that God was love, and God was powerful. I couldn’t understand how someone so innocent should be made or allowed to suffer so...if that’s the kind of God he is I want nothing to do with him.” How tragic. His ordeal with his sister made him bitter instead of better. Ted Turner has a lot of things–but he doesn’t have the ONE THING that matters: Faith. Jesus said, “What good is if for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul.” (Mark 8:36)