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Who Will You Serve? “Trusting Faith”

Sharing God's Word, Living His Love
Who Will You Serve 4

Job 38:1-11

June 23, 2024

Have you ever met someone who you would consider to be a modern-day Job?  Usually we think of a modern-day Job as someone who is a faithful follower of God, but who suddenly experiences several bad things in their life for no reason.  Maybe you have felt like a modern-day Job.  You are a Christian, you do your best to follow God and honor Him, but then some bad things happen to you, such as a serious health issue or you lose your job or your spouse leaves you, or maybe all three of those things happen to you and you get frustrated.  You’re angry, you’re hurt, and you feel like you have a legitimate reason to complain to God.

The Old Testament story of Job is perhaps one of the most tragic stories in the entire Bible.  Job had been blessed by the Lord in many ways, as we are told in Chapter 1 that at one time Job had 10 children, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and many servants.  But in one day he lost it all.  His flocks and servants were destroyed by invading armies from surrounding countries, and his children were killed by a strong storm.  And if that weren’t enough, Job soon found himself struck with a terrible disease and ended up with painful sores all over his body.  To say that Job suffered would be an understatement.

The Bible also says that through all of his suffering, Job never lost his faith in God.  But he was certainly tempted to on several occasions.  In fact, while we often talk about the patience of Job, there were times that Job definitely lost his patience with God.  Unbeknownst to Job, Satan was after him.  Satan wanted to prove to God that the only reason Job followed God and honored Him was because God gave Job many blessings and made his life easy.  So God told Satan that he could go ahead and do anything he wanted to Job, but he could not kill him.  God wanted to show Satan that Job would continue to follow God, even when things were not going well.  Therefore, Satan attacked Job in many ways, taking away Job’s flocks and herds – his livelihood, his children, and his health; but through it all Job remained a faithful, patient, believer in God.

But then Job’s friends came to see him, and instead of encouraging him to hang in there and complementing him for his faith, Job’s friends told him that the reason these bad things were happening to him was that he must have done some terrible sin in his life and God was punishing him.  Job knew that wasn’t true.  But his friends kept insisting that had to be the case.  Even Job’s wife told him early on to turn away from God.

Finally, Job started to lose his patience and he complained to God saying, “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.  I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me.” (Job 10:1-2)  Job even insists that he be given the chance to defend himself before God saying, “But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” (Job 13:3)

Maybe you have felt that way in the past.  You may not have experienced suffering to the same extent that Job did, but you know what it means to suffer.  Many of you have had to deal with the death of loved ones.  Some of you have faced serious financial challenges.  I know some of you have experienced painful illnesses or have had to endure difficult treatments for certain conditions.  We all know what it is like to suffer, and during those difficult times we often question God as Job did.  We want to know why God has allowed these terrible things to happen.  Why does God allow a teenager to die in a car accident?  Why does God allow flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes and poverty?  Why does God allow me to suffer with this painful disease when I prayed for months to be healed?  Suffering of any kind is a test of our faith and it makes us wonder if God really cares about us.

This is what Job was experiencing in the chapters leading up to our text for today.  He was frustrated with God as he calls out, “Where are you God?  Can’t you see that I’m suffering?  I don’t deserve this.”  Finally, near the end of this book, in Chapter 38, out of 42 chapters, God responds out of a storm saying, “Who is this that darkens me by words without knowledge?  I will question you, and you shall answer me.” (Job 38:2-3)  I wouldn’t be surprised if Job suddenly realized at this moment that had gone too far when he questioned God and accused Him of not caring.  Job wasn’t as smart as he thought he was and God had come to remind him of that fact saying in verses 4-5, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements – surely you know!”  God goes on to remind Job that He was the one who created the world, not humankind.  In verses 8-11, God says, “Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it…and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?”

God goes on to ask Job about 40 questions in this chapter to remind Job that there are some things that are beyond human understanding.  Job was considered to be a very wise man during his day, but even Job did not understand everything about God.  Job needed to humble himself and submit himself to a God who does things that are beyond human reason or understanding.

And so it is with you and me.  When bad things happen in our lives and it looks like God does not know what He is doing or cares, remember that God is always in control, He sees your suffering, and in His wisdom He may do things that are beyond our logic.

Job had no idea what was going on behind the scenes.  He had no idea that Satan was trying to get him to turn away from God.  He had no idea that God was proving his faith to Satan.  He had no idea that God was using this situation to strengthen his faith.  Job had no idea that God was planning to restore his health and give him more than he had before.

You and I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes, either.  We have no idea what kinds of conversations Satan has with God about us.  We have no idea when Satan is trying to get us to turn away from God.  We have no idea when God is testing our faith, and we have no idea                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       how God plans to resolve our problems in the future.

After several more questions, Job finally gets the courage to speak and he immediately repents saying, “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know…I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:3,6)  God then forgave Job and restored him.  If you have ever complained to God or accused Him of not caring or knowing what He was doing, then I invite you to repent and confess that sin to God and receive His forgiveness today.  Remember, He has already taken your sins away through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, on the cross.  In fact, if there was ever a time when it looked like God did not care or know what He was doing, it was when Jesus was nailed to the cross and died.  How could God let His Son die on a cross?  How could Jesus save people by dying?  What is God doing?  I’m sure Jesus’ disciples struggled with those thoughts as they watched Jesus suffer and die.

But then Jesus rose from the dead, revealing to His disciples and to the world that God knows what He is doing.  Since Jesus took our sin and our punishment upon Himself and died on that cross, God is able to look at us today and call us His children.  That’s why we are forgiven.  What’s why we are going to heaven.  It’s because God did something that seemed completely illogical, but actually, it was the most loving thing ever done in the history of the world.

When you feel like a modern-day Job, when things are happening to you and you don’t understand why, when you feel completely baffled by God’s ways, don’t try to understand God, don’t try to argue with Him, just trust Him that He is wise and loving, that He knows what He is doing, He knows what you are going through, He cares, and He will never leave you.  May God grant to each one of you that kind of faith, a faith that doesn’t always demand answers, but simply trusts.

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