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When Sheltering Is a Problem
Job 9
Skip Heitzig

Job 9 (NKJV™)
1 Then Job answered and said:
2 "Truly I know it is so, But how can a man be righteous before God?
3 If one wished to contend with Him, He could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.
4 God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?
5 He removes the mountains, and they do not know When He overturns them in His anger;
6 He shakes the earth out of its place, And its pillars tremble;
7 He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars;
8 He alone spreads out the heavens, And treads on the waves of the sea;
9 He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south;
10 He does great things past finding out, Yes, wonders without number.
11 If He goes by me, I do not see Him; If He moves past, I do not perceive Him;
12 If He takes away, who can hinder Him? Who can say to Him, 'What are You doing?'
13 God will not withdraw His anger, The allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath Him.
14 "How then can I answer Him, And choose my words to reason with Him?
15 For though I were righteous, I could not answer Him; I would beg mercy of my Judge.
16 If I called and He answered me, I would not believe that He was listening to my voice.
17 For He crushes me with a tempest, And multiplies my wounds without cause.
18 He will not allow me to catch my breath, But fills me with bitterness.
19 If it is a matter of strength, indeed He is strong; And if of justice, who will appoint my day in court?
20 Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me; Though I were blameless, it would prove me perverse.
21 "I am blameless, yet I do not know myself; I despise my life.
22 It is all one thing; Therefore I say, 'He destroys the blameless and the wicked.'
23 If the scourge slays suddenly, He laughs at the plight of the innocent.
24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked. He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, who else could it be?
25 "Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good.
26 They pass by like swift ships, Like an eagle swooping on its prey.
27 If I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face and wear a smile,'
28 I am afraid of all my sufferings; I know that You will not hold me innocent.
29 If I am condemned, Why then do I labor in vain?
30 If I wash myself with snow water, And cleanse my hands with soap,
31 Yet You will plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes will abhor me.
32 "For He is not a man, as I am, That I may answer Him, And that we should go to court together.
33 Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both.
34 Let Him take His rod away from me, And do not let dread of Him terrify me.
35 Then I would speak and not fear Him, But it is not so with me.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Shelter in Grace

Staying cooped up in our homes has uncovered lots of underlying problems. Some are dealing with depression and their own identity, while others are struggling in their marriage relationships, having so much time with each other. As Job’s losses turned into prolonged suffering, he too struggled with deep issues, two of which we deal with today.

Millions of Americans have been ordered to shelter in place during this global health crisis. It's an aggressive measure to attempt to control the spread of an aggressive virus. When we shelter in place, we commit to confine ourselves to our homes, only leaving for essential errands like medical appointments and getting groceries. What if in our confinement we also commit to shelter in grace? In this series, Skip Heitzig searches Scripture for what it means to move beyond receiving God's grace to taking refuge in it. Learn to survive and thrive when life closes in.

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Outline

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  1. The Problem of Righteousness (vv. 1-8, 14-15)

    1. God Is Perfect

    2. I Am Imperfect

  2. The Problem of Remoteness (vv. 32-33)

    1. I’m Just a Man

    2. I Need a Mediator

  3. The Solution to Both

    1. To the Problem of Righteousness (Romans 3:21-23)

    2. To the Problem of Remoteness (1 Timothy 2:5)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap Notes: May 3, 2020
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "When Sheltering Is A Problem"
Text: Job 9

Path

Staying cooped up in our homes has uncovered lots of underlying problems. Some are dealing with depression and their own identity, while others are struggling in their marriage relationships, having so much time with each other. As Job's losses turned into prolonged suffering, he too struggled with deep issues, two of which Pastor Skip deals with in this message.
  1. The Problem of Righteousness (vv. 1-8, 14-15)
    1. God Is Perfect
    2. I Am Imperfect
  2. The Problem of Remoteness (vv. 32-33)
    1. I'm Just a Man
    2. I Need a Mediator
  3. The Solution to Both
    1. To the Problem of Righteousness (Romans 3:21-23)
    2. To the Problem of Remoteness (1 Timothy 2:5)
Points

