Down but Not Out! - Job 1-2 - Skip Heitzig
Well, I want to welcome you personally to our weekend study in the Book of Job. And I know I'm connecting with many online, even though I can't see you, I'm glad you can see us. And we're here with the few people that we meet this state restrictions of how many people can gather, and so it's just like a little home Bible study when we first started in the Lakes apartments, and there were just a few of us. That's what it sort of feels like to me, like I'm going back to that kind of innocence where we first started.
But we know that you're connecting. And I am so thankful for this day and age that we live in to have this technology to be able to reach you. And I've heard from so many of you, here in our city and around the country and around the world, of how these times have blessed you, and God is ministering to you and through you as you are sheltering in grace. That's the name of the series that we're in in the Book of Job. And we're in chapter 1 and 2 this weekend.
Let me just begin by saying, I am not a huge boxing fan. I know that that's anathema to some people, especially some guys. I'm not really even a great sports guy. Maybe it sort of makes me less than a man because men are into sports and I'm really bad at that.
But boxing has never been huge to me, but I read an article that made me really interested. And it caught my attention about Mark DeLuca. Now Mark DeLuca is a professional boxer from Boston, Massachusetts, and before this past February, before just a couple of months ago, he had never been knocked down once. So he has had 25 professional fights, never once knocked down.
On February 8, he was knocked down by a world champion in the UK by the name of Ezekiel, or Kell Brook. And Kell Brook, I guess, has a mean left hook. That kind of rhymes doesn't it? The hook from Brook.
Well he delivered a left hook to Mark DeLuca's face, and he just fell down, he collapsed. He got back up on the count of four, you know there's a 10 count, count of four he got back up again, and he kept fighting. But he was knocked down again in the seventh round, and his opponent won the fight.
But the article went on to say that afterwards it made him even more determined to get back to the gym, to get back into the ring, and to get back at it. And I love that article because it reminded me of 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, verse 9, where the apostle Paul said, "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we do not give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going."
Down, but not out, that's the name of this message this weekend, down, but not out. And actually that article reminded me a little bit of Job because Job got beaten up pretty badly by life. He was knocked down. He lost everything. He lost his family, he lost his wealth, he lost his personal health, he even lost his shelter.
His home was destroyed, as we read. But he learns to shelter in grace. He learns to shelter in God's grace.
You know over the past few weeks our staff has made numerous phone calls to people in our own flock here, in the Albuquerque and New Mexico area. I've made personal calls, all of our pastors have. Our staff has reached out to people, and what we're discovering is just how resilient God's people are.
That, yes, it's tough. Yes, this is a massive inconvenience. Yes, we're very careful about what might happen. But at the same time, people are comforted in God, they're sheltering in God's grace, they're leaning into him, they're being ministered to through his word, they're thankful for the content that is provided, they're looking for ways to reach out and help others in the community. There's a real positive note that I've noticed among God's people that's been encouraging.
Now the Book of Job is built around two episodes of suffering that are mentioned in the first two chapters. There probably were more times, but these two are highlighted. And then the rest of the book is filled with lengthy discussions.
Most of the book, the bulk of it, is a series of debates between Job and his friends. I call them friends, but they were acquaintances. Maybe they started out as friends, but they started debating Job as to the nature of his suffering, and why would God allow this. What is God doing?
And let me just say right off the bat, it's never a good idea to debate with somebody who is suffering. That really isn't a good approach. Don't debate with them.
Now these guys who do come are great friends at first because they don't say anything. They sit there. In fact, they come from a long distance, and for seven days they say nothing, they just sit with Job. And I love that.
There's something we call the ministry of presence, just being there for somebody. If you've ever been in a hospital, and you've woken up and you look across the room to see a friend just sitting there, boy that means an awful lot to somebody who is going through a disease or being hospitalized. So they did that. They came, they sat, they sat for an entire week.
But then they blew it because they opened their mouth and they started talking. And what it became like, it became like the guy in the ring who gets the left hook and falls to the ground, and the fans are screaming at him negative things. They're not really helping him. They're not really encouraging him. They're just disappointed that the guy is down.
Let me give a word to the healthy, those who are not suffering. Your suffering may be right now an inconvenience with COVID-19, but if you're dealing with somebody who is physically suffering, physically disadvantaged, don't try to explain everything to them. Don't be the person who's there to answer all the why questions. That will come, but answering them now or debating with them or explaining, that never heals a broken heart.
