Open your Bibles if you would, to the book of Job. We are in our “Journey through the Bible” series. We shall be there for quite some time. We're in the book of Job this morning. And hopefully you got your Bible outline journal. So, you can see the major themes in the chapter overview, there's 42 chapters, so we won't be reading the whole thing today. But you can see there in the chapter overview, it starts with Job's loss, then his defense, then God comes in and talks about great wisdom. But I want to talk to you this morning about the wisdom and the sovereignty of God. Before we begin, let me pray for us.
Father, I thank you this morning for the opportunity to proclaim your Word. I pray, Lord God, that you would take it and plant it deep in the hearts of all who hear. That we may be changed and transformed by it. Lord, you are the eternal, holy, righteous God. And we come before you today to learn from your Word. We're thankful for that. I pray this would be honoring to you, Father, Amen.
Why is there suffering in the world? Let's just start out with a light question. Why is there suffering in the world? If God is good, why does he allow evil? The real question is, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” Right? That's the question. That's the whipping stick for the news to use on immature Christians in the world who do not understand the great sovereignty of God, and the wisdom of God, and the purpose his world. Scripture says God is loving. Scripture says God is all-knowing. Scripture says God is all-powerful. So if God is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful, why does he allow evil to exist?
We can tolerate bad things happening to bad people. So, we think, right? We're okay if somebody gets their due, so to speak. Hitler is the one that comes to mind, that we love to have lots of documentaries and movies showing how bad he was. Couldn't God just stop evil if he wanted to? I mean, Scripture says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Right? That's Romans 3:23. But couldn't God stop evil? Wouldn't he have to stop you? If he had to stop, evil? See, I think a lot of times, we hear things like that, and we think it's for somebody else. But God needed to die for us to through his Son, Jesus Christ, right?
Well, what if he just stopped the big sins? You know, the ones that are really bad? What if God just stepped in and somebody was about to commit a murder, so they froze in place until their heart changed? But doesn't Scripture say that if you've been angry in your heart, you've committed murder in your heart, so he would have to stop that too. And he also says that the anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. So anytime you're tempted to be angry about something, God would have to step in and stop what we're doing. And in fact, he says, if you've committed one sin, you've broken the whole law. So really, any sin you would think or do or say, God would have to step in and stop, right? Because if he were going to stop evil, he would have to stop all of it.
Okay, so we see how that is a silly notion. No one would get to do anything or say much. We'd all just be frozen wherever we are, without the ability to think or reason or speak or talk. So God does allow sin and you can see just in a minute overview why that has to be. So you say, “Well, why didn't God just create a perfect world, without sin.” Well, he did that. There is no better world that God could create than the one he did. He created a perfect world with a perfect human being in it. That is, he was perfect without sin, not perfect as you would describe God. And then he had a companion, Eve, who was also without sin. So we did at one point have the world without sin and people in it. For a short time. With only one command. And they broke it. And you and I would have done the same.
So, we see that God did create the best world, with the best plan, with the best opportunity to know and to love him. And that brought in sin and sin brings in suffering. But here's the thing. Suffering is not always a result of sin. You got to hear that. Suffering is not always the result of sin. We think, “Well, there won't be any suffering in heaven and there won't be sin.” True. But the book of Job challenges the notion that sin directly brings all of the suffering that we see. You'll see Job's friends believed that. You'll get to hear what they had to say to Job, directly. One of them just to substantiate that says, “Who that was ever innocent, has perished?” Job 4:7. They tell Job, “Despise not the discipline of the Almighty” in Job 5:17. Over and over and over again, they are going to tell Job, “Job, you are at fault. You are the problem. You are full of sin, you're just really good at hiding it, Job.” But they missed the whole point. They missed the whole point. And our job this morning is to see, what is the point of suffering? Why is there suffering? Is that really the best question. You see Job and his friends are miles apart on understanding exactly why there is suffering in the world.
The context of Job, just to kind of give you an overview, as Job opens in a very unique way in Scripture. It was the first book written down and recorded for us. It didn't have the first events of the world, right? That was Genesis, but Job was the first one penned and written. And it opens in a way, look in verse one of chapter one, kind of in a story-type manner. It's very poetic, the book is. [Job 1:1] “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” The story as you know, if you're familiar with it, opens with Job just enjoying an incredible amount of wealth. It says he was the greatest man of all the East. He had lots of children, his children had lots of children. They had lots of animals and livestock and land and just to put all of the animals on the land, he would have had to have hundreds, if not thousands of acres. But the story doesn't stay there for long as you know.
