We're taking a look at how to Biblically understand bad times in our lives from God's perspective. We all have "It's Not Right" times. We've learned 1) we should find some way to Thank God For Everything. We've learned 2) we can Turn Trouble Into Blessings if we handle the It's Not Right Time correctly. Trouble is a test for the Believer, and a prayer will not save us as we looked learned in 3) Only Secure If You Endure. Last time, we began looking at a man named Job. If ever someone seemed to have the right to say It's not right, it was Job. We talked about 4) Job Began Well.
One day Satan was allowed by the Lord God to strike Job. Job lost his great wealth to robbers and fire from heaven. It was a financial disaster. The same day Job lost his ten children in a tornado. It was family disaster.
Job 1:21-22 and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
On another day, Satan was allowed to strike Job's health with a hideous disease causing infected, oozing boils all over his body containing worms. Job sat in a bed of ashes attempting to find relief. If anyone had the right to say, "It's Not Right!" it was Job. However, he didn't. At least not yet. He conquered in the time of trouble. Job began well.
Job 2:10 He replied, "…Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job proved his love for God was superior to his love for possessions or even his love for family.
Though Job saw his situation the best theologically he knew, he was not healed. It went months with no healing (7:2-3). Today we do everything according to what we know concerning God's word, and nothing seems to work. Did Job go through his suffering and trouble with high spirits? No. No more than you or I would. Job was so depressed and borderline suicidal, he cursed the day he was born (3:1-26). Nothing brings on depression like grief, sickness, and disease. Job experienced them all. It was here Job said,
Job 3:25-26 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."
We all fear sickness. Nothing is more important than health. If you're too young to realize this now, one day you'll understand. You will ask, "Why? If God is God, then why am I sick?" Nothing is more devastating physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually than the loss of health. Time will come for nearly all of us when we'll have trouble in this area. For us to project we shouldn't struggle isn't realistic. If the Book of Job ended with Job in total victory (Job 1-2), it wouldn't be realistic. It doesn't. Its writer, the Holy Spirit, desires we learn more, so he takes us through Job's physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual struggle. Let's learn.
Three friends came to visit Job and for the next twenty-nine chapters (chapter 2 through 31) Job responds to these friends and their "words of counsel." What does God want us to learn from this section? Let's take a look.
Job is depressed. Who would not be? In chapters 4-5, one of Job's friends speaks. His name is Eliphaz.
Job 4:7-9 "Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it. At the breath of God they are destroyed; at the blast of his anger they perish.
Eliphaz makes a blanket statement saying God's judgment comes upon evil, sinful people. God's blessings come upon the innocent and the upright. Suffering is the result of sin. Blessing is the result of righteousness. Is this correct? Is it only evil and sinful people who have trouble? No, but have you ever heard someone imply this? Have you ever thought this of someone? I'm all for self-evaluation when trouble comes, but I've learned it is not only evil people who have trouble. In fact, it seems sometimes evil people have less trouble than righteous people. Eliphaz said,
Job 5:8-9 "But if it were I, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
Eliphaz insinuated Job was not seeking God. If Job were seeking God as he should, God would perform a miracle and heal Job. Have you ever heard, or thought this one? "If people got serious with God, God would work a wonder for them and their situation would elevate." It's more religious rhetoric. It makes no sense.
These views do not answer the real questions. Why do some suffer in an extraordinary way when they have not sinned in an extraordinary way? It does not answer the question why some prosper in an extraordinary way when they have sinned in an extraordinary way. Job came back at Eliphaz. Job said he was not slothful in his appeal to and his seeking God. Job said he had not denied the word of God (6:10). He said, "…show me where I've done wrong."
Job 6:24 "Teach me, and I will be quiet; SHOW ME WHERE I HAVE BEEN WRONG.
Job said if you know so much then show me. The next time you encounter an Eliphaz, tell him to show you. Eliphaz couldn't!
Another one of Job's "friends," Bildad, agreed with Eliphaz in God judges only the wicked and blesses the righteous.
Job 8:3-6 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.
Bildad went as far as saying Job's children were killed in the tornado because they had sinned. Bildad agreed with Eliphaz. Job needed to seek God, and God would restore Job. Do you have any friends like this? Are you a friend like this? Here is Job's reply.
Job 9:22-24 It is all the same; that is why I say, 'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.' …IF IT IS NOT HE, THEN WHO IS IT?
The way Jesus said this "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Mat 5:45).
Not for one minute did Job doubt the sovereignty of God. To Job it all went back to the Lord. No matter what happened, good or bad, God allowed it if God is God. It's not because of sin. It's because God is God.
A third friend, Zophar, agreed with Eliphaz and Bildad. It had to be sin (11:14-15). All of Job's "friends" agreed. Job must have sinned, and he was not seeking God in repentance. In their theology, this was Job's problem. Was it? As the story progresses, the friends became more and more bitter toward Job as they continued their stance. It's what religion does. Job became more and more sarcastic toward them never once succumbing to their claim. Job said,
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.
Job said he knew his trouble and suffering was not because of sin, evil, or wickedness. Even if God slayed Job, Job would go to his grave defending himself to God's face. To this Job's religious "friends" became more belligerent.
Job 22:5-10 Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless? …THAT IS WHY snares are all around you, WHY sudden peril terrifies you
Their concept of God is religious, not real. It's similar today simply because we do not understand testing, trials, and trouble. We have a big Satan and a small God. The point of these chapters is to show us the difference between religion and reality. It's to help us understand how off our theology can be and how little we understand It's Not Right! times.
Job stood in his faith and understanding of trouble. He said,
Job 19:25-27 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
The Lord is Job's Redeemer, not Job's angry judge. Job was perplexed as to why he was having trouble, but he knew it was not because God was angry with him. Somehow it was because God loved him. Job had not abandoned his God. He yearned within for God.
Good sounding theology can be false. The theology of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar sounded good, but it is false. We should always put a high premium on true theology, not good sounding theology. Good sounding theology is often false theology.
God does not distribute suffering nor prosperity in proportion to the evil or good you or others do. It's a primary point of these chapters. Never allow yourself to be judged by others period, but never judge anyone's relationship with God by their suffering or their prosperity. The most righteous and blameless among us could be suffering the most.
God reigns over everything and everyone from the greatest to the smallest. God's soveringty and only God's soveringty, is the understanding and solution for testing, trials, and trouble. In today's theology it's more Satan has the upper hand and reigns over its Not Right! times. Does he? How do you see it?
In our It's Not Right perplexing times, there is a wisdom hidden from us.
Job 28:12-13 "But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living.
The wisdom we often want to have in our It's Not Right times is only in heaven and only God has it. James said if we lack wisdom, ask God (Jam 1:5). Everything, God does, is by divine wisdom. Be like Job. "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him."
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