The Problem of Righteousness (Job 9:1-8, 14-15)
  • Trusting God through all the ups and downs of life can be difficult, producing unanswered questions almost daily. Job asked over 330 questions regarding the pain of his losses despite his upright life.
  • Job's friends made sheltering in grace difficult, each using the same argument to condemn him: God blesses the righteous and afflicts the wicked; Job must be wicked because God afflicted him.
  • God called Job "blameless" (Job 1:8); Bildad called him an "evildoer" (Job 8:20). Job agreed that he wasn't perfect and addressed the issue (see Job 9:1-8, 14-15).
  • God Is Perfect
    • God is in a category by Himself—transcendent, unrivaled, and perfect.
  • I Am Imperfect
    • Humans tend to respond to God's perfection by trying three false solutions:
      • Being good: if our good deeds outweigh the bad, we go to heaven; but we "all have sinned and fall short" (Romans 3:23).
      • Being religious: we become self-righteous through rituals, legalism, and laws, found in most major world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.).
      • Being sincere: it doesn't matter what you do or believe if you are sincere.
The Problem of Remoteness (Job 9:32-33)
  • I'm Just a Man
    • Job understood the gap between God and people; there's a chasm too big to cross; Job recognized his need for someone to stand between him and God.
  • I Need a Mediator
    • Job wanted someone to be a "mediator between" himself and God (Job 9:33).
    • Job's friends accused him rather than representing him. The world is full of religious mediators, spiritual guides, and others who offer more harm than help.
The Solution to Both
  • Both problems Job referred to are answered through Jesus Christ. God deals with sinners graciously, bringing us together through His Son.
  • To the Problem of Righteousness (Romans 3:21-23)
    • The answer to the problem of righteousness isn't being good, religious, or sincere. It's being honest in acknowledging that you are a sinner, and requires a humble heart in receiving God's solution for your unrighteousness.
  • To the Problem of Remoteness (1 Timothy 2:5)
    • You must recognize your need for a middleman—a representative before God. Jesus is the perfect go-between. Job's answer is Jesus—when God became man and dwelt among us.
  • Every human's heart cries out for connection with God; the hole in every soul is too great to bridge without Jesus.
Practice

Connect Up: In theology, the unchanging perfection of God is called immutability. God's character is unchangeable, from holiness to love; since God is absolutely perfect, He cannot change for the better in any way. Norman Geisler said, "There are things God cannot do, namely, He cannot act contrary to His immutable nature." Use the following passages to understand God's immutability: Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 6:18, 13:8; James 1:17. What do these passages tell us about God's unchanging nature? How does God's immutability apply to Jesus as the second person of the Godhead?

Connect In: How can we be good friends to those who are suffering hardship during these times? Use the following verses to discuss who you can apply them to, and how: Job 2:11, 16:20-21; Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, 27:17; and Colossians 3:12-14 (consider Job's friend's ministry of presence).

Connect Out: It's been said the church should be a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. How would you explain Pastor Skip's final two points to a non-believer? How would you use the Bible to explain the following?
  • The problem of righteousness: Use the Romans Road to Salvation: Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-10, and 10:13.
  • The problem of remoteness: Using the verse Pastor Skip gave (1 Timothy 2:5), discuss the following: there is one God who gave Himself a ransom for all. How does Jesus' life, death, and resurrection provide the solution for our problem of separation from God?

Transcript

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When Sheltering Is a Problem - Job 9 - Skip Heitzig

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Now we're in the book of Job, and we are in chapter 9. I'm taking you to chapter 9. This is a series. We call it Shelter in Grace. And of course, I've taken the title from a phrase that everybody knows now, and that is to be sheltered in place. It's something that everyone has been asked to do, not just in our country, but it seems like around the world.

And it's something that people are having an increasing problem doing. It gets difficult. It's like OK the first week or two or three or four, even, but then it lingers on. It gets more difficult. I've been reading a lot of articles on this and I read an article in Psychology Today by an author named Robert Leahy.

And he was talking about the effect of a lockdown, what it does to the human being, the human psyche. And he said isolation and passivity are the perfect storm for getting depressed and staying depressed. Everybody recognizes this. This can't go on too long, not just because of the damage that it does physically, not just because of the damage it does economically, but the damage it does psychologically as well.

And of course, many sources are telling us that people are just violating the lockdown and just jumping ship and getting outside and hanging out with friends and getting together. They don't want to self-isolate anymore. People just want to get out. I just heard about in California, my home state, how the governor is shutting down the beaches in Orange County because in places like where I used to live, Huntington Beach, people are just flocking to the beach. They just want to get out.

