Learn from Job to Worship God in Your Suffering (Part 1)
Would you turn to Job1:1-22. Today's message is going to focus on the first chapter of the book of Job. Here is the reading of the word of God
2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters.
3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.
4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
7 The LORD said to Satan, "From where have you come?" Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it."
8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?"
9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason?
10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face."
12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,
14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,
15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,
19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped.
21 And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."
22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Father, we are weak in our ability to understand anything in your word. We need the Holy Spirit we have a weak preacher and weak listeners, and nothing will happen of any good apart from your grace. And so we ask for the Holy Spirit to come down. Minister to our hearts. Speak to us. For Christ's honour, we pray in his name, Amen.
The book of Job is one of the great pieces of literature in all of history. This book is read in secular Universities as an example of epic poetry, and it certainly is a great example of epic dramatic poetry at its best. It has a magnificent structure, it has a magnificent style and even more important, it is a timeless book because of what it deals with. The issue of suffering. Something that every human is interested in because every human suffers to some degree, at some time, in someplace.
The book deals with this age-old problem: "Why do the wicked often prosper, and why do the righteous often suffer." This is the obvious theme you can pick right away just in reading through the book. After you affirm the existence of God as a Christian; after you recognise that, yes there is a God who has created me and who sustains me. Then probably one of the greatest questions you face is: "How do you answer the problem of evil, you who believe in God who is good and who is this creator God, how do you deal with this problem of evil. and why does this problem even exist? Why does suffering even exist in this world? And then how do you explain the good people suffering, the righteous people suffer, how do you defend your God? And this is one of the questions that Christians face constantly.
But there is a deeper theme here in the book of Job, a bigger issue. It has to do with learning how to worship God in the midst of suffering. In the midst of your suffering. The book of Job is about God being so great and so worthy that he deserves to be worshipped no matter what happens to you or to your possessions, or to your family. And so the title of these series is: "Learn to worship God in the midst of your suffering". Learn from Job.
So for the next few messages that we have together this week and early next week, we are going to seek to understand the book of Job and to be changed by it. All of God's word is designed to change us, not to just inform us; and so let's start. Let us to Job's story as we begin.
Job's character is described in the first verse, isn't it?
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. (Job 1:1 ESV)
And as was ith of Canan, Job probably lived at the same time as the Patriarch Abraham. In fact, this may be the first book of the Bible. This may predate Genesis, the writing of Genesis, not the subject matter. Job had a true and pure knowledge of God and before God's created people were divided into nations in Genesis 11, there was a pure knowledge of God that was handed down through the godly line. And Job inherited this. Job is not being described here as a perfect person. Job's description is not a biblical description of a person who had no sin. This is a description of someone who is godly, who is righteous.
And why is the writer so intent on us knowing right at the very beginning that Job is righteous? Because he wants you to know at the beginning of this book that not all suffering is punishment for unrighteousness, or for personal sin. The writer wants you to know this right upfront. If suffering only comes to the wicked, only comes to people in punishment for their sins; he wants you to know then that Job is not a candidate for suffering.