We've been talking about how we should handle trouble, tragedy, disasters, illness, and difficult times from God's perspective. Why do the scriptures tell us to consider it pure joy (Jam 1:2) and to give thanksgiving to God when we experience It's Not Right Times? We're looking at a story in the scriptures about a man named Job. The scriptures tell us Job suffered the loss of all his wealth. He'd lost all ten of his children in a tornado. For months, Job suffered from a disease causing horrible festering boils all over his body. What kind of state of mind do you think you'd have? We read Job's state of mind in chapter 19.
Job 19:17-21 My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own brothers. Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth. "Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me.
Job was extremely ill and daily pining away. He felt God had struck him. Do you think this is how you'd feel even if you didn't say it?
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!
Though he didn't understand, Job knew God was his Redeemer and when he died Job knew he would be resurrected to see God. Job knew his trouble was not because he'd sinned as three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar insisted. Job's conclusion was, like many today, God is haphazard, unpredictable, erratic, and impulsive. Though it all seemed meaningless, it wasn't and Job would understand in the sweet by and by. This is a workable theology, but not the best.
There was another friend named Elihu, who raised the thinking about God allowing trouble to a new level. Elihu said God was not punishing Job for sin as the others said. Instead, God was loving Job and helping Job avoid hell. God was rooting out, gouging out, and cutting out Job's sin of pride. Pride had the potential to take Job to hell. Cutting out sin sounds radical doesn't it, but what did Jesus say?
Matthew 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to sin, GOUGE IT OUT and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be THROWN INTO HELL. And if your right hand causes you to sin, CUT IT OFF and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to GO INTO HELL.
Do you believe this? Jesus said no pain, not trouble, no suffering is too great if it will keep us out of hell. We don't think like this. We think once we pray the prayer, God is stuck with us. No. You're only secure if you endure. Do you see It's Not Right! times as a surgeon's scalpel and God's love gouging and cutting out of you what could destroy you, or God's anger and punishment? Metaphorical
In chapter 38, Job has come to a place where the Lord could speak to him. As we saw last time - For God Does Speak Now One Way Now Another, a purpose of trouble, tragedy, disaster, and even illness is to bring us to a place where God can speak to us.
Job 38:1-3 Then the LORD answered Job OUT OF THE STORM. He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with WORDS WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE?BRACE YOURSELF like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
God is in our storms. It's in our storms of life God speaks the clearest to us. This is the highest level we come to in understanding It's Not Right!times. It's not comprehending God isn't punishing us. It's not comprehending God loves us and is rooting something out of us so we can avoid hell. It's so God can speak and become real to us. He's not theology, doctrine, or a religion. He's real! He wants us to see him.
God said Job used words without knowledge. Have you ever done this? We talk, but don't know what we're talking about. We do this with It's Not Right! times.
The Lord told Job to brace himself. "Get ready boy. I am about to rattle you. Job, like us, questioned the ways of God. Now God quizzed Job. It's about who do you think you are to question my ways?
God questioned Job.
Job 38:4-6 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone
Hey Job, where were you when I created the earth? Do you understand how I did it? If so, then you can question my actions."
Job 38:8-12 Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'? Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place…
Job, who placed the seas and told them they could only come this far? What about the morning, Job? Did you tell the sun when to rise?
Job 38:16-18 "Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.
Job, have you ever walked on the bottom of the sea? Job, what about the gates of death? Have you ever seen them? Tell me, Job!
Job 38:24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
Job, do you control lightning? How about the winds Job? Do you control the winds over the earth?
Job 38:25-29 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm… Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
Job, do you control the weather? The insinuation is, "I do!"
Job 38:32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons…
Job, do you control the seasons and the constellations?
Job 38:36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?
Job, does wisdom come from you? Can you give wisdom, Job?
Job 39:19 "Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?
Job 39:26-27 "Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high?
Job, did you create, or do you control the animal kingdom, or the bird kingdom? For two chapters, God went on and on with questions showing Job he was a fool to question the way God does anything.
Job 40:1-2 The LORD said to Job: "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!"
We question the ways of God when God is God alone. Everything God created is perfect. Why do we question him in our It's Not Right Times?There are ten billion events taking place on the earth and in the heavens at this moment we don't even realize are happening. If we did, we couldn't do anything about them. The constellations orbit. Seasons change. Birds fly. The sea's boundaries are determined. Fish swim. Animals live. God's proven he knows what he is doing. Man has only proven man doesn't.
Job 40:3-4 Then Job answered the LORD: "I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer - twice, but I will say no more."
Job got the point. He realized he can't comprehend the depths of what God alone does. The point is who do we think we are to question, murmur, or rebuke God? We do not understand the depths of what God is doing. It's not only trusting God. It's knowing God does everything beyond perfect.
Job 42:3 You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
Who are we to question God? As wise as you are, as educated as you are, as experienced as you are, as aged as you are, you can't run this universe. We can't, so we must trust the only one who can.
Job 42:5-6 My ears had heard of you BUT NOW MY EYES HAVE SEEN YOU. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
Our ears can be filled with hearing theology, but it's not until our eyes see God - when God becomes real and not theology - we will come to repentance. Before coming to a place to hear and see God, Job despised God. After seeing God, Job despised himself. God cannot be only a doctrine.
Job repented of his self-righteousness and pride. The bottom line is Job trusted God. We're incapable of comprehending how the universe works or a hummingbird flies. We're incapable of comprehending the troubles we face in life, but we can trust the only one who does comprehend. Isn't this far more simple?
The closing of the Book of Job tells us a great truth. God will restore us. It may take time, but God will restore us. Even if it's death, there will be glory.
God restored the relationships between Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
Job 42:7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because YOU HAVE NOT SPOKEN OF ME WHAT IS RIGHT, as my servant Job has.
These three preached bad theology saying only the sinful suffer and only the righteous blessed. They viciously attacked Job saying Job's suffering was because of sin. God instructed them to offer sacrifices, apologize to Job, and ask Job to pray for them. This is a twofold test. It was a test for them. Also, it was a test for Job. Would Job forgive them? This becomes a serious issue.
Matthew 5:43-44 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant who would not forgive and was thrown into torment (Mat 18:21-35)? Forgiveness is big to the Lord.
The three did as instructed. They gave their sacrifices and went to Job asking him to pray for them. Look at the last verses of the book of Job.
Job 42:10-17 AFTER JOB HAD PRAYED FOR HIS FRIENDS, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. … After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years.
What a great place to end our series on It's Not Right! We've seen different layers and reasons we experience It's Not Right! times from God's perspective. We've gone through levels of understanding.
1. Thank God for Everything - Bring God into our trouble. God allowed it. Thank him for it. He doesn't work in murmuring and complaining. God works in faith.
2. Turn Troubles into Blessings - When handled correctly, i.e. God's way, troubles in our lives can be turned into blessings
3. Only Secure if You Endure - Don't fall for the contemporary teaching of Eternal Security. Check it out. Don't wake from death in hell.
4. Job Began Well - We all have troubles. Many begin well, but what happens to our faith after months and years of struggling?
5. Job: Show Me Where I Have Been Wrong - If your trouble is because of your sin, then someone should be able to show you. If they can't, you need to go to a different level.
6. Job: For God Does Speak, Now One Way, Now Another - God's goal is to get us to a place where he can speak to us.
7. Job: Out of the Storm - God is in your storm. It's in your storm God will speak his clearest. It's in the storms of lie we see God as never before.