Here's the bottom line, it's hard to shelter in place for a long time. I'm sure you're experiencing that. But not only is it hard to shelter in place for a long time, I think it's even harder to shelter in grace for a long period of

Time. What I mean by that is it's one thing to trust God, it's another thing to trust God for a lifetime, through the ups and downs, the thick and the thin. Times can be good, but times can be difficult. And so to remain in that place of trust and being sheltered in His grace is difficult.

I got an email this last week from a woman who was really thankful for the title of this series, Sheltered in Grace. And she was part of a Facebook group and she saw that little term, "sheltered in grace," and she wrote this. "The term thrilled me. I prefer that term because it's not imposed on me by the government. Shelter in place, of course, is."

And she said this, "I choose to willingly separate myself and hide in the grace of my loving, protective, comforting Father. My soul is sheltered in His grace. My heart is guarded by His love. My body is defended by His stripes." I read that just said, amen, sister. I love that.

She just emailed to thank me for the title, the term "sheltered in grace," because it provides a beautiful word picture. And of course, it provides a beautiful word picture for anybody who experiences great sorrow, great loss, and great pain. At a time of questioning, we need to be sheltered in God's grace.

There's one book in the Bible that asks a disproportionate number of questions from all other books, and that is the book of Job. We estimate that in the book of Job, there are over 330 questions asked in 42 chapters, 330 questions. You can compare that to the book of Genesis, which has only 160 questions, or the New Testament gospel of Matthew, which has about 180 questions. Or even the book of Psalms, with its 150 chapters, it only asks 160 questions. But Job asks around 330 questions.

Why is that. Why does Job have so many questions? And the answer lies in the subject matter. The theme of the book of Job is suffering. The theme of the book of Job is pain. That is the main subject. Not just pain, extreme pain. And not just extreme pain, but extreme pain in the life of an upright man, a good man, somebody that God calls blameless.

Job loses seven sons, three daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and his own physical health. He is a good, godly, righteous man and he suffers that. He loses his business. He gets a disease. His wife doesn't support him. And throughout the book, he loses the support and the respect of his friends.

Now, Job's initial response is great. We've covered that last time. It's beautiful. It's wonderful. When he discovers, in chapter 1, that he lost everything, including his family, he stood up, the Bible says, tore his robe, shaved his head, collapsed and hit the ground, and he worshipped.

He worshipped. And he said, the Lord gives, the Lord takes away. I came into the world naked. I am going out naked. Blessed be the name of the Lord. In all of this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. That's wonderful. That's amazing.

The very next chapter, he loses his health. His wife says, curse God and die. He rebukes her and says, look, shall we not accept adversity from the Lord, as well as good? Both of those are great answers. He's off to a good start. This is Job sheltering in grace.

But as we noted in the very first study, this thing isn't over in a week. This goes on for months. So at first, he shelters in God's grace, but he finds it difficult as time goes on, and as time goes on, Job struggles. Now, to add to the struggle he has three friends that come around him, and they sit around him for a week. And they don't say anything for a week, and then they start talking to him.

The three friends are introduced in chapter 2. Their names are Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. Those are his three buddies. Another guy comes later on, Elihu, a younger man, and he puts in his two cents' worth.

By the time we get to this chapter that we're dealing with, chapter 9, we are well into the dialogue between Job and his friends. It is the first round of discourses. It is the first episode of them talking back and forth and reasoning. And let me just sum up the reasoning of his friends by a simple argument. They all kind of agree on the same ideology, and I'll put it in a simple syllogism.

Number 1, God blesses the righteous and afflicts the wicked. Number 2, God has afflicted Job. Number 3, therefore Job must be wicked. That's how they think. That's how they all think. God blesses the righteous and he blasts the wicked. Job has been blasted. There's only one equals. There's only one bottom line, and that is Job must be a really bad guy. So they are making sheltering in grace for Job very, very difficult.

In chapter 9, we have a couple problems that Joe brings out. He's responding to his friends, and he touches on two problems. And we're going to look at both problems and a solution, the problem of righteousness, the problem of remoteness, and then the solution to both those problems.

But we begin in chapter 9 verse 1. "Then Job answered and said, truly I know it is so"-- I'll tell you what "it is so" means in just a moment --"but how can a man be righteous before God? If one wished to contend with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of 1,000. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?"

Now, Job is responding to an accusation brought to him by Eliphaz, one of these buddies of him, an accusation that Eliphaz makes against Job. He says, basically, Job, you are not as righteous as everybody thinks you are. So back in chapter 4 of the book of Job-- I'm reading out of Job, chapter 4 verse 7. This is Eliphaz speaking to Job.

