August 18, 2013 Job

August 18, 2013   Job 1 and 2  

     The story is told of a wonderful, elderly, Christian lady. She had very little money and lived in a rundown house, but she was always praising the Lord.   Her only problem was with the old man who lived next door.   He was always trying to prove to her that there was no God.    One day, as the old man was walking by her house, he noticed the woman through an open window.    She was kneeling down in prayer, so he crept over to the window to see if he could hear.   She was praying, “Lord, you’ve always given me what I’ve needed." She prayed. "And now you know that I don’t have any money, and I’m completely out of groceries, and I won’t get another check for a week." She continued, "Somehow, Lord, can you get me some groceries." 

     The man had heard all he needed.  He crept away from the window and ran down to the grocery store.   He bought milk, bread, and lunch meat.   He ran back to the woman’s house carrying the groceries.   He set the bag down on by her door, rang the doorbell, and hid beside of the house. You can imagine how the woman reacted to seeing the bag of groceries.    She threw her hands over head and began praising the Lord. "Thank you Jesus," she shouted. "I was without food and you provided the groceries."    About that time the old man jumped out and said, "I’ve got you now."   She was too busy shouting thank yous to Jesus to pay any attention.   "I told you there was no God," the old man said, “it wasn’t Jesus who gave you those groceries it was me."   "Oh no," the woman said. "Jesus got me these groceries and made the devil pay for them." It is interesting the different way that each one looked at that.   The man said I did it I did and Jesus did not do it.   Sometimes we are fast to say I did it.   Other times we do not want the credit for it.    The woman said Jesus did it for me and the devil paid for it.   How do we think about suffering in general and what do we think about Job?   

    Well here is a rich man who was blameless and upright according to God.   He hated evil and even would offer sacrifices for his children.   Today we offer the sacrifice of prayer for our children.   I believe he prayed for his children.  He is just living his life and trying to do right.   He seeks to walk with God.   He wants to live uprightly.  He takes each day at a time and seeks to make the most of it.   He keeps his focus on God in the midst of his prosperity.   Job wanted God to be glorified in his life.    He shared with others and was a good guy.  He is the kind of person you would like to hang around.   He would make a good deacon in the church and you would want him and his family in your church because he is a blessing and he is an asset.   He is living his life and then wham one day things turn against him.   I was thinking why preach on this passage.  

     Monday morning I picked it out and then shortly after that I get a call from church and was told the sliding glass door is broken in the sun room.  I had my day planned Monday and it did not include a trip to church and a call to the police.   Sally come home and tells me that a woman is on a corner in Northwood in her car and she is hit and dies.   She just drives out in the morning on her way to her day and life and wham.   Sally said an 8th. Grader was out running and had a seizure and passed away.   Every day is something.   God tells us in the book of James do not boast about tomorrow.   We do not know what tomorrow will bring.   We only want to boast in God.  We can certainly start out our day and plan our day with God.  We can leave all of it in his hands.   And no matter what is taken away from us we always have him.   He is always with us and he always loves us.   We as Christians have a hope and we have comfort from the Holy Spirit who is our helper.  One Christian told me this week that God assured them that no matter what happens God is with them and loved them.  

     Satan comes with the angels and presents himself before the Lord.   And God asks him where have you come from?    I am sure that God knew where Satan had been.   Nothing escapes God but there is a dialogue going on here and God strikes up a conversation with Satan.   Now this is total wickedness in the presence of Him who is holy, holy, holy and they have a little chat.   God says have you seen Job?   Job is blameless and upright.   He fears God and hates evil.  God is bragging on his servant Job.    God is still bragging on his saints today.    It is like God saying Satan look at this person who walks with me.   Have you noticed him?   Well Satan certainly did notice him.   Satan notices you and me.     Satan knew the hedge that was around Job.   God has put a hedge around us.   God has put a wall around us to protect us and Satan knew the exact limits of his ability to hurt Job.   Satan knew exactly what he could do and not do.  Satan knew his limits.   Satan is on a leash and that leash is only so long.   That is a pretty neat thought isn’t it?   All that stuff that goes on around me has at least been allowed by God.          

    Satan tells God well you have blessed him and he serves you because you are so good to him God.  Satan said strike everything that he has and he will curse you.   The Lord says OK you can strike everything that he has but you cannot touch him.  So Satan leaves the presence of the Lord and wreaks havoc on Job.  I suspect that Satan is pleased to bring suffering to Job.   I suspect that Satan may have left God’s presence quickly.   He has got a dirty deed he can do.   Jesus said the thief comes but to steal, to kill and to destroy.   You might say Satan is not into blessing but into cursing.   He is man’s and God’s enemy.  

     The first thing we see in verse 15 is that the Sabeans come attacked and took the oxen and donkeys and they killed the servants.   Satan stirred up the Sabeans to do this.   While this messenger is giving Job the bad news another servant comes and tells Job that the fire of God fell from heaven and burned up sheep and servants and I am the only one left.  Can Satan impact the weather?   There are Christians who rebuke storms in Jesus name.  While he is still speaking another messenger comes with more bad news when it rains sometimes it pours.  The Chaldeans came and attacked and killed all your servants but me and took the camels.   Timing is everything we have heard and while he is still speaking another messenger comes with more bad news.   Your sons and daughters were feasting – you know just enjoying another day.   A mighty wind came up from the desert and the house fell and it killed all your kids.  Guess who sent that wind?   I don’t know about you but I would about want to die if all that happened to me.   Satan has a little wager going on with God and he does not want to lose.  Satan is not going to make it easy on Job.   

