Job 1-42 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight JOB01
The Bible From 30,000 Feet, Soaring Through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Please turn in one of the most depressing books in the world, the Book of Job. You'll notice that Job has 42 chapters. And actually, that's sort of tongue in cheek.
It would be the most depressing book in the Bible if you've just read the first part and not the last part. You get to the last part, and you see how things change and what God brings Job through. It's vastly different.
I love what I do. I love pastoring a church. I love pastoring this church. And I love walking with people through the full spectrum of life's experiences from birth all the way to death. I love when I dedicate babies, and then they grow up, and they bring their babies to be dedicated. And that cycle continues.
I love watching them as they grow up. Some I get to watch as they date. Some I get to marry after they date and then work through their problems in life and marriage-- some of them.
Others deal with-- maybe even the same ones-- deal with disease, pressure at work, relational malfunction, and even death. So I have the privilege of seeing people when they are born, when they are born again, when they've suffered through life, and then when they die and go to heaven. I consider it a holy honor and a holy privilege.
But with that comes the ability to see a lot of suffering, which I do. Every pastor does. Sometimes we'll do four funerals a week at this church. So there's a lot of suffering and a lot of sorrow with that.
People that we know and love that are the picture of health get diseases and suffer through them. Some get out the other end OK, healed. Others die. Eventually, all die.
So far, it's been one to one. Every one person dies. And sometimes people ask me, how can you see all of that pain and all of that suffering and still be a pastor?
My answer is, I don't think I could see all that pain and suffering unless I was a pastor. It's because of what I know and whom I know that carries me and them through those periods. But there are a lot of questions about life. Everybody has them.
And there is one book in the Bible that I would say has a disproportionate amount of questions. And it is the Book of Job. There are 330 questions in the Book of Job, 330 of them-- question, after question, after question in 42 chapters of this book. If you were to compare that to the book of Genesis, Genesis has 160 questions, the Gospel of Matthew 150 questions, the Book of Psalms-- the longest book in terms of chapters-- 150 chapters-- has only 160 questions. Job has 330 questions.
Now, it's easy to understand why. Because the main theme of the Book of Job is human suffering, loss, tragedy, pain. And with those things naturally come the question why and several others with it.
The story of Job, if you're familiar with it-- and by the way, I had a roommate that was not familiar with it. He refused to read the book. He was unemployed at the time. And he goes, I refuse to read the Book of Job, because I don't have one.
I said, David, it's about a person named Job. It's not about having or not having employment. It's not a job book. It's Job.
The name Job may not have been his real name. It may have been, but it may not have been. The name Job means hated or persecuted. It could have been a nickname given by those friends of his that show up after the first couple of chapters. They could have nicknamed him that after seeing what he went through.
But Job is-- it's like the opposite of a rags-to-riches story. We all love those story, how a guy started hard times, poverty stricken, but he worked hard, or she worked hard. And they went from rags to great wealth, great riches. We love stories of success.
This is the exact opposite. This is from riches to rags done behind the scenes to Job. And Job has no idea why. In fact, we're not even told why in the story.
Job was a righteous man. That makes it harder for us. If he was wicked, we'd read it and go, good, he's getting what he deserves.
But we read about Job, and we are unnerved by what we read. We're bothered by it. Because he's a good guy, a righteous man.
Somebody asked C.S. Lewis, the great scholar, why do the righteous suffer? His answer-- why not? They're the only ones who can take it.
Job takes an awful lot. Job, we discover as we read-- and I'm giving an overview. Obviously, we won't be able to look at all 42 chapters. A lot of them, I'm going to really breeze over.
Job had seven sons. He had three daughters. He had 7,000 sheep, 300 camels. He had 500 yoke of oxen and 500 donkeys-- wealthy guy, had a lot going for him.
But then we read when we get to chapter 2 verse 8 that he ends up like this. He took for himself a pot shard, a little piece of broken pottery, with which he scraped himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. And then his wife said, do you still hold to your integrity curse God and die? A man who had so much going for him to hear this in that condition is a man who has seen the bottom drop out of his life.
