Podcasts about two journeys

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Best podcasts about two journeys

Latest podcast episodes about two journeys

The Feel Good Nakd Podcast for Women
#181 POWER OF RUNNING | How Movement Rewrites Your Story

The Feel Good Nakd Podcast for Women

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2023 25:21


How do we get back to movement? In a NON-PUNISHING way that isn't just about appearance but also empowerment and connecting with our body? Two fantastic coaches and hosts of the Time for Brunch podcast, Shelby & Christine, share the runner's journey and how there are no rules, shapes or expectations.  We discuss everything from best first steps for new runners to how to care for your body as you move. You'll also hear invaluable tips on how to pace yourself and gear you might not have thought about! Listen for a beautiful episode about how movement can transform our lives.    SHOW NOTES1 min 38 sec - Motivation Beyond Appearance 4 min 13 sec - Two Journeys to Running 7 min 2 sec - How to Support Running (Physical & Mental Tips) 12 min 30 sec First Steps Back to Running Injury-free 17 min 45 sec - Beauty of Movement Memories 20 min 21 sec - Training for Races & Mental Blocks  CONNECT WITH COACH SHELBY & COACH CHRISTINE  TIME FOR BRUNCH PODCAST:https://timeforbrunch.buzzsprout.com/ TIME FOR BRUNCH COMMUNITY:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/timeforbrunchclub Join the FGN Community: www.feelgoodnakd.com Feel Good Nakd Book: feelgoodnakd.com/7 steps Host Instagram: @itschardet

Daily Office Devotionals
Two Journeys, Different Goals

Daily Office Devotionals

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2022


Two servants of the Word of God make westward sea journeys: Jonah towards Tarshish (believed to be near modern day Spain), and Paul towards RomeTuesday • 10/11/2022Proper 23This morning's Scriptures are: Psalm 5; Psalm 6; Jonah 1;1-17; Acts 26:24-27:8; Luke 8:40-56This morning's Canticles are: following the OT reading, Canticle 13 (“A Song of Praise,” BCP, p. 90); following the Epistle reading, Canticle 18 (“A Song to the Lamb,” Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10, 13, BCP, p. 93)

Honey, Unfiltered
Challenge Your Thoughts, Change Your Life; Two Journeys with Mental Health and Eating Disorders

Honey, Unfiltered

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 9, 2022 58:01


We all go through life facing our own battles. Often times, a voice in our head convinces us to think we are in the battlefield alone but, when we open up to someone else, we soon realize we are not the only one with wounds and battle scars. In this episode, I sit down with my dear friend Kim Ciarcia as we reflect on our shared experiences of recovery with respective eating disorders and what they have taught us about mental health in general.  Health and wellbeing of the individual is not achieved at one moment of life and kept the same from then on. Rather, it is a life long journey that changes with time and requires us to persistently challenge the status quo, our thoughts, and develop patience in the relationships with ourselves and others. Leave this episode feeling empowered and connected, and share it with a friend. -K xx {Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this world's darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms}Ways you can help Hurricane Ian relief:-- donation and volunteer networks --https://convoyofhope.org/https://samaritanspurse.org/our-ministry/hurricane-ian/?utm_source=Bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=m_YYHI-N22V&utm_content=USDR&msclkid=ca3a4b30e389137b6504287139d69bb0&utm_term=hurricane%20ian%20reliefhttps://www.redcross.org/donate/disaster-relief.html/?cid=disasternonbrand&med=cpc&source=b&scode=RSG00000E017&msclkid=01c20fd616dd1bf6829b6c97ccaba2c3&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Disaster%7CNonBrand&utm_term=hurricane%20ian%20relief&utm_content=Hurricane%20Ian&gclid=01c20fd616dd1bf6829b6c97ccaba2c3&gclsrc=3p.dshttps://www.elevationoutreach.org/https://www.americanhumane.org/monitoring-hurricane-ian/?msclkid=df7291672b0f1e337682f226f016cfe5&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=SEM%7CBrand%7CUS%7CHurricaneIan%7CGoogle&utm_term=hurricane%20ian%20how%20to%20help&utm_content=Ian%7CPhrase**Trigger warning for eating disorders and mental health recovery**

The Lowdown with Bravemumma
55: No two journeys to motherhood are the same. Find out how Mumma, Brooke and her husband welcomed a baby into their lives via adoption and what it means now for both families

The Lowdown with Bravemumma

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2022 64:06


*IMPORTANT NOTE This episode has been produced for the best sound quality possible. There were some recording issues which means you may hear a slight humming in the background. Because this episode is so important, we are sharing this interview via video on YouTube upon request. You can DM @bravemumma on Instagram or email stephanie@bravemumma and we will share the link with you.  DESCRIPTION Today on the show, we have invited Brooke to share not only her journey to motherhood but that same journey for her husband, her baby, and her baby's birth family. We are talking about adoption. I know by the end of this episode, you will feel inspired and your heart will open. I'm also hoping that by listening to this amazing story, you will be able to sit and reflect and think about how we talk and how we respond to different journeys to motherhood. This is a really special one today.  This special episode is dedicated to a very special friend who will feel seen and heard here. 'You and your family are amazing and beautiful, this episode is for you'.  This episode is for you if you want to know more about: journey to motherhood  adoption  open adoption and closed adoption  interrupted and failed adoption  tips on how to support a family on an adoption journey LINKS FOR YOU Guest - Hello Brooklyn Instagram Continence Foundation of Australia Send a Direct Message to the team on Instagram @bravemumma This episode is coming to you thanks to our partners at the Continence Foundation. Call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 and speak to a Nurse Continence Specialist for free confidential advice, Monday to Friday 8am-8pm. CREDITS Host - Stephanie Thompson Executive Producer & Editor - Dave Stokes Podcast logo artist - Khrystyna lukashchuk Brand Designer - Brodie-Rose Original Soundtrack - Steven Robinson

Finding Gavin's Voice
Two Journeys to ASD Diagnosis

Finding Gavin's Voice

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 1, 2022 48:17


Dr. Caitlin and Shelby discuss the journey to a diagnosis to Autism with Bre. Bre's son Beau is the same age as Gavin and while their diagnosis is the same, their journeys to figuring it out are different in some ways and similar in others. Tune in to learn about daily struggles and the things parents or caregivers keep hidden away. --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/findinggavinsvoice/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/findinggavinsvoice/support

Crossbridge Brickell
Wanderers & Wrestlers Ep 1: The Tale of Two Journeys | David Shim

Crossbridge Brickell

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2022 46:04


Every journey has a beginning, but not all has an ending. Some cross generations as in life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Other linger in history, in every sport we find, people fighting for their ideals, wandering to find their way. Do you know what your journey is? Join us as we go through the book of Genesis in our new Series Wanderers and Wrestlers.

Breakthrough Marketing Secrets
Your Customer's Two Journeys [emotional copywriting]

Breakthrough Marketing Secrets

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 2, 2022 11:08


The Professor Podcast with Ruth and Claire
83: “My faith in academia: strengthened by two journeys into administration” - Interview with Dale Oliver

The Professor Podcast with Ruth and Claire

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2021 30:14


Today Claire talks with Dale Oliver, professor of mathematics and former dean and associate dean. Dale describes the roles of deans and what surprised and motivated him as dean. He also talks about how he got the positions. Spoiler: it involved saying ‘Yes' to opportunities and leadership rolls. For Dale, the time in administrative roles strengthened his faith in academia. He is inspired by the faculty and staff that comprise the institution and who share his commitment to higher ed. We have Professor Podcast mugs!!! Drink tea with us :) https://rctaudio.com/profpodcast, https://www.zazzle.com/the_professor_podcast_with_ruth_and_claire_mug-168972842051617931

Two Journeys Sermons
The Gospel in Proverbs (Proverbs Sermon 12) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2021


Andy highlights the gospel as seen in the book of Proverbs from calling out to the sinner, to locating Christ, to the need for evangelism. *This sermon was originally delivered July 1, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on August 19, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Dealing with Conflict, Pt.2 (Proverbs Sermon 11) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 15, 2021


Andy finishes his survey of the wisdom Proverbs has to give us about handling conflict. *This sermon was originally delivered June 17, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on August 15, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Dealing with Conflict, Pt.1 (Proverbs Sermon 10) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2021


Learn about what Proverbs has to say about conflict, i.e., why does it arise, how to deal with it, and how to resolve it. *This sermon was originally delivered June 10, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on August 12, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Money Is Not for Accumulating (Proverbs Sermon 9) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2021


Andy synthesizes the wisdom given in Proverbs about money and shows that when you put it all together with the rest of the Bible, we are to use money to advance God's Kingdom instead of accumulating it. *This sermon was originally delivered June 3, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on August 8, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Financial Wisdom (Proverbs Sermon 8) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2021


Andy surveys the book of Proverbs looking at what we can learn about the topic of money. This sermon covers wisdom and wealth, greed, false security in money, the false life focus of money, false pretenses about money, growing wealth, and wealth is God's grace. *This sermon was originally delivered May 20, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on August 4, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
God is in Control (Proverbs Sermon 7) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 1, 2021


The Book of Proverbs informs us that God is meticulously in control of everything. In this sermon, Pastor Andy Davis looks at all the ways Proverbs reveals different aspects of God's providence. *This sermon was originally delivered on April 29, 2001, and released on Two Journeys in August 2021. - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - Introduction Take your Scriptures, if you would, and open to the Gospel of Mark. We're gonna begin our study in Proverbs in another place, like we do every week. So I want to begin in Mark chapter 1. Do you all have sheets? I gave out some sheets so that when we get into Proverbs, you won't have to flip around. I know that some of you have more nimble fingers than others. But I wanted to give you these sheets. I'm not promising this every week, but I had time a little bit this week to give them out to you and... Is anybody missing one? Do you all have one? Okay. Do you all folks have, Barb and blue, you guys have 'em? Alright. Alright, why don't we begin with prayer? Father, we thank you for the time that we've had tonight to listen to our brother and sisters as they sing about love for you. Father, it is indeed good to be alive, everything that you have given us is a gift. The Scripture says, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows. And we thank you, Lord, that you have given us not only physical life but eternal life in Jesus Christ. And Father, we can look around this beautiful world that you have given us, and we can thank you for it, but it's just a dim reflection of the glory that we will see when we're with you face-to-face in heaven. Father, now as we consider the topic of God's sovereignty in the book of Proverbs, I pray that we would come to rejoice in and to embrace your sovereignty, Father, that we might understand what it means. And that we might gladly bow the knee to you and submit our lives to you in every respect, realizing that everything you will is good. Your ways are perfect, your commands are life-giving, and that we are free, truly free to walk in the path of your commands and to know the eternal life you have for us. Thank you for these things, in Jesus' name, amen. Look, if you will, in Mark chapter 1. In Mark 1:14 and following, it describes the beginning of Jesus' preaching ministry. And it says there in Mark 1:14, "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God." What's another word for good news? The gospel. So he's going around proclaiming the gospel. So we're gonna learn a little something about the gospel. Now, what does it say in verse 15? It says, "The time has come," this is Jesus speaking now, "The time has come, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news." So what is the good news in Jesus' message? It's the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the good news. Now, we might think of the good news as being forgiveness of sin, the fact that Jesus died in our place so that we have eternal life, that he rose from the dead, all of that is good news, it's true. But here in this verse, the good news is the kingdom of God. Now, why is the kingdom of God good news? It's Sunday evening so that's not a rhetorical question. Why is the kingdom of God good news? Audience response: "It's available."; "It's available through Jesus Christ."; "It's a lot better than this world." It's a lot better than this world, that's for sure, that's for sure. At the center of the kingdom of God is a king. That makes sense, right? And he is powerful and he's awesome, and he is good, and therefore the message about his rulership, his sovereignty is good news, is it not? What kind of universe would this be if there were an awesome sovereign potentate who was not good? This would be a terrifying universe, wouldn't it? Or, if there were a force of evil running free in the universe that were unchecked by God's sovereignty, would this not be a terrifying universe to live in? But none of those is the case, and we're gonna find that out in a surprising place, perhaps the book of Proverbs. I want for us as Christians to embrace the sense of God as king, that we are to live lives of repentance and faith in that king, and that obedience to his commands is freedom, joyful freedom. Disobedience leads to slavery. Jesus said, everyone who sins is a what? A slave to sin. But "if the Son makes you free, you'll be free indeed." Free indeed. Does that mean there's no king? Absolutely not. There is a king and nothing, no force in heaven or on earth is going to remove him from his throne. They're just is insufficient power to do that. "I want for us as Christians to embrace the sense of God as king, that we are to live lives of repentance and faith in that king, and that obedience to his commands is freedom, joyful freedom." He is powerful, he is sovereign, he is ruling, and we kinda need to deal with that, don't we? It's not gonna change. But it's nothing to deal with in that God is king, because he is good and he is loving and his ways are right. And so we're going to, I think, feel around the perimeters and kind of poke our hands into the extent of his kingship tonight in the book of Proverbs. There's some amazing Proverbs that speak of the sovereignty of God. But before we go there, let's see if we can understand it. If you were to look in Psalm 47, you can turn there in the Bible if you'd like, or you can just read what's printed on the sheet there. Psalm 47:2 says, "How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!" Isn't that marvelous? God is the great King over all the earth. That's pretty extensive. His reign over all the earth, he is the great King. And then it says later in verse 7 through 9, "For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God." Isn't that powerful? The kings of the earth belong to God, he is greatly exalted. That's a great statement of God's rulership, of his sovereignty even over the kings of the earth. It is not for nothing that we call Jesus the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is great and he is sovereign, and he rules. Look at Isaiah 14:26-27. What would a king be if he never issued an order? What would a king be if he never gave a decree or made a law? He wouldn't be ruling, right? Well, God actually gives many decrees, many laws, he has many initiatives, he has many plans, his hand reaches out many times. He's not an inactive king, he's not a lame duck king, let's put it that way. He's moving, he's active, he has plans, he's unfolding that plan, and he's involved. His hand stretches out many, many times. We'll look at Isaiah 14:26-27, "This is the plan determined for the whole world. This is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out and who can turn it back?" What's the answer to the question? When God's hand stretches out, who has the strength and the power to turn it back? The answer is no one. Were you to assemble all the forces that God created in heaven, on earth, under the earth, they would be insufficient to turn back his hand when it moves. This is the sovereignty of God, and therefore, we could define the sovereignty of God as the active exercise of his supremacy over all creation. The active exercise of his supremacy. He is supreme. He is high and lifted up. In the vision of Isaiah 6, he is high and lifted up far above all of his created beings, you see? And why is God depicted as high and lifted up? I don't really think that spatial reasoning means much, except that it shows a sense of God's supremacy, his sovereignty, his greatness over that which is below him. And so the earth, he sits enthroned, it says, over the circle of the earth in the book of Isaiah, he's ruling. This is what it says, AW Pink wrote this, "Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature, He is the Most High, He is Lord of heaven and earth. Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent; God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him." This is the sovereignty of God. Isaiah 46:9-10, and by the way, if you want a good section of scripture on the greatness and the sovereignty and the power of God, just 10 chapters on that, go to the Isaiah 40s, beginning in chapter 40 and up through 49, that's where it's at. Just chapter after chapter of, "I am God and there is no other. There is no one like me. All the idols, there is nothing. I can predict the future, and they can't... " Just God displaying his supremacy over and over. And mostly talking to Israel that had run after other gods and why somebody would choose a piece of wood and carve it into an idol and bow down and worship it? Half of it, he uses it to make his dinner and the other half he worships. How can this be? This is Isaiah 40 through 49, read those chapters, they're just majestic. Sometime this week, read Isaiah 40 through 49, you'll see what I mean. But right in the middle of it, Isaiah 46:9-10, he says this, "I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'" Wow! What a God. What a God. "I say, My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." Is God free to do as he pleases in his universe? Absolutely. He is King and he is free to do as he pleases in his universe, and he does as he pleases, and what he pleases is good. And so Jesus, when he began his preaching ministry, he said, "Rejoice and repent for the kingdom of God is near." So as we look at that, we think to ourselves, "Well, this is a wonderful thing. A mighty God, sovereign over all things," and yet we have to realize this is not a popular doctrine. Why is this not a popular doctrine? What is the problem here? We like our self-will. We like our self-will. We want to say I am and there is no other, I will do as I please. Oh, now, come on, admit it. You like to say, "I am and I like to do what I want," That's another way of saying it. The essence of parenting, which we talked about last week, is to persuade them that there's another will in the universe and that they need to yield and submit. It's hard. Every child comes into the world saying, "I am and there is no other, and I will do all as I please." And so, we've got that essence inside us and it's hard to break from it, isn't it? We want to do what we want to do, and we think that that's freedom, and it isn't. Jesus said it's sin, it's slavery. Freedom is bowing gladly before God, that's freedom. Now, that's kind of a paradox, isn't it? But the bottom line is, that there is a King and we need to submit to him, and he is good. Listen to what Charles Spurgeon said about this topic. "There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God's Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation, the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands, the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings, no truth of which they have made such a football as the great stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne." Is that not powerful? "Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean. But when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth, and we proclaim an enthroned God and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is that we are hissed and execrated. And then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne that we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust." What a great quote, and yet so true. The very thing that we don't want, the sovereignty of God, and yet it is the sovereignty of God that sweetens the bitterness of the trials we go through in life, is it not? Because sovereignty has overruled them for His own purpose, and when we're through with all of this, he will bring us home. Isn't that wonderful? And so, the sovereignty of God, both loved and hated doctrine. Let's see what Proverbs says about it. There's various topics I've just gone through and I've organized them, not in any particular order, but just pulled them out with headings. The first that I like to bring out is sovereignty over human hearts, minds, wills and actions. Let's go right to the heart of the matter, shall we? Now, if you look at the Spurgeon quote, he's saying that God can rule over the waves, he can hold up the pillars of the earth, but when he ascends his throne specifically to rule over what? People, that's when we have problems, right? Well, all I'm going to do is just read the verses and you can make of them what you will. God is sovereign over human hearts, minds, wills and actions. First, he's sovereign over our words. Look at Proverbs 16:1, "To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue." So what is that saying? Well, it's saying, you can make your plans, but the words you speak were ordained by God. That's what it says, and I didn't write this, I'm just telling you what it says. Alright, look at the next one, He's sovereign over our actions. Proverbs 16:9, "In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Left foot, right foot, left foot... What should I decide next? Let's take a vote. Should I do the right foot next? Okay, right foot, left foot. The Lord directs his steps. What does that mean? I make my plans, and yet God directs my steps. Proverb 16:9, right after 16:1, so I put the two of them together. We make our plans but God works out what he wants. You see? I was talking to Jason early this week, he said, "So what? Are we robots?" Of course not. All I'm trying to do is understand these verses, and so even the very words that we speak and the steps that we step are under the sovereignty of God. We make plans, but God determines our steps. Proverbs 20:24, "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" Are you telling me I don't even understand my own life? Yes, that's what the verse says. You don't understand your own life, not fully. Do you know that God knows your life better than you do? He remembers every decision you've ever made, we don't remember those. You ever notice, "I forgot I did that. I forgot I said that." But you did. But whether you remembered it or not, God also understands the purpose behind it all, he understands why you said what you said and did what you did. And so, you put all these together, God is really involved and active in the decisions we make. I like, as I think about God directing or determining our steps, what it says in Ephesians 2:10, for it says, "We are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them." Wow! That means every day has a bunch of good works that he's laid out, like it's stepping stones across the river of that day? Absolutely. Step, step, step. Good work, good work, good work, good work. Go to bed. Wake up, good work, good work, good work, good work, good work, go to bed. Until you die. And he's got it worked out, doesn't he? You say yes, "But I have the choice to rebel." That's true. You do. We do it a lot. We do good work, good work, rebel, repent, good work, good work, good work. You see how that goes? And that's kind of how every day is for us, right? Good work, repent, come back, good work, good work, good work. But God understands all of this and even our sin, even our rebellion ultimately works together for good. "God causes all things to work together for good, for those who love him and are called according to His purpose." Good work, good work, good work. And the point is that we step in them, that we walk in them; he's ordained them. And this is the beauty of it, is that at 10 o'clock in the morning, there's a sovereignly ordained good work for me to do. Somebody at work who needs a message of the gospel, somebody who needs help, we'd study the Good Samaritan this morning. There's going to be an opportunity to be a good Samaritan to somebody in some way. That makes life significant. And God has ruled it all. Ephesians 2:10. And God is sovereign over a king's heart. Look at Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, He directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases." Wow. Now, I've quoted that many times before, I think it helps us to understand the book of Daniel, for example. God is sovereign over Nebuchadnezzar, God is sovereign over Belshazzar, God is sovereign over Cyrus the Great, God is sovereign over Darius the Mede. He's sovereign over any and every king that comes along. He's sovereign over Alexander the Great, Caesar Augustus. One after the other after the other, he's sovereign over all of them. And this verse says the king's heart. Now, what is the heart? It's not that part of you that pumps blood, we know that. What is the heart? What is he referring to? What does the heart do in the Bible? Seed of emotions, motivation, the reason why you do what you do, reasons, purposes, the will, decisions that you make. All of that is in the heart. And there are verses that talk about each one of those in Psalms and other places. That is in God's hand? What you choose, what you love, what you hate, what you are enticed by and what you're not, the decisions you make, the court, all that is in the hand of the Lord. And specifically for a king, the mighty rulers of the earth, the ones that are making big decisions and big things are happening... Yes, that is in the hand of the Lord. And he directs it like a watercourse, whichever way he chooses. Now, it's very interesting about that. I know we're at the heart of deep theology here, but I think the point is this: The king has an inclination, he has a drive, a bent, perhaps if he's a wicked man, toward evil, God directs that evil toward a certain channel, and it flows that way, and some wheels get turned that God wants turned. And you say, "How in the world can God use wickedness and evil to accomplish his ends?" Let me ask you a question, in all human history, what is the most wicked thing that human beings have ever done? Crucifying Jesus Christ. Is there anything worse? The Son of God, the only truly innocent man that has ever lived, did nothing but love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and love his neighbor as himself every day of his life, and they killed Him, Son of God. And what came out of that wicked deed? Your salvation. "The Son of God, the only truly innocent man that has ever lived, did nothing but love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and love his neighbor as himself every day of his life, and they killed Him, Son of God. And what came out of that wicked deed? Your salvation." Now, that should prove that God is fully capable using wicked things to accomplish incredibly good ends, just like Joseph said in reference to his brothers, "You meant my attack here for evil, God meant it... " feel the weight of that, he intended it, he planned it, and he worked it out, God meant it for good. God can use wicked things to accomplish his ends. Alright, God is sovereign over human hearts, minds, wills and actions. God is also sovereign over enemies. Look at Proverbs 21:30. He's sovereign over his enemies. Proverbs 21:30, "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord." Wow! You can't concoct something that gets ahead of God and overrules or overturns his purposes. You can't work something out that's going to succeed. This is Psalm 2, folks. Look at Psalm 2, "Why do the nations rage and the people's plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed one, 'Let us throw off their chains and break their shackles?'" What are they saying there? "Let's rebel, I'm tired of this king who's ruling over us all the time." And the one enthroned in heaven, what does he do? He laughs. He laughs. And at the end of Psalm 2, he gives a warning, "Don't do that. Okay, don't rebel. Kiss the Son. Submit gladly and it will go well with you." That's the message of Psalm 2, and it's the message here. You can't come up with a plan that will overthrow God's plan. You can't figure something out that will get ahead of God and say, "Oh, no! Salvation, the whole gospel thing, it had a weakness and I never saw it. Satan found my weakness, and the gospel will not advance to the ends of the earth, and the such and such tribe in distant Mongolia will not hear the gospel." It's not going to happen. There is no plan that will succeed against God. The next one, God is sovereign over seemingly random events. "The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the Lord." Again, I didn't write this. Now, we don't use lots anymore, do we? What is the modern equivalent of casting a lot into the lap? Rolling a dice. How many of you have played Monopoly in the last year? Or some game that involved the rolling of dice? Alright. I have. Actually on the computer these days, this computer dice roll program that they've come up with, alright. I don't know how they do the random number generation and all that, there's a whole math theory behind that. Huh? Oh, you know, alright. Anyone interested? Herbert Rivera is the man. Random number generation. It's very hard for humans to come up with random numbers. Anyway, the point is, you take that dice and you roll it. I was talking to my kids about this verse last night, I said, "Around the world right now, how many dice do you think are being rolled? Right this instant, how many dice?" Some of them are coming up one, some two, three, four, five, and six. And what is this verse telling you about the ones, the twos, the threes, the fours, the fives and the sixes? Every decision is from the Lord. Now, how in the world... You say, "Why does God care what it comes up?" I don't know, but this is what the verse says. He seems to care whether it comes up a four or three. Now, you say, "Is this a consistent teaching in the Bible?" Yes, it is. You remember Jonah, the story of Jonah, what happened with Jonah? There was a big storm and all that, they bring Jonah out on deck, they're trying to find out who's responsible, and so they cast lots. And where does the lot come up? On Jonah. Well, what do you know! Just by chance, if they've done it a different way, it would had come up on a different guy. No way. "The lot is cast into the lap, but it's every decision is from the Lord." Now, what is the application of this? There is no such thing as luck. Can we get around that truth right now? Can we kind of gather around and say Christians should not believe in luck? What is luck? It's some random force running through the universe that no one has control over, not even God. Is there anything like that? No, there is nothing like that. Or the modern equivalent of luck is karma, people talk about karma, that is just Buddhism or eastern mysticism coming into American culture. You watch Buddhism, folks, it's making inroads. There's no joke, you watch it, and why? Because it's very comfortable along with the lifestyle we want, it fits well, it mushes in well. And the whole karma thing is this idea of just this kind of that's how it worked out and there's no sovereignty in it, there's no purpose or person in it, there's no king who rules over it. That is a false universe, it doesn't exist and neither does luck. So, "The lot is cast into the lap but it's every decision is from the Lord." He's sovereign over the outcome of battles. "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord." You can get your horse ready and you should. You should get everything ready to accomplish the thing you want to accomplish, but victory rests with the Lord, not with a horse. Another verse that talks about this is Psalm 33:12-19, we'll take a minute and read this. It says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven, the Lord looks down and sees all mankind." That's a great statement of supremacy, isn't it? "From heaven, God looks down and sees all mankind, and from his dwelling place, he watches all who live on the earth. He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do... " Now listen, verse 16, "no king is saved by the size of his army." Wow! "No king is saved by the size of his army. No warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance. Despite all its great strength, it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love to deliver them from death." What is God saying there in Psalm 33? It's not the horse that wins the battle, it's not the size of the army, it's what God wants to do with that, that's what matters. God is sovereign even over those battles. And he's sovereign over wicked people. Proverbs 16:4, "The Lord works out everything for his own ends, even the wicked for a day of disaster." This is a very deep verse, and we don't have time to understand it fully tonight, but I just wanted to read it. "God works out all things for his own ends, even the wicked man for a day of disaster." Now, what did Jesus say of Judas who betrayed him? It would be better for him if what? He had never been born. Was he born? Who knit him together in his mother's womb? Psalm 139, who knit him together in his mother's womb? God did. So God chose something that was not better for Judas. It's deep, but God knit... I'm just putting verses together and putting concepts together. God knit him together in his mother's womb, and Jesus said of him, it would be better for him if he had never been born. It's deep. Now, nobody compelled Judas to be a thief, nobody forced him to betray Jesus, those are things he stands responsible for on judgment day, and he will give an account. There was no forcing. None of that, but God knit him together in his mother's womb. And the Lord works out everything for his own ends. And then Proverbs 16:7, I love this, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him." Well, how does he do that? "Excuse me, enemies, will you come and sit down. I've got a friend over here, okay? And his ways are pleasing to me, and I want you to live at peace with him." Are the enemies in a good relationship with God? Absolutely not, not if the man's ways are pleasing to God, most likely the enemies are in rebellion against God. And yet, God makes them be at peace with him, God is sovereign over wicked people, and he can make your enemies live at peace with you. Isn't that a great verse? Say, "God, please make my enemies live in peace with me." There's nothing wrong with asking God for that. And then Proverbs 20:22 says, "Do not say, I'll pay you back for this wrong. Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you." Let's turn the other cheek. Let God do it. God's much better at it than you are. Let God do it, don't take revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, it says in Romans. And then God is sovereign to test hearts and to judge our ways. These are just easy to read through. Proverbs 5:21, "For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord and he examines all his paths." Wow! God watches everything you do. He examines your paths. Proverbs 15:3 says, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere keeping watch on the wicked and the good." 15:11 says, "Death and destruction lie open before the Lord. How much more the hearts of men?" God reads your heart like a book, he knows you completely in and out. 16:2, "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord." We all think we're innocent in everything we do. "All my motives were pure." Oh, don't be so sure. I'm beginning to understand my heart, and I wonder if I've ever had a completely pure motive in my entire life. But God understands my heart, he knows completely. All my ways seem innocent to me, but God weighs my motives. And then 17:3, "The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart." God tests what's in your heart, and he's sovereign to do that, and he's sovereign to give rewards and blessings. Houses and wealth, 19:14, it says, "Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." Isn't that beautiful? Praise God. A prudent wife is from the Lord. You get from your parents' houses and wealth, but God gives you the wife. What God has joined together, let man not separate. God is the matchmaker, and he brings that prudent wife into your life. 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." And then 16:3, it says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed." It said earlier, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths." This is a sovereign God, to bless all the things you do if you commit your ways to him. And then sovereign to judge sin, 15:25, "The Lord tears down the proud man's house, but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact." Oh, boy! How many houses have been torn down and nobody really knows who is behind it all, but God tears down the proud man's house, but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact. God is active, and he moves through the world bringing judgment when it's needed. Now, the newspaper doesn't say, "Oh, this was an act of God," or, "That was an act of God." But God is active and he's working. And then Proverbs 22:22-23, it says, "Do not exploit the poor because they are poor, and do not crush the needy in court for the Lord will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them." God is patient, and he waits for repentance, but for those that desire to attack the poor, they're taking God on, in effect, and God will act on their behalf. Now, we've been through some deep things, and I've given you these verses so that you can study them on your own, try to understand them. There's one final aspect of God's sovereignty that I wanna talk about, and that is that God is sovereign to hide secrets. He's sovereign to understand this when we don't. And this is what it says, 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter. To search out a matter is the glory of kings." So we said we should search out this doctrine and try to understand it, we should search out the roots and the depths of the sovereignty of God and try to understand it, but we'll never be able to understand it fully. And it is the glory of God to conceal things. When we see him face-to-face, 1 Corinthians 13 says we will know fully, even as we have been fully known. But in the midst of all of this and our yearning for freedom and our thinking, "Oh, what does this mean?" and all that, realize that these verses that we read tonight, these are holy Scripture, this is the teaching of God on the issue of sovereignty. We can rebel or fight against it or we can say, "Praise God! We can understand why Jesus said the kingdom of God is good news. I'm glad that the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. I'm glad about that." And why? Because I don't want some random wicked thing running through the universe that he has no control over, that can wipe out me and my family, and for him to say, "It wasn't me. It wasn't me, I had no control, I couldn't stop it. There was nothing I could do." Now, to me, that's even more terrifying. What I want to do is I want to find God in his sovereign activities and gladly worship him for what he's doing. Why don't we close in prayer and ask him to bless our week as we go out, we commit our ways to him. Father, we thank you for the time we've had tonight to look at these verses, they are deep and they teach a God who is active, and powerful, and almighty, and sovereign. And God, we love you for that. We're grateful, O Lord, that nothing could stop your actions in Christ, that you were going to send Christ into the world, he was gonna live a certain length of time, he was going to die on the cross at Jewish and Roman hands alike, and on the third day, he was going to rise again and nothing could stop that plan. And I'm grateful, O Lord, that the salvation which we know in Christ has advanced, and powerfully and forcefully through the world for 2000 years. And now it's come here to America as it's come to other places of the world. What was at one time distant shores from Palestine, the gospel has come to us and we've heard it and believed it, and we say thank you for it. God, I pray for my brothers and sisters here that each one of us would walk in the steps of the good works that you have laid out ahead of us, that we should walk in them. Help us, O Lord, to be faithful to do those good works you have for us to do. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