He says, "remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. By the blast of God they perish. By the breath of His anger they are consumed."

Go down to verse 17 of chapter 4. "Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than His Maker?" In other words, Job, you're not righteous. Very opposite. You must be a very wicked guy to be sustaining all these blasts and blows from God.

So that is Eliphaz. Then another friend of his, named Bildad, also speaks in chapter 8. In chapter 8 verse 20. Bildad says, "Behold, God will not cast away the blameless, nor will he uphold evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughing and your lips with rejoicing."

So you can see and you can hear the implication of these two friends against Job. God says he is blameless. His friends call him evildoers. His friends are saying, you're not all that righteous. And so Job is responding. He says, truly I know it is so, but how can a man be righteous before God? Yes, I agree with you, Bildad. 100% Eliphaz, I'm with you, your track. I'm not righteous, but no one is when you compare yourself to God.

Now Job, he's fighting. He's struggling. I was given an article this week by my son just a few days ago. Great article in USA Today about a woman who is about 101 years old, almost 102, from Westchester, New York. You know New York has been really hit hard with the coronavirus. And she was born during the 1918 pandemic of the Spanish influenza.

She came down with coronavirus. So everybody talks about the last pandemic was 100 years ago. She was there. Then she lives now and she gets the coronavirus and she beats it. She survives it. She was in a nursing home. She was tested positive for COVID-19. She was rushed to the hospital. She was there for a few weeks. She had a fever, but on April 20th, she tested negative. It's a great story.

And the caregiver said, and I'm quoting, "She was a fighter and she actually pretty quickly rebounded. She's back to herself, knitting, and even going outside to get fresh air." So here's a woman who survives two pandemics because she's a fighter.

Job is also a fighter but on a different level. He's not like fighting for his breath. He's wrestling with something. First of all, he had to fight his own emotions when he lost everything and he got a disease. Then he had a fight with his wife, who counseled him to just to quit life and die. And now he's fighting with his friends in this dialogue through the remainder of the book.

But really, at the heart of his struggle is a struggle with God. He's really fighting about something he knows to be true about God, and that is God's perfection. He's struggling with that. Who could be righteous before God? Look down in verse 14 of this chapter.

"How then can I answer Him and choose my words to reason with Him? For though I were righteous, I could not answer Him. I would beg of mercy of my Judge." So here's what he's saying through all this. He's saying, I have a problem with God. God is perfect and nobody else is.

You say, well, why would He have a problem with that? Because it means God is in a category all by himself. No one can relate to that. No one can be in that category. So if God is perfect, how can imperfect humanity even have a conversation with Him, let alone have fellowship with Him, let alone be righteous before Him? You see his thinking.

So he's saying, hey, you guys, you're saying I'm unrighteous. I agree, we all are. But that aspect of God being perfect and totally righteous and me not doesn't attract me to Him, doesn't make me want to nuzzle in and get close to perfection. God is transcendent, God is unmatched, God is unrivaled.

Well, now what do I do? There's this huge mismatch. This is an ongoing problem throughout the Bible. The Bible kind of highlights this problem throughout. And it comes clearer in the New Testament when Paul sums it all up, quoting an Old Testament Scripture that sums it all up by saying, there is none righteous, no, not one.

And the psalmist even said in Psalm 130, Lord, if you should mark iniquities, oh Lord, who could stand? So nobody can be good enough. Nobody can be nice enough. Nobody can be well intentioned enough. And if God should deal with us on the basis of what we deserve, nobody could ever stand.

So how do we fix that? How do we fix that problem of God is totally righteous and I am not? How can a man be righteous before God? That's the problem of righteousness. How do you fix it?

Well, there's three ways, basically, people have tried to fix the problem of righteousness. Number 1, being good. Number 2, being religious. Number 3, being sincere. Allow me to explain those three, and you'll recognize them.

Some people say, well, just being good is all a person needs to do. If my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds, then I'm going to go to heaven. If there's a God and there's a heaven, then good people go to heaven, right? Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell. I'm a sheep because I'm doing really good things.