We jump to where Satan and the children of God come before God. And we see this scene where Satan is there, in the presence of God. And God says [Job 1:8], “Have you considered my servant Job… a blameless and upright man.” God is in dialogue with Satan. Most of the dialogue we have between Satan and God, happens here in Job. And Satan accuses Job of loving God simply because God has put “a hedge of protection around him.” To use the phrase we all like to use. That God has so protected you, Job. That's why you love God. He's given you more possessions. And so God allows Satan to take everything from Job, all in one day. The fire of God comes down from heaven and consumes. The houses of his children fall on them and they all die in the same day. Job loses his land, he loses his animals, he loses his wealth, he loses the way to provide food, he loses everything that is near and dear to him.
Look in Job 2:7-8. Satan accuses God [by] saying, “Yes, but if you strike a man's health he'll curse you to [your] face.” God says, “You may attack Job’s health. But don't take his life.” Job 2:7-8, “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.” Here is the picture the artists made. Job is not in a pleasant place. He's got sores all over his body. If you and I have a sore on the bottom of our foot, we whine about it. They're everywhere, on his forehead, under his eyes. Even Job's wife couldn't take it anymore. Look in verse nine [Job 2:9], “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’” That is not the kind of wife you want, men. Job was alone in this world except for his sores and his wife. At this point, Job was in a very miserable place.
Job suffered for months. Sometimes when you look at the book of Job, you think, “Oh, he suffered, his friend showed up, and they had a conversation, and then God restored him.” No, that's not the case. Job 7:3, Job is speaking, and he says that he's “allotted months of emptiness.” Job was in this trial for many months. Word had to get out to his friends. They had to consider what's going on. They had to travel to him. They sat with him for at least seven days. And then they started speaking to him. People were talking about Job. His neighbors and his friends discussed what was happening to him. You can see that in Job 6:15, Job 12:4, Job 16:10, he was the gossip of the region. That's Job 17:6. I mean, this is where everybody turns against you, verbally. And they're all pointing the finger at you Job and saying, “It's just you and your fault.”
But we don't just have to wonder what Job was thinking. See, the book of Job tells us exactly what he was thinking. Look in Job 6:9, Joe was honest about his pain. “[Oh] that it would please God to crush me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!” What does that sound like? Job was wishing that God would just take his life. Why live in this miserable condition? Have you ever been there? As far as I know, none of us have gone through all of the trials that Job has. But we've been through traumatic things. Job 7:13. We all think that a good night's sleep is a blessing, which Scripture even says that it is. But in verse 13 [Job 7:13-15] it says, “When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,’ then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I would choose strangling and death rather than my bones.” Job is very straightforward. He has nightmares. His life is so miserable that he has nightmares. The blameless and upright man has nightmares.
Job 30:17, “The night racks my bones, and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.” This weekend, the ladies were able to go to a conference and hear about the Lord and the Word from Jack and Lisa Hughes. And whenever I hear things like, “the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.” I think of their daughter, who suffered from migraine headaches, every day, all day, for about seven years. Not just “Oh, my head hurts.” But, “I can't think, it hurts so much.” And if you have read her book, which I would recommend, about unmet expectations, you know, that they had to get down to the point where they had to trust God for every minute of every day. Parents, it's one thing to go through suffering and trials yourself, but to see your child struggle like that, is immense.
Job 30:27. It wasn't just the mind that was having terrors. It wasn't just the sores. He says, “My inward parts are in turmoil and never still.” Job 30:30, “My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat.” Your not going to hear Job talked about from many pulpits like this. They're not going to sing many songs on Christian radio that are always encouraging and talk about how Job's bones burned with heat. But Scripture thinks it's important that you know, God can handle the deepest suffering you could ever go through.
It wasn't just his health. As I mentioned earlier, Job's reputation was also gone. Job 29:9 says that princes used to cover their mouths when I spoke. You know that guy when he talks, you just want to hear what he has to say. Some of the national speakers who, they just seem to be profound. That was Job.