Two Journeys Sermons
Parenting is Discipling, Pt.2 (Proverbs Sermon 6) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2021


Andy covers what Proverbs has to say about disciplining children, the importance of children learning to submit to authority, and marriage advice. *This sermon was originally delivered April 22, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on July 29, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Parenting is Discipling, Pt.1 (Proverbs Sermon 5) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2021


Learn all that the book of Proverbs has to say about wise parenting. *This sermon was originally delivered April 1, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on July 25, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Wise Speech, Pt.2 (Proverbs Sermon 4) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2021


In the previous sermon, Andy looked at the ways not to use our speech according to Proverbs, now he turns to how the book encourages us to use our words in a positive way. *This sermon was originally delivered March 18, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on July 22, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Wise Speech, Pt.1 (Proverbs Sermon 3) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 18, 2021


What does the Bible, and specifically Proverbs, have to say about the words we speak? In this sermon on Proverbs, Andy looks at godly speech as well as gossip, flattery, mocking, hasty speech, and more! *This sermon was originally delivered March 11, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on July 17, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
Wisdom Screams! (Proverbs Sermon 2) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 11, 2021


This Sunday evening service was originally delivered on March 4, 2001 and released on Two Journeys on July 11, 2021. Transcript coming soon!

Two Journeys Sermons
An Introduction to Wisdom (Proverbs Sermon 1) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 4, 2021


This Sunday evening sermon was originally delivered on March 4, 2001, and released on Two Journeys on July 4, 2021. sermon transcript Open your Bibles and turn to 1 Corinthians 1. We're beginning a series tonight in the Book of Proverbs, and we're starting therefore in 1 Corinthians 1. Does that make sense? Now, you may wonder, "What in the world does 1 Corinthians 1 have to do with Proverbs?" But it has everything to do with Proverbs. The common theme is wisdom. We're gonna be talking tonight about wisdom, and I wanna start at the center of our wisdom, and that is Jesus Christ, Himself. The Apostle Paul made a statement in 1 Corinthians 1:22, and he said there, "Jews demand miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom." Wisdom. I think we're very Greek people. I really think that we are in love with what the human mind can achieve and accomplish. We're in love with our own technology, with our achievements, with our ability to reason things out and think things through. We have think tanks and experts, and for any problem, any time that there's a dispute or a difficulty, there's never a shortage of experts to come in and give us some insight from all their study and some wisdom. And so, we are, I think, in this sense, very much like the Greeks of old, when Paul said that Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom. The Greeks were full of famous philosophers. Can you think of some Greek philosophers that were... Socrates, Aristotle. That's right. Plato, perhaps the most famous. Many others, Pythagoras. I bet you didn't realize that he was a philosopher, but he really was, in addition to the Pythagorean theorem. I'm sure you all remember what the Pythagorean theorem was. That's right. A squared plus B squared equals C squared. Yes, and that's exciting, but Mr. Pythagoras did other things besides that, and he was a Greek philosopher. Democritus, Parmenides and others. There are famous Greek philosophers, and there were schools of Greek philosophy throughout the history of Athens and Greece. Atomism, for example, the idea that all of matter is made up of little particles called atoms. That sound familiar? Now, the Greeks were the first ones that thought that up. And Epicureanism, Platonism, realism, stoicism, hedonism. That's a big favor today. Life is about pleasure. Let's eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. That's Greek philosophy. But it's interesting, a statement that Paul makes here in 1 Corinthians, and look at it in verse 21. 1 Corinthians 1:21. Let's begin at verse 20. It says, "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe." Now, that's an amazing statement he makes there. The Greeks were looking for wisdom, they were looking for God as well. Plato had statements about God and they were trying to find him through their intellectual achievements, but the amazing thing about the statement is that it was the wisdom of God that they could never find him that way. You can't find God that way. By thinking deeply and meditating about the world and about yourself, and working through axioms of truth. You're never gonna find God that way. And it's wisdom from God that you can't find God that way. In the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him. But a simple slave, or a common man or woman who hears and believes the gospel of Jesus Christ, they have the wisdom of God. Isn't that amazing? He says later, "We have the mind of Christ." We have the mind of Christ. We have the true wisdom. Paul says in Romans 11, one of my favorite passages, he says, "Oh, the depth of the riches, the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out. Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" Think about that. Who's gonna be chief counsel or giver to God? His right hand man, to give him some advice when he needs it. He calls him in, 'I'm having a little trouble with creation, I'm trying to work through this DNA thing, and I've kind of lost my way a little bit. Help me out here.' Who's gonna be God's counselor? Who's gonna give him some advice and some wisdom? Does he need one? No, his wisdom is infinite, it's unsearchable. It's unsearchable. I always think about the unsearchable wisdom of God in terms of plumbing the depths of the ocean, and thinking about the amount of string you have in your pocket and tying it up to a rock and just keep going and going and keep adding other pieces of string and it goes deeper and deeper, and you ask your buddies or some other people for some string and it just keeps going. You'll never plumb the depths. That's the wisdom of God, it's unsearchable, it's deep, the wisdom of God. And the Greeks weren't gonna find it simply by thinking a lot and by talking to one another. In verse 25 of 1 Corinthians 1, he says, "There's no true wisdom apart from God." It says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." Isn't that wonderful? God's foolish moments is wiser than our best moment. Does God have any foolish moments? No. What is Paul doing here? He's really speaking tongue-in-cheek, and you know why? Because he went and preached the gospel to the philosophers, and they said it was foolishness. Utter foolishness. The idea of a Jewish carpenter, dead on the cross, put into a tomb and risen from the dead on the third day, what is that? That's utter foolishness. And so he says, "Okay, foolishness. But the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom." Wiser than man's wisdom. Christ is our wisdom, isn't He? Look at verse 30, 1 Corinthians 1:30. "It is because of him... " Actually, I can't do this unless I read the whole section. Verse 26, "Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you are wise by human standards, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth, but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world, and the despised things, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus." You could meditate on that for years. Just that one sentence. "It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus." Think about that. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us, what? Wisdom from God. Our wisdom is Jesus Christ. He is our wisdom. He has become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, Let him who boasts boast in the Lord. And so God is our wisdom. Jesus Christ is our wisdom, and we're going to be skating across perhaps the surface of Proverbs, there's no way we're gonna go verse by verse through 31 chapters of Proverbs. But Proverbs lends itself very well to a topical study, doesn't it? You really don't know why Proverbs 22:17 follows Proverbs 22:16. And so what we can do is go topically or thematically through and draw them out, and try to understand some wisdom from God. But I wanted to start here so that you would know the ultimate wisdom of God is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It's the cross of Jesus Christ and the empty tomb. That is the wisdom of God, and we have the pleasure of having that wisdom if we've simply believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. You're as wise as you need to be. Isn't that wonderful? So stop studying! What else is there to learn? You know everything! Is that true? Well, no, there's some practical wisdom that we need, isn't it? And that is because sin has deep roots in our lives, it affects everything we do, and we need some expulsive wisdom, don't we? To get in there and start adjusting the way we think about some things. Yes, we've been saved. We acknowledge that we're sinners, we acknowledge that we needed a savior, we acknowledge that we needed Jesus Christ, but we still have some problems, don't we? Are you all done being saved? Well, you're done being justified. The moment you trusted in Jesus Christ, you were justified, right? If you're a believer, that's finished once for all, but are you done being saved? No, according to Paul, he says, "Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." So our salvation is still being worked out, and it's yet to come, on judgment day we'll be saved. There's a whole salvation package, and part of that is a daily practical wisdom from God, isn't it? And I don't think you're gonna find it any better than in the Book of Proverbs. Proverbs deals with some issues, doesn't it? How do we deal with our money? Or, how do we raise our children? Or, how can we have a good marriage? How can we be a good employee? How can we look at life rightly? That's the wisdom of Proverbs, and I think we need it. But I think before we go on, I wanna remind you of a verse I spoke about this morning. Where does wisdom come from? If you lack wisdom, what should you do? You should ask God. How is it that we keep coming again and again to a simple theme that we need to be spiritual beggars? Again and again and again, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," spiritual beggars, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." If you want anything, simply ask God. James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God. And He gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given." And do you know what he might do? He might direct you to the Scripture. "Read it," He might say. "Read the instruction book, and there's some wisdom in there for you." Now, who wrote the Book of Proverbs? Other than God, of course, we know that it's inspired by God, but humanly speaking, who wrote Proverbs? That's right, Solomon. Turn to Proverbs 1:1, and He tells us right off who wrote it. Proverbs 1:1, and it says there, "The Proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel." So that solves it. Now, we know that in the Book of Proverbs, there are some sayings from other wise men, and we'll get to that later on. But in general, most of the Proverbs in the 31 chapters were written by Solomon, are inspired by Solomon. Now, where did Solomon get his wisdom? Well, he got it from God. And you remember the story, Solomon was young and inexperienced, and he was having a dream, and in that dream, God came to him and said, "Ask for anything you want and it'll be given to you." What would you ask for? I've talked to others before about that. If you had that carte blanche, that blank check with God's signature at the bottom, what would you ask for? Seriously, what would you ask for? Godly heart, that's a good one. Other thoughts? What would you ask for? If you were in Solomon's place, what would you ask for? To know God. Now, this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God. So you want eternal life, Bob, it sounds like. Alright, something else? What would you ask for? Okay, all your loved ones that they might be saved. Paul says, "My heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved." Yearning and a hunger for that, alright. That you might be active and available to God the rest of your life in spreading the gospel, that would be a wonderful thing to ask for. How about, I'd like to be in heaven now? [chuckle] Okay, yeah. I remember when I was a child and reading those Aladdin lamp stories, and it's like, if you get three wishes, what would you wish for? Wish for infinite wishes, that kind of thing. Well, you can't trick him with that. I think that might be wonderful to say, "God, I like the wisdom to answer the question. I don't know what I should ask for. Doesn't the Scripture say that? We don't know what to pray for." That's right. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it. Frankly, all of these answers that I'm getting have been instructed by the Scriptures, haven't they? We've been told to ask or yearn for a godly heart or eternal life, or that your friends may be saved, etcetera. These are coming right up out of the wisdom of God, the Scriptures themselves. I'm glad to hear that none of you said, "Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?" Ah, that's encouraging. And there are these moments that have gladdened the heart of a pastor, and that was big, and I appreciate that. But Solomon asked for wisdom, and I think he felt it acutely, didn't he? Why would Solomon be yearning for wisdom at that particular moment in his life? Yeah, it's a big job to be king. And he's a young man, he's inexperienced, he's got the humility to be a beggar there, doesn't he? To say, "I don't know what to do, I don't know how to be a king." And I'll tell you something, I have thought about it many times as a pastor in the last couple of years, as a matter of fact. I don't know how to be a pastor, I don't know how to be your pastor. There's no shame in that. I'll tell you, I'm young and inexperienced, I've come to God numerous times on my knees and say, "What do you want me to do? I don't know how to go. Give me wisdom." Why would God forsake that kind of prayer? That's James 1:5, He said, he'll give it generously to anyone who asks, and there's a certain confidence in knowing you can go to God any time with an open heart, as long as you're willing to do anything He says, to hear anything he might say, He's gonna give you that wisdom. But that's what King Solomon did, and God gave him incredible wisdom. You see, this is the way God is. He doesn't give a little, okay? He's gonna lavish wisdom on Solomon more than anyone that had ever lived before or has ever lived since, save one, Jesus Christ, we'll get to that. But Solomon was lavished with the gift of wisdom. Incredible wisdom. Now, what is wisdom? A little while ago, we bought an 1828 Webster Dictionary. Now, why is the 1828 version important? Well, Noah Webster was a Christian, and almost all of his definitions of words have some Bible quote in them, it's an incredible thing. So you're reading through, and that's a great book to look up the definition of wisdom, and he did a great job. Noah Webster in 1828, wisdom in terms of an act, or effect, or practice, listen to this, is the right use and exercise of knowledge, the choice of laudable ends, that means good ends or praisable ends, and the best means to accomplish them. In other words, to know where is a good place to go and then to know what's the best way to get there, that's wisdom. To know where it is you wanna drive to, and then what's the shortest route to get there are the best route. Well, that's the definition, that's an act, effect, or practice. Also is a faculty of the mind, Noah Webster tells us, wisdom is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper, and useful. There's a real moral side to these definitions. Have you noticed? What is righteous, what is just, and what is best and useful, that's the ability of the mind to discern those things. Also as an acquirement, something you can gain, wisdom is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity and happiness. You can become a wise man or a wise woman by immersing yourself in Scripture under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. You can discern what is best, discern what is just and right, and not only that, but how to bring it about, what's the best way to perceive. That is God's gift. Practical wisdom is discretion. Now, prudence, for example, is a form of wisdom according to Noah Webster. Prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils. I like that. The exercise of sound judgment and avoiding pitfalls and trouble, avoiding evils. He says it's a subset of wisdom. Wisdom is the exercise of sound judgement in either avoiding evils or attempting good. Both. So that's wisdom. Thank you, Noah Webster. But I think in best, we see wisdom lived out in daily life, don't we? If you know a wise man or woman, you just watch how they live. How do they organize their affairs? What do they do with their checkbook? How do they organize their time? How do they administer their office? Let's say. How do they train their children? How do they organize their affairs? It's best seen in everyday life, and thus I believe in the Christian church, mentoring is crucial, don't you think? To have a wise man, if you're a man or a woman, if you're a woman, who can just show you how to live in everyday life. Practical wisdom comes from experience, walking with Jesus through things. That's why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ." As we go through the Book of Proverbs, we're gonna have two very helpful tutors or mentors. One of them is the wise man, and what's his counterpart? He's very much instructive as well. The fool. That's right, we're gonna learn a lot from both, aren't we? The wise man is gonna teach us some things and the fool is gonna teach us some things, and we're gonna learn from both. Sometimes they appear, both of them, in one proverb. Wise man does this, the fool does that. And so, we're gonna learn by contrast and by comparison. What is a wise life in practical situations. We're gonna see the wise and the fool in various settings. For example, Proverbs 12:15, "The way of the fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." Alright, what is that teaching about a fool? "I don't need to hear anything from anybody, I've got this thing scoped, got it figured out. I don't need anything from anybody." What does a wise man say? "Do you have any words of wisdom for me? I could use some advice here." You see what I'm saying? So we learn right away from our tutors: The wise man and the fool on the issue of taking advice. Proverbs 12:16, the very next one, "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult." Well, what does the wise man teaching a prudent man? Overlooking insult. Don't take it to heart. Alright, but what does the fool teaches? As soon as somebody irritates you, say something about it, show in a flash of anger, demonstration of power. We live in a foolish age, don't we? We live in a very angry age. As soon as somebody insults or crosses you, we're gonna show it. Well, Book of Proverbs has dealt with that thousands of years ago. 'A wise man overlooks an insult, but a fool shows annoyance at once." Or Proverbs 12:23, "A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly." So a wise person tends to be kinda quiet, they don't say as much, kinda keep their wisdom to themselves until it's needed. But a fool blurts out his folly as soon as he thinks of something to say. Or this one? Proverbs 15:19, "The way of the sluggard," we're gonna be meeting the sluggard. What's another word for sluggard? Yeah, a lazy person. That's right. A lazy person. "The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway." In other words, a lazy person who doesn't do his business and get his things done has a difficult life, a hard life, there's always trouble, there's always difficulties. But a wise man is like a paved road, when you get your things done on time, etcetera. So it's a case study of everyday life. What is wisdom like? And what is it not like? Now, Solomon's greatest exports in his kingdom was wisdom. Do you know that? That's what they exported. People came from around the world to listen to Solomon. The Queen of the South, for example, came and she brought her whole retinue and they brought all kinds of stuff, gold and silver and rare woods and spices and all that, and they traded it all for what? Some words of wisdom. Just some advice, just to be able to sit and listen to Solomon. And Solomon was amazing, it said in 1 Kings 4, "God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than all the wisdom of the East, the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man, and his fame spread to the surrounding nations. He spoke... " Get this, "3000 proverbs." We have just a sampling of his wisdom here, 3000 proverbs and songs numbered a thousand and five. So he was a composer. He described plant life from the cedar that grows in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the walls. He also taught about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world who had heard of his wisdom. So people from all around came to listen to Solomon, and we get to sit at his feet and listen to him too, don't we? We get to listen to his wisdom, as written in the Book of Proverbs. The Queen of the South, Queen of Sheba, came to listen to Solomon's wisdom. This is what she said, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true, but I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told to me. In wisdom and wealth, you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be, how happy your officials who continually stand before you to hear your wisdom." So that's amazing. God, as I said, gave lavishly to Solomon. But later on, another one would come, a descendant of Solomon, through his father, Joseph. And it was Jesus Christ. And you remember what Jesus said about Solomon? He said, "The Queen of the South," this is Matthew 12:42, "came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now One greater than Solomon is here." One greater than Solomon is here. Jesus Christ's wisdom far exceeds that of Solomon. Solomon described plant life, cedars and hyssop, Jesus designed them. Think about that. Solomon observed the mating rituals of certain kinds of fish perhaps, or animals, categorized them into categories, Jesus created them and sustained them. That is the wisdom of Jesus Christ. And by the way, you have Jesus Christ living within you. You have the mind of Christ. Isn't that amazing? Stop and think that someday your wisdom and your knowledge of God will far exceed the head of Solomon, when you've seen Jesus face to face, and you know as fully as you are fully known. Now, let's look for the first seven verses of Proverbs, and we're gonna just work our way through these, and that'll set us up for our future study. Proverbs 1:1, we've already read. "The proverbs of Solomon son of David, King of Israel: For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, for doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young, let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance, for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But fools despise wisdom and discipline." Now, as you look through these seven verses, he tells you at the beginning why he's written these down, what are the Proverbs for. And listen to what he says, "Therefore, attaining wisdom and discipline." What is discipline? In a moment, he's gonna talk about attaining or acquiring a wise and disciplined life. What does that mean? Discipline. Okay, using your time well, resources well. Go. Self-control. Okay, other thoughts on discipline? Teaching, okay. I think it's really related to the word disciple. There's a close relationship between discipleship and discipline. Self-control is a big theme. How many of you feel that... Say again. Okay, obedience and submission to God's leading in your life, okay. That would be good. I think what Max said in terms of stewardship, there's a sense in which God has given us these resources and we're supposed to be wise and disciplined stewards of them. We're supposed to know what they are and how to use them best. And so, how many of you feel that you would like to grow in self-discipline? Okay, one or two of you. And for the rest, it speaks of you because it says, Let the wise hear and increase in their learning. So all of those of you who have reached that level of self-discipline that you would like, you can continue and increase your learning. The thing is that the Book of Proverbs is written, no matter what your level of discipleship. Look what it says, it says, "For acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair. Giving prudence to the simple." What does that mean? Simple. He is simple. What is a simple person? Right, not proud. Calmer, say again. Naive, right? Or could we say a beginner in the journey of wisdom? Naive, just starting. Okay, you're just a beginner when it comes to wisdom. Well, this book's for you. It's for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young. So there's a parallel there, between simple and young, but then also in verse 5, "Let the wise listen and add to their learning." We're never finished, are we? Some of you have been alive for many, many more years than I have, and your gray hair testifies to the years you've been alive, and you've experienced things that younger people have not experienced, but are you done learning? Are you finished? Not at all. And so there's a practical wisdom still waiting for you in this book. "Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance." That's a beautiful word, isn't it? I like to think in my life of the way of wisdom. There's a way, a path in front of us, isn't there? And sometimes it's hard to see, it's hard to know what direction to go. We need wisdom, we need guidance, and we must learn to turn to Scripture, and the Book of Proverbs, gives us some very practical wisdom and guidance for that journey, the way of wisdom. And then he says, "for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise," so you're gonna understand some things that you wouldn't have understood without studying. And then comes the motto for the entire book, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." The fear of the Lord. What do you think of when you think of the fear of the Lord? What does that mean? The fear of the Lord. Respect, okay. A common word would be awe. People think of awe. Is there any terror involved? Well, in one translation, 2 Corinthians 5, it says, "Since then we know the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." So there's some terror of the Lord. Every time you look in the Book of Judges or some of the other places where the Spirit of the Lord comes, or there's an appearance of the Lord, terror comes over those who come close to God. And yet there's an attraction, isn't there? There's a yearning to be in the presence of God, a sense of His presence and the awe and the power of God, and yet a sense of fear as well. Now, Romans chapter 8 says that we're not made a slave again to fear. It's not a slaverish-type fear, it's just who he is and who we are. That's all. And so, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. You wanna start on the journey, you start by fearing the Lord. And the contrast is just as clear, the fool despises the whole thing, they despise the journey, they're not going to listen, even if you tell them a thousand times, they're not going to listen, because they don't fear the Lord. So this book will profit you and benefit you as you fear the Lord, but if you don't fear the Lord, you're not even on the journey, not even walking along the way. So the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Come into this book, fearing the Lord, and he's got wisdom for you. Now, what we're going to do in our study beginning next week, is we're gonna begin looking at some topics. We're gonna go through and find some things out, very practical things on what Proverbs has to say about daily life, talk about character traits. We're gonna talk about good business practices. Perhaps, we're gonna talk about eating and drinking habits. Book of Proverbs speaks to these things. Sexual purity, how to watch out for the adulterous or the sexual tempter that will come in your life. The Book of Proverbs has a great deal to say about this. Work ethic, being a disciplined, hard-working person. Speech patterns, what to say and what not to say, when to speak and when to be silent. Handling money and wealth, controlling your emotions, raising your children, avoiding trouble spots, common trouble spots in people's lives, secrets to a blessed marriage. So all of that next week and then the following, we're gonna look at... No, no. We'll take one top. Alright, we're gonna zero in and we're gonna go through and find the Proverbs that speak to those. We're gonna try to plumb the depths of the wisdom of God so that we can acquire a disciplined and prudent life. So please come next week, come with an open heart, come with the fear of the Lord and let's be instructed by God. Let's close in prayer. Is there anything else, Bill? Alright. I'm gonna close in prayer. Heavenly Father, we do thank you for the time we've had to look at your word tonight. Thank you for the Book of Proverbs and the things we're gonna learn. But Father, tonight, we just wanted to remind ourselves who wisdom is, not so much what wisdom is but who wisdom is, and the wisdom is Jesus Christ. And we thank you that by faith in Christ, we have received wisdom from God, our righteousness, Jesus. And we have been given the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, the beginning of knowledge. Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters here and for myself, that we might hear what you have to say, not be like the fool that despises knowledge, but rather one who is teachable, one who can learn and grow in wisdom. Father, we pray these things in Jesus' name. Amen. Good night.