Now, the Book of Job should put an end to the false idea, the inaccurate notion that righteous people don't suffer. Again, I'm underscoring the fact that Job was a righteous man. God brags about him as a righteous man-- blameless, upright. And yet, he suffered greatly.
And yet, for some unknown reason, except that they don't read their Bibles, there are some churches, some pastors, some preachers, some doctrines that teach, if you are righteous, you won't suffer. You won't have pain. You won't get diseases.
And when those faith teachers get diseases, they hide it. And their press agents tried to hide it from the public. But like everybody else, they often die of diseases, as well.
Job was a righteous man. No one deserved suffering less than Job. And I would say few people have suffered more than Job.
We don't actually know who wrote the book. I'm not going to get much into that. I covered that in my book, 30,000 Feet. But we don't even know when it was read, except I believe it was written, as most conservative biblical scholars believe-- it was written during the patriarchal period. In fact, it may well be the oldest book in the Bible next to Genesis, or written around the same time, or the events happening concurrently with the patriarchal age of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And I say that for a few reasons. Reason number one, Job's wealth is measured in terms of the number of animals he possessed like Abraham was-- not in talents or measurements of coinage but the size of his flocks. Number two, there is no reference whatsoever in the Book of Job to the law of Moses. We can infer it didn't exist at the time.
There is no reference in the Book of Job to the history of Israel or the Israelites. Reason number-- I've lost track-- four is some of the place names we have found in archaeological records that date back from the time of the patriarchs. And number five, the name of God most frequently used in the book is El Shaddai, the almighty God, frequently used during the patriarchal age.
Oh, there's the sixth reason. Should I just throw it out? Job lived to 140 years of age like the patriarchs who lived to a hefty age before the age started getting down to a more normal-as-we-know-it age after the flood.
Well, as I mentioned, there's 42 chapters. But let me give you the genre of literature. It begins with prologue and ends with epilogue.
Do you know what that means? There's a beginning and an ending. There's an introduction. That's the prologue. And there's a suitable little ending. That's the epilogue.
In between prologue and epilogue is dialogue and monologue. You know what those are. Dialogue is two people talking back and forth or a few people having a conversation. A monologue is a speech.
So we have prologue, dialogue, monologue, epilogue. Those are the genres. That's how it is laid out. But that's not a good way to outline the Book of Job.
So I've outlined the Book of Job in four sections. But those aren't the sections. Section number 1, physical melody, physical melody. Chapters 1 and 2 record the trials of Job, the physical suffering of Job. That's number 1.
Number 2, spiritual reality-- that's also chapters 1 and 2. Behind the Earthly scene in the heavenly realms is a spiritual reality happening at the same time Job experiences physical suffering on Earth. Job has no clue that it's happening. But there is a spiritual reality that interfaces over the physical malady. Do you follow?
The third section is mental agony. And that's from chapter 3 on to chapter 37, the tortured talk between friends of Job and Job himself as he suffers more and more. And then finally, number 4, eventual victory-- God steps in as his own monologue with Job and his buddies. And the book will end.
We're going to begin at the beginning with physical malady. And I'll spend more time at the beginning than the end or in the middle. You'll see why.
There was a man, verse 1, chapter 1, in the land of Uz-- it's an old name for Northern Arabia or Southern Edom-- what we would say today is the southernmost part of Jordan. If you have ever traveled to that region, you know that desolation. There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. And that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and shunned evil.
And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Now, when it says he was blameless, it means he was morally innocent. He wasn't perfect. But he was morally upright. He was a man of integrity, a man who could be trusted.
Also, verse 3, his possessions were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and a very large household so that this man was the greatest of all the people in the East. The word greatest, the Hebrew word, means heaviest or the largest. Now, that is not a description of his physique. He was not physically obese. It just means he was reputable.