Job 30:1, “But now they laugh at me men, who are younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock.” These guys are so worthless, I wouldn't let them take care of my dogs. And now they're laughing at me. You ever had someone laugh at you, say something unkind? Cancel culture didn't start recently. Some people say, “Oh, you can't say that on Facebook.” When I post things about God on Facebook, “you will get canceled.” I'm like, “I can't get canceled from someone that I don't care what they say.” All of Job's friends, no one had his side. Literally, no one was in his corner. Not his wife, not his extended family (who did survive), relatives. Not his friends, not his neighbors, not the leaders of the town. In summary, it was bad. So, I want to ask you, how did Job endure this trial? How did he endure this trial? I mean, there are 34 chapters of ridicule from his closest friends.
He had two things that you need to endure trials. And if you have these two things, you can endure any trial as well. The first is that Job had the right character. Job had the right character. Scripture says in Job 1:8, “And the LORD said to Satan [this is Yahweh himself, declaring who Job is]… ‘there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” If you've ever wondered what it looks like to fear and love God at the same time, learn about Job. He turned from evil. We need to be able to have the right character. So, that when the accusations come, you don't feel like you need to go into a defense mode, to defend how righteous you are. That your character and your life speaks for itself.
We don't see Job defending himself until he is directly under attack, by his friends. They are directly accusing him of sin, not just of bad decisions, but of sin that defames the name of God. And to uphold God's righteousness, that's when Job defends himself. Do we have that kind of character that speaks for itself? That your boss would not accuse you of doing something wrong, not even think of you doing something wrong. That your friends or your parents or your neighbors know they can trust you. Because you have such integrity. This is what we need to strive for. His mind, his heart, his hands, his feet, his lifestyle, we're all dedicated to God. So, in their theology, the only thing they could think of was that Job must be hiding something because everything we can see looks like it brings glory to God. So Job, there must be something you're hiding. But Job had a pure character.
The second thing you need to endure trials is you must have the right theology. A right understanding of God. Not just to consider God and agree with God and who he is. Satan did that but didn't follow him. You have to have the right theology of following God. Job 1:20, gives Job's theology, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and [what?] worshiped.” This guy just got pummeled from every direction, and he's worshipping God. [Job 1:21] “And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.’” Is that what you were thinking of when we were singing it this morning? “Thank you, Lord God, for every trial I've ever had, blessed be Your name”? Or were you thinking, “I just got that car paid off, blessed be your name”? Right? “Thank you, Lord God, I just got that house. Blessed be Your name.” “Thank you, Lord God, for…” You see, that's not how Job worshiped. Job had a robust theology that worshiped God for the suffering and the trials. Job put his theology into practice. He didn't have time to go study. He knew who God was. Job knew. And when the trials hit, his theology was just who he was. “The LORD gave,” and who took away? “The LORD [took] away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” [Job 2:10] Shall we receive good and not disaster? Or even some translations say, evil from the hand of the Lord. [Job 1:22] “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”
Where's your tipping point? I mean, didn't sleep much last night, so your cranky all day. So tipping point is, “I don't get my eight hours, or my nine hours” or wherever you're at, “or my six.” What's your tipping point? “Somebody has wrongfully accused me of something and said something about me that isn't true. And until my name is justified, I am not going to rest.” Job directly pins the results of all these things on God. Job 6:4, “the arrows of the Almighty are in me.”
You see, in theology, we say that God is the ultimate cause of everything. He is at the end of the road when you just keep going back and back and back and back. God is there. The culpability for these things rests on the one who directly did them. That would be Satan. But yet Job knows, Satan does nothing without permission from God. “The arrows of the Almighty are in me, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Have we ever uttered such things? You see, I think Job's theology is deeper and greater than we could ever hope for. And you wonder, why do we study theology? Why do we study about God? Why this morning did we study the covenants? And, you know, their brains were hurting in Grace Equipp this morning because we just went over the Davidic Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Noahic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant. We went over the covenants at Horeb, we went over how Christ fulfilled those things, what he fulfilled what he didn’t, and that was just the warm up. Why? We have to know who we are in Christ! We need to have our heart and our theology right, our character and our theology, to endure, to rightly relate to God. I guarantee you will not rightly relate to God, without deep theology.