Two Journeys Sermons
Human Wisdom, True Wisdom, Eternal Wisdom (Job Sermon 16) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 20, 2021


Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 28. This passage is a hymn or poem (possibly spoken by Job) elevating God's wisdom over human ingenuity. - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - Turn in your Bibles to Job 28. And we come to a magnificent chapter, a poem, or a hymn to wisdom. This chapter will celebrate God's wisdom over against man's science by using an extended illustration of mining. Mining. It will say men know how to mine precious materials from the earth, but we don't know where to find wisdom. Now, the question that's in front of me as I continue to walk through this complex, this deep book is, what function does this chapter have in the book of Job? Why did the Holy Spirit move that this be part of this book here and now? What purpose does it serve? Well, at the simplest level, it gives us all a break. I don't know about you, but I feel a need for a bit of a break in the book of Job. I mean, it's been 27 chapters of sorrow and distress and misery. Of Job, a man, a righteous and a godly man who had wave upon wave of affliction and trial that came upon him, who lost much of his wealth in a single day, who lost all ten of his children in that same single day, who then subsequently lost his health to a terrible disease and was greatly afflicted. And then for all these chapters through chapter 27, we've had a cycle of discussions and debates by his friends who have come to comfort him in some way, and you know what that's been like. One of those “with friends like that, who needs enemies” kind of thing. But it's been very distressing and difficult as again and again, Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad have unfolded the same basic theology. You, Job, are suffering because you are a wicked man. You're suffering greatly because your wickedness is great. If you would just confess and renounce your wickedness, the suffering would go away. And so how does Job 28 fit into that? Well, I think that we should look on Job 28 as part of Job's final defense of his own righteousness. Job 27:1 says, "Job continued his discourse." Job 29:1 says, "Job continued his discourse." So it's kind of right in the middle it seems, of a section of Job's statement. So it's best to just, I think, read it that way. I've said again and again, it really doesn't matter to me who says what, ultimately. I think if we do know we can line it up with what we know about that person and their personality and try to understand their words, but it really is the Holy Spirit that's speaking this book to us and he has a purpose and we have to look to that and understand it. So what does Job 28 say? I've already given you a brief kind of summary. It is, "Man knows how to mine precious materials from the earth, but we don't know where to find wisdom." That's point one. Then in verse 23 and 28, it will say, "True wisdom comes from God alone. God is the only one who knows where wisdom can be found and who can teach it." And he does teach us wisdom and it culminates in a simple, clear statement in verse 28, "This is wisdom: to fear God and to shun evil is understanding." Well, that's the whole book, whole chapter. How does Job 28 fit into the book of Job? Well, it's part of Job's defense because of verse 28. Verse 28, "To fear God and to shun evil is wisdom." But the very first thing we find out about Job at the beginning of the book is that this is the exact description of Job. God says to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, a man who fears God and shuns evil." That should look very familiar to you. So Job is a wise man. He's saying this about himself. "I am not who you say I am. I'm not a wicked man. I fear God and shun evil." Now I'm going to unfold that and show how clearly it lines up with Job's life in chapter 31. And we're not going to go to 31, but I'll just tell you that is his ethic. That's how he lives his life. Well, how does Job 28 fit into the Bible? And then how does it speak to us? Well, we've seen in general with the book of Job, there's timeless wisdom here, but it's a shadow compared to the full reality we find in Christ. We get the idea of good, better, best in the unfolding revelation of God. And so while it is true that wisdom is to fear God and shun evil, there's a better wisdom than that. That is true, but it's not sufficient. I would say along with that, not either/or, but both/and, along with fearing God and shunning evil is the delight and the joy and the love that comes in a relationship with God where God becomes our treasure. God becomes our gold, worth more than anything we could ever find in this world. The kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he sold all of the material treasures he found on earth and bought that field and the treasure is Christ, and Christ gives us God. And so if you put those together, to fear God and shun evil, plus to delight in God and yearn for him and find pleasure in him, now that's wisdom and we find all of that in the gospel of Jesus Christ. All right, so there's the sermon. You can go rest now or kind of take the rest. I'm going to go into a lot of details. Seems beneficial to do so, but you have the overview. I guess if I could just apply it to you, I want you to know, just look at where we're at, where we live, what our setting is here. We're in one of the smartest places in the country. There are a lot of different ways to measure that, but there's just a lot of PhDs around here. There's a lot of high tech companies around here. There's a lot of intelligent people who take human technology and human wisdom and do amazing things with it. We have high tech companies right near us that are doing semiconductor research. We have software companies. I guess Apple's going to come and build a big campus here and do what they do. You've got pharmaceutical research. We've got all kinds of amazingly intelligent, smart people doing amazingly intelligent, smart things. But those who are not yet converted are not wise. They're not wise. And they need us and the other godly people, other churches in this area, to tell them to flee their foolishness and to find true wisdom in Christ so that we would not be overwhelmingly amazed with human wisdom and human ingenuity and human technology. Not intimidated at all by that, but say, "Can I point you to true wisdom? That wisdom is Christ." And beyond that, I want each of you who are Christians, who came in here today born again, to go home thanking God that he made you wise, that he won you out of your foolishness into a lasting wisdom through Christ. Just thank God for that. I. Human Wisdom on Display in Mining Okay. So now let's look at some details. In Job 28:1-11, this section celebrates the staggering levels of human ingenuity found in mining. Maybe you've never thought much about mining before, but that's what's going on in this chapter. These 11 verses talk about mining. Human technology in general is a stunning marvel. It far exceeds the capacities of even the most extraordinary animals and birds, as we shall see. There's a massive, almost immeasurable gap between the intellectual prowess of human beings and every other creature. Human beings, therefore can do amazing things by virtue of their brain power. Now, the example that Job uses in this chapter is the extreme complexity of mining, but as we shall see human ingenuity, technology, science as we know it, is not ultimate wisdom. We may be able to extract gold and gemstones and other precious things from the depths of the earth, but we cannot trade that gold and those gems and those precious things for true wisdom. "We may be able to extract gold and gemstones and other precious things from the depths of the earth, but we cannot trade that gold and those gems and those precious things for true wisdom." So however far human science, human wisdom, human technology, and ingenuity takes us, it's going to fall far short of the wisdom that God yearns to work within human hearts. And a lot of that wisdom comes through suffering. Suffering makes us wise. Job feared God and shunned evil before any of this happened, but he feared God more profoundly after God showed up and talked to him at the end of the book. And so whatever level of fearing God and shunning evil you may have in your life, you could have more, should have more. Now let's walk through the details of how this chapter celebrates human skill and mining, human ingenuity and mining. So the existence of rare and valuable materials is a feature of planet earth and it was woven into the physical creation that God made and it's described very early in the Bible in Genesis chapter two. You remember how there was a river that flowed from the garden of Eden and it broke off into four headwaters of four rivers, and one of those rivers was the Pishon River. And it says, if you were to follow the Pishon river out from the garden of Eden, you would come to the land of Havilah, where there is gold and onyx. So very early in the book, we've got this idea of precious materials and throughout the history of human society, gold has played a major factor in commerce and in wars and in conquest and all kinds of things because of its attributes. Gold is precious because it's malleable, easily meltable, formable, shapeable, and it's incorruptible, it doesn't rust, and it's rare. So as with any economic issue, you've got the law of supply and demand. It's valuable, but rare. And so Job 28 describes the extreme efforts men have gone to draw precious materials from below the surface of the earth. Now the history of mining must be fascinating. When did people realize that these precious materials could only be brought forth into the light of day by extreme efforts, down into the dark deep, dark recesses of the earth? Perhaps early on men found caves and you know how men are, they just want to explore them. Hey, there's a deep dark hole. I'd like to go into it. I mean, what's up with some people? But that's how they are. And so they would get torches and they would go in there. Maybe they're looking for some water or I don't know what, just that sense of adventure. And in the flickering light of the torch, they see some glitter along the wall, silver maybe, or they find some vein somewhere of silver or gold, and then they kind of chunk it out and bring it out into daylight and start looking at it. In the course of time, they learned how to process it. And so in Genesis four, we have a man called Tubal-cain, who it says in Genesis 4:22, "forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron," forged them. So that's just technology of learning how to deal with different types of materials that come from the earth. Tubal-cain seems to have been the first blacksmith or at least he's the first one mentioned in the Bible. He's learning to work metals like iron and bronze. Given that he's also in the lineage of Cain and a son of Lamech who delighted in being able to wreak vengeance on his enemies, some of this blacksmithing must have been used for forging weapons. Herein lies is a big part of the problem of man's ingenuity. Man is brilliant in science, but then he uses his discoveries to make better and more destructive weapons by which he can kill his fellow man and take over his property, his farms. So mankind learns how to do things, but not why or why not to do certain things. Thus, to man's amazing brain is given a low level of wisdom that makes him vastly superior to all animals and other creatures, but man's essential wickedness and foolishness since the fall of Adam, makes that low level technological wisdom actually often damaging or destructive. Mining is also very dangerous. You could imagine some expeditions going to various hot, dry places where certain things were found and the people have to go down into the depths of the earth and it would be maybe slaves that would be forced to do this. And so you get this economic disparity between the mine owners and the mine workers and all of these kinds of things go on. And it must have been from a very early stage. Under the hard, rocky earth the ground had to be essentially assaulted to pry loose its riches. It was a forceful, violent effort. It was deadly dangerous. In some mining endeavors, a large fire perhaps would be kindled in the shaft or tunnel, which heated the rock to high temperatures. Then cold water was poured on the super-heated rock, causing it to crack. Chunks of rock then fell down and the miners could go down to the bottom of the hole and pick them up and bring those rocks up into the daylight where they could be processed. All right. So that's the nature of mining in general, what we know about it. Let's look at the words, what Job actually says. First of all, he introduces the topic in verse one and two. "There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth and copper is smelted from ore." So those words are why we're talking about mining today. That's what the text talks about. That's what we're talking about. And so it's about mining. It talks about the challenges of the search for precious metals, the need for light, torches, lanterns to push back the darkness. Look at verse three, "Man puts an end to the darkness. He searches the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness." It stands to reason, it's away from the sunlight. It's deep down in the depths of the earth. There's no light down there and so you need to bring torches. It mentions cutting the shaft in these austere places where no one can live or wants to live and hanging on a trapeze to do the work. Verse four, "Far from where people dwell he cuts the shaft, in places forgotten by the foot of man. Far from men he dangles and sways." It speaks of these trapezes are there because the pit is deep, and halfway down on the wall there's some precious materials they have to get off. So the only way they'll be able to work them is with ropes and platforms. And so they dangle and sway on those platforms. And then verse 5, "The earth from which food comes is transformed below us by fire." You have to do something to the walls, the rocky walls, you have to do something to get this stuff out. And so it speaks of the transformation of the earth, of holes that are dug that weren't there before, by again human ingenuity, and the products are precious, verse 6, "Sapphires come from its rocks and its dust contains nuggets of gold." Now mankind's technology makes them far superior to all other creatures. Look at verse seven and eight. "No bird of prey knows that hidden path. No falcon's eye has seen it. Proud beasts do not set foot on it and no lion prowls there." So these are pinnacle creatures, birds of prey that soar high on the thermals, far above the surface of the earth. The eagles and falcons kind of rule the air. And then lions, the king of beasts kind of rule the jungle. But these lordly creatures never do anything like this. It would never enter their little minds to do this. They're not found there. They know nothing about the subterranean regions of the earth. It is mankind with his relentless thirst for exploration and knowledge, his scientific mind, his sharp eye, his ability to reason and put together technologies that might have seemed to have nothing to do with mining but then it's like, wait a minute, we could use that over here to do this. And so technologies are put together using iron tools, forged in a smith to then mine other precious materials more efficiently. No eagle, no falcon, no lion, no chimpanzee, no really intelligent porpoise is thinking about any of these things. It also speaks of the violence of the effort. Look at verses 9-10, "Man's hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains. He tunnels through the rock." So the earth does not yield its precious treasures easily or free of cost. In later years, explosives, powerful explosives will be used to crack open the Earth's treasure box. So you imagine the 19th century sticks of TNT or other explosives used to open up the rocky mountain. As a result of that, human lives are lost. Mining accidents occur regularly. Massive boulders are broken loose and rolled down and block the escape of miners that are further down below and, little by little, their air goes away and then they die. The discovery of hidden treasures in verses 10-11, that's the whole point of all of this.,"His eyes see all its treasures. He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light." So all of this technology, these amazing efforts are made for treasures, material physical treasures brought up from the subterranean regions of the earth. They were hidden from view, but now the sunlight captures their glory and makes them glitter and shine. But, part two, "True wisdom cannot be mined and it cannot be purchased," verses 12-19. This is an analogy, it's really a parable almost, an illustration. Verse 12-14, this is the point of the chapter, "Where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? Man does not comprehend its worth. It cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says it is not in me." So we humans know how to mine hidden treasures from the depths of the earth, but we don't know where to find wisdom. II. True Wisdom Cannot Be Mined or Purchased The true treasure is not found in that way. Human science cannot discover it. We are brilliant at technology, but fools toward God and eternity. Now this very point is the point that Paul makes in 1 Corinthians chapter one, where he says, "For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God. For that reason, God was pleased to the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe in Christ." And so we're not going to find it, not even by philosophical reasoning or by inventing our own religions. We will not find eternal wisdom that way, either. God has ordained that he must teach us wisdom or we will never learn it. We don't know where to find wisdom. Verse 12, "Where can wisdom be found?" We can search for diamonds deep in the earth. We can discover sapphires. We can discover their stony fire and look at their faceted brilliance and it's going to captivate our eyes and our hearts. And it'll be the envy of our neighbors. But we are essentially fools because we can't find wisdom on the earth. We don't know where it dwells. Verse 13-14, look at it again,"It cannot be found in the land of the living. The deep says, it's not in me. And the sea says, it's not in me." Furthermore, what is wisdom worth? What is wisdom worth? What's the value of wisdom? We cannot set a market price on wisdom and the things we got up, the glittery shiny things we got up out of the depths of the earth, you can't trade that for wisdom. It's not for sale in that sense. Look at verses 15-19, "It cannot be bought with the finest gold nor can its price be weighed in silver. It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention. The price of wisdom is beyond rubies. The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it. It cannot be bought with pure gold." So some rich fool can be surrounded with the rarest gems and gold aplenty, but his restless heart has led him to all manners of corruption and tyranny. His marriage is ruined. His children hate him. He has developed bitter enemies who would love to kill him and take all of his treasures from him. And he's mortal, he's not going to have them forever. When he dies, he'll give them to others. He'll let them go. He is a rich fool and he cannot trade all his gold and jewels that he's so prized for wisdom. Wisdom was far more valuable than all of those things he accumulated all along, but he didn't know it. He was allured, he was deceived by the glitter. He learned how to assault the earth for its hidden treasure but true treasure was truly hidden, because true wisdom comes from God alone. III. True Wisdom Comes from God Alone That's the third point. True wisdom comes from God alone verses 20-27. The hymn reveals the source of true wisdom, and that is God. Again, it asks the same question. Verse 20, "Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?" Then it presses deeper still, verse 21, 22, "It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing concealed, even from the birds of the air. Destruction and death say only a rumor of it has reached our ears." So if you could search every square inch of the surface of the earth, you would not find wisdom openly displayed anywhere. Like gold and diamonds, it starts out hidden from view. It is concealed treasure. But even if you could move all the mountains and probe down to the realm of the grave, the deepest depths of the earth, the place where death and destruction live, the subterranean regions of the earth. If you could probe deeper and wider than any mining enterprise has ever reached, you still would not find wisdom. A rumor of wisdom, a whiff, an aroma of it would be around you the whole time through the whole search. As though tantalizing you, enticing you and tormenting you, but you wouldn't find it. You would know that something called wisdom existed, but it would elude you. So you are smart. You are a genius with all manner of technological achievements, which have enriched you with the rarest gems the earth possessed. You uncovered them all and you have them on display in your dining halls, in your storehouses, but you are a fool. Ruining your life, finding no lasting peace, no joy, no pleasure. You are a rich, intelligent, accomplished fool, and it would be good for you to know it. A rumor of existence, so the existence of wisdom is there, a whiff, but you cannot find it. But God knows where to find it. Look at verses 23-24, "God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells. For he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens." God knows how to find what you're looking for. He understands the way to it. A journey to the place where it exists, where wisdom exists, but it's not a physical journey, it's a spiritual journey. God knows the way to wisdom for he made the earth and sees every part of it, nothing escapes his notice. And God's creation shows his credentials in giving wisdom. We're going to see this at the end of the book. The book of Job is saturated with what theologians called natural theology, the theology of nature, the theology of creation. Look at verses 25-27, "When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters. When he made a decree for the rain and a path to the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it. He confirmed it and tested it." Well if man is wise in science, in studying the earth in its nature and using its attributes, how much wiser is the God who made nature? We're always infinite steps behind him intellectually. He made it, we're studying it, using it. So God is the creator, we are the students of creation. God said, "Let there be light," Isaac Newton studied its attributes. God said, "Let there be gravity and time," Albert Einstein came up with some theories of relativity. God made all life, biologists and botanists and zoologists analyze the species and study their natures and their habitats and genes and all that. But God made it all. The evidence of God's wisdom is everywhere around us. "God is wise," says Job, "in the force of the wind." He knows how much wind to use in every situation. Sometimes the light breath of a zephyr, barely able to cause leaves to flutter, cool the face of the labored at the end of the day and cause the aromas from the flowering trees, the magnolias, the lilac to fill your nostrils and it's very pleasant. But sometimes he unleashes gale force winds that rip and rend and topple and whip the ocean into a frothy frenzy. God wisely decides how to move the air in the atmosphere and what to do with weather. The weather patterns all over the earth, as he alone sees fit and understands. God is wise also says the text in measuring out waters. The waters. There is enough water to cover the entire surface of the earth, so says the Bible. Noah's flood, everything was covered. There's enough water. But God, in his wisdom, when the flood was over, caused the subterranean areas of the ocean, even to sink down and to accept water into itself and then to move the edge of the ocean back. And as another text says, "He speaks to the proud waves and says, this far you may come and no farther." He limits the force of the waves. Here you may go and no farther. God measures out also the fresh water. How much of it that we need to stay alive? How much should be sprinkled down from the heavens as we discussed in an earlier sermon, spritzing it down so that there is a bumper crop. He knows how to give just the right amount of rain for a bumper crop. He also knows how to give rain for not a bumper crop, for crop failure, for drought or for a flood. Either way you end up with crop failure and God wisely chooses how much water in each case. God is wise in directing the path of the storms. The thunderstorms may seem completely random to you. Have you ever seen the flash of a lightning bolt across the sky and you think what causes that jagged shape? Why does it go like that? It's every movement is dictated by the wisdom of God. God made and sustains the entire world by daily wisdom. Not even daily wisdom, instantaneous wisdom. He is flying this planet like a skilled pilot and every moment is ordained by his wise providence. Verse 27 it says, "God confirmed and tested wisdom by creation and by his daily sustaining of creation." Everything in creation, everything in daily providence is the of the wisdom of God. But have you ever driven by some area of the town your whole life? And then one day you had to walk by it and you're like, "Wow, I didn't know that was there. And I didn't know that was there either. And look at that and look." You were blowing by all of these displays of the wisdom of God in providence and you missed almost all of them. It's okay. In heaven, you get to review them and look at God's mighty works and celebrate his providence in creation, in nature and in history. And then you get to bring him the praise and glory he deserved all along. As it says in Psalm 111:2-4, "Great are the works of the Lord. They are pondered by all who delight in them." Another translation says studied. "Glorious and majestic are his deeds and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered. The Lord is gracious and compassionate." So we who lack wisdom, we can only find it from one source and that is God himself. Human ingenuity and scientific accomplishment will never result in wisdom. It will only produce arrogance and tyranny and materialism and warfare and agonies, if not tempered by the wisdom that God alone can give. IV. Job’s Preliminary Definition of True Wisdom Now in verse 28, we come to the crowning moment of the chapter, a definition of true wisdom, verse 28, "And he said to man, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. And to shun evil is understanding." This is the beginning of wisdom we're told in another place. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And that leads to shunning evil. Job is going to make this very clear in Job 31. This is his motive for everything he does. He's going to talk about sexual purity in that chapter, "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a woman." Why? Well, because God sees my ways and counts my every step. That's why. He also treats his servants, men servants and maid servants with justice and fairness. He is kind to the widow and the orphan and cares for them. Again, why? Because he fears God and he's going to have to give an account to God for how he treated them. As he says in Job 31:13 and 14, "If I have denied justice to my men servants and maid servants when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?" He fears God, therefore he treats people well. This is his ethic. This is the way he lived his life. In order to do this, you have to believe that God exists and that God will bring to judgment all of the people who ever lived. That you're going to have to give an account on the day of judgment for everything you've ever done or didn't do. And so this infinite, majestic God should just tower over you at every moment and give you a sense of an appropriate fear of the Lord that leads to a shunning of evil. No book, I think, in the Bible gives such dramatic language of natural theology as does the book of Job. Later, in a few chapters, Job 37:2-5, Elihu says this, "Listen. Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heavens and sends it to the ends of the earth. And after that comes the sound of his roar, he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God's voice thunders in marvelous ways, he does great things beyond our understanding." That's the terror of the Lord. And by faith, we are brought to another place in redemptive history, to the base of Mount Sinai, where God descends in fire and gives his law to mankind and causes the ground to shake beneath our feet. And he speaks with such a mighty voice that the people beg that they never hear that voice again, unless they die. The fear of the Lord causes us, and he says that in Exodus, he says, "Do not fear. The fear of the Lord has come to keep you from sinning." And so it is a healthy ethic though inadequate, I'll say it more in a moment, healthy but inadequate, but it's still necessary, that all of you who hear me today and I who speak these words should fear God and shun evil. Just in your mind, be brought to the base of Sinai and see God descending in fire on that mountain and hear him speak, because God says it to you. And then go in your mind to the darkness of Gethsemane where Jesus, who feared God like no one has ever feared God, fell to the ground in anticipation of drinking the cup of God's wrath and in terror said, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," and great drops of blood came out of pores of his skin. No one feared God like Jesus. "No one feared God like Jesus. " That's wisdom. Fear God and shun evil. We need to understand what evil is. The Bible gives us a whole taxonomy of it. Many sin lists, many. Galatians 5:19-21, it says, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious. Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like that will not inherit the kingdom of God." Evil is relentless. It is treacherous. It is devious. It is deceptive. The Bible gives a whole long treatment of what it looks like and how it functions in human society and what happens to the people who do it, like Ahab and Jezebel, dogs licked up their blood. We have whole stories about what happens when you live evil and how God brings judgment. And therefore salvation, in part, consists in the people of God coming to hate evil like God does. We come to that point that we fear the Lord and hate evil, shun evil. As it says about Jesus, that God the Father said about his own Son, "You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness and therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." Jesus loved righteousness and hated wickedness perfectly. And you know what's so beautiful? You know what gives me hope? Someday I will love righteousness and hate wickedness as much as Jesus. And so will all of you who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. That'll be the perfection of our salvation, won't it? V. Christ is Gods Eternal Wisdom We need to understand therefore, that God does not, cannot tolerate sin. We need to realize a day of judgment is coming. God is patient. He does not bring judgment immediately, but he does warn us. In this text in the end, Job 28:28, "Fear the Lord and shun evil is a warning” for all of us. Job lived this out. But I want to say to you now, as I already said at the beginning of the sermon, true wisdom goes infinitely beyond that. That negative side is essential, but it's not enough. Christ is God's eternal wisdom and Christ is infinitely greater than “fear God and shun evil.” Christ is the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23 and 24. "We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But to those whom God has called both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God." And I believe like that parable says, the kingdom of heaven is like a man who found treasure hidden in a field. Kind of links up with our mining theme. He mined it up and found it, put it back in, covered it so no one else would buy it. Runs and sells everything he had and with joy, bought that field and that treasure. So there's a fear and a joy aspect of true salvation. And you know what the treasure is? Christ. Christ is the treasure. Colossians 2:3 says, "In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." He is the treasure of God's infinite wisdom. And the thing that's exciting, what I've learned in my studies about heaven is you have only begun to scratch the surface on the infinite majesty of Christ. You'll be studying Christ for the rest of eternity. That's how infinite this treasure is. So there is a fear and hatred and loathing and negative side of true holiness. And then there's an attractive, alluring, positive, delight, treasure side. Both of those together, are found in Christ and that's true wisdom. Christ is the wisdom of God incarnate. It was wise for God to send his son, his only begotten son into the world to save us, telling us we could not save ourselves. That was wise for God to humble us like that. And it was wise for Christ to be born in humility, born of the virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. It was wise for him to grow up in the normal way. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. It was wise for him to be hidden and concealed from Israel until he was about 30 years old. And it was wise for God to send John the Baptist to announce his coming and point at him and say of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” And then it was wise for Jesus to have his public ministry that consists in perfect words and incredible miracles. Rivers of healings, walking on water, stilling the storm, feeding the five thousand, giving multiple evidences of his deity through these miracles. It was wise for him to do that. And the specific miracles he did were very wise and it was wise for him to talk like no man had ever talked before. It's one of my favorite moments when they send some temple police to arrest Jesus and they go and listen for awhile. That was their first mistake. No, that was a good thing to do. They come back empty-handed and say, "No man ever spoke like this man." It was wise for him to live a sinless life every day under the law of Moses, under the law of God, perfectly fulfilling the righteous demands of the law of God and winning for all of us, a robe of righteousness that he just is willing to give us freely as a gift the act of obedience of Christ, our perfect holiness and righteousness. And it was wise for Jesus, every moment to display all of the attributes of God, the Father. So he can say to his followers, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." But most of all, it was wise for Jesus to die on the cross in our place as a substitute under the wrath of God, that we might not have to face the wrath of God, but would be freed from our sins forever by simple faith. And it was wise for God to raise Christ up from the dead on the third day, triumphing over death in the grave and giving us a hope of eternal life. And it was wise for him to save us in stages so that we are justified, forgiven, made right in the sight of God by simple faith, apart from works instantaneously. All of our sins forgiven, past, present, and future by faith in the blood of Christ. It was very wise for God to do that. And then it was wise for him to call on us to be holy and to be sanctified and to grow in grace in the knowledge of Christ, day by day, and to wrestle with our sins by the power of the spirit and be humbled thereby, and to learn how much we needed a Savior and still do, and to be humbled by this journey of holiness and to yearn for perfection and holiness. And then it will be wise at the end of all things, at the Second Coming of Christ, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet, to change all of the children of God instantaneously and give us perfected resurrection bodies to go with our perfected, resurrected souls. The consummation of our salvation will be perfectly wise as well. And then you'll begin your eternal education in the glory of God in earnest. And you'll become wiser and wiser and wiser and wiser for all eternity, but you'll never get, you'll never be omniscient, for God alone is omniscient. So you'll always have more to learn about the infinite majesty of God. Now, where is all of this wisdom found? This wisdom is found in Scripture. It says, and this is a word for you fathers, how it says in 2 Timothy 3:15, how Timothy from infancy, "from infancy have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." The best thing you fathers could do is sit down with your families, gather them around and crack open this book night after night and pour out the wisdom of God on your children. Pour it out. But look again what it says, "wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." You want to know where the wisdom of God in Christ is found? You read about it in his book. You don't see it in nature. You're not going to see it in the wind or the storms or the ostriches or any of that. You find it in scripture, alone. So we have an obligation to the people, the really intelligent, smart PhD people of RDU to tell them what true wisdom is, to lead them to find it through faith in Christ. To be bold, even this week in evangelism. Don't be intimidated by them. Esteem it, great. Be interested in their research, that's fine. But change the subject at some point to true wisdom, the wisdom that's found in Christ. And then I'll finish with what I started with. If you are born again, if you're a child of God, your heart right now should be filled with thankfulness that God rescued you out of dark foolishness, into the wisdom that he alone can give. And that is Christ. "You want to know where the wisdom of God in Christ is found? You read about it in his book. You don't see it in nature. You're not going to see it in the wind or the storms or the ostriches or any of that. You find it in scripture, alone." Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for this time we've had to study Job 28. I thank you for the song that we sang earlier in which we begged you, show us Christ. Lord, I pray that the way that this chapter has shown us Christ would stick with us, that we would realize that Christ is the wisdom, the true wisdom of God and that we would give eternal thanks for that wisdom. Lord, I pray for any that came in here as yet unconverted. I pray that now, even now, you would be drawing them by the sovereign Spirit to faith in Christ. It's in his name I pray. Amen.

