Sunday, October 10, 2010

Have You Been To Job's House

Job 27.1-4
1. Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,
2. As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment: and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul:
3. All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils:
4. My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.

Have You Been To Job's House?

I do not want to give the impression that serving God brings sorrow. Although the devil would have you believe that, it is just not true. Ask anyone, saint or sinner, if there is sorrow in their lives and the answer will be yes. That comes from being human. Every one of us will, in this life, experience times of pain and sorrow. We will all have times of turmoil and times of great personal crisis. There will be times when we will all think we are alone and abandoned. On the cross, carrying the weight of every sin, even Jesus felt that aloneness and cried out, “hast thou forsaken me?” There will be times in our service to Christ that we will serve with sorrow. You will. I will. They will.

We are hesitant to speak of those times because:
• We do not want to burden others. We are filled with courtesy and consideration.
• We feel that the wrong might be in us. It is in these time we feel most alone and fear the judgment of others.

If the truth be known, every one of us has wrestled with some great and personal problems in our lives. Problems:
• We do not understand
• We do not know from whence they came
• We do not know how long they will last
• We do not know if we will make it through them
While we are in the midst of them, here comes Satan, whispering, “Give up.”

Job was a great and righteous man. He was the greatest (wealthiest) of all the men in the land of the east. He was upright, feared God, and shunned evil. He offered offerings for himself and his children, in the event that they may have sinned or cursed God in their hearts. He had seven sons and three daughters. His wealth was as such:
• Seven thousand sheep
• Three thousand camels
• Five hundred yoke of oxen
• Five hundred she asses
• A great household
He was:
• Stripped of earthly possessions and prosperity
• Deprived of property
• His children destroyed
• Inflicted with a most loathsome, painful, and terrible disease, from which there was, humanly speaking, no hope of recovery
• Three friends came from considerable distance to console him and, if possible, comfort him. After one burst of irrepressible grief, they sat with him on the ground for seven days and nights without addressing him a word.
• When the speaking resumes, they accuse him of some great sin of which he has not repented and for which God is punishing him.

Have you ever been to Job’s house?

Let us backtrack here.

Job was going along doing fine. Everything was great. Every day was sunshine. Life was good. His family was healthy. His businesses were prospering. His flocks and herds were increasing. Unbeknownst to Job, there was a meeting taking place in heaven, of which, he would become the chief subject.

“Have you considered my servant Job?”
Wait, wait, wait ..

Satan, the accuser of the brethren, the liar and murderer from the beginning, has just told God that he was walking up and down the face of the earth and going to and fro, like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, and God says, “Have you considered my servant Job?”

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Here, we see one fundamental difference in the thinking of Satan, or in the presentation of facts and how they can be made to say something untrue. He is seeking to confuse results with reasons. Satan implies that the reason Job serves God is because He has a hedge around him. Satan pointed to the hedge as the reason, while in truth, the hedge was the result. Job did not serve God because of the hedge. The hedge was there because Job served God. The hedge was:
• About him and his family
• About all that he had on every side

This may seem like mere semantics, but it is an important distinction. The Bible states that we will be blessed in putting God first. Matthew says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When we put God first, the blessings spill into everything else that we do. However, in 1st Timothy, He tells us that we to turn away from those that would preach godliness as gain. We must not error in the understanding of reason and results.

And the Lord said unto Satan, behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.”

In the days that followed, a servant came to Job with news. The oxen were plowing with the she asses beside them and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them all. They slew all the servants and I alone escaped to tell you.

While he was still talking, another servant arrived and told him of a fire from heaven that fell and consumed all his sheep and the servants, save himself, that escaped to tell him the news.
While this servant was still talking, another servant arrived with news of the Chaldeans taking all of his camels and slaying all the servants, save him, that escaped to deliver the news.
While the third servant was finishing his woeful tale, another servant arrived with the news of his children. They had gathered in the house of the eldest son. While they were eating and drinking, a wind smote the four corners of the house and it fell on them. They are all dead, save me, who escaped to tell you.