But what about Job's friends? They're the only ones who came to see him. The picture shows three, there was at least four. They talk about his three friends, there was a tag along who speaks later in the chapters there. But what about his friends? What did they say? I mean, they must have been really encouraging. Right? You know how unencouraging they were, but let's just look at a few of the things they said to bring Job back in line. Job 8:2, they bring a dump truck of salt and just bury it in his wounds. They're speaking to Job and they say, “How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind?” Ouch. I thought I couldn't get hurt anymore. But you found a way. Job 8:6, “if you are pure and upright, surely… he [that is God]… will restore your rightful habitation.” You hear a little bit of health and wealth in there? “Job, your rightful habitation has nothing to do with suffering. Everybody knows that. You must be full of sin from head to toe. God will restore your rightful habitation.”
Job 11:3, “[Job,] Should your babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you?” They're getting agitated a Job because he's not letting them speak the truth they want to speak. He's pushing back. And at times, it's not like his friends didn't know what they were talking about. They only had the most important thing wrong. Job 11:3-6, is pretty good wisdom from Job's friends. “Should your babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you? For you say, [listen to this] ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God's eyes.’ But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you, and that he would tell you the secrets of [his] wisdom! For he is manifold in understanding. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.” That's a pretty solid paragraph right there. Well, guess what, God is going to speak and when he does, he's going to explain his wisdom to Job. That's exactly what God does. And God does exact less of us than our guilt deserves. That's just the truth of Scripture that no one believes.
We would be okay with everything in life if we knew that we really deserved worse. Job's pretty honest with his friends, Job 16:2, he says, “miserable comforters are you all.” You're making me more miserable. What's going through Job's mind as he's saying all these things? See, Job never lost hope in God. The famous verse Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.” It's a little bit of arrogance almost tied in with that Scripture. We don't like to say that part. It still says, Job didn't sin. He is going to dialogue with God and God's going to do most of the talking. Job 23:16, Job says, the Almighty terrifies me. How can you have hope in someone who terrifies you? Job has a beautiful balance of worship, of love, and of the fear of God. Probably better than anyone in Scripture. If you have always wondered, how do I fear God? And how do I love God? And how do I worship God, at the same time? Then Job's your guy.
He says in Job 23:12, “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” Is that where your heart is, that you've treasured God's word more than food? So that when the sermons done, you think, “Wow, that was short. Give me more,” right? If you've ever been to other countries, many of them, the service is over when the pastor is done saying all he wants to say, it's a few hours. And it's not just a few hours of music. It's a little bit of music and just, a lot of preaching. Job says in Job 23:13, “But he [that is, God] is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.” Even though Job says he's going to argue his ways to God's face. He knows he can't turn back God on his ways. He knows he can't convince God that what he's done is not desirable or good. I think Job knows that God knows, he's a man of integrity. See, Job understands that God is the only one who truly understands him, in the depths of his heart.
And then God does show up. Job gets his wish. If you ask God to appear before you. (I've had people come up and tell me God has appeared to them and spoke to them, in person and in form). If you don't drop to your knees, then your story's over in my mind, and I'm just not listening. Okay, if Jesus has spoken you directly, because everyone's terrified of God when he speaks to them. When they even see an angel, they drop and they faceplant. But what do you think it would look like if God did appear and speak to you directly? Well look in Job 38:1, this is how God appears. These are some of my favorite chapters in all of the Bible, is God describing himself to Job. What does God say about himself? This is the most extensive passage we have about what God says about himself directly here. [Job 38:1] “Then the LORD [that's Yahweh] answered Job out of the whirlwind…” There's a storm that shows up. Swirling wind. This isn't starting out the way we wanted it to. I thought we would have maybe all my sores go away and everybody, you know, back to normal and we would be sitting down over some banquet feast. The whirlwind is where God speaks from. Job 38:2-3, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.”
God is setting the table. God makes the rules. God determines how man communicates with himself. We don't get to, tell God what to do. And when we ask God to speak to us, you can read your Bible now. But here God shows up and he's in charge. Let's just start with a simple question in verse four [Job 38:4], “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Let's just start with that, Job. “Tell me, if you have understanding.” Now, this is quite an opening statement by God. This is Job: black skin falling off, sores everywhere, cutting the sores because they're so irritated. Imagine having like a million mosquito bites and they're all infected. And Job is told, “Dress for action like a man; [and] I will question you…” Is that the kind of encouragement you think God is going to bring to you when he speaks to you or when he answers you? “Let me just ask you a few questions. Tell me if you have understanding. Remember your theology. Let's just test that a moment.” God is speaking from a storm, with all knowledge, to question Job, who has no idea what's going on.