Two Journeys Sermons
How Can a Man Be Righteous Before This Majestic God? (Job Sermon 15) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 13, 2021


Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 25-27. Bildad asks how someone can be found righteous before God. Jesus' imputed righteousness is the answer. - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - This morning, we'll be looking at Job 25-27, and as we do, we come to a very challenging section of this book for the interpreters, for scholars, for preachers like me. It's a challenging section for a couple of reasons, and therefore, it's good for me to give you just some of the principles, or perhaps even remind you of some of the principles that I use as I approach the book of Job, as I approach all scripture. Really, it's beneficial for me to teach you how to read the book of Job for yourself. So that years later, when you're no longer listening to a sermon series in Job, and you may actually never hear an exegetical sermon series on the book of Job again in your lives; it's actually pretty unusual. And you may not ever hear again, expository sermon on Job 25-27 again. So how can we understand the book of Job? How can we understand this passage? It is with great reverence that we should come to the Scriptures. We should come to it realizing we're reading a document that has stood over and been involved in the lives of God's people for two and a half millennia or more. This book is going to be here long after any of us are dead, and so there's a respect and a reverence that we take to this. And also we're taught in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all Scripture is God breathed. And so we're reading the words of men. We're reading human words, but we are reading the Word of God. So the Holy Spirit is saying something to us as we read these chapters. And that's an awesome thought, isn't it? The idea that we can actually have God speak to us and talk to us, but it's not simple. It's not a simplistic thing. We have to interpret it because it's coming to us through the words of the actors, the players in this drama, through Zophar or Bildad or Eliphaz, through Job. And so we kind of filter what we're reading through them and through what we know about them and try to understand it, but we know that it's God-breathed. And so behind their human words, we have God speaking to us, and we want to try to understand that and to understand what God is doing in our lives. And so in order to do that, I think it's good to go one section before 2 Timothy 3, where we're told what the purpose of all Scripture is, and how Paul said that Timothy “from infancy had known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” So I believe the book of Job is for that purpose. It's able to make all of us wise. It's a wisdom book, but able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ. And not only that, the Scripture is given to equip us. “[So] all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” So I expect to get rebuked and corrected when I read Scripture. And I think that's going to happen for us today, and that rebuking and correcting will bring me, in some amazing way, to Christ. I expect to be brought to Christ by reading Job. And I expect, having been brought to Christ for salvation, for the forgiveness of my sins, I am brought to Christ by the Scripture for equipping and training and preparation so that I might be prepared to do good works. "So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work," the text says 2 Timothy. So I expect that this book of Job, not only will it aid or point toward the salvation of my soul through faith in Christ, but it's able to equip me and prepare me to do good works for the rest of my life. But it does so in a unique kind of pattern here. It's a book about suffering. It's a book about a man who lived it a long time ago, we don't know when, who was blameless and upright, who was a godly man and who suffered overwhelming afflictions and trials, in his life; who lost overwhelming percentage of his wealth and his possessions; and whose 10 children died in a single day, all of them; and who subsequently then lost his health in an affliction that was just so overwhelming that his physical appearance was very different than usual. He was in agony, physical agony. So those three things, the dread of all of us who live in this world. Shouldn't be, we shouldn't be filled with dread, but we do naturally fear the loss of our possessions, our money, what might happen to our loved ones, our children, our loved ones, our spouses, and what might happen to our health, even to the point of death. These things stand over us and we are afraid of them. And along comes this man and he walks through this, and then he begins to talk and some friends, Eliphaz and Zophar and Bildad, come and they talk to him. And there's this cycle of discussions that go on that make up the bulk of the book of Job. And we're nearing—this is the end. I. Bildad’s Question: How Can a Man Be Righteous Before God? (Job 25) This is the final time that we'll hear from one of Job's friends, Bildad, his third speech. But here we come to some interpretive problems. I was thinking this, I don't know if this is helpful, but I'm going to go ahead and say it. Therefore, you shouldn't say it, but anyway, I'm going to say it. There was a woman that Jesus dealt with. It said of her that she had a problem of bleeding, she had suffered a problem of bleeding for 12 years. And it says in Mark's gospel, she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and didn't get any better, but only got worse. Hence, this text, it has suffered a great deal under the care of many interpreters and didn't get any better, but only got worse. And I'm probably one of them, because I think it's quite possible that the second half of Job 27 isn't Job, but maybe is Bildad or one of his friends. And yet there's no scene telling me that. There's no, "Bildad answered," or any of that. So it's right in the Job section, but it's so contradicts stuff that Job said earlier that you're left scratching your head. So you're either saying, "Why did the account get kind of rearranged or shredded in some way?" Or you're like, "What is up with our friend Job that he says one thing in chapter 21 and something entirely different in chapter 27? How do we deal with that?" Either way, you've got a problem. So that's what I get to preach on today. Hence all kinds of introductory comments saying, "All right, what are we going to do with this text?" But here's the thing, I think in the end, I have to be honest, it doesn't matter who said these words. It doesn't matter if it's Job. It doesn't matter if it's Bildad or one of the other friends. It doesn't matter. We know that it's not God Almighty saying it. It's coming through a human. So we're going to have to do the same thing we always do: take the words you read and evaluate them by the rest of Scripture. And we're going to find some things that will be very true and helpful, no matter who said them, and we're going to be lifted up from the present text and the circumstances to a timeless meditation that I hope will lead to your salvation and to your fruitfulness in service to Christ. So that's what we're going to walk through today. And what we're finding in the book of Job, I said this to a woman at the back of the church last week, I find this every week, the book of Job raises some of the deepest, most profound questions there are in life. Questions about life and death and suffering and pain, and about resurrection, death, resurrection. Some of the deepest questions, and I find again and again, and again, the answer is Christ. The answer is Christ. And we're going to find that here right away with Bildad. Bildad asks a question here, in his section in Job 25. And this is part of the problem, Bildad's section is so short, six verses. It's like, “Is that it? You have nothing more to say? Job has worn you out, and you have nothing more to say?” Or did his section get transposed to somewhere else? We will never know, I think. So there's some brevity here, but he asked this profound question, verse 4, "How then can a man be righteous before God?" So we could just expand it and say, "How can wicked, sinful people like you and me actually stand righteous before such a majestic, holy God?" Do you not see how that question will lead you to Christ? How that question will be useful for your salvation? That's what we're going to look at today. So we're going to walk through this and try to understand what Bildad says and the exalted language he uses about Almighty God. And then I'm going to jump over to chapter 27 and read the second half, and then kind of continue as though that's still Bildad. That may be right or wrong, but no matter what you do with it, I think you're going to have to evaluate the words anyway and their statement. And then we're going to walk through Job's statement and apply it. So in verse 1-6 of 25, "Bildad the Shuhite replied: 'Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes peace in the heights of heaven. Can his forces be numbered? Upon whom does his light not rise? How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is but a maggot—a son of man, who is only a worm!'" This is an excellent question. God is infinitely majestic, so how can a man be righteous before him? He says, "Dominion and awe belong to God." Dominion is God's sovereignty. His kingly rule over the universe. As Nebuchadnezzar said in Daniel 4:35 of God, "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?'" That's dominion. He is king. He doesn't ask permission. He's not accountable to anyone for anything he does. Dominion belongs to God and awe belongs to Him. Dread, terror, the fear of the Lord that comes upon creatures who come into his presence. "Would not his majesty terrify you?" Job 13:11. Yes, it would. And so awe, even the holiest angels cover their faces when they come into the presence of such a holy God. And it says, "He establishes peace in the heights of heaven." This is the Hebrew word shalom, which is a deep, rich, full word, has to do with a peaceful orderliness, an arrangement in an orderliness. And God in the highest heavens establishes peace or tranquility, order. God is a God of peace. He is of tranquility of mind. The heavens, therefore, where he has his throne are in perfect order around Him. Almost, you get the picture in the book of Revelation of concentric circles, all around the throne of God. Everything's in order in heaven. All of the angels are gladly and instantly obedient to Him, and they worship him. More importantly, God has peace, shalom, within himself. God is at peace with himself. He is one with himself. What that means is He has not ever conflicted within his being about anything. He never has second thoughts or doubts. He's never conflicted. His attributes never fight each other so you get half of the attributes on one side and half of the other, and he's going back and forth on any decision. It's just not the case. God is one with Himself, and we Christians understand in the deep mystery of the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, God, this one, God exists in three persons. And the three persons, the Father and the Son and the Spirit are perfectly at one with one another. They never disagree with each other, ever. And isn't it marvelous to think that we, God's children, will someday be as one with each other, every one of us, as one with each other, as the Father is with the Son. Perfect unity in heaven. There's that peacefulness the highest heavens represent the realm of God himself. He is above even the highest created order, and there God is at peace. But we human beings are not so. We are not so. We are deeply divided within ourselves. We are deeply conflicted within ourselves. We battle within ourselves as Isaiah 57:20-21 says, "The wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and [muck]. 'There is no peace,' says my God, 'for the wicked.'" We have that churning mire and muck going on inside our minds and hearts. And because we, individually, are not at peace with ourselves, we're not at peace with each other, either just person A to person B or nation A to nation B, there's all this disharmony and disunity in the world because of our wickedness and our sin. Says an Isaiah, 17:12, "Oh, the raging of many nations—they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproars of the peoples—they roar like the roaring of great waters!" We see that every day on whatever news based websites you go to find out what's happening in the world. Disunity, disharmony, brokenness, strife, and conflict because individuals, sinners, are not at peace within themselves. And they're not at peace with God. But God—praise God! God brings order out of chaos. That's what's happening in our salvation. He's taking all of this churning wickedness. And in the end He will banish it. He will convert it, transform it, or destroy it. And the universe will be at peace with God and with one another. That's where we're heading. Reminds me of Jesus stealing the storm. Remember how he was asleep in the back of the boat, on the cushion, and the disciples were distressed to find their boat filling with water. And they went and woke Him saying, "Don't you care that we're about to drown?" The things they said to Jesus. "Don't you care that we're about to drown?" But you remember what Jesus did, “[He] got up, and [he stretched out his hands] and said to the wind and the waves, ‘Peace, be still.’" And instantly it became quiet. He has that power. He establishes peace. And Bildad says, "Look at the imensity of his army. He's got a very impressive army. Can his forces be numbered?" Well, we get some numbering of the forces of God's angelic army. He is the Lord of hosts, the Lord of army hosts, the angelic armies. And so in the book of Daniel, in Daniel 7, and also Revelation 5, we get 10,000 times 10,000. Some pastors will do the math and others won't, all right? So that's 100,000,000 angels, 100,000,000. See, you're looking at me. My kids never got over of the fact that I was in the math club. Say, "Dad, what is the math club? What did you do?" I'm sorry I said that. Let's move on. But actually, Bildad is implying His forces are beyond number. And it's incredible because, you know, we're told in that account about Sennacherib and the Assyrian army, that a single angel went out and killed 185,000 as Assyrian troops in one night. That's one angel, imagine 100,000,000 angels. And Bildad says, "His light illuminates the entire universe and every creature in it." Verse 3, "Upon whom does his light not rise?" That started on the first day of creation when “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” And then He delegated that job on the fourth day to the sun and the moon and the stars, but He didn't need them because in the new heaven, the new earth, they will not be needed. Revelation 21:23, it says, "The city [the new Jerusalem] does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp." So Bildad is saying that all light ultimately comes from God, and there's not a single creature that God's light does not illuminate. "As a matter of fact," says Bildad, "to God who is pure light, even the moon and the stars are dim by comparison." Look at verse 5. It says, "If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes." "Bildad is saying that all light ultimately comes from God, and there's not a single creature that God's light does not illuminate. "As a matter of fact," says Bildad, "to God who is pure light, even the moon and the stars are dim by comparison."" Now what's the point of all this poetical, meditation on the greatness of God? Well, keep in mind, this is debate going back and forth between Job and his friends, Job and his friends, and their basic theology is God is a just holy God who gets involved in human affairs, who gets involved in human history, and brings justice against the wicked and great justice against those who are greatly wicked—judgments. And therefore, in their theology, Job must be a greatly wicked person because of the magnitude of the judgments God's brought on him. That's their theology. And yet, Job keeps claiming to be innocent. He keeps claiming to be righteous. And so Bildad says, "How can you, a human, be righteous before such a God?" Look at verses 4-6, "How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is but a maggot—the son of man who is only a worm!" Now, that kind of language, like "Amazing Grace," we sang earlier, "that saved a wretch like me." That's wretch language, maggot, worm is not popular with those who would like their preachers to tickle their ears and fluff up their self-esteem, but Jesus didn't come to do that. He didn't come to fluff up anybody's self-esteem. He came to heal us of a deadly contagion, which is sin. And he said, "[It is not the righteous. He has] not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” It's a great work of therapy that he's doing here. He's healing maggots and worms and rebels like us so that we'll be healthy, we'll be forgiven, pure, and holy. That's what he's come to do. And so the Scripture does this kind of leveling work in us, using very extreme language like maggots and worms, and then poets come along like John Newton and say, "Wretch, saved a wretch like me." So the central question he's asking here is how can such an evil corrupt being as I am, be righteous in the sight of such a majestic, holy, glorious, powerful God? Now, Bildad is asking this of Job. It's a tool in his arsenal against Job. That's what he's doing. "It's a great work of therapy that he's doing here. He's healing maggots and worms and rebels like us so that we'll be healthy, we'll be forgiven, pure, and holy. That's what he's come to do." Job has consistently said, "I'm innocent. I want to make my defense before God, and he will equip me." So Bildad is actually right to ask this of Job. It's a good thing for Job to feel the weight of that question: "How can a maggot like you, by comparison with a holy God, ever be righteous before such a God?" It's right, actually. And not only is it right for Bildad to ask that of Job, but it's right for all of us to ask that of ourselves. Are you feeling the of that question? You should. How can I, someone like me, stand before a God like this, forgiven of my sins and righteous in his sight? Bildad's problem is he doesn't seem to ask it of himself, doesn't seem to bother him—it's for Job to deal with. I can't help but think about Jesus' parable in Luke 18 of the Pharisee and the tax collector. “Two men went up to pray,” and the Pharisee prayed about himself. He was self-righteous and he said, "I thank you, God, that I'm this and I'm that," and he's so full of himself, self righteous. “But the tax collector beat his breast and would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but said, ‘Be merciful to me, oh God, a sinner.’ … ‘That man,’ [Jesus said,] ‘went home justified.’" So the answer to this question is Christ. That's the answer. I cannot go any further in this sermon without celebrating the answer. There is an answer. If there were no answer, we would, all of us, be condemned. God's perfect holiness would exclude us all. God's future world, the new heavens and the new earth, would exclude us all. As Revelation 21:27 says, "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful." And so only in Christ can maggots and worms and wretches like us be made pure and holy, and be able to stand in His presence. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, concerning Christ, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." So look, just look with your eyes at whatever form of Scripture you have in front of you. Look at Bildad's question, Job 25:4, "How then can a man be righteous before God?" Just stop and ask yourself that question, "How can I be righteous before God?" And you will stand before God, so will I, so will Bildad, so will Job. We're all going to stand before Him. How can we survive? And the answer in the gospel, the good news is we survive by faith in Christ, alone by his gift of perfect righteousness, alone, and no other way. If you stand before God and you pray about yourself saying, "I thank you that I'm so awesome," and you're effectively saying, "I thank you. I don't need Jesus to save me," that's what you're saying, then you will not be justified. You'll be condemned. But if, on the other hand, you like that tax collector, in some way, you're beating your breast and you won't even look up to heaven to such a holy God is this, and you say, "Be merciful to me, oh God, the sinner." And you know that mercy is found in Christ, crucified and resurrected, then you will be forgiven. II. Bildad’s Final Warning to Job (Job 27:13-23) Well, if we jump ahead now to Job 27:13-23, again, I don't know if this is the right procedure. If you want to say, this is Job speaking here, fine, but you got to pay your money, make your choice at the fork and the road. So we're going to jump ahead, and let's think for a moment that this is one of Job's friends, or maybe Bildad finishing, or it may be Job contradicting himself. That's fine. Either way, you have to make some—but let's just walk through what he says. Now, what he is going to say in this section is the wicked are going to be overwhelmingly judged by God. That's what he's saying, but you've heard that before. The wicked are going to get it, they're going to get crushed. Look at verse 13, "Here is the fate God allots to the wicked, the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty." And what does he say? Well, their children are going to get slaughtered by the sword or die of starvation or of the plague. Verse 14-15, Job 27:14-15, "However many his children, their fate is the sword; [their] offspring will never have enough to eat. The plague will bury those who survive him, and their widows will not weep for them." Now, the problem I have as an interpreter is this is a direct contradiction of what Job said in chapter 21. What did he say in chapter 21? He said, "The wicked actually seemed to do very well. Many of them die in their beds and their children sing and dance with tambourines." You remember that? So let me just read it again, Job 21:7-8, "Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes." So that's hard to harmonize those statements. There's not a single commentator that writes a commentary on this that says this is Job. And if you're going to say to me, "Well, how did they get disconnected?" Or "Where's the 'Then Job said,' or 'Then Bildad said'?" I'm going to say, "I don't know." But in any case, this is what this text is saying. So what Bildad is continuing—I think, his final case against Job, he's saying, and he lines these things up with what Job actually, what happened in his life. He suddenly lost his children. They died quickly. See that's what happened to you? He lost all of his wealth, instantly. See that's what happened to you. All the wealth of the wicked melts away. Other people are going to get their ill-gotten gains. Look at verse 16-17, "Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay, what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver." And the mighty mansions of the wicked will crumble though they build with marble pillars. And though they look like they're going to last forever, they won't. Verse 18, "The house he builds is like a moth's cocoon, like a hut made by a watchman." You're going to lose everything. The disasters will come on the wicked instantly. Verse 19, "He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more; when he opens his eyes, [everything's] gone." Doesn't that seem like that's something like one of the friends would say to Job? It seems that way. The judgements of God are overwhelming, like a man swept away by a mighty wind or a flood powerless to stand against the onslaught. Look verses 20-23, chapter 27, "Terrors overtake him like a flood; a tempest snatches him away in the night. The east wind carries him off, and he is gone; it sweeps him out of his place. It hurls itself against him without mercy as he flees headlong from its power. It claps its hands in derision and hisses him out of his place." Well, how do we hear all this? How do we read the second half of Job 27, no matter who says it? Well, in one sense, this is going to be true, ultimately, of all the wicked. They are going to face the overwhelming judgment of God. They will lose everything, all of them, in some ultimate sense. God's wrath cannot be escaped. It cannot be avoided. There is one and only one refuge for the coming wrath, and that is Christ. He's the only refuge. And so if those words cause a sinner to flee to Christ, then they will have done good. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, "The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly." And so that is coming. Judgment day is coming. Your own death is coming. Everything will be lost and quickly. So as I said, the problem with this being Bildad is that he's saying it to Job, saying, "Look what happened to you? You are a wicked man, in a way the rest of us aren't. You're a significantly evil man. Look, what's happened to you. This is why it's happened. And secondly, I don't need to worry about this." Those are the problems with this being Bildad saying it. III. Job Praises God’s Majestic Power (Job 26) All right. So let's go now to chapter 26 and look at Job's statement. First of all, as always, he rejects Bildad's council. We start with—almost every Job's speech starts with some version of "You guys are losers, and why should I listen to you?" Something like that. Not exactly like that, but you know what I mean. Look at verses 1-4, "Then Job replied: 'How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble! What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed! Who has helped you to utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?'" All right, that's sarcasm, friends. He's not like, "Boy, I'm so glad to have a friend like you." Not at all. So he’s just rejecting. Here's a man that was beaten and crushed and struck down by trials. His friends come, they sit with him, and he has got nothing but destroyed by them, so he swats them aside like annoying mosquitoes. Then Job has his own meditation on the majestic power of Almighty God. Again, let me say to you, we talked last week about transcendence and imminence. Transcendence is the sense of the infinite majesty of God. There are a few books in the Bible that speak with such transcendent language as the book of Job above God. So any drinking in of transcendence and majesty you can get, do it, because we all have a very lax, low view of God. We're very informal, casual people. And so whatever ways we can have a sense of God's majestic power, it will do us good. Look at verses 5-6 of chapter 26, "The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. Death is naked before God; destruction lies uncovered." God knows the living and the dead. He knows them completely. There's nothing hidden from Him. God is mighty over the heavens and its celestial bodies. Look at verse 7-11, "He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke." So Job here is touching on the mysteries of God's creation, especially of the heavens above of invisible physical forces that cannot be explained, how the earth itself hangs in space on nothing at all. Just like God created the universe itself out of nothing at all. So the earth just seems to hang suspended on nothing at all. And then Job ponders, the clouds they're made up of water, he knows, and they're heavy. And yet they just float in the air, again, suspended on nothing at all. And then those clouds, suspended on nothing, are massive enough to block the light of the moon and snuff it out entirely on some nights. He also ponders—Job ponders the mysteries of the horizon line. Have you ever watched the sunrise over the ocean? Have you ever gone where it's just pitch black and you're there throughout the whole pre-dawn, and then watch the sunrise? At some point, there's this line of light that separates night from day, and then it gets brighter and brighter. It's really quite spectacular. I think the astronauts had the clearest example of these kind of sunrises around the edge of the earth, or around the edge of the moon if they were that far. And you can see God putting a line of demarcation between night and day, light and darkness. He's talking about that. And he speaks of the pillars of the heavens, whatever they are. The heavens rest on them and do not come crashing down, yet God is able to shake those pillars, make them tremble, with his voice anytime he chooses. And he's mighty over the sea, verses 12-13, "By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent." So the sea is mysterious with its endless, powerful, undulating waves. Its breakers rolling on one after the other, frothy, foamy crashing, and it's God who stirs up the storms and controls them, and He sets a limit to the boundary of the mighty wave saying, "This far, you may go and no further." He has that power. And then he mentions Rahab, in Old Testament wisdom literature, this Rahab character shows up. Some scholars talk about some mythological dragon or serpent or something like that, that's part of the primordial creation order. It's very fascinating to me. I don't know really what the truth is, but the image here is of God, a mighty warrior, hacks Rahab to pieces and brings peace to the sea. And so the idea is God, a warrior for peace, is able to defeat wicked enemies, even one as powerful as Rahab the silent, hidden serpent. So you get the idea, part of the problem with the ocean is that it's monsters are invisible. They're below the surface. I will never forget the summer that Jaws came out, and I didn't know the difference between fresh water and salt water. We were in Lake Winnipesaukee, and I didn't want to go swimming because you can't see what's down below. You know what I'm saying? You just don't know what's down there. But what Job was saying is whatever is down there, God's sovereign and powerful over it, mighty over it. And He has the power to churn up the sea and then calm them. As we said, Jesus has that power. And His disciples looked at Him after the distilling of the storm and said, "What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the waves, obey Him." And Job says in all of that, in all this meditation we're doing, we're only touching the fringes of the edge of his garment concerning his power. This is just the absolute fringes. Verse 14, "These are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint is the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?" So as I was writing my book on heaven, this whole thing has expanded for me in ways I can't even begin to explain to you. When you die, in Christ, and go to heaven, you will begin in earnest your education in the greatness of God, and you'll spend eternity learning it. I really believe that. You're going to spend eternity finding out how infinitely majestic God really is. Isn't that exciting, to understand that you're going to be studying the glory of God? As Psalm 111:2-4 says, "Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered," or studied, "by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered," forever. And so we're going to study them forever. And we're going to find out just how great God was, is, and always will be. And that's exciting, isn't it? IV. Job’s Conscience Testifies That He Is Innocent (Job 27:1-12) Well, Job in 27:1-12 continues his testimony that he is innocent. And here's where he gets into trouble too. Fundamental is his claim that he is innocent, that God has, in some sense, wronged him. Look at verse 1-5, "Job continues discourse: 'As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice.'" Stop there. That is a problem. I hope by now, we've heard many of these sermons, whenever you see Job say these kinds of things, that's just not okay. "[God,] as surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul, as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, my tongue will utter no deceit. I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity." He cannot agree with his friends that he is secretly wicked, famously wicked though no one knows yet how wicked he is. He will never agree to that. This is just not true. And it's amazing how this same Job who just celebrated the infinite immeasurable majesty of God in chapter 26 says, "Yes, but He has denied me justice." And he even takes a Hebrew kind of vow on this, "As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice." We just need to understand when we suffer, when we hurt, when we ourselves have the cancer diagnosis or a loved one does, or we're walking through that, that trial can bring us to these points. It's never OK, but it can push us to the point where we can start saying these hard, wrong things about God. The book of Job is given to help you not do that, so that you can be fruitful and do good works in the midst of your suffering, and lead other sufferers to Christ rather than be bitter toward God, because it seems Job is very bitter toward God. And fundamental to his bitterness, it seems, is that he's accepted the same basic theology that his friends have, right? The same basic theological structure. The only possible explanation for all this suffering is I am a great wicked man. That's the only way we could understand this. And I'm not, therefore God has made a massive mistake concerning me. Like there's no other possible explanation for the sufferings that Job's going through. And this is the very blunder that God is going to rebuke him for at the end of the book. At Job 40:6-8, "The LORD spoke to Job out of the storm: 'Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?'" We should never do that, ever. Now, Job's greatest defense, he says, is a clear conscience. Verse 6, "My conscience will not reproach me as long as I live." What is conscience? Well, it's part of the original equipment of creation, inside the heart and mind of every human being that presses them to do the right and avoid the wrong, and then evaluates behavior after the fact to see whether you did right or wrong. That's what conscience is. Every human being has this as part of the original equipment. Now, conscience is only as good as two things. First of all, is it harnessed to a true system of morality, to a true understanding of right and wrong? And secondly, conscience is only as good as if you listen to it, because if you don't listen to conscience, its voice will get dimmer and dimmer and dimmer in your life. Those are the limitations of conscience. So people in false religious systems have a conscience about their religion. For example, a Muslim is taught by his religion to do the Ramadan fast, so a month of fasting during Ramadan. Well, you could imagine a Muslim secretly violating the fast, but looking like he's a righteous Muslim to all of his neighbors, and then his conscience will smite him for the falsehood. So his conscience is harnessed to a false religion, because I believe every non-Christian religion is ultimately demonic, taught doctrine of demons, Paul talks about, and so ultimately false. And yet he's conscience is smiting him because he snuck food or did something that violated the Ramadan fast. And then beyond that, for anyone, even if the conscience is tied to the Judeo-Christian system of morality, if you don't listen to the conscience, then the conscience will become what Paul calls seared, a seared conscience. 1 Timothy 4:2, it says, "Such teachings come from hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." That means you don't feel anything anymore. The nerve endings are seared. You just don't feel anything. I read an account of an abortionist doctor who, when she performed the first abortion, went home and vomited and wept all night. Then she performed thousands of them. And after, you know, she didn't do any of that on the 1,000th or 2,000th. Her conscience was seared. Didn't bother her anymore. Now beautifully, when we come to Christ, the conscience gets healed. Our conscience gets tied to a biblical system of right and wrong, and we begin to feel things again. And I would say, it's very mysterious how Holy Spirit and the conscience work, but there is some kind of partnership there. And Paul gives us both sides of the healthy Christian conscience. He said in Acts 24:16, "I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man." Why? Because there's going to be a resurrection and a judgment day. I'm going to have to give Him an account for everything I've done in the body. So every day I try to keep my conscience clear, vertically before God, and horizontally before others to do nothing to violate my conscience. And so the author to Hebrews says, in Hebrews 13:18, "Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way." Isn't that a great statement? Wouldn't you love to be able to look someone in the eye and say that? "Pray for us. We're sure that we have a clear conscience and [we do] desire to live honorably in every way." But there is a limit, Paul says, to conscience. 1 Corinthians 4:4 he says, "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me." So you can have a clear conscience and still be wrong. You can have a clear conscience and still you'll find out on judgment day, so it'd be good to be humble about your clear conscience. Paul was. Job had a clear conscience, and he was wrong. And he found out on a mini judgment day how wrong he was about God and about his own sense of righteousness. Job then gives some final words in verses 7-12. He says, "May my enemies be like the wicked, my adversaries like the unjust! For what hope has the godless when he is cut off, when God takes away his life? Does God listen to his cry when distress comes upon him? Will he find delight in the Almighty? Will he call upon God at all times?" So there's going to be judgment for his enemies. So you could think who are his enemies? Are his friends, his enemies? I don't think he's thinking necessarily about his friends here, but I think about the Chaldeans and the Sabeans who came and killed his servants and stole all his stuff, and then there's people in the community there that were mocking him and opposed to him, et cetera. But then he zeros in on his friends, verse 11-12, he says, "I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal." Verse 12, "You have all seen this yourselves. [So] why then this meaningless talk?" V. Applications All right, applications, I've already given you the central application for this text, and I just want you to feel the weight of it. We will all appear before the judgment seat of Almighty God, and Christ will sit on that throne, and He will judge all of us. And He's going to separate everyone into two categories: the believers and the unbelievers. What about you? How can a sinner like you stand before such a holy God? You need to ask that question. What is your hope? What is your confidence? If your answer has something to do with your own righteousness and good works, you are lost. But if your answer is, "I am a great sinner, saved by a great Savior and his name is Jesus Christ," then you have eternal life. So feel the weight of Bildad's question. And isn't it beautiful that impure people like us can actually be purified by faith in Christ, purified. We are purified, perfectly pure positionally in God's sight the moment we come to faith in Christ. He sees us pure in Christ. "What about you? How can a sinner like you stand before such a holy God? You need to ask that question. What is your hope? What is your confidence? If your answer has something to do with your own righteousness and good works, you are lost." And then, as we live our lives, he then continues to purify us as we walk in the light. It says in 1 John 1:7-9, "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin." So you can be walking in the light, a Christian, and still need purification from every sin. Still need it. And how do you get that? First of all, don't deny it. Come to God honestly. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." But "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins..." And what else? "... purify us from all unrighteousness." So did you come here today with a guilty conscience? Maybe you're able to hide it from others, but others are not the point. God is the point. He knows everything. As soon as you go home, as soon as you have time alone, confess your sins to God, call them by their biblical names, whatever it is you've done wrong. However your conscience is smiting you, confess it, and receive from 1 John 1:9 the forgiveness and the purification that God has the power to give. And then beyond that, if I can just urge you do what Paul does, "I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man." Do that. Don't do anything, ever, that would violate your conscience. And then thirdly, stand in awe of the majesty of God. Go back and find some of these great passages in Job, and read them and drink in the infinite majestic Person who God is. We are way too informal and casual with God. Let's fall down on our faces before him and tremble at his greatness and realize this great God loves us in Christ, and wants to spend eternity with us. Close with me in prayer. Father, thank you for the time we've had to study today, these three chapters. So much in here, Lord. We thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit who enables us to walk through these difficult waters, to walk through these difficult words, and put some meaning to them. Father, I pray that you would help us to lift up these truths and press them to our hearts, so that we might find forgiveness through Christ and find the right way to live, that will be maximally fruitful for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