I always say to people, walk softly around a broken heart. Just be there. Just listen to them. Put an arm around them, or you can't do that these days, but give them a verbal embrace and encourage them in the Lord.
Now in the first two chapters, which we're going to look at, we just had an introduction last time, we look at four stages to Job's episode of suffering. And these four stages help for us to answer some crucial questions. Questions like, how do I deal with loss? Do I just survive? Do I just make my way through it? Do I grin and bear it?
Or can I actually grow through it? In fact, can I worship in the midst of it? Now, if you know anything about this book, and I have a hunch that most of you have read it or at least you're familiar with the first couple of chapters in it, you know that it is the antithesis of the classic rags to riches story.
We love rags to riches story. We love hearing about people who grew up in a slum, they were disadvantaged, raised by a single mom, didn't make it to good schools, but then they become like a brain surgeon, or they become a university professor or something. Those are great stories.
What we don't like is what's presented here. It is not a rags to riches story. It's a riches to rags, it's the opposite direction. This guy loses it all.
Job's response is classic. Job's response reminds me of what CS Lewis said when he was asked why do the righteous suffer? He heard that question, why do the righteous suffer? And here's what he said, "Why not? They're the only ones who can take it."
I want you to see how Job takes it because really it is the quintessential example of how a believer should do that. So we have four stages, as I mentioned. The first stage is just the reality of his life. And we're introduced again to Job in chapter 1, verse 1, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. And that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil."
So the reality of Job's life is that he was blameless, but he was buffeted. But we take the first part, he was blameless, notice the description of him. He says he was blameless. The King James says perfect.
Now that doesn't mean sinlessly perfect, it just means morally innocent. He didn't lack anything in purity. He was a man of moral integrity. Then when it says he was upright, that means he's somebody who went straight ahead and didn't veer off the path. He didn't stray from the path that he was on.
He was moral, he was upright before God, and he never veered off that path. And then it amplifies it by saying he feared God and shunned evil. So the reason he was so upright and blameless is because of that fact, he feared God. And when you fear God, you're able to shun evil. One follows the other.
Now, this description of Job should end the notion that people have that godly people don't suffer. Because this guy was so godly that even God brags about him to the world's worst enemy, the devil. Twice, have you considered my servant, Job, God will say to him.
So this should just put to rest the whole idea that godly people don't suffering, or don't suffer. Or if I'm suffering as a Christian, it's because God is punishing me, and somehow I've sinned or I've fallen short. Or as some people say, if I only had enough faith, then I wouldn't be suffering this maledy or this disease. If I was a person of great faith, I would walk in perfect health.
What the Book of Job shows is there's not always a direct correlation, or a cause and effect relationship between suffering and righteousness. Because if there were, Job never would have suffered a day in his life because he was so blameless, so upright. So there's not always a direct cause and effect.
Sometimes the best people suffer the worst things. Sometimes the creeps of this world seem to get by with a lot. So he is blameless, that's the first part of the reality. But though he was blameless, he was also buffeted.
And that's really a word that's an understatement. I want you to see how he was buffeted. Beginning in verse 13 in the first chapter, it reads, "Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house. And a messenger came to Job and said, 'The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away. Indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.'
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them. And I alone have escaped to tell you.' While he was still speaking, another came and said, 'The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword. And I alone have escaped to tell you.'
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, 'Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.'" Several quick fire disasters fall upon Job in a short period of time. I could sum them up by 3 categories, terrorism, natural disaster, and disease. Or even might say international terrorism, I'll explain that, natural disaster, and then physical disease.
In the first couple of verses, it talks about the Sabeans and the Chaldeans coming. This is terrorism. Sabeans were a tribe from Arabia. Chaldeans were a nomadic tribe from Babylonia.
In the story of Job, the Sabeans first raided and depleted his wealth, that was in his livestock. Then the Chaldeans came and took the camels and killed his staff. That's terrorism.
Now there's always a question about terrorism because it's very prevalent in our society. Well before COVID-19, the world was and is suffering in different pockets around the globe, terrorism. It's become a concern in the last two decades more than ever before.
When September 11th happened, the big question, why would God allow terrorism? I heard that question asked to me personally. I worked the hole that is called ground zero in New York City right after the towers fell, for three weeks. I was at the morgue in New York with families who were discovering DNA remains of their relatives, and only to find out that their relatives were dead, turning to me and saying, why would God allow that kind of terrorist attack?