Let me just give for you a sample some of the things God does to help Job answer the question he's not asking. God asked Job, in Job 38:12, “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place?” I thought everything just worked. I thought it just, boom there it was. No, someone is causing these things to happen. Was that you Job? I mean, you must know since you're so old, right? I think if you read through the book of Job you're going to be impressed at the breadth of Job's command of grammar, of literature, how he speaks, his questions, his knowledge of God. And God just basically says, “You're not even in the same game, Job. You're not on the same playing field. You're on the junior field with the T ball. It's just sitting right there for you to hit it.” Chapter 38 Verse 24. “Job, can you command the rain?” Verse 25 [Job 38:25], “How about sending forth lightning? How does that work, Job? Do you do that?” Verse 41 of chapter 38. “Could you provide for the raven its prey?”
Now if you're like me, you're going, “I bet I could get some food for a bird.” Right? That's what we think when we read stuff like that. How about ALL the ravens? Can you provide food for ALL the ravens before they die? Just take that over for half a day. Right? I’ve got so many sparrows outside my window, they run into the windows of the office back there. I love watching them, but they're everywhere. They're all on Red Bull or something, they’re just all over the place eating and doing stuff. And I mean, how many hundreds of millions of animals does God provide food for every single day? Job?
Well, chapter 39 is just amazing as well. God goes on to talk about the formation of the Earth, the stars, the rain, the ice – which, you know, goes through its different forms. “Just so in case you forget, it becomes like rock, Job. I did that.” Who causes them to act as they do? God is the cause of all those things, not just the one who is admiring them that, just kind of came to be. “I'm the one who did those things, Job.” God talks about the animals of the earth from the dumb ostrich which lays its egg out in the open for anyone to step on. “Who caused it to be like that, Job? I did. Are you okay with that? Or the eagle to soar and to build his nest on high. I gave the eagle the ability to do that, Job, to fly as it does. To build nests where no one can get to it. I did that, Job. Have you clothed the horse with its mane? Could you even tame the locusts?”
You're thinking, well, I could crush the locusts? Have you ever seen the swarms of locusts that still happen all the time? Like in the African continent. They laugh at the sword, you've got a sword, just imagine yourself I've got a sword, I know I can beat a single locust. And here comes a few billion of them. They devour everything, they don't stop, you can scream at them. You do whatever you want. But you can't do anything to thwart them. In all of our technology and understanding, a swarm of locusts is uncontrollable on this earth. “Tell me, Job. What is your wisdom bring forth? That's what my wisdom brings forth.”
You see, God is starting to direct us towards the actual question. “Why is there suffering in the world?” Is honestly, it's mostly an emotional question. It's not a difficult one. Why is there suffering in the world? Because you and I exist and we're sinners. And we're really good at causing suffering. Why do volcanoes explode in various cities? Well, is it better for the people in the city to be in your presence or God’s? We think it's better for them to be in our presence. So we're discouraged. And it just, it kills our thinking in our mind. And we're thinking wow, that's, that's horrible for all these people to be ushered directly into the presence of God. And if they know God into his eternal glory, with no more suffering or pain or trials or anything, and they just get to be with God. That's horrible. That's what we're saying. When we see, “natural disasters,” that do things that we don't understand, we can't fathom God's purpose in all these things. And we think, “Oh, it's just better if they were here.”
Theology drives the answers. He speaks about beasts in chapter 41. Beasts where out of his mouth go flaming torches. Did we just slip into mythology? Or are there beasts that you and I don't understand, that did actually exist. Beasts that count iron as straw, that men quiver at the sight of them; the sword and the spear do nothing. Just saw a video of a guy who took down a massive, massive grizzly bear with a spear. And this beast God made and commands, and the sword and the spear do nothing to it. “Job, [Job 41:11], who has given to me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heavens is mine. The beast that terrifies you, I made. The stars you can't reach, I made? And Job, guess what? I actually take care of all of them.”
