Summary: When we were at our LOWEST STATE, it is there that God is able to work with us and help us SHED the things of this world that we can become truly dependent upon Him. It is during the Hardships of Life that we learn how to lean and depend on the Lord.



I and the Perfected Praise Worship Center family are honored to be here this afternoon to participate in such a celebration hosted by this great Pastor and Church family. I must say that we have experienced a worship celebration in deed. It should warm our hearts to see diverse cultures come together in the spirit of worship. We should have more of a blending of cultures in all of our churches. I pray this is the beginning of a long relationship between our churches that go well beyond the month of February each year.

Since the origins of the field in the late 19th century, historians and intellectuals have offered various answers to the question: "WHAT IS AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY?"

• Some have seen it as an extension or corollary to American history

• Some have stressed the influence of Africa on African-American history

• Still others have viewed African-American history as vital to black liberation and power

In the late 19th Century an Ohio lawyer and minister - George Washington Williams - published the first serious work of African-American history in 1882. His work, HISTORY OF THE NEGRO RACE IN AMERICA FROM 1619 TO 1880 - began with the arrival of the first slaves in the North American colonies and concentrated on the major events in American history that involved or affected African Americans. Washington, in his "Note" to volume two of his opus, said that his purpose was to "TO LIFT THE NEGRO RACE TO ITS PEDESTAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY" as well as "TO INSTRUCT THE PRESENT, INFORM THE FUTURE."

I appreciate the work of George Washington Williams and the opportunity to reflect upon where God has brought us from and to instruct the present, inform the future. In our text for examination we find Job being very expressive in our selected text. Consider his Words again - IRON IS TAKEN OUT OF THE EARTH, AND BRASS IS MOLTEN OUT OF THE STONE. HE SEETETH AN END TO DARKNESS, AND SEARCHETH OUT ALL PERFECTION: THE STONES OF DARKENSS, AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH. Job made a connection and recognized that in the midst of his hardship and pain that he could equate his experience to the most precious stones which are formed and shaped from under the dirt – under the ground.

• Iron is taken out from under the earth

• Brass is molten out of stone captured beneath the ground

• The most precious stones are formed under the earth in darkness

Job went through some real hardships and pain during his life. He has made some headway towards solving the riddle of his life; namely, that AFFLICTION IS TO HIM AS THE REFINING FIRE IS TO GOLD. Job began to compare his afflictions to hitting “ROCK BOTTOM” if you will. That was about as low or as down as you could possibly feel. Every now and then I think about our forefathers and what they had to endure and go through. Because of their endurance, I and we as African-Americans can achieve and live in a country where we can exercise our freedom. I think about those that have come before me that paved the way for us and endured struggles, sorrows, heartaches, and pains. I can only imagine that they must have felt just like Job at times. They must have felt like they hit “Rock Bottom.” Well over two-hundred years being viewed and treated by the masses of society as though they were “LOWER THAN THE EARTH.”

We are a people that can relate to the words of Job that “IRON IS TAKEN OUT OF THE EARTH, AND BRASS IS MOLTEN OUT OF THE STONE. HE SEETETH AN END TO DARKNESS, AND SEARCHETH OUT ALL PERFECTION…” When the Holy Spirit lead me to this particular passage of Scripture as we consider and bring to a close a month long Celebration of Black History Month –my mind could not help but to travel back to an event that transpired and captured our attention all across the world in the small country of Chile.

Recall with me the events that transpired on the 5th day of August 2010. A cave-in occurred at the San José copper-gold mine in the Atacama Desert near Copiapó, Chile. The accident left 33 men trapped 2,300 ft below ground. The world was transfixed on those 33 miners that survived for 69-days underground. I am not sure about you but I could not imagine being in that type of condition and surviving for 69 days. As I consider Black History Month, the Scripture Text for examination and the events that unfolded in the Country of Chile - I began to see a correlation between the events and what we as African-Americans endured for 200+ years in America leading to this very moment in time.

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