And now with COVID-19, people are even discussing the possibility of biological warfare. Wondering, was this a part of that, or could there be biological warfare like this in the future. Listen to this, according to the US State Department, in the past two decades, 21,000 deaths every year come from terrorism.
That is a reality of our present world. It was in Job's world, it is in this world. 21,000 people per annum, every year, killed by terrorism.
Second natural disaster, we read in our story that lightning falls from heaven, that's fire from God. It causes a fire, then a sudden wind comes to exacerbate things and bring destruction. Again, natural disaster is something the world has always had, and according to the World Health Organization, there are estimates that natural disasters kill 90, that's 9, 0, 90,000 people every year.
This is God's world. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Why? We've talked about that in previous studies here.
The third thing is disease. Now I take you to chapter 2 to see that because things go from bad to worse. And verse 7 of chapter 2, "Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head, and he--" Job, "took for himself a pot shard," it's the little piece of pottery, "with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of ashes."
That's his physical condition for the remainder of the book. He suffers this. He can't sleep because of it. He has convulsions. He has night terrors, the book goes on to say.
We don't exactly know what Job's physical condition was. We can guess. There are several physicians and commentators tried to guess. It's hard after the fact, aposteriore, to diagnose a patient's condition.
Some have said this is the early stages of leprosy, others say it's renal failure, others say it's a rare skin disease. Sort of the general consensus is it's a condition known as elephantiasis. You can go Google that, not now, but later on and find out what that is all about.
But here's the point, one moment Job, blameless, upright, godly, praise for his family, one moment Job is enjoying his life, eating falafel with his family, and maybe a shawarma sandwich. And then suddenly it's all taken away. It's all gone. That's how some people feel about the conditions of this world. Boy, just a few weeks ago we were all together having fun, and then this, and now the economy.
In verse 8, just notice that, walk away with that snapshot in your heart. He took for himself a pot shard with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Just picture Job.
The ashes is the city dump. It's outside the city, it's where dogs feed on whatever scraps are there. It's where dung is burned, it's where the city's garbage is taken. And now the city's leading citizen, Job, is living there with a little pot, broken pottery, scraping himself because he's itching from these sores.
Job is now a social outcast. Job is now in a rotting slum. He believes in God. What should he do? Well that takes us to the second stage after the reality of Job's life.
Let's look at the response of Job's heart. In chapter 1, verse 20, it says, "Then Job arose, tore his robe--" that's a Middle Eastern form of deep grief and disgust, to tear a robe, it's a response. "And shaved his head." Now we don't quite get that. But the idea is that I've lost my glory and I want to show that I have.
"And he fell to the ground." So he tears his robe, shaves his head, and he collapses. And I've seen people do this. I've seen people when delivered news like your son or your daughter has died, or your wife or husband has died. I've seen people physically collapse under the weight of this horrible news.
Which shows you that Job, is no super spiritual, detached, aloof, stoic. He is understandably shaken to the core, emotionally shaken. Now if the text stopped there, and it didn't, I didn't even finish the verse, but if the text just said he stood up, tore his clothes, shaved his head and collapsed. If it just stopped there and went on to the next verse, we would understand. But it doesn't stop there.
There's a description afterwards that takes our breath away, because it says, "and he worshipped." Yeah, he went through all of the grief, he tore his robe, he collapsed on the ground in grief, and then he worshipped. He worshipped, and he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
In all of this, Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. Is that really possible? I mean, come on, is it really possible when things get that bad, when you lose children and health and all of your wealth, and the stock market is crazy down at the bottom, and everything's negative, and everybody's worried about death, and life, and the economy recovering. Can people worship in the midst of that? Yes, they can.
And here's why, pain moves people. It always does. Pain moves people in one of two directions, closer to God or further from God. Pain, suffering, hardship, will either break your back or it will bend your knee.
Some people become bitter when they suffer. They turn inward, they get filled with self-pity, they complain, they are so resentful at life. I bet you know people like that. Hopefully you're not a person like that. But some become bitter.
Others, I wouldn't classify them as being bitter, I'd say others are battered. They bear it. They go through it, they weathered the storm, but that's about all.
You can see it. They're just beat up. They're just whethered. They're just tired. Fatalistic, nihilistic, they really see no purpose in this, it's all meaningless, like Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
So some become bitter, some become battered, but some become better. Now I'm not just saying that as a clever talking point, or a rally cry, come on, we can be better. I mean that really, they become better people.
