Listen to the full sermon.
Today we are going to go back in time and journey together with a man called Job. His name means hated or persecuted.
Job lived in a time when his culture believed that prosperity was connected to a person’s goodness and consequently suffering was a result of an individual’s sin or offensive thoughts, words or behaviour.
As a result of these beliefs, false perceptions were formed about God, self and others.
Job was very rich, prosperous and in good health. Therefore he was considered to be a good man, blameless and upright. The text states he feared God and shunned evil. Great praise indeed!
Sadly it was perceived that Job’s prosperity was a result of his own goodness and that God had blessed him accordingly.
Due to this false belief of self and God, Job lived with pride of his own goodness and resultant fear of God. He thought his sons may have cursed God in their heart and caused an offence, so every morning out of fear, he would offer sacrifices to God on their behalf.
At the time and throughout the ages much has been thought and said about Job. His story reveals a lot about humanity, the evil one and ultimately God.
the journey with job
We are introduced to the evil one who is very cunning. He speaks lies and deceptions out of selfish desires and pride of self. The evil one is totally opposed to God and is always seeking worship of self. In the blindness of pride he falsely accuses God of blessing Job for self gain.
Job 1:9-12 ‘So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.’
As we journey with Job it is important to remember that humanity gave power to the evil one, right back in the beginning. God gave the first man and woman power and dominion over all the earth, yet they chose to believe the evil one’s lies and elevated them above God’s truth. They followed the counsel of the evil one and chose to became one with both good and evil. As a result they gave the evil one their God given power over the earth. At that moment evil was activated and death, sickness and brokenness entered into this once perfect world.
God is only good. When He created the heavens and the earth it was good. However as a consequence of humanity’s actions, both good and evil are active in this world.
Remembering Job and his friends believed they were blessed because in their own eyes they were good. They also had a false belief of God, accusing Him of being the source of evil and that He cursed those who were not good.
Therefore they reason that God will bless them when theyn do good. They would actually be able to control God and even bribe Him into blessing them by doing good. Consequently if they did bad, they falsely believed that God was also the source of evil and would bring evil upon them.
So when Job lost his earthly wealth and physical health as a result of the evil one’s access, His friends had much to say about it. Out off their own false beliefs they wrongly judged Job, accusing him of some evil in his heart. They even spoke wrongly about God, in that God was punishing Job for the evil in his heart.
job accuses God
Then Job has a lot to say also. He falsely accuses God of crushing him without cause and filling him with bitterness so that he now despises himself and his life. Job actually believes that it is God who has brought about his suffering.
Out of Job’s false belief he questions, what is the point of doing good if God doesn’t care. He reasons that if God doesn’t acknowledge Job’s own goodness by declaring that he is innocent, that what is the point of living? Job laments about his birth and desires that no one had seen him or knew him.
Sadly Job wrongly believes that God is sadistic, unjust and doesn’t care. Yet He retorts, that if it is not God who is the source of this suffering, then who else could it be?
Job was struggling with fear and false belief. Overwhelmed by circumstances beyond his control. His suffering was not from God, but a result of evil being active in his world.
God dialogues with job
But God in His amazing grace (which is unearned and undeserved favour), equal justice and love reaches down to Job in a way he would understand. God is greater than any false belief, sickness, pain or troubles of this world.
Out of a whirlwind God dialogues with Job. Has a one on one with him, intimately and personally in grace and truth. God is there with Job in his suffering.
He speaks wisdom and truth into the tumbleweeds and dust of Job’s mind. God brings living water into the desert of Job’s mind and healing into his brokenness. Sowing the seeds of new life God renewed Job’s thoughts, restored his health and gives him eternal salvation.
So let us listen to a summary of God’s dialogue with Job and hear the heart of God.
were you there?
‘Were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth and determined it’s measurements? Set the boundaries of the sea and clothed the earth with clouds of moisture? Were you there when I commanded the sun to herald the dawn and push back the darkness? When the heavenly hosts and the stars of the galaxies shouted for joy and sang My glory? Were you there when I satisfied the desolate wasteland and caused the growth of tender grasses?
Can you loosen the belt of Orion and bind the cluster of Pleiades? Set the ordinances of the heavens over the earth and control its cycle? Can you command the clouds to bring forth water and flood the plains? Send out lightnings and determine where they go? Can you annul My judgement and condemn Me and justify yourself?
do you know?
Do you know everything that is under heaven is mine and I am no ones debtor? When the lion, bear and wild mountain goat give birth to their young? Do you know the wisdom of a migrating hawk as it flies south for the winter? The perspective of an eagle as it spies out its prey to feed its young? Do you know the foolishness of the ostrich, the strength of a horse and the power of the behemoth?’
How awesome and glorious is God? He reveals His love and blessing is not something that we can earn or even deserve. He loves and blesses not because of how clever we are, how prosperous we are or how useful we are. But because of who He is. He is good, kind, gentle and loving.
Job 42:1-5 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.
Through the life journey of Job we too discover the truth about God, the truth about humanity and the source of evil. God in His great love and amazing grace worked within Job’s false belief to reveal who He is, who Job is and what is the source of evil.
Once someone hears the truth about God and receives a revelation of who He is, who they are and what is the cause of evil, transformation can take place. We can know and live in the reality of continually receiving God’s underserved favour and unconditional love, knowing that we do not deserve it, nor that we can we earn it.
In surrender to God’s will, daily drinking His living waters, we are being transformed to have the mind of Jesus. We see others through God’s eyes of love. Each one of equal in worth and the recipients of God’s love and grace.
So the journey with Job concludes with the evidence of God’s unbending love and amazing grace. Job forgives his friends who falsely accused him, accepts those who had abandoned him and receives from those who hold on to their false beliefs. He gives his daughters equal inheritance with his sons. This act of love and grace was extremely counter cultural as only sons received an inheritance.
A cultural revolution resulted from a revelation of who God is, what He has done and will do. His kingdom is a kingdom of equals. Where God brings deliverance and honour, equality and justice, love and restoration. He restored to Job all that evil had taken from him and not only restored it but increased everything double. God not only restores what evil takes but multiplies. Double portion that over flows. As that is His heart’s desire.
wisdom from job
God never instigates evil, is never one with evil, protects from evil, is stronger than evil and limits the power of evil. God is still active in His creation, working in even the darkest of places. He delays judgement to save humanity from evil. God turns evil into good. He protects power of choice, blesses without discrimination and loves unconditionally. He alone is pure, holy and just. God’s favour and love cannot be earned. He delights in His creation, everything is of value. God never discards anyone and considers all equal value. God’s justice is rooted in unconditional love for others. God desires true witnesses of who He is. His ways are eternally purposed in salvation. God is forever faithful, forgiving, restoring, healing and renewing. He is a God of wonders who created heaven and earth and all things good. God’s unconditional love personally experienced casts out all fear.