Two Journeys Sermons
God's Infinite Majesty and His Loving Closeness (Job Sermon 14) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 6, 2021


Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 22-24. These chapters present God as both transcendent and immanent - majestic and close. - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - I. God’s Infinite Majesty and His Loving Closeness Turn in your Bibles to Job 22. We'll be looking at three chapters this morning. And as we do, I want to bring before you the experience of the Apostle John, two different times in his life, the Apostle John. The first at the Last Supper. The Apostle John was reclining at table next to Jesus, and at a critical moment in the Last Supper, he laid his head on Jesus's chest, pillowed it, as it were, very tenderly on the chest of Jesus. It's an amazing picture of intimacy with God, of closeness with Christ. Though the text doesn't say, we could imagine Jesus resting his hand on John's shoulder, perhaps, or patting his head. There was just a closeness and an intimacy and a confidence that John had of love and friendship with Jesus Christ. That's the first vignette, the first scenario. The second was at the end of his life. The Apostle John was in exile on the Island of Patmos, and he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day and was worshiping, and suddenly, he heard a voice behind him like a trumpet. Revelation 1:12-17 describes that encounter with Jesus, the resurrected glorified Jesus, "I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me…. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead." These are the same two people, Jesus and John. Two different encounters. In this case, however, Jesus was revealed in infinite majesty and glory and power. Look at John now. He fell at his feet as though dead. Brothers and sisters, I believe to have a healthy relationship with Jesus, to have a healthy relationship with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we need to absorb both of those images completely. Take them into ourselves as we come to Christ. Now, theologians use some big words to describe these themes. The words are transcendence and imminence. The transcendence of God and the imminence of God. What do they mean? Transcendence means that God is infinitely above and other than his creation. It really connects to his holiness. He is different than everything that he's made. It’s the gap between God and all creatures is infinite and immeasurable. So that's transcendence. Imminence is God's intimate closeness and connection with his creatures, especially his people, that God is close to us personally and intimately in a relational sort of way. Imminence. Now, from the beginning of the Bible, the Bible establishes the transcendence of God as God created the heavens and the earth. After creating all things in six days, he sat down on a throne of glory and ruled over all of it, resting over it all as a king would reign over his domain. The book of Job has spoken of this infinite majesty of God again and again. For example, Job 13:11. There, it says, "Would not his splendor terrify you? Would not the dread of him fall on you?" And then earlier in Job 11:7-9, "Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea." Now, here in this section, Job will speak of that transcendence in clear and terrifying terms. You just heard some of it. Let me read it again, Job 23:13-16. This is Job speaking of God, "But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. That is why I'm terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me." Yet for all of this, it seems clear to me, not just in this chapter but in some that follow, that what Job wants the most is imminence. He wants closeness. He wants intimacy. He wants friendship with God. He wants God to talk to him. In these two chapters, it seems what bothers him the most is that God is nowhere to be found. He can't find him. He's aloof. He's distant from Job in the midst of his suffering. Now, one of the greatest chapters on the mysterious union of imminence and transcendence of God is Isaiah 40. You don't have to turn there, but just listen. There's a couple of verses in particular that give us a sense of this Isaiah 40:11, "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." What a sweet verse that is. That's imminence. That's the closeness, the intimacy of God with his people. That gets perfectly fulfilled in Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who gathers us into his arms and carries us close to his heart, just like John laying his head on Jesus's chest. But the very next verse is one of the greatest transcendence verses in the whole Bible, Isaiah 40:12, "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breath of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales or the hills in a balance?" A couple verses later, verse 15, "Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they're regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust." That's transcendence, infinite majesty, right after he's gathering us close and holding us tenderly. Now, I personally yearn to understand both of these in Christ. I want both of those moments that John had fulfilled in my life. I want to be able to put my head on his chest and feel that intimate closeness with Christ, but I also want to understand how right it is for me to fall at his feet as though dead. Now, as we look at these three chapters today, these themes are going to come out. In a Eliphaz's speech, his third speech, and then in Job as well. So we're going to follow them and some other key themes as well. Let me warn you ahead of time, this is effectively three different sermons, but what could I do? I want to keep moving in Job, and so I think you can handle it, so we're going to do effectively three sermons in one. II. Eliphaz’s Final Speech: Is Man of Benefit to God? Are Not Your Sins Endless? So we begin with Eliphaz's statement in verses one through three. Here, you're going to hear the themes of transcendence, of infinite transcendence, "Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied, 'Can man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise man benefit him? What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you,'" speaking to Job, "'if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless?'" Now, let say to you, much of the purpose of God in Scripture, the saving purpose of God, I believe, is to level our pride. Our pride stands directly opposed to the salvation of our souls. As a matter of fact, probably the essence of our salvation is to have our pride leveled before the holiness of God so we realize who he is and who we are. So much of Scripture is given to make us deeply, completely humbled before God, first as creatures and then secondly as sinners. He wants to make us realize the truth of what he said, “It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I've not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” That's what he came to do. So he's not looking for healthy, perfect, righteous people—he can't help you if that's how you think you are. "Our pride stands directly opposed to the salvation of our souls. As a matter of fact, probably the essence of our salvation is to have our pride leveled before the holiness of God so we realize who he is and who we are." Instead, what he wants to do is make you realize the truth, which is culminated in one of the greatest statements he ever made, the first statement in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the [spiritual beggars], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." I will give you a kingdom if you'll beg, if you realize you have nothing to offer me whatsoever. That's what ptochos means in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The word poor really means somebody standing by the road who has nothing to offer. You realize that's you, I'll give you a kingdom forever. As the scripture says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will [Be what?] exalted to the heavens.” It's the goodness of God. So he's seeking to level us. Because honestly, it seems to me, the more I do evangelism and counseling and just live, this is the basic religion around the world. I am basically a good person who does basically good things. Everybody thinks that. And you're not and you don't, and we're all going to find that out on judgment day—it's the grace of God to find it out now. You're not basically a good person who basically does good things. In other words, you don't need a savior. We tend to minimize our faults with others and maximize the faults we see in others, and so God is going to level the pride of all of us. So in this question, can man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise man assist God in any way? We must answer no to what Eliphaz is intending. We've learned with the friends don't just throw out everything they say, evaluate it. As I look at the point here, I must feel the weight of it. God doesn't need anything from any of us ever. There is nothing we can do, essentially, to benefit God, to improve God's situation. God doesn't need any advice, even from the wisest of us. The more we meditate on this, the better it is for us. "God doesn't need anything from any of us ever. There is nothing we can do, essentially, to benefit God, to improve God's situation. God doesn't need any advice, even from the wisest of us. The more we meditate on this, the better it is for us." This is an image I've used before, but it's still powerful and helpful to me. Think of the sun blazing away 93 million miles away, the center of our little solar system, little compared to the rest of the universe. The human race collectively, in total, can't do anything to the sun or for the sun. We cannot harm it in any way, we cannot help it in any way. We can't make it hotter or cooler, brighter or dimmer, nearer or farther. And the sun is a small creature in the hand of God, so it is with God in his infinite holiness, sitting on the throne of the universe. John Calvin, in his sermon on this text, said this: "We bring him no gain. He receives from us neither cold nor heat. Just as we cannot be profitable to him, neither can we do him any damage.” Therefore, we should get rid of all the bits of rubbish that we use to cover ourselves as we approach him, and simply fall down and in humility, plead guilty for our sins." John Calvin. But instead, we tend to think that our works put God in our debt, like he has to repay us for something. This is cannot be, for it says in Romans 11:35-36, "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever." We really do need to meditate on this massively significant sermon and statement that Paul made in Athens in Acts 17:24-25. He said this: "The God who made the world and everything in it is Lord of heaven and earth. He does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands as if he needed anything, for he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else." So God doesn't need you to serve him. God is not lucky to have you on his team. Instead, we should realize everything we have with which we could serve God, he gave to us. We're just giving back to him what is his already, and instead, we should say in Psalm 116:12, "How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?" Now, Eliphaz also says effectively, none of God's communications to the human race is of any benefit to himself, including his law and his gospel. His laws and his gospel are not given to benefit God. He's fine. And as Eliphaz says, God is not benefited at all if we're righteous. It doesn't help him at all if we obey his commands. Actually, God's laws are given for our benefit, as helpful for our salvation and the fruitfulness of our lives, not because his throne would be in any way shaken if we don't obey them. All of God's commands, therefore, are displays of his goodness and kindness and mercy to us to help us and enrich us, not because in any way he needed us to obey him. God is amazingly selfless in all of this, not just in giving us the laws, but in goading us and speaking to us through the prophets, and urging us to obey them and bringing words of rebuke and correction when we don't. He doesn't have to do any of that. He's not benefited if we repent and come back and start obeying. He does it all for us. God will continue to be the same whether we are righteous or wicked. So when we consider the infinite majesty of God and that he is not benefited by our service or obedience at all, should we not therefore be humbled and deeply in awe at God, at the transcendent majesty of God and his goodness to us? Should we not be ravished and astonished that God would lower himself so much to even talk to us or notice us at all? And yet for all of that, God actually invites us into his works and gives us eternally consequential good works to do by which, amazingly, he builds his eternal kingdom. It's incredible. He invites us into his eternally consequential works, and then he promises to honor us and reward us with glorious crowns and emblems of his favor for all eternity if we will serve him in Christ. "My Father will honor the one who serves me," Jesus said. Incredible. Now, you think, how can this be? How can this God who needs nothing do this? Well, think of it like a wealthy art collector who has one of the largest collections of Renaissance oil paintings in the world. You go into his office and you find on the wall some framed pictures of his six-year-old daughter's colored pictures next to some Dutch masterpieces also, side by side. How could we understand? Well, all you parents know exactly how something that ridiculous can happen. It's not because there's any intrinsic worth or value to the child's colored picture. It's because of what that child means to the father and the love that he has for her and the picture that she has colored. That's what it is. And so God, in his grace and his mercy, is willing to put our pathetic artwork up on the wall for all eternity and somehow use it for his glory. Even more than this, God voluntarily obligates himself to us in Christ by making promises to us that he must keep once he's uttered them. He has made so many promises to us, if I were to recount even a small number of them, it would take hours. But he has promised to raise us up out of the grave, out of the just penalty for our sins. The wages of sin is death. He's promised, Jesus has, "I am the resurrection in the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; whoever lives and believes in me will never die." He's made that promise and it's written in the blood of his Son, and he will keep that promise. Anyone who comes to Jesus in faith, he will raise us up at the last day in resurrection bodies. So man is of no benefit to God, yet in Christ, he lowers himself to save us, and then by his Spirit, lowers himself more to use us and do good works in and through us. John Calvin put it this way. "God takes pleasure in stretching out his benefits to give us such enjoyment of them, that he joins himself to us and us to him. God, then, has had such care for us that it actually does matter to him how we live. But not because he gets by it either profit or damage." Along with this statement, Eliphaz then goes on to say one of the worst things that has ever been said in the Bible to anybody. This is his nth degree accusation of Job's wickedness. This is as bad as it gets. This is Eliphaz at his absolute worst. Now, you're like, Pastor, how can you take Eliphaz's statement as though it's true, which I've done, and now we're going over here with Eliphaz's accusations of Job? You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to say in some sense, they are not at all true of Job. In another sense, it would do us good to think they're true of us. What does he say? Well, look at verse four. He says, "Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you?" It's not because you're so godly that all this has happened to you. This is the same thing we've been seeing from the friends. It's because you're a great sinner. That's why all these terrible sufferings have happened to you. Now look at verse five. Here it is. This is something you circle in your... Or really, don't. This is such a bad statement. Look at it, "Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless?" Now, we've come a long way from Job 1:1, "In the land of Uz, there was a man who was blameless and upright, who feared God and shunned evil." That's what Job... Now we've got, is not your wickedness great and your sins endless? Now, we're going to absolutely refute Eliphaz's statement in the particulars, in the details, concerning Job later, but I still think it is beneficial for us to be humbled by these words, to try them on for size and wonder if they're true of us. Honestly, I don't think there's one among us that has a proper valuation of our own sinfulness. There's not one among us that says, "I actually do have a sense of how sinful I really am." We really don't. Even Christians, people who have been convicted our whole lives by the Holy Spirit, underestimate our sin debt. When Jesus told the parable of forgiveness about the 10,000 talents, and then we learned some information about what that means, and a talent's 75 pounds of precious metal, let's say gold; 750,000 pounds of gold I owed, that was my sin debt? Greater than the entire tax revenue of the Roman Empire in a year, billions and billions of dollars I owed? Yes. Jesus valued your sinfulness at that level. Is this some gross overstatement by Jesus? Or could it be that we all underestimate our sin in the eyes of a holy God? We underestimate their number, and we underestimate their significance or their magnitude. David said in Psalm 40:12, "My sins have overtaken me and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me." So we should have a sense, my sins are more numerous than the hairs of my head. And not only that, they're massively significant, like a mountain range of wickedness, or like an Amazonian rainforest of sinfulness in which each leaf on every tree represents a sinful act or a sinful motive or a sinful thought. This will not prove in the end to, for ourselves, have been any great overstatement. It should lead us to deep humility and repentance. Is not your wickedness great? Yes, it is. Are not my sins endless? They really are. Our sins are vast in quantity. Now, it will not do to pass lightly over this in a frivolous manner saying, "Oh, I know I have some faults. I don't deny I have some faults." That's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about a river of sin. We forget. We've been alive for years and years and years, we forget day after day after day of encounters horizontally and attitudes vertically. We forget the two great commandments and how we have not kept them. But the beauty is we can do all of this as Christians in the light of the cross, and realize however great is my wickedness and however endless my sins, the blood of Jesus is infinitely greater than all of them. What's going to happen if you do this properly is you'll just end up having a better estimation of Jesus and what he did for you, and a genuine peace with God and a genuine security that comes from coming to the cross in faith. As Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He doesn't say, "Come all who admit that you are holding some difficulties in your hands or having some trouble walking down the road," something like that. He said, "No, you're crushed and burdened. You have a yoke of sin upon you that you can't throw off, and it's a crushing burden. Come to me, all you who are weary and crushed by your sins and your guilts, and I will give you rest." That's what he's saying. Now, what are Eliphaz's false accusations? We'll look at the details, the particulars. Look at verse 6-9, speaking of Job, "You demanded security from your brothers for no reason; you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked. You gave no water to the weary; you withheld food from the hungry, though you were a powerful man, owning land—an honored man living on it. And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless." So oppressive business practices, cruelty, withholding water from the thirsty and food from the starvings, stripping men, leaving them cold and naked. Basically, though the parable hadn't been spoken yet, it's like the rich man and Lazarus in Jesus's parable. You were the rich man and the poor men were right at your gates, and you did nothing for them day after day and defrauded them. That's where your wealth came from. That's why you're suffering. Look at verse 10-11, “This is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, why it is so dark you cannot see, why a flood of water covers you.” Well, what I want to say to you is just hold on a minute. Eliphaz has no proof of any of these things. You know why? Because they didn't happen. None of them. Where did this come from? I have no idea. Coming from his surmising of what must have been the magnitude of Job's sin to result in such great suffering, just as theology carried to the nth degree here, but it never happened. Later, Job is going to specifically refute this. To some degree, he's going to refute it in chapter 24 that we'll look at in a minute. You know, he says, "I have an overwhelming concern for the poor and needy." But in chapter 31, which is his final defense and his final résumé of his righteousness, this is what Job says. Job 31:16-23, "If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with a fatherless—but from my youth, I reared him as would a father, and from my birth, I guided the widow—if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing or a needy man without a garment, and his heart did not bless me for warming him with the fleece from my sheep. If I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing I had influence in court, then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor, I could not do such things." So no, I didn't do these things, Eliphaz, that you're saying I did. It just didn't happen. But the question is, what about us? Friends, we're not Job. When you look at his résumé of mercy ministry, his résumé, the question is, what about us? What are we doing for the poor? What are we doing for the needy? What actual righteousness is there in our life? Don't go so quickly past what Eliphaz wrongly says concerning Job. We know that when the Lord comes, he's going to assemble all the nations and gather them before them. He's going to separate the people into two categories, sheep and goats, and he's going to talk about what you did. “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was a stranger and you invited me in.” He's going to talk like that to his sheep because they did those things. So it's not right for us to go so quickly and say, “Well, Job's innocent.” Well, he may be innocent, but it's good for us to look at our own lives. Now, for the rest of this chapter, he says the way of the wicked will perish. These themes we've seen before. God is going to crush such a wicked man. Verse 12-14, he says, "Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are his highest star?. Yet you say, ‘What does God know? Does he judge through such darkness? Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted heavens." What he's saying is, "Job, you think like this. You think God is so lofty, he can't see the wicked things you're doing." Lots of wicked people think that now. God can't see what I'm doing. They don't even think about God. In all their thoughts, there's no room for God. And Eliphaz warns Job as he has before, "The way of the wicked will perish." Verse 15-17, "Will you keep to the old path that evil men have trod? They were carried off before their time, their foundations washed away by a flood. They said to God, 'Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?'" So eventually, judgment is coming. And then he gives final advice. This is some excellent advice. I'd like you to hear this in light of the cross, hear this in light of Jesus, because this is about the best advice you're ever going to hear. Just Eliphaz is applying it wrongly to Job, in a faulty way. But to us, how sweet is it to see this through Christ? "Submit to God and be at peace with him." Be justified through faith in Christ and you'll be at peace with God. You'll have a right relationship with him. "[And] in this way, prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored. If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, [and] your gold of Ophir to the rocks and the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. Surely then, you will find delight in the Almighty and [you will] lift up your face to God." All right. Well, that's Eliphaz. III. Job’s First Lament: God Is Aloof to Me (Job 23) Now Job responds, chapters 23-24. He does it in two laments. The first lament is God is aloof to me. The second lament in Job 24, we don't need to spend much time on because we'll circle back on all these themes in chapter 31, and that is God doesn't judge those that are pouring out injustice on the poor and needy. He finds, to some degree, fault with God. Now, this is a consistent pattern we see in Job, before he repents at the end of the book, of finding injustice with God. But it's very clear from chapter 24, he's intensely concerned with the sufferings of the poor and needy, and he just wonders why the wicked just seem to get away with it. So those are the two chapters. Let's begin with God is aloof to me. He yearns to present his case to God in verses 1-7. He doesn't even address Eliphaz's slander against him; he's going to address it later. But he just turns his lonely and lamenting eyes up to God as if he's saying, there's no amount of logic or reasoning or any kind of prayer or debate that can heal my torn soul. What I want more than anything is to be close to God. I want to talk to him. I want to hear him talk to me. I want to be close to him, but the big problem for me here is I can't find him anywhere. He's aloof from me. He's distant from me. I cannot find him. So he says nothing to his friends. He addresses his lament to God. Look at verse 23:1-7, "Then Job replied: 'Even today, my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him. I would fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say. Would he oppose me with great power? No, he would not press charges against me. There an upright man could present his case before him, and I would be delivered forever from my judge.'" So he's saying, “If I could just somehow find God,” and he's been saying this again and again, “I would present my case to him and he wouldn't be able to answer me. He would exonerate me. He would find that I'm innocent of all these charges. I didn't do these things that Eliphaz said I did. But I can't do that. That's what I would do. If I could get close to God, I would make my case and he would exonerate me, but I can't find him.” Look at verse three, "If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!" I can't find him. And then verse 8-9, "If I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him." All four points of the compass, I cannot find God. He's distant from me in the midst of my suffering. Now, how different is this than the language of Psalm 139:7-10, where David wrote this, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." How different are these words from that? I think one of the hardest parts of trials, some of you may be going through this right now, is a sense of distance from God. You're going through physical trials, maybe cancer or some kind of physical trial, pain in your body, or for a loved one because you love that person. And you're wondering, where is God in all of this? I thought at least as we walk through this trial, he would be with us, hold us by our right hand. We would pass through the waters, through the fire, and he would be with us and we would sense that, but we don't sense it. We feel he is distant from us. Some of you may be feeling that right now. Job felt it. And he says in verse 10-12, “God knows very well how I lived, and I know how I lived. None of those things are true.” Verse 10-12, "But he knows the way I take; [and] when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread." Job knows that his huge pile of wealth, all of his livestock, his gold and silver, that wasn't his true treasure. Really, God was his true treasure. He knew that. And in terms of his own possessions, his own righteousness, his own blamelessness, the way he lived his life, that was the most valuable possession to him. He knew that. Remember, this is the man that used to offer sacrifice for his children because he thought perhaps they sinned and cursed God in their hearts. He knew that what really mattered was heart religion, not just the external show like a whitewashed tomb. He knew that his children might look good on the outside, but might be corrupted on the inside. So how do you think he lived his own life? It was the same thing. And at the core of his piety, he said, was a deep love for the words of God. He treasured his words more than his food, more than his bread. Now, this is a bit of a mystery. We don't know when the book of Job happened. Some people say it's the oldest book in the canon. We don't know that. It's an argument from silence. But some of you have the chronological Bible and you start with Job. I always find that interesting. I mean, there's no proof either way. It's just because it doesn't mention the law of Moses, it doesn't mention any of the prophets, it's just a standalone book, so it's assumed that none of those had happened yet. But I'm telling you, in every generation of redemptive history, God spoke to his people. They heard him speak. And God's people treasured the words God said to them, and Job was like that. It reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." That was Job. He's fully confident that when all is said and done, when the refiner's fire is done testing him, he'll shine like pure gold. But God is utterly aloof for me and I'm terrified of him. Look at verses 13-17, "But he stands alone and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. That's why I'm terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face." This is transcendence, friends. This is the infinite loftiness of God. He does whatever he pleases in the heavens and on the earth, and no one can oppose him. No one can call him to account. He doesn't have to give an explanation to anybody for what he does. This is all true. But Job says, "It makes me afraid. The transcendence of God, to me, is terrifying." He's saying, “It's terrifying.” And so what he's saying is, "If I could find him, I would present my case to him, and I would win my case and he would exonerate me." But that's not really ultimately what he wants. He wants to remove whatever offense there is between them and return back to the way things used to be in his intimate friendship with God. Look ahead to Job 29:4. In Job 29:4, he says what he really wants. There he says, "O for the days when I was in my prime, when God's intimate friendship blessed my house." That's what he wants. “I want my paths drenched in cream and oil like they used to be because God was my friend. God talked to me and I knew he loved me, but now I don't know what to think. I can't find him and we can't have a conversation.” I can't help but think of the infinite dimensions of what Jesus felt when he cried out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" I don't know that we'll ever fully be able to plumb the infinite depths of that statement, that Jesus went to being forsaken by his heavenly Father, by God, so that he felt all of these things, that God is aloof and distant and not close to me, so that we who were distant from God through our sins could be brought near and have intimacy with God and friendship. That's what Jesus went through for us. He went through this, I can't find God anywhere, for us. That's chapter 23. IV. Job’s Second Lament: God Is Aloof to the Poor & Oppressed (Job 24) Chapter 24, the second lament, I've mentioned is basically a list of social justice issues, so to speak, or mercy ministry issues. The fault that Job was finding, again, is with God's justice. We saw this early in chapter 21, that God doesn't ever seem to judge the wicked. They get away with, it seems, murder. Look at verse 24:1, "Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?" So they get crushed by economic oppression. They get crushed and nothing ever seems to happen. So why doesn't God set times for judgment? I looked in one of my old Bibles, one of my first Bibles, this morning. And I wrote in the notes, I'd been a Christian for two years, it's like, but he does have a day. I was correcting Job, even back then. No, but he does, it's called Judgment Day. But at that moment, he wasn't feeling that. He was like, it doesn't ever seem to happen. God doesn't set times for judgment for these people. Economic abuse of the weak, verses 2-3. “Men move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they've stolen. They drive away the orphan's donkey and take the widow's ox in pledge.” These are economic issues. Moving of boundary lines was stealing property. Stealing beasts of burden meant they couldn't have a crop, a harvest. Because of this economic oppression, the poor are driven into hiding, verse four, "They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding." He speaks of oppressive living and working conditions for the poor, verses 5-6, "Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children. They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked." This is what's done for people who have no resources. They glean a few heads of grain that are left in the stalks because of this kind of oppression. He says the poor are naked. They're shivering in the cold grain at night. Verses 7-8, "Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to clothe themselves in the cold. They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.” Children are snatched away from their parents to repay debts. Verse nine, "The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt." So the poor work hard, they labor to the last fiber of their strength, but they can never get ahead because they don't get paid hardly anything. Verses 10-11, "Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still grow hungry. They crush olives among the terraces; they tread the wine presses, but they suffer thirst." So they're working hard, they just never get ahead. So the poor groan, desperately looking for help that never comes. Verse 12, "The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help, but God charges no one with wrongdoing." That's that same thing, that accusation of God's justice. God doesn't seem to do anything about it. Now, in verses 13-17, he addresses unpunished criminal acts. The wicked love the darkness, which hides all of their dark deeds. Verse 13, "There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths." So murderers. Verse 14, "When daylight is gone, the murder arises up and kills the poor and needy; in the night he steals forth like a thief." Verse 15, the adulterer goes out at night, “The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, 'No eye will see me,' and he keeps his face concealed." Then thieves, burglars, in verse 16, "In the dark men break into houses, but by day they shut themselves in." They want nothing to do with the light. Verse 17, "For all of them, deep darkness is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness." It's like Jesus said in John 3:19-20, "Men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. [Whoever] does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." And yet he ends the chapter saying they're still going to get it. The wicked are still going to be judged. So it's a bit of a turn, but he still believes that judgment's coming. Verse 18, "They are foam on the surface of the water; their portion of the land is cursed, so that no one goes into the vineyards. As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow, so the grave snatches away those who have sinned. The womb forgets them, the worm feasts on them; evil men are no longer remembered but are broken like a tree. They prey on the barren and childless woman, and to the widow they show no kindness. But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they have become established, they have no assurance of life. He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways. For a little while they're exalted, but then they're gone; they're brought low and gathered up like all the others; they're cut off like heads of grain. If this is not so, who can prove me false and reduce my words to nothing?" So he says in the end, they're going to get judged, doesn't happen now, I wish it would, I wish that God would intervene and crush them, but they're going to get it in the end. V. Lessons All right. So what applications can we take from this? I would like you to begin by just meditating, helpfully, on God's transcendence and imminence. There are two images of God that I think we should keep ever before us. Our God is a consuming fire, like the sun. That's transcendence and holiness. And the father of the prodigal son, who's waiting and waiting and waiting for his sinful son to come back, and when he does, he runs down and hugs him and gives him everything. These two images of God's overwhelming holiness and power and wrath and justice, and God's intimate compassion and tenderness and love must be held together. We can't choose one or the other. We'll be a holiness church, or we'll be a love church. It's both. So meditate on both for yourself. Some of you may need to hear more from one side than the other right now, I understand that. That happens in our sinfulness, that we need to hear more that God really does love us because we've been doubting that, or we need to hear more that God is holy and does not tolerate sin. We need to hear that. Both. Secondly, ponder at length the question: Is man profitable to God? And answer no. Say, “God, I know that my service doesn't profit you at all. I know that. I know you don't need me to serve. I know even if you wanted to use a person, if I dropped out, you would find another person to do the exact same thing.” It's just good to be humble. That “God is not served by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Thirdly, ponder the quantity and weight of your sin. Don't minimize it. Be like the tax collector who beat his breast and would not even look up to heaven, but said, "Be merciful to me, oh God, a sinner." Say, “My sins are more numerous than the hairs of my head and they're mighty like a mountain range.” Don't minimize it. Realize it's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Understand your sickness and he'll heal you. "Thirdly, ponder the quantity and weight of your sin. Don't minimize it. Be like the tax collector who beat his breast and would not even look up to heaven, but said, "Be merciful to me, oh God, a sinner." Fourthly, seek salvation in Christ. Christ is, in every chapter of Job, the star, every chapter. Do you not see it? It is in Christ that God's infinite, transcendent holiness is addressed at the cross through the blood sacrifice, and it is in Christ that he draws very close to us in his incarnation. He is Emmanuel, God with us. We are able to pillow our heads on his chest because he loves us. So find salvation through repentance and faith in Christ. Fifthly, just observe how Job's afflictions and sufferings made him feel that God was distant from him. Expect that to happen when you're suffering, but realize it's not true. That God is as close to you, or perhaps in some ways, even closer than ever when you're suffering. Intimately close. And then finally, know that the remedy is to draw near to the throne of grace. Don't let Satan trick you into staying distant from God. But as it says in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us approach the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Close with us in prayer now. Father, thank you for these three chapters, for all the things that we've discussed. So much in there. God, I pray that you would press these lessons, these timeless lessons, to our hearts, that we would understand them. God, I pray that you would save, that you would convert any that are here that walked in unconverted. Just work in them now that they would know the truth of the gospel. Help all of us, Lord, to see both your infinite, transcendent majesty and holiness, but also your intimacy with us in Christ. In Jesus's name, amen.