But the Bible does not say that. The revelation of God does not agree with that. Isaiah 64 declares all of our righteousness are like polluted garments or filthy rags. Ephesians chapter 2 says not by works, lest anyone should boast. When you get to heaven, if you get to heaven, and you see other people in heaven, they're not going to be bragging of how good they were to get there. Heaven would be boring if people got there by their good works. You'd have to put up with that for eternity. Let me tell you what I did to get here, be a bragimony, not a testimony.

Think of it this way. Let's say we're playing darts. Put up a dart board. And Matt, you go first. So you throw the dart at the dart board and you miss the bullseye by two inches. You're pretty good, but you're two inches off. Then Tiffany goes and she throws a dart, and she misses the bullseye by four inches. Then Steven's up and he misses the whole thing altogether. He didn't even hit the dart board.

OK, question, who hit the bullseye? No one. We've all fallen short of the mark. So God's bullseye is His perfection. God's bullseye is His glory. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Some get closer to hitting the mark than others, but nobody ever hits the bullseye of God's perfection. We've all fallen short. So being good, let's move that off the table because that ain't going to work.

Attempt number 2, by being religious. I'll keep rituals. I'll keep disciplines. I'll observe laws. I'll go on a pilgrimage to someplace. I'll keep a rigorous set of legalistic laws. I'll work hard at religious things, religious activities.

Many religions subscribe to this. In Hinduism, there is called the karma marga, or the way of works, that a person, if they do these religious duties, will make it to paradise. In Buddhism, one is taught that by right effort, by right meditation, by avoiding certain activities, one can, by these religious activities, make their way into heaven.

Islam has what they call the five pillars of the faith. Number 1, you confess that Allah is the only God. Number 2, you go through consistent prayers. Number 3, you have to keep Ramadan, this monthly feast once a year. Number 4, you have to keep the tithe, that is, you have to give a certain amount.

And number 5, you have to keep the Hajj, that is, a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in your lifetime. And get this, even if you do all of those things, the Muslim is uncertain as to whether he will go to heaven after he dies, because God is arbitrary. He is not absolute. They may make it, they may not.

Now some people try to do this with Christianity. They try to turn Christianity into a religion like that, self-effort, self-righteousness. People say, well, I keep the Ten Commandments, or I keep the Sermon on the Mount. By the way, that's a lie. Nobody does. Nobody even keeps the Ten Commandments. Because if you covet, if you want something-- you don't even have to do something. You just want something, that's not right. You're a sinner.

So we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Religion doesn't cut it. Remember, Jesus gave a parable in Luke chapter 18 to people who thought they were righteous before men. And he said, there were two people that went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, one was a tax collector. And it says the Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself.

And he said, God, I thank you that I'm not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like that tax collector over there. I tithe everything of what I possess. I fast twice a week. But the tax collector wouldn't even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. And Jesus said, that man went away justified, not the guy who did all the religious stuff. So let's move works by being good and by being religious off the table.

A third way that people say you can get to heaven-- I would say a majority of people-- by being sincere. Doesn't matter what you believe. Doesn't matter what you subscribe to. Doesn't matter what you don't believe, doesn't matter what you do as much as, are you sincere about it?

Are you finding your way? Is your heart in it? Are you being true to yourself? Well, you know the Bible says there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.

So we still have this lingering question we haven't answered yet, how can a man be righteous before God, the problem of righteousness that Job sees with glaring clarity, as well as his friends. Hold that thought. There's another problem brought up in this chapter, sort of the same issue but sort of a different level, a deeper level, and that's the problem of remoteness, the problem of remoteness.

So go down to verse 32, where Job continues and says about God, "For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us who may lay his hand on us both." He's saying, I need somebody who can bring me into His presence and help me with this problem.

Job understands there's a breach, that there is a problem of a chasm that is too big for him to breach. It's too big for him to cross. He's saying, God is so sovereign, God is so perfect. God, I think you could use a representative. I think you could use a middle man. I think you could use a go-between, a mediator between people and yourself. Listen to how the Living Bible puts verse 33, "There is no umpire between us, no middle man, no mediator to bring us together." Job is crying out for a mediator, a middle man, a go-between.

Now typically, in our culture, in our Western culture, a middle man is not a good thing. It's usually something you try to eliminate to save money. We have a system where you have a manufacturer, a retailer, and a customer. Now, if you could cut the retailer out of the picture and the customer could go directly to the manufacturer, you'd save a lot of money. It'd be good. Some people say they can do that for you, although they're the middleman that does that for you.