I got a letter from a girl just the other day, an email. Her name is Jen. Beautiful little note, she said, "I grew up in Calvary and by your teachings. When I was 16, I gave my life to the Lord. However, when I turned 18 I rebelled."
I bet we can relate with that, or we have children that we can relate with. "For the majority of my adult life, I have lived how I wanted to live. But then this virus hit, and it was the wake up call that I needed. Four weeks ago I rededicated my life to the Lord. I have never experienced such peace in my heart."
This is in the midst of COVID-19. "I never experienced such peace in my heart. I am hungry, ravenous even, for the word. I know that the Holy Spirit is with me, and I praise him for my salvation." This pandemic moved Jen in the right direction. It moved her toward God. She became better.
And the truth is, sometimes the Lord will calm the storm. Most times he will calm his child in the storm. She is calm, she has peace even now.
Then I got another little note just the other day, maybe a day ago, from somebody in our worship team, plays here. They were here Wednesday night doing the keyboards. They have a nephew on a cruise ship that is quarantined off the coast of France on their way to Hamburg, Germany.
They happened to watch our Wednesday night service. And they watched, this nephew watched with several of the crew members who really, up to this point, weren't interested at all in things of God. But suddenly they are now.
They listened to the sermon, they listened to the message, then later they asked this man, this believer, to come and speak to them and to pray with them. And he says now they're hungry for the truth, and many of them responded to the gospel. They received the Lord.
So again, there it is. They're moving toward him. So listen, tragedy reveals the inner you. The real you comes out in the dark. When it gets really dark, we get a good look at who you really are.
I have a friend in California, dear friend, one of my dearest friends. He owns restaurants all throughout California and a few other states. And I was on the phone with him, and he said because of this virus, I may lose all my businesses. I might lose them all. But he said this, and he meant it, he goes, I came into this world with nothing, and I'm going to leave with salvation.
I love the way he framed it. It's like even better than what Job said. Job said I came naked, I'm leaving naked. He said, I came with nothing, and I'm going to leave with salvation, echoes the words of Job.
So this is Job's way, what he said here, this is Job's way of sheltering in grace. He's leaning into God. So the first step to sheltering in grace is to worship when you feel like worrying. When you feel like worrying, don't give into it. Yes, you can feel fear, it's normal to feel fear, just don't give in to fear.
So the first step to sheltering in grace is to worship when you feel like worrying. You came with nothing, you're going to leave with nothing. So in between the nothing you came into the world with, and the nothing you're leaving with, whatever you have now, in between those two points, thank Him for. If it's your health, thank Him for that. If it's your job, even if you lost your job but you still have your marriage, thank Him for that.
Begin to worship when you feel like worrying, that's the response of His heart. We can move on now to the third stage here, and that is the resentment of Job's wife. It gets worse as the story goes on.
Job, as we noted, comes down with this disease, whatever it might be. And then again in verse 8, he took a pot piece, and he's scraping himself with it in chapter 2. Chapter 2, verse 9, then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity?" You Mr. Upright, blameless, spiritual dude. "Curse God and die." Is her wonderful spousal advice.
But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" "And all this, Job did not sin with his lips." What is she saying? She's saying quit being so holy. Let God strike you dead.
She's basically saying it's better to die than to live in this condition. So if tipping the scale, if you're going to tip the scales by cursing God, do it. Because you'll be better off dead, than you are suffering like this being alive.
Now, I want to approach this by saying that Mrs. Job has suffered at the hand of many a Bible commentator and the mouth of many preachers. For example, Saint Augustine, as we like to call him, labeled her as Diaboli Adjutrix, meaning the devil's advocate. John Chrysostom said she was the devil's best scourge. Why did the devil leave him this wife? Because he thought her a good scourge by which to plague him more acutely than by any other means.
John Calvin called her organum satani, the embodiment of Satan. Cut her a little slack. OK. What she said wasn't right, but I wouldn't go that far. I think she deserves fairer treatment.
Listen, they weren't just Job's children. They were her kids. She lost 10 kids in one day. She just lost her husband's health. She lost her wealth, as well as him losing his wealth.
So she is acting very emotional. That would devastate anybody. This is her emotional reaction.
And I've been around suffering people. And I've been around people when you deliver the worst news possible. And they sometimes lash out, and say things that are unbecoming. And you let them do that. It's OK for them to do that.
