Summary: One reason people, especially Christians, treat others hatefully is because they either have never seen God, or else they have lost sight of him. When you see God, it changes the way you treat people.
Title: WHEN YOU SEE GOD
Text: Job 42:3-6
a. The name “Job”
b. The oldest book
c. Theme of book: What Job learns from suffering
a. How Job knows (v. 3)
b. How Job speaks (v. 4)
c. How Job sees (v. 5)
a. How Job responds (v. 6)
Dominating Theme: What happens when Job sees God.
Motivating Thrust: Never lose your wonder of God. When you see God, it changes how you treat people. One reason people, especially Christians, treat others hatefully is because they either have never seen God, or else they have lost sight of him.
If you are not familiar with this book, let me give a very brief summary. A wealthy man named Job has a wife, seven sons, three daughters. In a heavenly debate, God brags on Job, whom he calls “perfect.” Obviously, he was not perfect like Jesus was perfect, but it is still quite an accolade to be called perfect by God. He was mature, complete in his faith. Satan responds that Job is only faithful because God blessed him with riches. So God allows a trial to begin. In a single day, Job’s children are killed and his wealth stolen. God shows this to Satan, who argues that if his health is taken away, Job will curse God. So God allows Satan to afflict Job with painful boils and other health problems. The Bible says he took a broken pot and used it to scratch his sores. Now Job has lost everything. His wife even says, “Why don’t you curse God and die.” His friends come and criticize him. He becomes destitute; completely and utterly alone.
Most of the book is an argument between Job and his friends. For twenty-nine chapters they go back and forth about why God allows suffering. His friends criticize Job: surely he must have committed some awful sin for God to have allowed this misery to come upon him. Then God answers. God answers Job, and four chapters later Job is silent. That brings us to our text and our theme: What happens when Job sees God?
You can follow along with me as I read Job 42:3-6.
“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Look at verse three: How Job knows. Job spent 29 chapters arguing his case. He wasn’t wrong, but he didn’t really understand the truth either. The first three chapters of Job are set in heaven. Job had no way of knowing that he was part of a cosmic debate. How often have we prayed asking us to remove us from something that he intends to use for his glory? It is worth asking if we would be willing to endure, knowing that God is the one who permits the suffering in the first place. It tests your trust.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 has something to say about the words we use. “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with they mouth and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” In the next verse it says “… a fool is known by the multitude of words.” Job laments talking about things that he thought he understood, but he did not. How often do we yak on about things that we really don’t understand? It’s part of our culture. In some places it is still considered a virtue to be silent, but not here. Last week Bill O’Riley was interviewed by Katie Currick on the Today Show. She asked him about some political event in Washington and he replied, “I don’t know.” Awkward silence followed, and Katie jumped in to fill the silence. We don’t like silence. It’s a noisy culture and we like it. But the Bible says it is better sometimes to be silent.
In this case Job uttered nonsense because it involved things “too wonderful for me.” Think of that word: wonder-ful. Literally, full of wonder. Last night we watched a show on PBS about a fish that had big fins. The show assumes evolution to be true, so it pursued the line that this fish was the missing link in Darwin’s theory. They based it on the idea that this rare fish with long fins actually walked along the bottom of the sea, proving that fish eventually over millions of years grew legs and became land mammals. But then they filmed some of the fish deep in the ocean and found that they don’t walk at all, so there must be some other missing link. They even had a graphic, thoroughly confusing for children, that showed the fish becoming a lizard, becoming a monkey, and becoming a man. They never once considered the possibility that God simply made a fish with big fins. God is full of wonder; you can’t explain it all away. Never lose your sense of wonder with God.