Two Journeys Sermons
Prosperity of the Wicked Finally Addressed in Eternity (Job Sermon 13) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later May 30, 2021


Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 20-21, covering the difficult question: what about the prosperity of the wicked? - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - Well, this morning we'll be looking at two chapters, Job 20-21, and we're going to address the prosperity of the wicked, the problem of the prosperity of the wicked, and I'm going to assert that that problem is only going to be solved by the display of God's justice and eternity, not in this world. This is a big problem, it's an ethical problem, a problem for those of us that believe in a sovereign God, a holy God, a good God, and as we look at the problem of evil in the world, it's sometimes difficult to address this issue of the prosperity, the seeming even final success of many wicked people. I. The Problem: The Seeming Final Success of Many Wicked People In the closing days of World War II in Europe, many high ranking Nazi officials were able to slip away in the confusion, May of 1945, and escape the justice of the world for their heinous crimes against humanity. The paths of their escapes came to be known as rat lines, as though they were rats escaping. By these means, many of these high-ranking Nazi officials were able to affect their escape to Argentina or to other South American nations and other places around the world and make a new life for themselves, often using money, much money they had stolen from their victims when they were in power. Now, it is true that in subsequent years, a few of them got caught. For example, Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped in Argentina by Israeli operatives in May of 1960, but others did manage to live out the rest of their lives in obscurity, and in many cases, luxury, and then die of old age. And when their stories were then uncovered and told to the world in the years following their peaceful deaths, the sense of outrage was palpable, not only from Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, but from all who may question the existence of God. One of the greatest issues that continually troubles the hearts of all people who believe in a sovereign, wise, good, and loving God who rules directly over the affairs of our earth is this, what about the prosperity of the wicked? Why does it seem that the wicked always win? The cheaters get ahead. The tyrants win battles on the battlefield and build evil empires. The corrupt in business overwhelm their smaller and more honest competitors and drive them out of business. Why do corrupt politicians with huge war chests for their campaigns win the elections and then are able to pay off their corporate sponsors with legislation that's favorable to their businesses? Why do organized crime syndicates succeed in corrupting the legal system and then crushing opposition with murder and with illegal business practices? Why do communist governments succeed for decades in crushing Christian house churches, incarcerating and torturing their leaders with, it seems, impunity? Now, that word impunity means “no punishment,” and it doesn't go far from that to “no justice.” The agonies just go on and on. The wicked seem to prosper and dominate. The weak get overwhelmed and suffer and lose and die. And worst of all, there seems to be absolutely no response from God in heaven. The mighty, omnipotent, perfectly good King of Kings and Lord of Lords just seems to do nothing, and lets them get away, literally, with murder in some cases, lets them build massive mansions and live high on the hog, and there's no answer at all. It seems like so many escape the hangman's noose and beat the system. Now, this is the problem that is addressed, that is raised in Job 20-21, these two chapters, but it is not answered, not fully. Zophar will try to give an answer, but Job swamps him with some of the reading you just heard with Job 21 and wins the debate, I think. If we look a little further in the Old Testament, we will see the beginning of an answer in Psalm 73, and we're going to look at that this morning, but the full answer waits for the clearer revelations that were entrusted by God the Father, to God the Son, to Jesus Christ. Fuller answer given to Christ. And we will see in the end, final and full satisfaction on this question. The apostle Paul spoke of his own expectation of future reward, eternal reward, reward in heaven. He said in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” In other words, Paul did not expect his rewards for his faithful service to Christ in this life. He was clearly warned by the Holy Spirit to not expect it in this life. In Acts 20:23, he said, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” Well, in the same way, I believe Jesus taught that the ultimate display of God's justice concerning the wicked will not be in this world. Actually, we can only see it now by faith as we read the scriptures and understand God's intentions and what God will do. We can only see it by faith. But the Scripture is clear, that in every single case, meticulously, God will display his justice, either on the one hand, by the genuine repentance of the evil doer, coming to faith in Christ, where upon all of their wicked deeds were punished by the wrath of God poured out on the substitute Jesus Christ on their behalf, but everything dealt with directly by the blood of Christ on the cross. Or on the other hand, by the eternal condemnation of the wicked, of the unrepentant wicked in hell, not in this world, but in eternity. And so I believe as Jesus threw open the gates of resurrection and gave a clear vision to all who lived after Christ rose from the dead of what the world to come is going to be like. So he is also, it was given to him to throw open a revelation of what eternal condemnation and hell would be like and his apostles as well, so that we can understand the eternity that's coming and live accordingly. And that is the subject of today's sermon. II. Zophar’s Assertion: God Crushes the Wicked Quickly (Job 20) We're going to begin in chapter 20 with Zophar's inadequate doctrine, Zophar's assertion: God crushes the wicked quickly. God crushes the wicked quickly. Job 20, “The joy of the wicked is brief,” says Zophar. The time the wicked enjoys his ill-gotten gains is very brief. Job 20:5, he says, “The mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.” Well, friends, actually, this is in one sense true. Hebrews 11:25, speaking of Moses, it says that “[Moses chose] rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” The fleeting pleasures of sin. So, that's true. Sin offers only fleeting pleasures, fleeting times of pleasure, then the feast is over. Done. But that is also true of the righteous as well. It's true of every human being, every mortal, for it says in Isaiah 40:6-7, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them.” So both the righteous and the wicked have a brief time here on earth. So, to some degree, that's no real answer. Zophar continues, “No matter how high the wicked soar, God brings them down.” Look at 20:6-7, “Though his pride reaches to the heavens and his head touches the clouds, he will perish forever like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’” This reminds me of that ancient myth of Icarus who sought to slip from gravity and fly by making some wings, and the wings were held together with wax, but he flew too high, and the sun melted the wax and he came crashing back down to the earth. That's the image that Zophar gives. He's going to crash down, he's going to crash and burn, the wicked is. And Zophar says, “The fall of the wicked comes quickly.” Chapter 20:8-9, “Like a dream, he flies away no more to be found, banished like a vision of the night. The eye that saw him will not see him again; his place will look on him no more.” So it's going to come quickly. Zophar says the children of the wicked do not enjoy the fruit of their parents' wicked doings. Verse 10, “His children must make amends to the poor; his own hands must give back his wealth.” So Zophar says, “The kids aren't going to enjoy the ill gotten gains. They're going to have to give it back and quickly. And,” says Zophar, “the wicked will never enjoy all the fruit of their ill-gotten gains,” verses 12-15, “Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, though he cannot bear to let it go and keeps it in his mouth, yet his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become the venom of serpents within him. He will spit out the riches he swallowed; God will make his stomach vomit them up.” Verse 17-18, “He will not enjoy the streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. What he toil for, he must give back uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his trading.” That's Zophar saying, “He's not going to get to enjoy it. God's going to force him to give it all back. All the pleasures the wicked imagine they would lay around and enjoy, they will not get to for long. At some point, their ill-gotten delicacies will become like poison in their stomachs and they'll vomit them out, God's justice will see to it. God himself is going to hunt down and slaughter the wicked.” Look at verses 23-29, “When he has filled his belly, God will vent his burning anger against him and rain down his blows upon him, though he flees from an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him. He pulls it out of his back, the gleaming point out of his liver. Terrors will come over him; total darkness lies and wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent.” Verse 27, “The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him. A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters on the day of God's wrath. Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God.” In other words, God is a skillful heavenly hunter, and he's going to hunt the wicked down and he's going to shoot them and they will die. No one can escape God's wrath. Now, the hard part about all this, as with all the three friends and their speeches in the book of Job is the clear implication is that this is what's happened to Job, applying it to Job. Job is the wicked man who's amassed all of this fortune and God didn't let him get away with it. This is the basic premise that Zophar and two other friends have had concerning God and concerning Job, that Job is suffering the just desserts of his hidden wickedness. He's implying that all of these things he's saying in chapter 20 happened to the wicked, that God does the wicked. “Look, they've happened to you. All of your wealth and your luxuries were taken from you in an instant.” All right, so that's chapter 20. That's Zophar. III. Job’s Response: Actually, the Wicked Do Quite Well in This World (Job 21) Now it's Job's turn. And Job's response is basically this: “Actually, the wicked do quite well in this world.” That's Job 21. Now Job questions Zophar, he refutes him, calls his doctrine and his statements nonsense by the end of this chapter. But his real issue is not with Zophar at all, it's with God. And to some degree Job in Job 21 speaks for or speaks the words of some of the most hostile skeptics against Christianity. He speaks their thoughts for them, he's not trying to do that, but he does. His real issue is vertical. His real issue is with the justice of God. Zophar's premise is that the wicked get crushed very quickly by the relentless active justice of God, but Job is not buying it. His experience tells him otherwise. He is questioning God and his justice, his way of ruling the world. As far as Job can tell, the wicked do very well in this world and there is no justice for their many wicked acts. So this is an issue of theodicy, it's an issue of the justification of God and the attack amazingly comes from Job himself. Now he begins his assault Zophar, but it's really God he wants to talk to. Look at 21:4, “Is my complaint directed to man?” No, it's not. He's not complaining to Zophar. He's going up, he's going vertically. “My real problem here is not with you, my mocking, arrogant friend. My real problem is with God; Almighty God, the just and righteous ruler of the ends of the earth. The real issue: the wicked do in fact prosper.” Look at Job 21:7-13, you just heard them read, “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not upon them. Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; they make merry to the sound of the flute. They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.” Fact of the matter is a lot of wicked people make it safely through this world successfully—right to a peaceful death in their beds. They are successful in all their business ventures. They live very long, healthy lives, generally healthy. They have large, loving families. They die in their beds surrounded by doting children and grandchildren who weep and lament when they die and will miss them. They have no fears because nothing bad ever seems to happen to them. As Job said, the rod of God is not upon them. God leaves them alone, lets them prosper, seems to bless them, actually. Their agricultural ventures go very well. Their bulls breed, cows calve, as he said. Nothing ever seems to go wrong for them. Their children laugh and play and dance and sing. They're well fed, and the children don't know that their comfortable lives were paid for by sinister business deals or by tyranny, the wicked defrauding of the poor. They don't know that; it doesn't really matter to them. Those healthy, happy kids never learn in their childhood why they are so wealthy, healthy, and happy. Now later in life, they're going to get read in. They're going to find out, and they will, for the most part, join the family business. The corrupt, wicked family business and continue the multigenerational prosperity and wickedness. Now the head of the clan, the founding father of the whole corrupt enterprise dies at age 95, passing away sweetly in his sleep. Why, oh Lord? Why, oh Lord? 1969, Mario Puzo published a novel, which eventually became one of the most famous movies in the history of American cinema, The Godfather, the violent tale of a mafia family, fictitious, but based on real families, crime syndicate families through multiple generations. And on the facing page of chapter one, Puzo put this quote from the French philosopher Balzac, "Behind every great fortune, there is a crime". Well, that's a sweeping generalization, but what he's saying is certainly in the case of the Corleone family, it was true. The whole thing was based on murder and corruption, and the story is the movement from Vito Corleone, the godfather, to the son, Michael, who originally didn't want any part of it, but then gets drawn into it and then becomes the next godfather. Now those are fictitious examples of the very thing that Job is bitterly lamenting. Both of them died peacefully an old age, and they were apparently prosperous. Now, Job says, these people openly mock God. Look at Job 21:14-15, “They say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?’” They have no time for God. They're too focused on advancing their own evil agendas, their own empires, furthering their earthly realms. They're pragmatist. Piety doesn't pay. It's a waste of time to go to church. It's a waste of time to read the Bible. It's a waste of time to pray. They don't spend time on those things. They're godless. Job speaks his frustration about their perspective. Verse 16, “But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the council of the wicked.” Job knows full well that every good thing they've ever gotten came ultimately from God, but they don't acknowledge that. They never thank him. They don't give credit to God for any of the good things they enjoyed, and yet God doesn't do anything to them. Look at verses 17-18, “Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate God allots in his anger? How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale?” His implication is not often. That's what he's saying in this chapter. “It doesn't happen to them, usually not. They don't get paid back evil for the evil they've done. This is what should happen to them but it doesn't.” Now, one practical answer to this whole thing is that the punishment falls on the children. Look at verse 19, “It is said, God stores up a man's punishment for his sons.” So that's one possible answer, but Job's not satisfied with that at all. Look at verse 19-21. He said, “Let him, [meaning God,] repay the man himself, so that he will know it!” “So if God's going to do that, I'm going to give God some advice. Let God repay the evil doer himself.” Verse 20, “Let his own eyes see his destruction; Let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty. For what does he care about the family he leaves behind when his allotted months come to an end?” Doesn't do any good. He escaped, he died, so whatever happens in the next generations doesn't matter to him. Both the wicked and the righteous, however, end up in the same place. They both die. Look at verse 23-26, “One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease. His body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow. Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side they lie in the dust and worms cover them both.” So they both died. If that's your answer, yes—but look, he died. Yes—but so did his victims—same thing. So how can that be an answer concerning this? So fundamentally, the wicked don't get paid, repaid in this lifetime. Verse 27-33, “I know full well what you're thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me. You say, ‘Where now is the great man's house, the tents where wicked men lived?’ Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts—that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity, that he's delivered from the day of wrath? Who denounces his conduct to his face? Who repays him for what he's done? He's carried to the grave, and [then] watch is kept over his tomb. The soil in the valley is sweet to him; all men follow after him, and a countless throng goes before him.” He made it through, and everybody loves and misses him. So, in conclusion, Job says in verse 34 to his friends, “Your theology is deeply flawed.” Verse 34, “So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!” It's the end of the chapter. The Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all come at Job with the same basic theology, the law of retribution, the law of sowing and reaping: You reap what you sow. “But there's a double flaw to your theory,” Job was saying. “Actually, two sides to the same coin. First of all,” Job would say, “look at me. Though you surmise that there's all kinds of deep-seated closet wickedness in my life, it's not true. And look what's happened to me.” But then the flip side, this chapter is, “So many wicked oppressors never get what's coming in this lifetime. They never get punished. They escape justice by death. They die old and vigorous and beloved and prosperous, surrounded by their doting families. Their kids and grandkids laugh and dance and play and eat good food. And where is the justice of God in all of this?” And Job has no answers. He's simply refuting the theology of his friends. In one sense, this is a continued frontal assault by Job on the justice of God. It's a consistent pattern on Job's heart. He just thinks God's unjust, and he doesn't see any fair solution to this problem of the prosperity of the wicked. The solution must come somewhere else. "This is a continued frontal assault by Job on the justice of God. It's a consistent pattern on Job's heart. He just thinks God's unjust, and he doesn't see any fair solution to this problem of the prosperity of the wicked." IV. The Final Answer Comes in Eternity Now, I could just say, there's Job 21, let's pray. And you're like, wow, how depressing is that? But in the kind providence of God, there's an unfolding of wisdom in the 66 books of the Bible. It doesn't end with Job 21. There's more to say on this topic. All I'm saying is Job doesn't have an answer, but there is an answer. Now the final answer must come in eternity, and the beginning of that, we can see in Psalm 73. So turn there, if you will, or you can just listen. Psalm 73 covers basically the same ground, but comes out a little bit more hopefully, but still not a full answer. The problem of the prosperity of the wicked is addressed directly. You don't have to wonder what Psalm 73 is about. It says right out. Psalm 73:1-3, “Surely God is good to Israel to those who are pure in heart.” So in other words, God is good to his own children, he's good to the righteous, I really believe that. However, I have a problem, “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked,” and then he unfolds the problem. This will sound very familiar. It's the very same thing as Job 21, “They have no struggles.” Psalm 73:4-5, “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They're free from the burdens common to man; they're not plagued by human ills.” Verse 8-9, “They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.” Utter arrogance, no fear of God at all. Verse 11-12, “They say, ‘How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?’ This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth.” And so for the Psalmist, the issue’s exceptionally burdensome, the Psalmist said he almost slipped into unbelief and rebellion, at least in one side bitterness, but a strong temptation toward if you can't beat him, join him. Well, what good is it to be righteous if this is how it is in this world? He says in verse 13, “Surely in vain, I've kept my heart pure. In vain, I've washed my hands in innocence.” He says this whole topic was a burden to him. In verse 14-16, it says, “All day long, I have been plagued; I've been punished every morning. If I said, ‘I will speak thus,’ [if I'm going to talk about what's on my heart,] I would've betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me.” But then the turn happens in the song. The solution comes to him, “[Till] I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” Now that'll sound a little bit like Zophar, won't it? But they're going to be cast down and crushed finally, their final destiny is that. Has the same limit according to Job, the judgment doesn't seem to happen in every case. It doesn't seem to happen in this world. However, the Psalmist has a view of eternity. His mind goes beyond this life. Psalms 73:21-26 are some of the sweetest verses in the old Testament. Absolutely beautiful. This is what the Psalmist said, “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand, you guide me with your counsel and afterward you'll take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire beside you. My heart and my flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Sweet. And the Psalmist is saying, “I'm really thinking about heaven now. And I'm thinking when I get to heaven, what do I get? I get God, that's what I'm going to get, that's my portion in heaven, and therefore, that's all I really want here on earth. “ Therefore it is quite possible as he has this vision of eternity, the psalmist, that he sees the destruction of the wicked as eternal as well. Though he doesn't mention it, he does say this in verse 27, “Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.” So he does think about the destruction of the wicked, and he just mentioned eternity. He says “afterward you will take me into glory.” After what? After death. So he is thinking about after death. He just doesn't clearly lay it out, and I'm saying to you in the 39 books of the Old Testament, I don't see hell carefully, clearly laid out anywhere. Nothing contradicts, it just doesn't talk about it. That was given to Jesus. That task was given to Jesus. The final solution of this is eternity in hell. Jesus Christ gives us the full picture of what happens after death and on into eternity. It was given to him by the Father to teach us about hell. And I say to you, you will not really understand what Jesus accomplished if you don't understand hell. If you don't understand that Jesus died to set us free from eternal conscious torment, you don't understand what Jesus came to do. You don't understand what he did for you when he was willing to drink that cup in Gethsemane, which I can scarcely talk about sometimes without weeping. It chokes me up almost every time when I think about the courage it took for Jesus to be willing to drink that cup. And what was in that cup? Hell. And you may think I need healing. I need money. I need this job, I need, I need, I need. What you need, is you needed Jesus to drink your cup for you so you don't have to drink it. That's what I needed. And he did it. So what else do you need? Not much. In drinking that cup, he's given you heaven forever. And what else? Like the psalmist said, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has [What?] nothing I desire besides you.” And so it was Jesus who came to teach us details about hell, details that are not found in the 39 books of the Old Testament. For example, Luke 12:4-5, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do nothing more. I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, God has the power to destroy both soul and body in hell. Jesus quoted Isaiah 66 to give us some picture of what hell is like. In Mark 9:48-49 he says, “Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Everyone will be salted with fire, a fire that has never quenched. He said in Matthew 25:41, “He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” He said this eternal fire would be exquisite torment. In Matthew 8:12 he said that the wicked would be “thrown outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” He gave a clear picture of what hell would be like in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, which directly addresses the issues brought up in Job 21, directly addresses the cavalier, wealthy, powerful, rich oppressor who couldn't care less about the poor people and then dies and seems to do well. Yeah, but this story’s not over. And so in Luke 16, it's parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Rich man lived in luxury every day, never cared for the poor Lazarus at all who was right at his gate, and when the rich man died, Jesus said he went to hell where he was in fiery torment. Lazarus died and went to heaven where he was joyfully at peace, and the rich man begged for Lazarus to come and cool his tongue from the fire but that was impossible because a big gap was set between the two. This is the final answer to the problem of rich oppressors. The answer does not happen in this world. It doesn't happen in this life. The apostle Paul continues to expand our comprehension of this. The wicked, says Paul, are actually storing up wrath against themselves every day by how they're living. Romans 2:5-8, he says, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, your storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’ To those who by persistence and doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life. But to those who are self seeking, who reject the truth and follow evil, there'll be wrath and anger.” Trouble and distress for everyone who does evil. Romans 2, the wicked reprobate exist to put attributes of God on display. Why did God knit them together in their mother's womb? Paul addresses this deeply in Romans 9:22-24, said, “What if God choosing to show his wrath and make his power known bore with great patience the objects of wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us?” So all of that is God knit Judas Iscariot in his mother's womb. He knits the wicked together for the purpose of displaying his own attributes. What are they? Wrath, power, and great patience. And he does this to put those attributes on display for us, the elect, the vessels of mercy, he says in Romans 9, so that we can know how much grace and mercy he's shown to us. We can get an education in God's glory. I'm saying to you, the fullness of this display cannot happen in this world. It can't—because God lets the wicked spin out their stories right to the end. And we don't know in this life who the reprobate are, because we always have a good hope that the gospel can convert them right to the very end, that even on their deathbed they might find mercy, like the thief on the cross did. So we can't see God's power, wrath and great patience in this life—the display must be in eternity, it must be in the next world. Heaven will be a place of eternal education for the redeemed, and this will be part of the lesson. It will be to see and to understand how God waited patiently, channeled the wickedness of the wicked, used it amazingly for his own purposes, and in the end specifically punished those who never did repent. That is the answer. And God tells us he will do it, he will repay. Romans 12:19-20 he says, “Do not take revenge my friends, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: [I will] avenge. [Your vengeance is mine.] I will repay.’” Do you hear that? “I will repay. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he's thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you'll heap burning coals on his head.” So this display must be in eternity not before, and we will see it. So for the arrogant wicked, there is no escaping justice, a far more terrifying enemy awaits. I don't know exactly how Hitler committed suicide. Maybe he blew his brains out or took a cyanide capsule, as the red army was burning Berlin down right over his head, and he thought—maybe, I don't know what he thought—that he's escaping the wrath of the Russians. But we know that a far more terrifying adversary was waiting for him when he died. And Jesus made that very, very plain in Luke 12, when other wicked men chuckled to themselves, as they lay on their deathbed, surrounded by loving family and confident of passing on a vast fortune amassed by crime, when they felt they had beat the system and escaped an invading army, maybe, or a peasant uprising, maybe, or an FBI inquiry, maybe. As they slip from this world in peace, they cannot conceive of the terrors that will await them in the next world. As Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body and after that there's nothing more they can do [to you]. But…fear the one who has the power to destroy both soul and body in hell.” And these verses will at last come true in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” V. Applying It to Ourselves All right, what applications can we take from this? First, we need to apply this to ourselves. God is being patient with all sinners, all sinners, not just the extremely wicked. It is wrong for us to become angry with the patience of God toward big notorious sinners while we ourselves are sinners as well. And we forget that we're included and God's being patient with us. We should realize the central point. All sin deserves condemnation by God, all sin, and God's patience with sinners is meant to bring us to repentance. As it says in second, Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” "God is being patient with all sinners, all sinners, not just the extremely wicked. It is wrong for us to become angry with the patience of God toward big notorious sinners while we ourselves are sinners as well. " Secondly, flee the wrath to come, as John the Baptist said. We're all sinners. We should realize that we all deserve to be judged. God sent Jesus Christ to die under his wrath to free us up from eternal condemnation. When I share the gospel with people and I'm explaining these themes, and you have to understand these themes in some sense, or you will never come to Christ. You will not see why you need to. But I look on Jesus as a lightning rod, that device that is designed to attract a lightning strike and take it safely away from the home and its inhabitants. And we live in the home of his security and peace, and he took the strike for us. So I would just say to you who are a sinner just like me, flee the wrath to come by fleeing to the cross, fleeing to Christ, let him be your lightning rod. Let him accept, absorb the lightning strike of the infinite wrath of God against you and carry it safely away from you for all eternity. Thirdly, trust God concerning the wicked oppressors. Some of them may yet be converted, and we have good hopes, but most of them won't. And Scripture is very clear what's going to happen to them, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9, it says, “God is just.” That answers Job, doesn't it? “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you, [speaking to Christians who are being persecuted.] He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power,” 2 Thessalonians 1. That's what's going to happen. It's consistent teaching in the New Testament, and their Christian victims are going to be rewarded for their suffering and their service to Christ in the next world. As Jesus said in Matthew 5, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Fourthly, patience for those who are being oppressed. Some of our brothers and sisters around the world are being oppressed right now. They're being crushed by power structures, and they cry out for justice. And Jesus addressed it in the parable of the unrighteous judge in Luke 18, he said, “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused but finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming.’” It's a parable about prayer and it's a how-much-more argument, that if that's what the wicked judge does, worn out by this persistent widow, we should be faithful in prayer. That's the point of the parable, but listen to what Jesus says, “And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” That's what Jesus said. So our brothers and sisters that are being crushed by structures that we can hardly even imagine in other countries, God's going to see that they get justice, Christ said. And fifth, answering the charges of skeptics. Unbelievers frequently bring up this issue, like the Holocaust and wicked oppressors never get dealt with in this life. Now you have heard a sermon that addresses it, and the answer is eternal conscious torment in hell. That's the answer. There is a judgment day coming and the wicked oppression will be dealt with. But the question, dear friend, is you. You have a sense of justice inside you. God gave that to you, but that justice comes back on you. You also are sinner, flee to Christ. So that's how I would handle that apologetic situation. I want to close with a story I heard some time ago. Over a century ago, there was a farmer in a Midwestern state who had a strong disdain for God and for Christians, and he openly worked out in his fields, plowing his fields on Sundays, Sunday mornings, so that he could mock the churchgoers who were walking by as he did his work on Sunday. October came and the farmer had his best crop ever, the best actually in the entire county. And when the harvest was complete, he placed an advertisement in the local newspaper, belittling Christians for their faith in God and near the end of his ad he wrote, “Faith in God must not mean very much if someone like me can prosper.” Well, one Christian in the community was provoked by this, decided to respond and in the next edition of the town paper, he put in this small advertisement, it read simply, “God doesn't always settle his accounts in October.” Close with me in prayer. Father, we thank you for the time we've had to study the deep themes of Job 21. As he, our brother, has raised these questions, but really did not have the clear answer that we have. Lord, help us to absorb the truth, Lord Jesus, that you taught us about hell and also the truth that you taught us about heaven, and that we would realize the truth of our situation, and that we would be eternally grateful to you for drinking the cup of God's wrath on our behalf, and that we will be motivated as never before to evangelize those who are still walking under the wrath of God so that they can flee while there's still time. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

The Growing Jew
Sacks-Parsha Bamidbar-Judaism's Life Changing Ideas-The two journeys

The Growing Jew

Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2021 6:56


We discuss Rabbi Sacks essay on Parsha Bamidbar “The Two Journeys” from Judaism's life changing Ideas

Two Journeys Sermons
I Know That My Redeemer Lives! (Job Sermon 12) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2021


Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 18-19. In this passage, we see Job at his worst and then at his best and show us how we can likewise be double-minded. - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - Turn in your Bible. We'll be looking this morning briefly at chapter 18, but then mostly in chapter 19 of Job. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I want to give you a little more details, concerning one of the greatest pieces of music ever written, Handel's Messiah 260-page oratorio. Handel, George Frederick Handel, German composer living in England, very much down on his fortunes financially, things had not gone well for him. He got a set of Old Testament prophecies, scriptures that had been set together by a writer, and he was being asked... The project was to set them to music, and how Christ had been the fulfillment of these Old Testament prophecies. So he set to work 1741, August 22nd, 1741. Twenty-four days later, he finished—24 days later, 260-page oratorio. It's probably a musical miracle, especially given the quality of music that came out, and as he completed the hallelujah chorus, the most famous part of that oratorio, his servant came in, and there was just sheet music everywhere, just all over, there's just total mess, and the composer was down on his knees with tears streaming down his face, and he said this to his servant, "I think I did see all heaven open before me, and the great God himself seated on his throne with his company of angels." Wow. Like, oh God, do that for me. Give me a vision of heaven that would cause tears to come down my face, that I would be able to see the infinite majesty of God seated on his throne, and a company of angels surrounding a hundred million angels worshiping. I could get through anything in my life if I could just have a vision of that, the hallelujah chorus, but then, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, he followed it with this sweet little aria, "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth." Just peaceful, majestic and exactly what needs to follow that vision of the greatness, the infinite majesty of God. Has to do with individual, personal salvation, flowing from the sovereignty of that majestic God seated on his throne, that God can reach down to us in our misery and our brokenness and save us. Now that scripture that he wrote that incredible aria on, "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth," we just heard read for us, represents, I consider, as I've said this before, but especially in chapter 19, Job at his absolute best. I think that the vision of heaven and all that, it seems to be like you're up on a mountain and there's spectacular valley scenery below you, but there are just clouds, and then a break in the cloud comes, and you can see this incredible scenery, and then the clouds come over again. That's what it's like for Job, and so he comes in and out of a clear vision of the future, the eternal future of resurrection, even. It's Job at his best, but sadly in this chapter, we also see, I believe, Job at his worst. In this chapter, he is going to accuse God of wronging him and say, "There is no justice," or directly accusing God of injustice. How can there be this kind of range in one chapter from one man? How can we humans be so wildly inconsistent? How can we be so full of doubts concerning God? As James wrote in his epistle, concerning people who go through extreme sufferings, who should count at pure joy when they do, who in the midst of those sufferings, should ask God for wisdom. Home base of that is concerning the affliction, concerning the sorrow. What is going on? What are you doing? They should ask God, but, "When he asks," James says, "he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." James calls that man, that doubting man, “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Well, sadly, that characterizes us at some times, especially in times of sorrow, times of affliction—double-minded, unstable, doubting—we go through these things. That is how we are. We who live in a state of grace, who have been born again, who have received forgiveness of sins, who are in the process of being sanctified, who don't understand how much we need pain and adversity to be sanctified—we have to have it, but we don't understand that we would avoid it all, all of it—and yet born again in the midst of all that, still capable of great corruption that comes up out of our hearts and then out of our mouths, saying things that we ought not to say. So we see, in the space of just a few lines of holy text, Job saying things that should never have been said, questioning the essence of the character of God, his justice, accusing him of gross injustice, in his case, and then a few lines later, giving one of the most sublime, one of the clearest confessions of faith imaginable, the ultimate, even resurrection of God's people into eternal glory and seeing the face of God with our own eyes. Incredible. "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursings," said James. "My brothers, this should not be." No, it shouldn't, but it often is, and I think we are helped by the fact that Job went through these things, and it's not okay. I'm not saying it's fine to say things vertically up to God that are wrong and disrespectful and all that. Not saying that, but do you not see how kind God is and how patient with us as we say these things? Job shows us—the account shows us the grace of God in covering our wicked, faithless statements, while at the same time, teaching us and coaxing us to a higher level of confidence in him. A stronger faith that will not vacillate, will not yield to doubts, be blown and tossed by the waves. No, that will be strong and steadfast, knowing God never changes, and he's bringing these trials into our lives for a sweet purpose. So today, we're going to walk through both sides of this equation. We're going to spend time on Job's stunning statement of faith. We're going to walk through it word by word, really, Job, 19:25-27, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh, I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" Well, before we get Job at his worst and then at his best, we first need to go a little bit through Job 18, what I would say is Bildad the Shuhite at his worst. I.Bildad the Shuhite’s Wretched Second Speech (Job 18) This is bad. Job 18 is bad. Bildad the Shuhite's wretched second speech, “wretched” is kind. Bildad was not kind. This is just the same song, a different verse, only much more vicious. There's a viciousness to Bildad in chapter 18. Remember, fundamental to the consistent position of Job's three friends is the law of sewing and reaping. You reap what you sow. God is active, he's energetic, he's involved on planet earth, he's not sitting back letting things happen. He's involved, and what he does is he gives you what you deserve. You reap what you sow. So a just, active, energetic, involved God would never do such terrible things to a righteous man. It's impossible. Not only that, but the proportion of the misery is equal to the proportion of the sin. Even if the friends hadn't seen any of it, this is just all logical to them, it's all theological. They've got it worked out. So Job must be a great sinner, because he is suffering greatly. "Fundamental to the consistent position of Job's three friends is the law of sewing and reaping ... so Job must be a great sinner, because he is suffering greatly." So that's been the consistent pattern, but now, as I said, Bildad just gets nasty. His friend, and not just him, but all three of them, as they go on, they begin to be irritated with Job. They get impatient with him. They're prideful about their own reputations and their own arguments, and so they just take the gloves off, and they become increasingly devoid of all compassion. No compassion at all. Absolutely trusting in their theology, which is faulty on both sides of the equation. No compassion and no humility. They don't realize they stand under the same judgment, the same God's looking at them. They don't think about that. So what does Bildad say? Well, he rehearses the savage curses that come on the wicked, what God does. Let's just walk through them. It's chapter 18 and verse five, "His lamp, [the wicked] his lamp is snuffed out in total darkness." Verses 7-10, "The wicked is snared by his own wicked schemes." Verse 11-12, "The wicked is terrorized on every side." Verse 13, "His flesh is destroyed in great agony." Verses 14-16, "He perishes utterly from the earth," and verses 17-19, "No one ever thinks of him again." Then in verse 21, Job 18:21, Bildad says, "Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man; such is the place of one who knows not God.” A godless man. Well, given the context, he is saying these things about Job. This is his explanation for what Job is going through. "You are a wicked, godless man. You don't know God." This is the one about whom God boasted to Satan, "Have you considered my servant, Job? He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." So they're about as far from Job as they possibly could be. So Job could easily ask “Bildad, why, my friend, are you saying these things to me?" So in chapter 19, he responds, verse one through three, “Job replied, ‘How long will you torment me and crush me with words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me.’" It's evident that these things hurt him. It's hurtful to him to hear this. They have added to his misery and his torture. They're part of the entire experience of suffering he's going through. All right, so much for Bildad. With your consent, we'll move on from Bildad. What do you say? Let's go ahead. II. Job at His Worst: Accusing God of Injustice Now, let's look at Job at his worst, accusing God of injustice. Look at verses 6-7, chapter 19, "Know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice." Now that is staggering, but it's essential for us to hear, for it is quickly on the lips of all people who stare into the terrifying blackness of the problem of evil in this world and try to reconcile the problem of evil in this world with the concept of a sovereign, wise, loving God who created all things and rules over all things. They think it is just not possible for both those things to occur. Everyone who feels the weight of human suffering is soon tempted to hurl this same accusation up to the heavenly throne to accuse Almighty God of injustice. Now that is why the whole topic of theology that we're addressing here week after week, addressing the problem of evil and suffering is called theodicy. The word literally means the justification of God, or perhaps the vindication of God, or the establishment of God's righteousness or justice in all of this. That's what theodicy means. The idea that we are defending a just God in the face of the problem of evil and suffering and pain, theodicy. So God is just, he is righteous, even in the face of such evils that happen to people on earth. So Job, by venting this wicked thought toward God, he is serving the whole human race, because it's what we are thinking. It's what enemies of Christianity are thinking as they look at the problem of evil and say, “There can't be a good God. The one you celebrate, look at the problem of evil.” So he's serving us by venting that, because we all have the exact same temptation when we begin to suffer. Let's not worry so much about apologetics and sharing the gospel with others. When you go through suffering, these thoughts come in your mind. You begin to wonder, you use language of fairness, perhaps. "It's not fair," that kind of thing, but it's the issue of justice, questioning the justice of God. Now this will be the very thing that God will convict Job of when he appears in the whirlwind. Second phase after Job says something then in Job 40:6-8, "The Lord spoke to Job out of the storm," verse seven, 40:7, "‘Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’" This is Job 40:8. "‘Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?’" So this is the first thing he brings up in terms of Job's specific statements. "It is wrong for you to question my justice so you can justify yourself." So he brings this issue up. Here we see the frailty of all human beings, even the most virtuous man on the planet, the amazing Job. He is amazing. Certainly Job began the trial well, as you remember in Job 1:22, says, "In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." So he started well, and then again, in chapter two, verse 10, after he was afflicted, his body was afflicted with disease, it says, "In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." But, listen, once he accuses God of injustice, all of that virtue is gone. This is a sin. We should not say, "Oh, Job never sinned against God in what he said." He didn't at the beginning, that's true, but this is sin to say this, and this is exactly why Job felt the need to repent. If you want to be very loyal to Job and say, "No, no, no, he never," then why did he repent and God accepted it? He says in Job 42:4-6, "[‘Listen,’] you said, ‘Now listen, and I will speak; I will question you and you shall answer me.’ My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” “I should not have said, God, what I said to you." Isn't it ironic, if you really think about this, how ironic it is that atheists accuse God of injustice, but in so doing, they're actually proving the existence of a God of justice? Where did they get the sense of justice in their hearts? Where did that come from? A sense of justice burning in their hearts, and then they're willing to accuse God of injustice. They do not realize, as we do, the reason why is they're created in the image of God, and some of that image remains, and they do have a sense of justice inside their hearts. Our sense of justice is part of being created in the image of God, but let me tell you, the scope and dimensions of our justice compared to God's justice cannot even be compared. It's as though our justice is like, you know, those little paper books of matches, and you rip off one of those little cardboard matches and you light it on a bright sunny day and hold it up and look at the sun and the match. So the flickering match is just about to go out, because it's a breezy day. That flickering match is your sense of justice, and the sun, 93 million miles away, blazing in glory, is less than God's commitment to justice. "How ironic it is that atheists accuse God of injustice, but in so doing, they're actually proving the existence of a God of justice? Where did they get the sense of justice in their hearts?" "What do you mean by saying that, pastor?" Well, we go right to the greatest display of God's justice there ever has been and ever will be, the cross of Jesus Christ. You want to know how committed God is to justice? Look to the cross. Look to what God did to his only begotten son, whom he loves. Romans 3:25-26, "God presented [Christ] as a propitiation, a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he left the sins committed beforehand unpunished." What does that mean, “the sins committed beforehand”? Old Testament saints. You mean like this one by Job? Yes, exactly like this one by Job. Unpunished, and yet Job's in heaven. So he did it to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance, he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. He did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time so as to be both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ. How can he be both just and also justify us, forgive us, welcome us into heaven? That's a problem for God. We don't think of it as a problem, but it's a problem for him, and he solved it by crushing his own Son under his just wrath as our substitute, our guilt, our sins transferred to the substitute, and he dies in our place. That's the display of justice. That is God's commitment to justice. So in other words, Christ's death on the cross as our substitute under the searing, infinite wrath of God is his eternal and best, highest display of the justice of God. God was saying effectively to all the universe for all time, "I would rather crush, I would rather slaughter my Son, my only Son, Jesus, whom I love, in ways you can't even imagine how much I love him. I would rather crush him than allow a single sinner into heaven with his sins unatoned for, with my righteous laws crying out for that sinner's condemnation. I would rather slaughter my son than give any sinner a free pass into heaven without his lawless deeds having been atoned for, and I'm willing to do that to my Son," and don't think it was easy for the father. There was darkness, a dreadful darkness over the whole land, from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, and at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", and then when he died, there was a massive earthquake and the ground shook and the rocks split open. "So in other words, Christ's death on the cross as our substitute under the searing, infinite wrath of God is his eternal and best, highest display of the justice of God." That's the cost of that display, but that's God's commitment to justice. So that's the raging, brilliant sun of God's commitment to justice. What about yours? How committed to justice are you? Are you up there with that paper match? "Oh, but at least my match is burning." Yes, you have a commitment to justice because you're created in the image of God, and you should develop that commitment to justice, but God's is greater, infinitely greater, and for all of that, Job accused God of injustice. He didn't know what he was saying. He didn't understand what he was talking about. He says he's been wronged. He says though he cries out for justice, he gets no answer from God at all. Furthermore, it seems he's accusing God of using his overpowering strength to be his enemy. He's using his terrifying power to destroy him, as though God were not only unjust, but a tyrant, a bully, his enemy. "God is acting like my enemy." Look at Job, 19:8-12, just paraphrasing, he says, "God has blocked me in; I cannot get past God. God covers my path in darkness; I cannot find my way. God has stripped me of all of my honors; I'm humiliated before everyone. God tears me down; he uproots all my hopes like a tree. God is like a mighty army advancing against me in force. God's already defeated me out in the plain of battle, and then when I fled to my fortress city, God has besieged me and is destroying my walls, and will conquer this city too. That's what God is to me." Now, note how terrifying it would be to have Almighty God as your personal enemy. Nothing could be more terrifying than that. Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." So that's what he feels vertically, "And God is my enemy," but then horizontally, he feels complete societal rejection, social rejection. Verses 13-19, Job runs through the depths and dimensions of the rejection and humiliation he's felt from every person he knows in his life, even his wife. Verse 17, his wife cannot stand being near him. She can't stand the smell of his breath. It's offensive to her, verse 17. John Calvin, in his sermon on this section of Job, singles her out for this level of betrayal. We know that earlier, she's the one that said to her husband, "Curse God and die," but here, it's the indication that she also turned away from him in every respect at his time of need and gave him no comfort at all, probably believing that same theology that we've been talking about, "You're the reason for all of this." Calvin said this, "His wife showed herself like a savage beast in this situation." For better or worse, richer or poor, sickness and health, that's what we promised to do. I don't know what their vows were, but that's what marriage is, and she turned away from him, turned her back on him. But it wasn't just her. His closest relatives shunned him, his brothers, his kinsman, all his friends, including these three so-called friends sitting with him, his servants, cannot stand him. They won't come when he summons them. They have no respect for him at all. His acquaintances, as well, want nothing to do with him. Even little boys show him disrespect, because undoubtedly, they heard the slanderous reports about this secretly corrupt man who, it turns out, evidently was the greatest hypocrite in the world. No respect, even from little boys. Now, these days in the world of social media, we have a phenomenon known as “cancel culture,” you've heard of that. Someone says or does something deemed reprehensible and everyone cancels that person, cuts them out entirely. Well, let me tell you something: that was not invented recently in the smartphone and social media and digital age—it's been going on in every generation, and it was going on in Job's time as well, but you know what? It especially happened with Jesus. They all canceled him. Isaiah 53:3, speaking of Christ, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Everyone ran away from him, his closest friends, one of them betrayed him, another one denied him. Everyone hated him and cried for Barabbas instead of him. So that was Christ. So Job begs for pity from his friends, verse 21, 19:21, he says, "Have pity on me, my friends, have pity, for the hand of God has struck me." So we've seen Job at his worst and the context for it, accusing God of injustice. Now let's see Job at his best, testifying of his Redeemer and of his own personal resurrection glory. III. Job at His Best: Testifying of His Redeemer Look at verse 23-24, interesting verse, did you notice it? "Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead or engraved in rock forever!" Isn't it amazing he would say that? "I wish someone would write down my words so that people in future generations could read them." Wish granted, Job. Here we are, literally millennia later, reading his words. Now I think in heaven, he might wish some of them hadn't been recorded for us to study, but there they are. God had a purpose. It was why he brought Job through this, so that he could bring consolation to God's people in every generation for thousands of years. So he yearns for that, and so God crafted a way that these words would be written down for us in the Scriptures, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit coming on the author, writing down these words, and then God, in his sovereignty, protecting them from every satanic attack for centuries so that we can read. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away,” and neither will Job's. So this is the doctrine of the inspiration and permanence of Scripture, a very human book written by very ordinary people going through specific circumstances, and the words that they wrote on the page were inspired by the Holy Spirit, preserved through all time for us to read and study. 2 Peter 1:21, "Prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." So Job's words are more permanent than heaven and earth. They will go on into eternity. Now Job is about to say some things that soar beyond his immediate circumstances. They have far greater meaning for us as Christians than they did for Job when he said them. Given that we are beyond, in history, the death and resurrection of Jesus, our Redeemer, and we can put far more detail to these words than Job could, Job spoke these words, but as I've already told you a few times before, the Old Testament prophets didn't fully understand the import of all the words they said. So he says this, and then he is right back in the same mentality in the next chapter, that's just how it went for him. So he didn't fully understand everything he said. Let's look at it again. Verse 25-27, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" So let's just walk through these words as Job might have understood them, and then, in a moment, expand them to see how more powerfully clear and impactful they are for us as Christians. First, how does he understand it? He says, "I know that my Redeemer lives." Now, the word redeemer, the Hebrew word is often translated in the Old Testament, kinsman redeemer, kinsman redeemer. The idea is of a near relative who can step in and save the day for a family member who is in deep trouble. So in a larger sense, the kinsman redeemer is one who is defending the family honor as a whole from shame or trouble, that's what a kinsman redeemer does. The kinsman redeemer might avenge the death of a murdered relative, or pay a price to redeem someone out of slavery, or redeem some property that has fallen into debt. The clearest picture of the activities of a kinsman redeemer in the Bible is the book of Ruth, that sweet little four chapter book of Ruth, where, you remember, Ruth was a widow, husband had died, and Boaz was a kinsman redeemer, and Boaz steps in, saves the day for Ruth and for Naomi, her mother-in-law, and by his qualities, as I just think he's one of the great pictures of a godly husband, Ruth one of the great pictures of a godly wife. There's just a lot of quality in them as a couple, but he's acting as a kinsman redeemer. She's in trouble, she's a widow, she needs protection, she was poor, and so Boaz steps in and acts as a kinsman redeemer. God is sometimes called by this title, but generally just Redeemer. We don't usually say kinsman redeemer with God, but he redeems Israel out of all of her troubles. All right, so the problem is, as we read it, who does Job have in mind? Who's in his mind as his kinsman redeemer? It's the same thing we've already seen before in Job 9:33-34, he said, "If only there was someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, [me and God], someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more." A mediator—he's yearning for a mediator. Job 9:33-34, and then as we saw last week, Job 16:19-21, he says, "Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” Same thing, yearning for an individual who stands before God on his behalf and begs and pleads and intercedes. You know, a witness, an advocate, an intercessor, a friend. And he uses the same language in Job 16, "I know I have that. I've got that." So in the end, this redeemer must have been, to some degree, a mystery to Job. Who could do that? Who could be a kinsman redeemer when my problem is God, or who could ever do that? But somehow God has given Job the faith to see through all his tears and all his pain and his sorrows to see a redeemer, a kinsman redeemer. "I know that my redeemer lives." He's a living redeemer, and that redeemer will, in the end, be fully successful in vindicating Job. Verse 25, "And that in the end he will stand upon the earth." “In the end” means final act of the drama, and the final analysis, getting the final word, he will vindicate me. Job's advocate, Job's witness, Job's mediator, Job's redeemer, Job's friend, his intercessor is now alive, he says, and he will win the case on Job's behalf. Now, how Job understood that person must remain a mystery, but he knows him now. He knows him now, and so do we, because we're further along in redemptive history. Job's faith soars beyond his Redeemer standing in victory on his behalf. His language soars up to the issue of resurrection. Look at verse 26-27, "After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh, I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another." Now, I've already said in a sermon two weeks ago, Job's understanding of the resurrection is unclear. It's hard to know exactly what Job really believed, even with these words, we don't know. Remember how I preached in Job 14:14, the question he asked, "If a man dies, will he live again?", and in that context, in that chapter, it seemed like he was saying no, but now we've got this great statement here. So I believe that the Old Testament saints had some shadowy vision of life after death, some sense of a better country to which we're going, a better life. Hebrews 11:16, "They were longing for a better country—a heavenly one." They had that. I don't think that Job's words could be merely reduced here to his own physical healing. “I know that I'll get healed from this disease, and that in my flesh, I will see God.” It just goes beyond that. I don't think he's just talking about healing. The KJV, interestingly, adds worms. It's not in the Hebrew text, I don't know how or where that came about, but KJV, Job 19:26 says, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh, I shall see God." So the idea of worms there kind of points to the grave, points to the corruption that comes when a corpse is buried, and then the worms have at the corpse, although there are worms on Job even in his life. Final destination, "I will see God, I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.” “I will be in the presence of God. I will stand before him." Now he does experience this to some degree at the end, when God appears to him out of the whirlwind, a theophany, appears to him, it says in Job 42:5, "My ears have heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you," but these words in Job 19 seem to go even beyond that experience, and the final statement, "How my heart yearns or burns within me." IV. Christian Testimony Greater than Job’s Well, that's Job. I don't fully know what he was thinking as he said that. What about us? How can we hear these exact same words a little better than Job might have said them at the time? Basic conviction I have here, as I said a couple weeks ago, is we just know more than Job. We're further along, we have more information than Job had, much better, and so we've already seen in Hebrews 8:6 that we have better promises. God has given us through Christ, our mediator, better promise, better promises. Hebrews 8:6, "The ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises." So better promises lead what? To a better hope. We have that in Hebrew 7:19, "A better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." The word better in the book of Hebrews means better than the Old Testament folks had. That's what he means by better. Better ministry, better promises, better hope than Job had. John Calvin says this, “Job spoke these words from the time when there was not yet great doctrine, when possibly even the law (of Moses) was not yet written… So, then, having only a little spark of light, he was so strengthened in his afflictions… What excuse will there be today [for us Christians] when God declares the resurrection to us so exactly and so explicitly, and he gives us such beautiful promises of it? And even considered that we see the mirror and substance of it in our Lord Jesus Christ, that he was raised in order to show us that we must not doubt that we are at once partakers of his immortal glory?” In other words, we have so much more information and more glorious doctrine, we Christians should suffer better, we should do better. That's what he's saying. So we have a clear history of Christ's bodily resurrection recorded in the four gospels, plus we have clear promises that we ourselves shall be raised from the grave by Christ's voice. We have clear doctrine from Paul as to what our resurrection bodies will be like. We have better promises than Job did. We, therefore, should have a more vigorous, three-dimensional hope than he did, but Job's amazing words in particular can come alive for us. So what I like to do is just use them as a springboard from the Old Testament into some beautiful New Testament landing spots. Just a gateway, just going phrase by phrase and say, "Do you see what we have now?" Whatever Job meant when he said those words, what does it mean for us? So let's start with the beginning. "I know, I know." Well, our knowledge is better than his. Whatever it was the ground of his knowledge that his Redeemer lives, ours is better. Why? Because we have this, dear friends, we have the new Testament. We have the completed perfect word of God, and we have this account. You remember this? Luke 24:39, Jesus, to his own disciples in the upper room, after his crucifixion, after his resurrection from the dead, Jesus said this, "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." You can touch the resurrected body of Jesus by faith, not physically, but not having seen him, you can believe in him, and you can understand the physicality of his resurrection by this text. He also said this beautiful promise. He said, "I know that my Redeemer." What about us? What do we know? How about this? This promise, John 11:25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." That's a great promise. Don't you think that qualifies as a better promise? That is a sweet, detailed, better promise. We can take that to the grave. Job, at the end of Job 14, said, "Will hope and I go down to the grave?" This promise, John 11, will go with you down to the grave and beyond, but then he asked, "[Martha,] do you believe this?" Do you? Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that he will raise you from the dead? Do you believe, like 2 Corinthians 5:1, Paul uses knowing language? No. “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” He's talking about the resurrection body. “We know this,” that's what Paul says, and then Jesus said in John 5:28-29, "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out." You're going to hear the voice of Jesus and come out in a resurrection body. Then he says, "I know that my redeemer lives." Jesus is the perfect kinsman and the perfect redeemer. How is he kinsman? How is he kin to us? Hebrews 2:11 says of Jesus, "Both the one who makes men holy," that's Jesus, "and those who are made holy are," listen to this, "of the same family." We're kin, of the same family. "So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” He is our kinsman, and he's redeemer, 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed [from your sins,] the empty way of life handed down to you, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." Kinsman redeemer, that's what Jesus is, and I know that my redeemer lives, Jesus is alive. Do you know that? Do you know that he lives? He's been raised from the dead and he cannot die again. He's still alive. Romans 6:9-10, "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once and for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." Indestructible life, the author of Hebrews calls it, indestructible life. “I know that my redeemer lives, and [that at the last or] in the end, he's going to take his stand.” In the end of what? The end of all things. “I am the alpha and the omega,” said Jesus. “The first and last, the beginning and the end.” At the end, there is an end day. So the final drama, the second coming of Christ, the end of the age, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, "Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." That's the end, that's where we're going. Second coming of Christ, instantaneous change, in the flash, in the twinkling of an eye, and he will stand. He's going to take his stand with those resurrected, glorified feet. He's going to come back to earth and he's going to take his stand on the ground. You say, "Well, where?" I'll tell you where. The Mount of Olives. "Are you sure about that, pastor?" Well, I'm surer of other things in theology than that, but listen to the text, Zechariah 14:4, "On that day, his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem." Read Zechariah 14, context, we're talking about the second coming. So wouldn't it make perfect sense for the exact place where he took off and ascended and the clouds hid him from their sight that he would come back to the same place? He's going to take his stand. He's coming back to Earth, and he's going to stand on the earth, the Hebrew word could refer to dust, kind of refers to “dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” but Christ, our redeemer, will, on that final day, stand triumphant over the dust and raise us up. Daniel 12:2 says, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake; some to everlasting life." So we went back to dust, and he's going to raise us up from the dust. You think, "How could he do that?" He can do it, he's powerful. He's going to take his stand. "And even though my body is destroyed," old age will destroy your body, disease will destroy your body, then death will destroy your corpse; worms, bacteria will finish the corruption, but our resurrected bodies will so show Christ's powerful victory over the plagues of the grave. Hosea 13:14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death." Now listen to this. "Where, O death, are your plagues?" That's what Hosea says, "Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?" The plagues of death in the grave will have been conquered by resurrection, and he says, "Yet, in my flesh, I will see God." We believe in a bodily resurrection, just like Jesus. "Touch me and see, I'm not a ghost." He eats broiled fish. 1 Corinthians 15 says, "The body that sown is perishable, is raised imperishable; it's sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body." So you're going to get an imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual body. "In my flesh." In my flesh what? "I will see God." You're going to see God. Job didn't see God, he saw theophany. I know what the language says in the Old Testament, but John 1 says, "No man has ever seen God at any time." That waits for the resurrection, for the glorification, for resurrected eyes and minds and hearts that can handle a full view of the face of Almighty God. God said to Moses, "No one can see me and live." So it says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, "Now we see but a poor reflection as a mirror, then we shall see face to face." Also, 1 John 3:2, "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, [Why?] for we shall see him as he is." Then Revelations 22:3-4, "The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will serve him, and they will see his face." That's your future, if you're a child of God, you will see the face of God, and his name will be on your foreheads. So final statement, "How my heart yearns [or burns] within me." Remember the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and Jesus sat down and went through scriptures with them? I hope that it's been a little bit like that with you, that the spirit of Christ has been in me, unfolding scriptures, and when Jesus broke the bread and their eyes were open, they realized who he was, and he disappeared from them, they said, "Were not our hearts burning within us when he opened the scriptures to us?" What about you, dear friend? Is your heart yearning and burning within you for this? Do you know that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? Have you trusted in him? There is a day of salvation, and that day is now. We don't know how many more days you individually will have, how many more days you individually be alive. We don't know how many more days this history will continue, but today is the day of salvation. Would it not be sweet for your heart to yearn and burn within you, knowing that Christ is your redeemer, your kinsman redeemer, and that you are going to, in resurrection body, see the face of God? Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for the truth of the Word of God. It's infinitely deep, infinitely deep, beyond anything we can comprehend, and Lord, we know that in heaven, we'll have an eternity to be educated in your glory. We will be continually learning how glorious and how powerful you are, but Lord, give us as many foretastes now as you will. Help us to meditate on scripture, help us to put it into practice. Help us when we are going through afflictions and sorrows and trials and it hurts, and we don't know why you're not answering our prayers, we don't know why you're not bringing healing or bringing a resolution, we don't know, and it hurts, it's so hurtful. Help us not to question your justice or your love or your power or your wisdom. Help us to just draw close to you and to trust in you and to find solace in your infinite majesty. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Two Journeys Sermons
Our Heavenly Witness, Advocate, and Intercessor (Job Sermon 11) (Audio)