So she's frustrated, and by the way, our brains are hard-wired this way. Our brains are hard-wired, all human brains, to give our emotions the upper hand. Every impulse we feel, whether it's sight or sound or touch, enters the brain at the base of the spinal cord. So that before it reaches the frontal cortex, the frontal lobe of the brain where we think rationally, it first passes through the limbic system, which is where our emotions are formed.
So all of that to say we are hard-wired to be emotional before we are logical. That's why when people feel pain, they react, and they'll say something or burst out in some way.
Now having said that, I don't want to completely let her off the hook because it's still bad advice. Cursing God on any day, is not a good day. That's just not good advice.
And unknown to her, this is exactly what Satan was hoping would happen. Remember he said to God, take away this from Job and he will curse you to your face. Take away his health and he will curse you to your face. That's what Satan said Job would do. Job did not do it, but his wife did it.
And when his wife said curse God and die, I'm sure at that point, Satan and all of his minions were going, yes, Job, listen to your wife on this one. That's exactly the bet that Satan had going with God. There's a principle I'm getting at, and here it is. Good people can give bad advice. Good people who are close to you, can give you bad advice.
And in a crisis, you're going to get well-meaning advice from many good people, and sometimes it's wrong. Sometimes it's not a divine viewpoint. And Satan can even work through people who are close to you.
I'll give you an example that you know of so well. When Jesus announced that he was going to the cross to suffer and die, Peter said, far be it from you, Lord, we're not going to let this happen to you. Jesus turned to him and said, get behind me, Satan. You're thinking like people think, not like God thinks. He rebuked him, like Job rebukes his wife.
Now when you're suffering, and you have somebody close to you give you bad advice, you and I are tempted to listen to them and take their advice, and the temptation is stronger because you love them. Right? I mean, Adam listened to Eve. Abraham listened to Sarah. Both times, bad advice. But there was a relationship there, and the temptation is strong to succumb to that temptation when it comes through somebody that is close to you.
Now I want to take just a moment before we move on and close this out, and say maybe I'm talking to somebody right now who is feeling like giving up. You've had enough, you've lost so much during this time, maybe even somebody you know and love who's been close to you. We all know people who've been affected by this. And you're feeling like giving up. You want to quit.
That's the easiest thing to do, but it's the worst thing you could do. I'm praying that God will give you grace to go through it, not around it. It's a valley of the shadow of death, you got to go through it to get to the other side. The best way out, is through. And you and I are going through this.
There is a history professor that said, if Columbus would have turned back, nobody would have blamed him. But nobody would have remembered him either. So if you want to be memorable, sometimes you have to be miserable, sorry about that. And you're going to look back on this time as a memorable time of God crafting something unique in you, as hopefully it moves you to him.
So those are three stages, so far. We've seen the reality of his life. This guy was blameless, but buffeted. The response of his heart in worship, the resentment of his wife.
Let's close this section out by giving the fourth stage, and that is the resolve of Job's will. We read it, but let's read it again. In chapter 2, verse 10, here's Job's response to his wife's advice when she said curse God and die. He said, you speak as one of the foolish women speaks. He rebuked her, and I'm sure this wasn't easy for Job to say to Mrs. Job, it was his wife. But it needed to be said.
And when he's saying you're foolish, it doesn't mean you're silly. The idea is like, the Bible says the fool has said in his heart, there is no God. You are reasoning without God. Dear woman, dear wife of mine, you're talking like a foolish woman, a person who doesn't consider God would reason. That's what it's meant by this.
"You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips." Hey, that's good theology, what he just said.
I mean think about that. Should we only say amen, yes, God give me just the good things that make me smile. I mean, God gives us so many good things, can't we from time to time, receive some bad things at the hand of God?
In fact, I'd even say, don't you think the contrast of having bad times make the good times all the more good? I mean, how do you know they're good unless you know what bad is? So if you have some bad from time to time, you go, well, I'm glad that's over. It feels really good.
I'll tell you what, when we get back to church, I'm going to be so happy. You know, and people who have been complaining about church, or I think some of you are going to be excited to get back together. Some of your kids were saying before this, do I have to go to church? Now they're saying, do I get to go to church? So God is using this in that way.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said something I've always loved, and you know I've always loved him. He said, I believe the hardest hearted, most unloving Christians in all the world, are those who have never had much trouble. And those who are the most sympathizing, loving, and Christ-like, are those who have had the most afflictions.