So the farmer makes butter and sells to farmer, or neighbor Bob, butter for $2 a pound. Farmer Bob sells it to the store for $3 a pound. The store sells it to the customer for $5 a pound. If you could cut out neighbor Bob, you could save $3 a pound, just by going directly to the farmer. So we want to cut out the middleman. The more levels of distribution, the more people get paid, the higher the price goes up.

So why is Job saying, I need a middleman? I need a go-between? Again, because of the chasm. God is so great. I am just the opposite. I am so small, so puny. God is so righteous, I am so unrighteous. I don't know how we're ever going to get together.

Notice in verse 33, he says, nor is there any mediator between us, in the middle of us, who may lay his hand on us both. That's what a mediator does. A mediator stands between two parties and, effectively, lays his hands on both parties to settle the differences and bring them together.

So for example, a lawyer stands in between a criminal and a judge, a defendant and a judge. The lawyer knows the legal system, knows the legal procedure, knows how the judge thinks, knows what the criminal's up against. He can lay his hand on both and maybe fix the problem.

Or a counselor is a middleman. A counselor stands between two married people. The husband and wife have grown to a place where they don't understand each other, they don't like each other, they can't communicate with each other. A skilled counselor can bring them together, can help interpret what he means and what she means to him and hopefully bring them together.

A translator is another example. You might have two different people groups with two different languages, two different sets of customs, two completely different cultures. But if this translator understands both, he can lay hands on both by coming up with a language they can both understand. A middleman can be a good thing.

I'll give you a personal example. I was in Iraq several years ago when Saddam Hussein was still running that country, and it was very, very, very domineering by him and his cabinet. I happened to meet with one man who is the Minister of Religious Affairs.

I was with a group, a small group, and he was with his group. But here you couldn't have more opposite people than an American evangelical English-speaking pastor and a Muslim cleric Arab-speaking Minister of Religious Affairs. How are you ever going to get us together? You need a middleman.

Fortunately, we had somebody who knew Arabic really well, knew Muslim culture, knew Middle Eastern thinking, himself was a pastor from Beirut, Lebanon, a friend of mine named Sami Dagher, and he brought the interpretation. And he brought us together so that when we left, the Minister of Religious Affairs said these words, and I'm quoting him, "before we used to think Christians hated us. Now we understand Christians love us." Couldn't have happened without a middleman, somebody to bring us together.

So Job is saying, God, you really need a rep. You need a middleman. You need a go-between. I wish I had one so we could relate. The fact that Job uses this word implies something about Job's friends. Remember his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. They are not helping. They are not representing him. They are, in fact, accusing him. So they're coming around saying, we're going to help you through this thing, and it made it worse for him.

And that's the same problem today. The world is filled with would-be mediators, who offer advice and offer enlightenment. You get a spiritual guide or somebody who will sell you a horoscope, or a medium who will read your palm, or a priest will say our church is the only true church, or a pastor who says, listen to only what I say and nobody else. And they offer all of these solutions but they don't deliver the goods, like Job's friends. That's why, toward the end, Job said, you're my comforters? Miserable comforters are you all. You're not helping one bit.

Now, what Job wanted the Old Testament could never provide. Remember I said that Job was probably one of the first books in the Bible, written during the patriarchal period? So you know how the Old Testament goes on from here. It develops a system of a mediator, so to speak, a priest, a priesthood, and prophets who would speak for God to the people, and a priest who would represent the people before God.

All of them, however, were imperfect themselves. Moses couldn't do it. Aaron couldn't do it. The high priests couldn't do it. None of the prophets could do it. They were all sinners. Sacrifices had to be made for them as well. None of them could be the bridge to bridge that gap.

So the prophet Isaiah lamented how bad it was in chapter 59, when he said, surely the arm of the Lord is not so short that He cannot save, nor is His ear too dull that He cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated you from your God and your sins have hidden His face from you.

So we've got two mega problems here. We have the problem of righteousness. God is righteous, we are not. We can't fix that on our own. And we have the problem of remoteness. God is in heaven. We are on Earth. God is transcendent. We are limited to time and space. How do we fix it?

The Bible does fix it. And now I want to offer you the solution to both. Both problems that Job verbalized are answered in the New Testament by our Great High Priest, by our great Jesus Christ, by the One who is the Mediator and by the One who brings us peace.