    Job has a pretty good attitude here.   It is tough to get news like that and worship but that is what we need to do.  Job gets up and tore his robe shaved his head and falls to the ground and worships.  Job says naked I came into his world and I will leave the same way. The Lord has given and God has taken away and may God be praised.   That is pretty amazing isn’t it?    That is a good attitude.   We need to be reminded from time to time what we are going to leave this world with.   I did not come in this world with anything.   Sometimes we work too hard for more stuff.  We can get by with less.   We can be happier with less.   It had to be awful tough for Job to lose his kids.   

      .    Fred Markes, Shares.   When you've lost something or someone precious, it is easy to forget that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away." He doesn't owe us a reason.   John Claypool was a pastor in Louisville, Kentucky many years ago. He and his wife lost their daughter, Laura Lou, to leukemia.   He later explained his loss by telling a story from his childhood.   During WWII his family didn't own a washing machine, and since gas was rationed, they couldn't afford to drive to a laundry.   Keeping their clothes clean became a challenge.   John's neighbor went into the service and his wife moved in with her family.  They offered to let John's family use their Bendix wringer washer while they were gone. They reasoned it would be better for it to be used than to sit rusting on the porch.  

     John helped with the family's laundry, and he said he developed a fondness for that old green Bendix. When the war ended his neighbors returned, and they reclaimed their washing machine.   Over the course of the war, young John had actually forgotten the machine was loaned to them, so when the neighbors removed it, John was upset and angry that they would take his washing machine. His mother sat him down and said, "John, you must remember that the washing machine never belonged to us in the first place.   That we ever got to use it at all was a gift.   So, instead of being mad at it being taken away, let us use this as an occasion to be thankful that we ever had it at all."   John Claypool would say years later he struggled with the death of eight-year-old Laura Lou, until he remembered that old green Bendix.    He wrote: "When I remember that Laura Lou was a gift, pure and simple, something I neither earned nor deserved nor had a right to; and when I remember that the appropriate response to a gift, even when it is taken away, is gratitude, then I am better able to try and thank God that I was ever given her in the first place."   (Steps of a Fellow Struggler)   It seems to be what Job is living in this passage.   God gives everything and God has the right to take anything away. That's the kind of attitude that will keep you from bitterness and depression when you face loss.    

     In chapter 2 Satan and God have about the same discussion as in chapter 1.   God tells Satan Job did not lose his integrity and Satan counters well strike his flesh and he will curse you.  So Satan afflicts Job with painful sores all over his body.  It would be like rotting flesh.   Job’s wife tells Job to curse God and die.   There is a lot of bad counsel out there.  It has been recommended not to make decisions especially big decisions in the middle of a struggle, or a conflict.  People do things in a fit of anger that they would never do when life is normal for them and then they regret it and pay for it for years sometimes.    Curse God and die is certainly bad advice.   Our suffering is short lived though when we are in the middle of it the suffering seems to last forever.      

      How do we look at suffering?    How do we see Job’s affliction?   This book is loved by many.  Many Christians like to read this book and find comfort in it.  It is a tough book.   Over the years many have asked why do the godly suffer.   Why do bad things happen to good people and where is God in the midst of my affliction.   To only think about Job in those terms is to miss so much of other ways to look at life and to look at him.   Job had a great life.  God blessed him over and over again.  Did Job have a period of time that he suffered greatly – yes?   Did God bless him in the midst of his suffering?  I think so.  Is God with us when we suffer?     Does our suffering point us to God?    Does God help us with our affliction?   Does God draw us closer to him when we suffer?   I think Job was very focused on God during this time frame of his life.  It was not easy but Job was not thinking about his servants and running the farm all the time.  He had a lot to manage.  

      God is perfect in His goodness.   God does not set aside his goodness when things get tough for us.   In all of Jobs affliction God’s love and goodness and kindness was still in operation.   We need to pause and think about that.   God never removes his goodness and kindness.  God never removes his mercy.   We need to remember that God removed all of the boils from Job’s life and restored his flesh.   God also restored and doubled his possessions.  God also blessed him by speaking with him and revealing himself to Job.   There is so much good here.  God also protected him from all the other stuff that Satan wanted to do to him.   And God spoke to Job.  Just God speaking to him calmed his questioning spirit.   It is so awesome when God reveals himself to us.   Job was so blessed.   Paul was lifted into the 3rd heaven and heard things that were not even lawful for man to speak.   God humbled Paul just like Job was humbled.  Paul had great revelations.  

      Do you think it is possible to live in this world without suffering?   If it is possible for someone to do that what kind of a person would they be?   Do you think they would be mature and that they would have learned to be patient?   What good would they be?   How humble would they be?   I know they would not make a good pastor.   I know all of us have struggled a great deal.  God has been so good to me and I know many of you have had a far more difficult road to travel.  God has blessed all of us with good things and we can and should be a thankful people.