Two Journeys Sermons

Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2021


Pastor Andy Davis preaches a sermon on Job 15-17, where we can see the parallels between the things Job longed for and the fulfillment those longings ultimate found in the person of Christ and His work for us. - SERMON TRANSCRIPT - Well, turn in your Bibles. We're looking this morning at three chapters in the book of Job, Job 15-17. Before the foundation of the world, the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, planned our salvation. God planned that his children would be saved from their rebellion and their misery by the intervention of Jesus Christ, their Savior. This plan was in God's mind when God created the heavens and the earth. When God said, "Let there be light," this plan was also fully formed in God's mind. When Adam and Eve fell into sin and doomed their children to sorrow and suffering through the relentlessness of evil, even then, God knew that his chosen people in every generation and in every nation on earth would be saved through Jesus Christ. However, despite the fact that plan was fully formed in the mind of God, before anything was created, fully formed in the mind of God, down to the smallest detail, yet God revealed it only a little at a time over the centuries, through his holy prophets. Their limited knowledge of the coming Savior was dim and distant, as this light grew brighter and brighter across the centuries. Numbers 24:17, the prophet said, "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel." So dim and distant to the prophetic eye at that point. As the time drew nearer, the light grew clearer. The prophets were given bigger and bigger pieces of the mystery to write down and ponder. Now we don't know exactly when Job came in and where he fits into this unfolding story, don't know for sure. It seems to many scholars, he came in at a very early stage in all of this. His knowledge of the coming Savior and of the life and light he would bring was very limited. Paul speaks in Ephesians 3:9 of “this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God who created all things.” So this mystery is Christ, kept hidden in God for ages past. So Job went through his suffering, yearning for things that we now know much more clearly about by the open assertions of scripture that we have in the New Testament, in light of the past accomplishments and achievements of Jesus Christ, our Savior. For us they're past, and they're perfectly recorded in the pages of the New Testament, but Job didn't have any of that. And one of those things that we now know much, much more clearly than Job did is Jesus' role as our heavenly witness, our heavenly advocate, our heavenly intercessor, and our heavenly friend. Job didn't understand that. Job yearned for that, but he really didn't know him. Jesus came to fulfill those roles for all of us, for all eternity. And in the text we're going to look at today, as he says, “I know that I have that,” but his knowledge is limited and dim. We get to look now at Jesus as a perfect fulfillment of that yearning and how beautiful it is. Now, whenever individuals go to buy a high-quality diamond from a jeweler, often the jeweler will spread out a black velvet cloth and sprinkle out the various diamonds that are an option to buy. And the glitter, the blinding light (because the lighting is just right to make the diamond sparkle) just shines radiantly against the backdrop of that black cloth. And that's the way I think we should look at Job 15-17. There's a glittering diamond of a statement that we just heard read in Job 16:19-21, which talks about Jesus as our intercessor, advocate, and friend. But the rest of it is a lot of blackness. A lot of blackness. Now we should not think that God the Holy Spirit only means for us to look at the glittering diamonds. He wants us to understand the black cloth as well, because we're going to go through it. I don't know what it's going to be like, but we're going to go through our black times. And it's good for us to see how Job spoke in the midst of that blackness. But it's also good, isn't it, to see the glittering diamond of Christ in the midst of all of it. And I think that God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to let us get this education in evil that we sought at the tree through Adam. From the very beginning, we sought to know good and evil, and we're getting this education in evil, and it is the black backdrop against which the glittering diamonds of the grace of God through Christ will shine for all eternity. So we're going to walk through these three chapters, and I'm going to dive right into chapter 16, go back to 15, and then move on from there. I. When Will Windy Words End? And so I begin by standing alongside Job, as he said, "When will these windy words end?" Job at this point has become utterly disgusted with his friends. Look at Job 16:2-3. He says, "I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you, that you keep on arguing?" What an incredible statement. Miserable counselors or miserable comforters are you all. Their comfort, so to speak, their counsel to him is actually shredding him. It's not healing him. And he wonders when their long winded speeches will ever come to an end. Their words to him are wind. They are chaff. They're empty of truth and nourishment for his soul. And he chides them directly for their demeanor, for the simple reason that they have not suffered as he has, so they cannot possibly understand what he is going through. Look at 16:4. He said, "I could also speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you." And if the roles were reversed, he actually is saying, “I would do a much better job than you're doing. I would be a better friend and a counselor to you than you are being to me.” Verse five, 16:5, he says, "But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief." Now this is just one of the basic principles. Sometimes God brings us through specific patterns of misery so that we can bring comfort to others who go through that same misery later. This is openly taught in 2 Corinthians 1, that we can give to others the same comfort we ourselves have received from God. So Job is already in that place, saying, “if I were to go, I would be much more compassionate than you're being with me.” All right, well what brought all that on? Well, Eliphaz's second speech brought all that on, chapter 15. Remember this section of Job, this long middle section is made up of three cycles of dialogue between Job and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. All three have spoken once. Job has answered each of them. Now Eliphaz speaks for a second time, as recorded in chapter 15, Job 15. Remember the first time that Eliphaz spoke, his basic proposition was you reap what you sow. Job's grievous afflictions have come upon him from a just and energetic and active God, who is intervening and dealing with Job in his sin. Now Eliphaz has a second crack at Job. And what did Eliphaz say? Well, look back at chapter 15. Eliphaz said that Job's words are nothing but wind. Look at 15:2-3, "Would a wise man answer with empty notions or fill his belly with hot east wind? Would he argue with useless words, with speeches that have no value?" So this is in chapter 15 and 16, this is the dueling bickering between these two. “Your words are wind.” “No, no, your words are wind. They're empty.” Eliphaz basically rebukes Job, saying his sinfulness is prompting his speech. He says in verses 2-6, “It's ungodly to attack God. He's seeking to humble Job and lay him low.” Look at verse 7-10, chapter 15. "Are you the first man ever born? Were you brought forth before the hills? Do you listen in on God's council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? What do you know that we don't know? What insights do you have that we do not have? The gray-haired and the aged are on our side, men even older than your father." So basically, “Job, who do you think you are to talk like this?” Go to 15:14-16. Eliphaz says, "What is man, that he could be pure, or one born of woman that he could be righteous? If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less a man who is vile and corrupt, who drinks up evil like water!" So this is a recurring theme, and we will address it more fully, God willing, in a later sermon. But the idea of “How can a corrupt human being ever be righteous in the sight of God?” Eliphaz is saying that. And then Eliphaz traces out in great detail the doom that the godless can expect, the godless evildoer in verses 20-35. He traces all that out and implicitly applies it to Job. Job, the wicked man, who's getting what he truly deserves. Look at 20-25. He says, "All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless through all the years stored up for him. Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. He despairs of escaping the darkness; he's marked for the sword. He wanders about—food for vultures; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. Distress and anguish fill him with terror; they overwhelm him like a king poised to attack, because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty." He's saying this to Job, when many of these things have happened to Job, and says, “The reason why is you shake your fist at God. That's who you are.” Look down at 30-32, "He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God's mouth will carry him away. Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. Before his time he will be paid in full, and his branches will not flourish." This is the law of sowing and reaping. “You, Job, are clearly reaping what you have sown. You've sown evil, and now you're reaping judgment.” So Eliphaz, as you can see, is getting more aggressive, much more aggressive than he was in his first speech. He's calling Job a massive sinner, a wicked evildoer. And just as Eliphaz called Job's words wind, Job returns the favor and calls Eliphaz's words wind as well, empty of truth. II. Job’s Complaint Against God But then Job, in chapter 16, after having addressed his friends, again turns up to God. And that's the real issue—it's his complaint toward God in chapter 16:7-17. God has devastated Job's household. Look at verse seven, "Surely, oh God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household." All 10 children are dead. His wife has been, in some ways, just destroyed by this. His family life has been destroyed. God has assaulted Job's body through disease. Look at verse eight, "You have bound me—it has become my witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me." His friends couldn't recognize him when they came to see him. He didn't look like the same man. It’s what disease can do to somebody. And he says, "God has attacked him violently like an enemy." Verse nine, "God assails me and tears me in his anger. He gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent, my enemy fastens on me his piercing eyes." This is speaking of God here. Looks on God as an opponent. And it's not just vertical—it's horizontal. “People are being mean to me as well.” Verse 10, "Men open their mouths to jeer at me; they strike my cheek and scorn and unite together against me.” “God has assaulted me in wave upon wave." Remember how it was? Messenger would come. And while that one was still speaking, the next messenger would come. You remember, wave upon wave. That was all part one. And then part two came and the next wave, that was his disease. So he lost all of his material possessions, he lost all of his children. And then part two, he lost his health. Wave upon wave. Look at verses 12-14. "All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target; his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground. Again and again, he bursts upon me; he rushes at me like a warrior." This is Job speaking of God. Job says, "My body is repulsive." Verse 15 and 16, "I've sewed sackcloth over my skin and buried my brow in the dust. My face is red with weeping, deep shadows ring my eyes." And all of this, all of this has happened to an innocent man. Look at verse 17 and 18, "Yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure." Then he cries for vindication, verse 18, "O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest!" So this is the basic accusation he has toward God is injustice. It's the very first thing God's going to bring back to him when he speaks out of the whirlwind. So it comes again and again. “This is unjust. What is happening to me is unjust.” III. Job’s Bitter Lament: “Death Is My Only Hope” So in chapter 17, Job continues his bitter lament. So friends, I'm just tracing out the black velvet cloth against which this beautiful diamond is going to glitter, and it's very tough. It's difficult with his friends, horizontally. It's difficult vertically toward God. And he continues in chapter 17 with a bitter lament. “Death is my only hope.” None of these words are bringing Job any comfort at all. So he goes into a deep and bitter lament. Look at 17:1. He says, "My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me." Think about those words. “My spirit is broken. I'm completely shattered by what's happened to me.” And then again, in verse 11, "My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart." So Job has reached the point where he sees nothing good left in his future. Everything he has ever set his heart on in this world has been taken from him, violently ripped from him. Well, what else is there left to hope for? More camels and donkeys and sheep and oxen come back? They could just be taken away again. More children? We've already been through that. They could just be taken away again. “There's actually just nothing I want left in this world.” He has lost all taste for life. Now, his friends may try to give him hope by minimizing his trial. Look at verse 12, 17:12. He says, "These men turn night into day; in the face of darkness, they say ‘Light is near.’" Happy days are coming. But he says, “Honestly, the only hope I have left is the grave.” Look at 17:13-16. He says, "If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in darkness, if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me? Will it go down to the gates of death?" Meaning hope, “will hope go down with me? Will we go down hand in hand to the gates of death, hope and I?” “Will we descend together into the dust?” Can any of you give me any hope that will last from now until the day I die? We looked at this passage last time when we talked about Job's view of the grave. Remember? In 14:14, "If a man dies, will he live again?" And what did Job think about that? So this was some evidence that shows he has this very dark view of the grave. Doesn't think much beyond it. Whatever there is beyond it isn't bringing him much joy. He does not have, it seems here in this text, a developed hope in resurrection. For him, the grave is a place of darkness, of cessation of all sensory input, all pleasure and all pain become obsolete. And for Job, that's an improvement because he's in pain. At least it would mean an end to his suffering. But he says, “That's what I'm down to now. The only thing I have to hope for is to die and have the worms eat my corpse.” That's not much of a hope. “Can such a hope sustain me from now until the day I actually do die? Will such a hope hold my hand through all of my miseries, until I finally go down to the dark river and cross over into darkness? What kind of existence is really left for me here on earth? And I'm not really thinking about much beyond the grave.” All right, friends, that is the black velvet cloth. Very dark. It's very sad. It's very depressing. It's good to have these words. The Holy Spirit wants us to have these words because someday, you're going to go through sorrow and afflictions, and this is what it sounds like to go through it. IV. My Witness, Advocate, and Intercessor Is In Heaven But in the midst of all of that comes a beautiful, glittering, pure diamond. Look at verses 19-21 of chapter 16, "Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God on behalf of a man." He pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend. Again and again, Job, in this book, speaks words with prophetic insight that I believe he doesn't even fully understand himself, because he then lapses back immediately into black depression, discouragement, yearning for death. "Again and again, Job, in this book, speaks words with prophetic insight that I believe he doesn't even fully understand himself, because he then lapses back immediately into black depression, discouragement, yearning for death." So God the Spirit moved in Job to say some things that didn't bring him much comfort at the time, it seems, but bring us a lot of understanding concerning Christ, who Christ is for us now. And this is a very important principle of the inspiration authority of the Bible. It has to do with how we have our scriptures, how God the Holy Spirit moved in prophets to speak and then write words that they did not understand, get them down, so that future generations could read and understand who Christ is. This is openly taught in 1 Peter 1:10-12. Peter writes there in 1 Peter 1:10-12, "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things." Powerful words from Peter. What's he talking about? In simple words, the Old Testament prophets who lived before Jesus were moved by the Holy Spirit. Peter teaches that in 2 Peter 1:21, “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by Holy Spirit.” So the Old Testament prophets said things about Christ, his sufferings, and his glory that they didn't understand. And it was revealed to them at that time that they were not supposed to understand it. Clearest example of this is Daniel 12, where Daniel writes a whole bunch of visionary thing down and says to God, "I don't get it." And he's told to seal up the scroll because it's for a later generation. Plain in Daniel 12. And so it is here, I think. Job says some amazing things about Jesus he doesn't fully understand. But we, with the fuller teaching of the New Testament, we're able to look and say, “What a diamond of glory this is, that we have this kind of an intercessor and advocate and friend on high in Jesus.” That's what these beautiful words are all about. So this happens, I think, often in the book of Job. Job says things that will later be fulfilled in Christ, and he doesn't fully understand his own words. For example, earlier in chapter nine, you can turn there and look there if you'd like, or just listen, Job 9:33-34. There Job had said, and we went through it at the time, "If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand on us both, someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more." As a Christian, you read those words. Aren't those beautiful words about Jesus? Job is yearning for a mediator to stand between God and man, who will represent him, and that's what we have in Jesus. Isn't that beautiful? I Timothy 2:5-6 says, "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time." That's amazing. Notice that Paul says that Jesus' mediating role is a testimony that would be spoken at the proper time, in the fullness of time. At the right time, we will understand Jesus as our mediator. He is the God-Man, conceived in the virgin's womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, fully God, fully man. And he's able to be a mediator between God and man. He's able to speak on behalf of God to man. And he's able to speak perfectly on behalf of man to God. And so he's able to represent sinners like you and me and like Job. And he does it perfectly well. So in Romans 5:1, it says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." And also Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." So that is God's rod removed and his terror is frightening us no more. Fulfilled. Did Job understand that? No, he did not. But he receives the benefit of it because he's absent from the body, present with the Lord now. He's forever in heaven, based on the mediating work of Jesus. He was saved by Jesus, just like all the Old Testament saints were, but he didn't understand, not fully. And now here in our chapter today, we have this other example. So look at it again. Job 16:19-21. I'm thinking a recently engaged woman doesn't look at her diamond ring just once. Just thinking, what do you think? She looks at it a lot, and she shows it off to her friends, and she looks at it some more. So tell you what, let's look at this diamond a lot. You get to look at this when you go home today. You get to keep looking at it and looking at it and realize what you have in Jesus. Look at these words, "Even now, my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man, he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend." So let's extend this now beyond any comprehension Job could have had about this ministry of Jesus Christ. Now Job says, "Even now, I have this." So that might be just the sweet foretasting ministry of the spirit to give him enough comfort to get him through. He says, "I have this now. I've got someone." But he didn't fully understand Christ's activity on our behalf as we do now. Now what did Job want? He wanted a witness for him in heaven. He wanted someone to testify in heaven that the things that his friends were saying about him were just not true. That at the heavenly courtroom, at the heavenly trial, he'll be a witness on Job's behalf that he was actually, truly innocent of all these charges. Someone to present the truth, the evidence on his behalf, so he could be vindicated. He wanted an advocate on high, someone to speak on his behalf. He wanted an intercessor. He says someone who would plead for him with great passion, as he himself is weeping tears. Someone who would weep with him and care that much about his case. Who would actually care for him and his vindication as much as he did. Someone who could plead for him as a man pleads for his friend. Now I know verse 20 has different translations. Verse 20 either speaks more of the same that he says plainly in verse 21. “I want a friend, if only I could have a friend.” Or verse 20 may be speaking about his present earthly friends who are terrible. With friends like that, who needs enemies? Doesn't matter. The point ends up the same and even strengthened, no matter what you do with verse 20. And so the fact of the matter is he doesn't want friends like this. He wants someone who will be a real friend to him in heaven. That's what he's yearning for. So now we turn, with our hearts full, to understand the ministry of Jesus as our great high priest. V. Jesus Our Great High Priest And this we get again from the book of Hebrews. It's hard for me to even state how indispensable Hebrews is in the canon. The things that Hebrews tells us about Jesus are not so clearly told us anywhere else in the Bible. And we have taught us in the book of Hebrews that Jesus is our great high priest. It's clearly asserted, Hebrews 2:17. It says, "For this reason [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God." Think about those words, merciful and faithful high priest. "And that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." So Jesus is our great high priest. Again, Hebrews 4:14. It says, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess." And then again, Hebrews 5:5-6, “God said to him…‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’” So according to the book of Hebrews, what are Jesus' credentials as our great high priest? Well, first of all, he is perfect in holiness. He's perfect in holiness. He does not need to offer sacrifices for his own sins and then for the people. He never committed any sin. He's pure and holy. He also has an eternal, unchanging priesthood because those priests died, and when they died, the next priest would come along. But Jesus, having died, can never die again. And so he has an eternal, permanent priesthood. He will be our priest forever, a priest forever. And he has perfect access to God. He sits at the right hand of Almighty God over all the universe and can speak to the Father at any time. I'm going to develop all these a little more fully in a moment. And he offers a perfect sacrifice, his own blood. These aspects of his perfect ministry, as I said, we're going to walk through a little bit more in a moment, but I want to start and zero in with Jesus' perfect compassion. Perfect compassion. "But Jesus, having died, can never die again. And so he has an eternal, permanent priesthood. He will be our priest forever, a priest forever. And he has perfect access to God." Job wanted someone to plead for him as a man pleads for his friend. We could imagine an advocate who is detached, aloof, uncaring, professional, in it for the money, like a public defender with an overwhelming caseload, and you're one of his cases. Right? He barely knows your name. He barely knows your case. The only reason he cares about you is his track record of success in court, so he can get a better job. We could imagine a person like that. He has no vested interest in your vindication. Friends, Jesus is nothing like that. He is nothing like that. He has staked his life blood that every one of his sheep will be saved. Now in the Old Testament, the Aaronic priest would wear a breastplate over their heart. And on that were 12 stones with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel inscribed, one on each stone and set in a matrix at three by four. And it was over his heart as he ministered, the names of the people he was ministering for. We see an even more beautiful sense of that commitment. Your name's engraved in stone. Well, how much better than the image that we have in Isaiah 49:15-16? By the way, this is a beautiful Mother's Day verse, Isaiah 49:15-16. It says there, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." Now that's a step up, isn't it? The Aaronic priest had engraved this on this breastplate, the names of Israel on stones. Jesus says in a beautiful metaphor, "I've engraved your name in my hands." I think about John 20, his resurrection, he showed them his hands and his feet. But you think about that. “These wounds, I've engraved your name in my hands.” And I love that Mother's Day verse, so to speak, Isaiah 49:15-16, because Christ, God chooses mothers with their nursing infants as the pinnacle of compassionate, committed love on earth. Say, “is it even possible for her to forget her babies? But it is possible. There are some bad mothers who would. But even if she would forget, I am at a higher level.” The Lord is saying that. “I'm at a higher level even than a mother with her nursing infant.” That's his committed love for us. And so we have his compassion and his commitment to us. And Jesus is our friend. He is our compassionate, committed friend. He says in John 15:13-14, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. So I no longer call you slaves. I call you friends." Hebrews tells us of his perfect compassion to our weakness. Hebrews 4:15, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin." We see this in the gospel accounts, don't we? Jesus is again and again moved with compassion for people. It's the number one emotion that he displays in the gospel accounts. For example, in Mark 1:40-42, “A man with leprosy came and begged him on his knees. ‘If you were willing,’ he said, ‘you can make me clean.’ Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. “Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured.” Moved with compassion. Or again, in Mark 8:1-3, it says, "During those days another large crowd gathered. And since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 'I have compassion for these people; they've already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they'll collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.'" That's compassion. “I know their situation. I know what's going on in their stomachs. I want to feed them.” Or again, in Luke 7:12-13, "As he approached the town gate, [a place called Nain,] a dead person was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her. [And he went over to her] and said, 'Don't cry.'" That's Jesus. That's who he is. He poured out tears and blood for us. Job poured out tears for his own sorrows. Jesus pours out tears and blood for ours. That's who he is. That's his compassion. So Jesus is our witness in heaven. Now, how is Jesus our witness in heaven? Well, he's not going to do what Job wants done. He's not going to do that. He will not stand up in heaven at your heavenly court trial, if you could imagine that, and testify, “You are all innocent of all charges. You didn't do it.” He's not going to do that. He knows very well that you couldn't answer once in a thousand times what God would accuse you of. He knows very well. Well then, how is he our witness in heaven? He's going to witness that he knows you as his own sheep. He's going to claim you as his own by name. As it says in John 10:3, "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out." John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me." Or again, Isaiah 43:1, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." That's how he will witness. He will witness that he knows you. And he will witness that you are righteous through the imputed righteousness that was given you as a gift the moment you were born again, through faith. That's what he's going to witness to in heaven. So he will say of you, "He's one of mine, or she's one of my sheep." And he will know you by name. And he will advocate for you. He is your intercessor. It is very good for you to get Christian brothers and sisters to pray for you, whatever you're going through. That is a good thing, but just know this—you're already completely covered in prayer. We're told in the New Testament that both the second and the third persons of the Trinity are constantly interceding for you. You are covered in prayer. And so it says in Hebrews 7:24-25, “because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." So he's constantly alive and praying for each of us. He never stops. His energy in prayer is limitless. Have you ever gotten tired in prayer? “Pastor, when do I not get tired in prayer?” Jesus' energy is limitless in intercession. Says in Romans 8:34, "Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Now, where does he intercede? Well, I just said it a moment ago. Job said he wanted an advocate on high, somebody up there for him. This makes me think of this amazing verse, Isaiah 57:15, "But this is what the high and lofty One says—he who lives forever, and whose name is holy." This is God describing his living place. I live in a high and holy place. But also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit. So Jesus does his intercession in the highest place. Says in Hebrews 1:3, "After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven." Ephesians 1:20-21 says, "[God] raised [Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms," listen to this, "far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given." Infinite gap between Jesus and every other power and principality that there is. Again, Ephesians 4:10, "He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe." So Jesus just passes through the heavenly realms up above them all. He's above all created realms. He's above the heavens. That's how high it is. And so it says in Hebrew 7:26, "Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners," listen to these words, "exalted above the heavens." That's where he does his advocacy work, his intercession work. So he's in a perfect place to do his intercession. He also is at the right hand of God. He's at the right hand of God. So I had a conversation this very morning with someone dear to me, that I won't mention. All right, and she asked me, she said, "Wait a minute, James and John wanted to sit at Jesus' right or left. Isn't Jesus at the right hand of God, so he doesn't have…. Like one of those places is taken, maybe the left." So whatever. I said, "Look, don't do that calculation. We're talking about infinite dimensions up in heaven. So don't worry about the right hand, left hand thing, OK?" Some of you like, what are you even talking about, others know exactly what I'm talking about. But Jesus is at the right hand of God. He has access to the Father, intimate access. And to what basis does Jesus intercede for us sinners? On the merits of his own shed blood, shed once for all, for their sins. Hebrews 7:27, "He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself." He offered himself. Hebrews 10:19, "We have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus." I love the hymn, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy.” One of the stands as says this: "Lo, the incarnate God ascended, pleads the merits of his blood." Pleads the merits of his blood. "Venture on him, venture holy, let no other trust intrude." There's a lot of theology in that. So Jesus, the incarnate God, is ascended and pleading on your behalf the merits of his once for all blood sacrifice for you. Now, what does he pray for? What is Jesus praying for as he's constantly interceding for you? Well, limitless things, tiny details and big things—all of it pertaining to your final salvation. He's very active in this. You're underestimating all kinds of stuff. Jesus doesn't underestimate anything. Little things matter, big things matter. Everything is worthy of his intercessory prayer for you. He's filtering your temptation so that nothing will come on you more than you can bear. He is praying for protection. He's putting walls around you, hedges around you. He's doing all kinds of things. But I think the focus, most especially, has to do with what he said to Simon Peter when he predicted that Simon Peter would deny him. The night before Jesus was crucified, he said in Luke 22:31-32, "Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you," plural, "like wheat," all of you, "but I've prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." It's one of the most important statements you can ever find concerning the intercessory ministry of Jesus. He's praying for you, that your faith in Jesus will not fail. And if you're going to say, "But it won't, pastor. I'm reformed in my theology. I believe once saved, always saved." Are you going to keep saying that I don't need Jesus intercessory ministry for me at the right hand of God? You know you do. Your faith would fail in an instant if he stopped praying for you and the Father stopped sustaining your faith. If Satan could just have at you, you would deny him within minutes. He's that powerful. But it won't happen. And he's praying that your faith will not fail. And he's praying that you will not be lost, that none of us will be lost. John 17:11-12, "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world and I'm coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be won as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost." So that none of us would be lost. He also prays for the unconverted elect, who haven't come to faith yet, that they will believe in the gospel. John 17:20-21, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you." Now, how successful would you say Jesus' intercessory ministry is? What do you think his batting average is? Well, I'm telling you he bats a 1,000. Or in other terminology, he's 100% effective in his prayer. Everything he prays for, he gets. Everything. Why? Because the Father is delighted in him. "How successful would you say Jesus' intercessory ministry is? ... He's 100% effective in his prayer. Everything he prays for, he gets. Everything. Why? Because the Father is delighted in him." In Matthew 3:17, the Father said, "This is my Son whom I love, with him I am well pleased." The Father reveals to the Son every aspect of the Father's plan. The Son knows everything the Father knows about his plan. John 5:20, "The Father loves the Son and shows him all he does." The Son always does what pleases the Father. John 8:29, "He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." Now we know from 1 John 5, whenever we pray according to God's will, we get what we ask for, right? 1 John 5, "If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we ask of him." So Jesus only prays according to the will of the Father and is perfectly pleasing the Father and gets everything he asks for, all the time, on your behalf. So all of the sheep that have been converted will continue to believe in Jesus, despite the constant assault of the world, the flesh, and the devil on their faith. They're going to make it through. You're going to make it through. You're going to survive. You're still going to believe in Jesus on your deathbed. He's going to pray for you to that end. And all of the unconverted elect will come to faith. Missionaries are going to get there. Evangelists are going to get there. They're going to hear in time, and they're going to repent and believe. This is the nature of his prayer ministry. We are not going to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Do you see how beautiful this is? And so Job said in Job 16:19-21, "Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man, he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend." VI. Applications Applications. Just thank God you have Jesus as your intercessor. Thank God that you have him as your advocate. Thank God that he is witnessing on your behalf and he is your friend. Thank God for Christ's compassion for you. Praise God that you're where you're at in redemptive history, and you have all of these wonderful texts that support your faith and give you confidence concerning Jesus. And rely on Jesus as your great high priest. Rely on him. "Praise God that you're where you're at in redemptive history, and you have all of these wonderful texts that support your faith and give you confidence concerning Jesus. And rely on Jesus as your great high priest." You may be going through afflictions now. You may be fearful about what afflictions will come in the future. Don't be fearful. No matter what you're going through right now or what God in his wisdom may cause to bring into your lives, no matter what happens, your witness and advocate and intercessor and great high priest will pray you through that and get you through to the other side. And my only final question to you who are listening to me today is do you know him? Is Jesus Christ your Savior? Is he your Lord? Have you trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? And if not, I would just plead with you, cross over today. Cross over today from death to life. All you have to do is repent of your sins. Just acknowledge that you're a sinner. Don't think that Jesus is going to get up there and say, "Oh, he, she is perfect. They never did anything wrong." It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance. So repent and find in Jesus this intercessory ministry. Close with me in prayer. Lord, thank you for the time we've had to study these three chapters, how rich they are. Lord, it's hard to read. Some of it's hard. Some of it's dark and depressing. But Lord, we thank you, that you have given us light in the midst of darkness. You've given us radiant truth that we can look at and admire the glistening, sparkling beauty of Jesus as our advocate and our intercessor and our friend on high. And we thank you for the things we learned and pray that you would press them to our hearts. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.