I'm not going to sit here and castigate Job for mouthing off and getting all in their grill about how bad he was feeling. I'm not going to castigate him for that. He was overwhelmed. But I am going to say to us, as New Testament believers, at this point, based on all that we know and all that we have and all who we are in Christ, there is no legitimate reason for us to become overwhelmed. There is none.

We can, and we should, shelter in grace. Why? Because Grace is how God deals with people now. Grace is how God deals with the sinner. Grace is how God brings us together, brings us together with Him.

So briefly, look at the first problem. How can I be right with God? How can a man be righteous before God? The answer is not being good or being religious or being sincere. The answer is by being honest. I am a sinner, I agree. I am unrighteous. And then by being humble and open and saying, I receive God's solution for my unrighteousness, which is his perfect Son only.

Listen to how Roman frames it. And so much of the New Testament does frame it and bring this up, but a couple verses in Romans chapter 3, verse 21 and 22. Here it is. "But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe, for there is no difference."

Jesus Christ will provide the righteousness you could never produce. What you could never produce he will freely provide. How can a man be righteous before God? Not by religion, not by sincerity, not by doing good, but by being humble and honest and saying, I need His help. I need His help.

You don't earn it, He declares it. It's your faith in Jesus that lets God declare you righteous. That's what justified means. He declares you righteous. He treats you as if you're righteous. I had a friend years ago told me his great story. And he said he knew of a man who bought a Rolls-Royce in England, had it shipped to the United States. Was driving his Rolls-Royce from across the country and it broke down.

And so he called the number that's in the dashboard and they sent a mechanic out to fix the Rolls-Royce. And then he went on his way and he never got a bill. So we wondered, well, how much do I owe? And so he finally made the call to the company and said, here's the date, I'm the person, this is what happened. And here was their answer. There is no record that anything ever went wrong with your Rolls-Royce.

See, they didn't want to admit there was even a problem there. In a sense, that's what God does with us. Oh, there's plenty that goes wrong with our lives. Trust me, I have plenty of things wrong. Job said, I am not righteous. But God doesn't have any record of your wrongs, because that's how good God is. He's the manufacturer who says, taken care of. Wiped away. That's the solution to the righteousness problem.

The second problem, I need a middle man, an umpire, a representative to bring me before God, is also found in Jesus Christ. For it says in 1 Timothy, chapter 2 verse 5, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." There it is. There is the middle man. There's the rep. There's the perfect representative.

Three times in the book of Hebrews Jesus is called the mediator of the new covenant, or the better covenant. So he's the go-between. He can lay His hand on God, He can lay His hand on us, and Jesus and Jesus alone can bring God and humanity together.

So there's Job crying out for a middle man, and God's answer to Job is the incarnation. You go, incarnation? What is that, some flower? No, that's a carnation. Incarnation is when God becomes man. Perfect God became a human being. As Paul said, He came in the likeness of mankind.

Now, when I grew up, I was not very good to ants. I'm just going to confess right now. I was a little boy who grew up. If I saw ants, it's like, I'm just going to step on them. I don't like them. I don't like how they bite. I don't like what they do, how they feel. I'm just going to step on them. And I would even-- I don't know if you guys ever did-- I'm looking at you boys now. You got a magnifying glass? Did you do that? You did? You're confessing it right now. You sinner. [LAUGHS]

So I did that, too. I'd take a magnifying glass and burn ants. You girls ever do that? You did? Wow. Who-- with your brother. Takes her brother to do it. So I never treated them well. And as an adult, I don't treat them well. I mean, I don't go step on them now, but I do get Raid and spray them, if I see them, because I don't like them around my house.

But let's say you come to my house, and you're kind-hearted toward all God's creatures and you don't want to have ants dead anywhere. So you come and you see me get the Raid can out because I'm going to spray them. And you go to the ants and you start yelling at them, run ants. Flee. Get away now. The big guy with the can's coming.

Well, you were well-meaning, but it's not going to really do any good. The only hope you would have is if you could become an ant, get on their level, and warn them. And if you could warn them and save them, you would be the perfect ant savior. You would be the mediator between Skip and ants. It would work. Jesus left heaven as God and became a man so that He could touch humanity in a body of flesh, but yet be perfect God, touching God the Father and humanity and bring us together.

Now, the heart cry of every human being is, how can I connect with God? Because you see, there's a hole in every soul. Every human soul has an empty spot in it. Here's the problem, we can't fix it. The gap is too great. The chasm is too wide. We can't build a bridge to God on our own.