Does God ever answer Job and tell him why? Why is Job suffering? Why does all this happen to Job? Does he ever do that? No, he never does. Job has no idea about the insight of the first couple chapters. Job has no idea. Why? Because the answer of, “Why are we suffering?” is the wrong question. See that question, which is what everybody answers, assumes God has some kind of flaw. And what the world says is, “that he must not be all loving because if he did, he would care.” Or, “he must not be all knowing, because maybe he just doesn't have the wisdom he needs to take care of our suffering.” Or, “maybe it's because he's not all powerful. He might be caring and loving and kind but maybe he, you know, he can only be in one place at one time.” That’s what the world says. So you and I, they say, serve this deficient God. But, “Why is there suffering?” is the wrong question. What question does God answer? God answers the questions: “Is God just? Is God wise and holy?” You see, once we actually know who God is, it answers all of those other questions.
And hear God hones in on his wisdom to create these things, his power to create and sustain these things, and his love in that he provides even for that ostrich. You see, what God wants us to understand, is the difference between us and God. And once we truly understand the difference between us and God, we're okay with the calamity. We're okay with things not happening right. We're okay because God is in control. And if you for a moment, think that God is not in control, then we all have huge problems. If there's something that can override the will of God, we've got problems. And yet we try and use prayer to do that all the time. If there's someone who can override God's will, then we've got problems.
I was talking to Pastor Jack. I hung out with him on Friday, and he's discipled me for a long time. This is Jack Hughes. You should look up his sermons and listen to them. Although you have to stay here if you do because he's a way better preacher. I love the guy. But as you listen, you see the sovereignty of God woven into everything. And he preaches and teaches that all the time. See, when you lack trust, it's doubt in the sovereignty of God. When you're anxious, you think maybe something's going to happen that shouldn't happen. Right? But God here is trying to point Job to the fact that he does know all things and he is in control. It's like a newborn baby. Job, I don't need to answer your questions. When you have a baby, do you sit there and talk to them about the foundation of the world, when they're crying? Do you explain how the little limbs and their chubby little arms are going to grow? Do you explain to them how their siblings got here? Or how the air conditioner kicked on? Or what air conditioning is? Do they care? No. Where's the food? They don't even care how you got it. They just want it. Why are they satisfied with that? It's such a small amount of knowledge. Because God has designed them to trust their mommies and daddies. They give me what I need. And that's all I need to know. That is what God is trying to teach Job.
It wouldn't be a good message on Job without reading Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” All things. [Romans 8:29] “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Salvation is not the end of the plan in life, it's being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for you. So that you could be sanctified and worship God, truly, and worship God, accurately. Not so all of your suffering could go away. God promises you suffering. Christianity is not the happy bliss ride. It is understanding that in Christ I have the ability to endure anything that comes my way in life because of Jesus Christ.
Let me give you a couple of takeaways for today. Lessons from the book of Job. First, learn to comfort others and focus less on yourself. It's a blunt book. So there's a blunt application. 2 Corinthians 1:4, God comforts us in our affliction so that we can comfort others in theirs.
Two, draw close to God, who is compassionate and merciful. Yes, Job is a real person. James 5:11 confirms that, which says, “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” Is that the message you get from Job, that God is compassionate and merciful? Job 42:10 says, “And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” He lived over 100 years [after this restoration] and saw many generations of his family and children after that. Many more camels to take care of. But are you drawing close to a God that we create? Or the actual God? See, Job's friends drew close to a God of their own imagination. Not God for who he really was.
So, learn to comfort others draw close to God for who he is and learn of his mercy. And then like Job, not only work on your character, but get your theology right, so that in the trial you can remain strong.
Father God, this is one of the most beautiful books that you've written down for us. It's challenging in every way. It challenges our notions of you and our understanding of you. It challenges our comforts, it challenges our theology. Lord, we pray that you would just reveal yourself to us in your Word, so that we can truly know you.
Right now, if you don't know God, I pray that you would give your life to him. Confess your sin and turn to Jesus Christ, by faith. If you do know God, let's just take a moment and pray and ask God to give us the right character and theology that we need to live for him.
Lord God, we love you, we praise your name. We pray that you would give us strength and encouragement to follow you, no matter the trials. We pray that you'd help us to have this insatiable desire to learn your Word. And to put it into practice, Lord God, each and every day. Thank you for the great blessing and the wonder that you have given us in Jesus Christ, who forgives us of our sin. That alone is cause to rejoice, Lord, for all of eternity. In your precious name we pray. Amen.
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