Where Were You?
Published November 4, 2018 at 10:30 AM
Audio of the sermon preached on November 4, 2018, at Cable Community Church, Sherrard, IL.
Content Copyright Belongs to Cable Community Church
Where Were You?
Job 38: 1-7
I was reading something online this week written by someone who is also a pastor, and he was describing one of his members. “This person is a modern-day Job,” he wrote. 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 your 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 something bad happens 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 Rock Island Fitness Center - back when we used to belong - there was a little suggestion box and a notepad next to it – you could 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 examine the case of the original Job, and we will 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.
The text today is found in Job 38:1-7 There we will examine…
Who does Job think he is? (v. 2)
What does Job know? (vv. 4-5) and
The Lord answered Job (v. 1)
- Who does Job think he is? (v. 2)
- Job has a complaint - He’s hurting.
- The first chapters of this book tell us why and how Job is hurting
- He has been caught up in a drama much larger than himself.
- By the end of Job, chapter two, we know that Job has suffered greatly.
- Chapter three begins a dialogue between Job and three (later four) of his friends.
- In their arguments back and forth, these friends establish two “truths.”
- Because God is good and just, He has established creation in such a way that…
- Righteousness is rewarded
- The sinful are punished.
- Job disagrees to this line of argument.
- He questions God - Something’s gone wrong
- Don’t misunderstand. Job’s questioning isn’t wrong.
- A friend once asked Isidor I. Rabi, a Nobel prize winner in science, how he became a scientist. Rabi replied that every day after school his mother would talk to him about his school day. She wasn't so much interested in what he had learned that day, but she always inquired, "Did you ask a good question today?”
- "Asking good questions," Rabi said, "made me become a scientist.”
- Asking good questions can also make one become a good student of God, but the trouble is; how does one distinguish the good questions from the bad?
- In the midst of his questioning, however, Job 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.
- Job comes to the conclusion that in this world the wicked succeed, the innocent suffer, “the dying groan, and the throat of the wounded cries for help; yet God pays no attention to their prayer” (Job 24:12).
- Job counted himself among those last, as one whom God had not heeded. Worse, he knew himself to be someone to whom God did not listen and whom God crushed without cause:
- “If I summoned him and he answered me,
- I do not believe that he would listen to my voice.
- For he crushes me with a tempest (se’ara) ,
- and multiplies my wounds without cause;” (Job 9:16-17)
- For Job the only reasonable conclusion is that …
- God has given up on him - that is to say - God’s not doing His job
- Job goes so far as to believe that maybe the world is, at its foundation, random and chaotic. Maybe no one really has the reigns and or is at the wheel after all.
- And so God call him to account beginning in verse 2.
- “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”
- What does Job know? (vv. 4-5)
- The Bible is full of questions.
- The first question is simple:
- To Adam & Eve; “Where are you?”
- A short while after that another; to God: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
- Job has been questioning how God does things. Now God questions him.
- What can you tell God about how things are supposed to work (ie: creation)?
- Were you there so you can give a first-hand account of what’s gone wrong?
- Do you understand how things might be done better?
- Can you give God your expert advise on how to run things better?
- Job could not answer.
- There are at least 35 questions in Job 38 that we cannot answer today?
- There are 13 more questions God demands to know in Job 39.
- In chapter 40, verse 2, according to the New Living Translation, God asks of Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
- Of course, Job doesn’t have the answers.
- Neither do I… or you.
- We are all limited, very limited, in our understanding of things.
- And that, I believe, is the point of these final chapters of Job.
- There are many things we do not understand.
- There are many things we cannot understand (this side of heaven).
- BUT… in all of our ignorance, there is ONE in whom we are called to trust.
- Which brings us to what I consider to be the most astounding part of this entire story. Verse one.
- The Lord answered Job (v. 1)
- God comes to Job
- He came in the midst of the storm (whirlwind)
- Job has complained, in chapter 9, that God has “crushed him with a tempest,” now God appears to him in the mist of a storm.
- God often draws near and reveals Himself in the middle of our storms.
- Recall from Luke, chapter 8, when Jesus and His disciples were crossing a lake and a fierce storm came up. The disciples woke a sleeping Jesus shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” Then after Jesus calmed the storm, they asked each other, “Who is this man?”
- Or consider the passage from Matthew, chapter 14.
- This time another storm comes up, and now the disciples are on their own (or so they think) because Jesus has stayed behind praying and has sent them on ahead. So the disciples are rowing with all their might and bailing water for all they’re worth. Suddenly, the disciples see what looks to them a ghost or phantom walking across the water. It’s Jesus coming to them in the middle of their crisis. When Peter and the Lord came back to the ship, “… the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
- God spoke to His man.
- To remind him (and us) that God… and only God… is enough.
- And, in the end, Job had gotten what he wanted.
- He had met with God.
- And God was enough.
- Job 42:1-6 Then Job answered the Lord and said:
“I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.”
- I had heard of you (or about you), Job says, but now… now I’ve seen my God.
- “There was a man who gave his business to God. He had hassled over it for years. He had wrestled with it and fought it for two decades. One day he decided, ‘I’ve had enough!’ He had heard from his pastor that Sunday morning about the value of turning his entire business over to God. It was when he drove away from church that he decided he had worried enough. By the time he got home, he had totally and unequivocally committed his business to God. That very night his place of business caught on fire. He got an emergency call. He rather calmly drove down to the commercial residence and was standing on the street, watching the place go up in flames. He was sort of smiling to himself. One of his colleagues raced to his side and questioned his relaxed attitude about what was happening. ‘Man! Don’t you know what’s happening to you? . . . It’s . . . burning up!’ He replied, ‘I know it. I know it. No problem, Fred. This morning I gave this company to God, and if He wants to burn it up, that’s His business’.”
- So today, if you have ever complained to God, or accused Him of not knowing what He’s doing, then I invite you today to repent. In your mind, confess that sin to God, and ask Him to forgive you. That’s ultimately what Job did. In the last chapter of this book, Job said, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Then God forgave Job and restored him.
- This morning, let God forgive you. Remember that he has already taken your sin away through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. If there was ever a time when it looked like God didn’t know what he was doing, that moment at the cross was probably it. How could God let his Son die on a cross? How could God let him suffer this way? God is unfair! God is unjust! I’m sure the disciples of Jesus struggled with these thoughts as they watched Jesus die.
- But then Jesus rose, and revealed to his disciples and to the world that God knows what he is doing. That moment at the cross was God’s way of taking away your sin. That’s why God can look at you today and call you His child. That’s why you are forgiven, and why you’re going to heaven. It’s because God did something that seemed completely wrong, but actually, it was the most loving, the most righteous thing ever done in the history of all mankind.
- When you feel like a “modern day Job,” when things are happening to you and you don’t know why, when you feel completely baffled by what is happening in your life, those are times to trust. Don’t try to understand. Don’t try to argue with God. Just trust. Trust that God is wise. Trust that He knows what you are going through, and He knows what He is doing. Trust that He is loving, and that He won’t leave you hanging out to dry. This is the same God who is so wise and so loving that He figured out a way to take away your sins and give you eternal life. He is a God that you can trust.