But Jesus is that bridge. He is that middle man. If you let Him, if you trust Him, He will bring you and God together and bring you a peace that God wants you to have, even in the middle of this pandemic-- even with the possibility of losing finances, income, salary, health, friends, all of that, which are temporary anyway, by the way-- and give you something lasting and permanent and so hopeful, fill your heart with hope for the future. Your life can change.

And could it be that God is trying to get your attention and he's brought you to this at-home church service, this streaming church service this weekend? You need a relationship with God. You can't by being good enough, by being religious enough, by being sincere enough.

What you can't do, He can provide. What you can't produce, He will provide, if you let Him. But you got to ask Him. You have to say, I'm unrighteous. I want Him to be my righteousness. I can't get to God. Jesus, would you be my middle man and bring God and I together? And he'll do it.

He's done it by the cross. At the cross, Jesus, with his arms outstretched, so to speak, with one hand He could reach us, with one hand He could reach the Father. And He could bring us together when He said, it's done. It's finished. If you don't know Him personally, you can. You can say a simple prayer.

I'm going to invite you to do that. I'm going to lead you in that prayer. But it's an act of faith. It's reaching out to God in faith. It's just simply being honest, being real, and asking God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself, and that is save you. If you're willing to humble yourself, like a child and receive a child with simple faith, he'll save you. He'll change you. You'll see. You'll see.

So if you want to do that, would you just bow your heart with me? You don't even have to bow your head. Just bow inside. Bow your heart. Humble yourself and say, I admit it, Lord. I'm a sinner. I know it. I've fallen short. My darts haven't even come close. I'm sorry for my sin.

I believe in Jesus. I believe He came from heaven to earth, that He lived the perfect life that I could never live, that He died on the cross for me, and that He rose again from the dead. I turn from my sin. I repent. I turn to you, Jesus, as my Savior, as my Lord. Help me. I want to follow you. Show me what that means. Is in Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen.

You know, I believe that some of you-- in fact, I believe many of you felt that need and you prayed that prayer. And if you did, I want to say welcome to the family of God, because you're saved. The Bible says that simple act of faith, you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

So if that happened to you, if you prayed that simple prayer, made that step of faith, then I want you to text the word "saved," S-A-V-E-D, to this phone number, 505-509-5433. Text "saved" to 505-509-5433. Or if you're on a computer, just visit the website. That is calvarynm.church/knowgod.

Either way, we're going to connect with you. We're going to give you materials. We want to reach out to you, talk to you. We want to walk with you into the future into the kingdom of God. God bless you.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Additional Messages in this Series

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Date Title   Watch Listen Notes Share Save Buy
4/19/2020
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The Need for a Strong Shelter
Job 1
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Since it seems that the present pandemic the world is facing will require more time to sort out and more patience on our part, I want to begin a new series called Shelter in Grace. Even the strongest, bravest, and most spiritual among us need God’s sheltering presence in the days ahead. I am praying that as life’s circumstances close in around us, God’s grace will open up for us new ways to grow and new joys to experience. Let’s consider someone in Scripture who discovered the need for a strong shelter in crisis: Job.
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4/26/2020
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Down but Not Out!
Job 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Ouch! We all learn to say that word pretty early on in life, and we say it all the way through until the very end. Life hurts. Our life span is marked by life sorrows. But our response is what is central to the outcome. When life delivers a knockdown punch, it doesn’t need to become a knockout! Let’s see how Job got back up to shelter in grace.
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5/17/2020
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The Ultimate Shelter
Job 19:23-27
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Job was impressive at the beginning of his trials. He immediately sheltered in grace by worshiping God and trusting His wisdom (see Job 1:20-22). But the sheer physical pain, emotional turmoil, and outside criticism wore him down, moving him out of his shelter. Now there is a sudden change in Job’s tone and outlook as he looks to the future to his ultimate shelter.
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5/24/2020
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Discovering God; Discovering Myself
Job 42:1-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
It’s appropriate that we conclude our series Shelter in Grace as our world is beginning to open up again from the effects of the coronavirus. Today we come to the conclusion of the book of Job where he finally meets up with his God and makes three powerful discoveries followed by one essential decision. His armchair-philosopher friends are silenced as God reveals Himself to Job. What he discovers about God and himself is humbling and insightful. Likewise, let’s also determine to be different after this lockdown.
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There are 4 additional messages in this series.
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