What a powerful illustration of the way the devil cares for what is placed into his hands. In God’s care, the flocks and herds increased. The children prospered. In Satan’s hands, they were taken and destroyed. Can there be any clearer message as to the intents or objectives of God and Satan.

In a matter of moments, everything that defined Job in this world was gone. We look at people and judge them by their appearance and possessions. We look at their clothes and the way they carry themselves, and determine in our minds, the manner of person they are, and their station in life. We deal with people how we perceive them. Generally, we deal with people, as we perceive them to be worthy of dealing, by their appearance and possession. It is a sad commentary on our society in the way we deal with the poorest in our community.

In one afternoon, Job went from being a prosperous family man to being a poor lonely man. He rose. He tore his garment. (Satan anticipating.) He shaved his head. (Satan is beginning to glee.) He fell to the ground. (Satan is barely able to contain his excitement.) He worships. (The end of Satan’s party.)

There are times we can more readily accept pain from sinners or the world, as it is what we expect. Then, there are times when we completely do not understand, nor can we accept the pain and sorrow. We are overwhelmed. There are times when we, out of utter exasperation, fall to our knees and throw up our hands. There are times that things come upon us and we become angry, angry at the world, angry at the person responsible, angry at ourselves, and if we are not careful, angry at God.

It was to be expected that the Sabeans and the Chaldeans would attack and take his flocks and herds. They were the enemies. However, where would Job look to explain the fire from heaven, or the mighty wind that took his most prized charge? In his lament, in his worship, Job acknowledged that these might have come from God when he cried, “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.

Have you been to Job’s house?

Again, unbeknownst to Job, a meeting takes place in heaven, of which again, he is the chief subject. Satan, again, coming from walking to and fro in the earth, and God, again, says, “What about my servant Job?”“Skin for skin, all that a man hath will he give for his life.”

Job is afflicted. His body is wracked with disease. He was afflicted with boils over his entire body. He sat in ashes and scraped his sores with a broken piece of pottery. His faith abandoned by his wife and friends. His wife comes to him saying, “Why do you keep your integrity? Curse God and die.” His friends come and accuse him of some unknown sin for which he is suffering.

Have you ever been to Job’s house? Have you ever been there?

Have you ever felt abandoned?
Behold, I go forward, but he is not there;

Have you ever felt you faced your trials alone?
and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

Have you ever felt misunderstood and misaligned?
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him:

Have you ever stood in a trying time and wondered where all your friends had disappeared to?
he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

Have you ever been to Job’s house?

We are all going to face dire circumstances in our lives. The stories of tragedy will not always be the neighbor’s stories. These are not the products of serving God. These are the products of being human.

Over the course of 2007, I attended the funerals of six family members and my next door neighbor. We saw the passing of my father, Tammy’s father, my grandmother, Tammy’s grandmother, my great aunt, Tammy’s children’s father, and our next door neighbor. It will not always be someone else.

In all of this, Job did not sin nor curse God foolishly.

Job 23.1-10
1. Then Job answered and said,
2. Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.
3. Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
4. I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
5. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.
6. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.
7. There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
8. Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
9. On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
10. But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

What a powerful statement. If I could find Him, Job says, if I could but plead my case, if I could but come before his judgment seat, then I would know the words He has against me. He would fill me with his power. I know, Job says, I know I have done no wrong. I do not fear to stand in his judgment. I have looked for him and cannot find him. I draw solace in this fact, that while I may not know where he abides, He knows where I am. When this trial is over I will be as gold.

Have you been to Job’s house?

God knows where you are sitting. He knows where you are kneeling.
In sorrow, He knows
In pain, He knows
In suffering, He knows
In turmoil, He knows
We have his promise that we will not be overwhelmed. We may be in the water but we will not be swept away.

If I must serve him in sorrow, I must serve him.

Have you faced pain this week? Have you suffered a trial? Has Satan whispered to you to ‘give up’? Have you been disappointed by friends or family? Have you been to Job’s house?

It is alright if your troubles send you to your knees. Find God there.

In the end, Jobs blessings were doubled. His oxen were doubled. His sheep doubled. His camels doubled. His she asses were doubled. There was born to him, seven sons and three daughters after his trial.

No comments:

Post a Comment