The worst thing that can happen to any of us is to have our path made too smooth. So great words, and I believe them. I believe that God gives us prescriptions of pain from time to time, personally or collectively, for that purpose.
This takes us now to our second principle to sheltering in grace. Remember we said the first one is worshipping when you feel like worrying. The second one is this, in a time of crisis, it's truth that will make you strong. It's truth that will make you strong. As Jesus said, it's truth that will set you free.
Sound theology, like Job had here, sound theology, the truth of scripture makes you stable and keeps you strong. Psalm 119, verse 92, David said, unless your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. A few versus later in verse 130, he said, the entrance of your word gives light. Helps me see, it gives me strength. It keeps me strong, makes me stable.
So we're still in COVID-19 territory. We're still dealing with this. But let me just admonish you. Instead of asking, how can I get out of this, I hope you're asking, what can I get out of this? I know we are as a staff.
We're talking about what God might be doing differently, and what we might be learning, and how to do ministry differently going forward. And we're learning from it. So to sum it up, Job was shaken, but not forsaken. Job was down, but not out. Job was hit, but Job got back up like Deluca did in that fight. He kept getting back up.
We've been talking a lot the last several weeks, both weekends and midweek, about suffering and about trials. It's been a constant theme. That's because when it comes to trials and suffering, you are either in one now, or you just came out of one, or you're about to go into one.
And I would say that whether there's COVID-19 or not. That's the way of life. You're either in a trial now, you're about to go in one, or you're just coming out of one.
Why is that? Why does that happen? Why does God allow all that? Because God is more interested in your character, than in your comfort. God is more interested in making you holy, than he is and making you happy.
Oh, he wants to make you happy. And I'll guarantee you, when you become holy, you will become happy. One follows the other. So God is at work.
Samuel Rutherford is one of my favorite old dead guys. It was in the 1600s-- I've even been to his grave in Scotland, I like the guy so much-- so he was a pastor of a little church in Anwoth, Scotland. Minister during difficult times, was even ousted and kept in exile. Quarantine, actually, but not for a virus, but for his faith.
And so after all that he suffered, and he wrote a book called The Letters of Samuel Rutherford, that's the book that I really loved to read. He had something really beautiful to say. He said, "Why should I tremble at the plow of my Lord that maketh deep furrows in my soul. He's no idle husband then, he purposes a crop." Does that make sense?
Well, why does God plow so hard and so deeply in my life. My soul has these deep furrows and ridges that God has put in there through pain and suffering. Why? Because God purposes a crop from that field. He's going to grow something good out of you and out of this. Maybe you don't even know the Lord personally.
Maybe like Jen, you've been kind of walking on the edge and doing your own thing and living your own life, but maybe God has gotten your attention through this. I hope he has. I hope he's grabbing you because I think God is speaking to this world, no, I think God is shouting at this world, screaming at this world.
And some people are waking up, and maybe that's you, and if it is you, I'm going to lead you in a simple prayer in just a few seconds. And if you pray this prayer by faith, and you mean this from your heart, God's going to listen to you. He's going to answer that prayer because you're going to ask him to come inside and change you, and he loves answering those prayers. He'll be all over that one.
And he'll change your life if you let him. If you come to Him, and you come to Him in faith, and tell him you're sorry for your sins, he'll come in and change you forever. So I'm going to lead you in a prayer. If you want that life change, or if you need to come back to him because you've strayed away like that letter we read earlier, or like those crew members aboard that quarantined ship just the other day who gave their lives to the Lord. You can do that. That can be you, no matter what part of the world you're seeing this from. Right where you're at, you can touch heaven by talking to God.
Say this, say, Lord, I admit I'm a sinner. Forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe Jesus died on a cross, that he shed his blood for me, but that he rose from the grave and is alive right now. I believe that. I turn from my sin. I turn from my past. I want to leave that behind. I turn to Jesus as my Savior, my master, I want to follow him as my Lord. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Give me your power, your strength, to be your follower. I ask it in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.
Now if you prayed that prayer, right now, I want you to text, if you have your mobile device, text the word "saved" S-A-V-E-D, to this telephone number 505-509-5433, or you can visit calverynm.church, and click on the little button that says no God. Click on that, and either way, whether you text saved, or you click on No God, somebody is going to respond to you, and send you materials and explain what it is to grow in faith. Congratulations, welcome to God's kingdom. But let's all stand. Even if you're at home, stand up with us, and let's worship together. [MUSIC PLAYING]