He was heavy, man. We used to say in the '60s, that dude's heavy. We're not speaking necessarily that he's obese. We just mean he's awesome. In this case, he's reputable, great.
Job is an historical character. He's a real person. This is not just a story or a fairy tale. He is mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel right up there with Noah and the prophet, Daniel. The book of James also mentions him as a real person who struggled and got victory through his trials, a man of spiritual endurance. He's used as an example in the Book of James.
Verse 6-- "There was a day when the sons of God, the bene elohim, came to present themselves before the Lord"-- sons of God meaning the spiritual rankings of angelic beings. When we answered the question at our last session, we mentioned what the bene elohim were. That's a term for the angelic beings.
"The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord. And Satan also came among them." Now, just watch what we get revealed here. It shows us just by this sentence that Satan has an accountability to God.
He's not running rampant, running free. He's presenting himself and has to give an account of himself before God. "And the Lord said to Satan, from where do you come? So Satan answered the Lord and said, from going to and fro on the Earth and from walking back and forth on it."
Now, that little phrase is also revelatory. We learn about Satan. What do we learn?
Well, we learn he is not omnipresent. He's not everywhere at one time. It's not like, well, the devil's following me, and the devil's after me-- probably not accurate.
You're really of no concern to him. His demons may be after you. He may have his minions dispatched to follow you and overturn your faith. But I would just say he's got bigger fish to fry.
Make sense? There is a demon world. But it's not like Satan takes personal interest in you. He's not everywhere at one time. He's confined to a place.
But he has a network of demons-- don't have time to really flesh that out much. But good news. He's not omnipresent. He's not omniscient. He doesn't know everything. And he is accountable before God. Also, he has to operate under permission, as you'll see.
"Then the Lord said to Satan, have you considered my servant Job that there is unlike him on the Earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? So Satan answered the Lord and said, does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have bless the work of his hands. And his possessions have increased in the land."
Now, you and I right now have information Job didn't have. Job didn't know that Satan and God were having a conversation about him. We know about it. But he didn't. He was completely in the dark about this.
But now, verse 11-- "Stretch out your hand, and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." Basically, Satan is accusing Job of being a mercenary. Job only follows you, God, because you bless him. Who wouldn't follow you with what you've given to him? Anybody would mind their Ps and Qs, and obey God, and obey his laws, and be upright if he got all that cattle, and all that livestock, and all that plot of land, and family.
He has impure motives. Take them away, his possessions. And I'll show you. He'll curse you to your face.
"The Lord said to Satan, behold. All that he has is in your power. Only, do not lay a hand on his person. So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord."
At this point, four rapid-fire disasters occur in Job's life. And they take out, they destroy, they eradicate his livestock, his servants, and all 10 of his children. It's impossible to imagine the overwhelming nature of that.
Any of us-- our plate would be full with the loss of one-- something we would never recover from. All 10 are gone. Four servants survive to tell Job, to inform him of what he has lost.
In the second chapter, as we're going to see-- we're going to touch on that-- he gets physically stricken. And let me just give you a composite of several verses that will display his eventual condition. Chapter 2, verses 7 and 8 shows that he is inflamed by lesions. And with the lesions itching.
It says, "Painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a pot shard with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes." I had just read that verse to you.
In chapter 7, verse 5, it seems to indicate there are maggots in the ulcerations of his skin. It says that "My body is clothed with worms and scabs. The skin is broken and festering."
In chapter 30, he describes osteopathy, pain in his bones. He says, "The night pierces my bones. My gnawing pain never rests."
In chapter 30, verse 30, there is the darkening of his skin and a sloughing off of his skin. "My skin grows black. It peels. My body burns with fever."
Chapter 7, verse 14 seems to describe night terrors when Job says, "You frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions." So get the picture. Job-- safe, comfortable, rich, a fat cat, trusting God, loving God, honoring God, perfect, upright. Suddenly, tragedy strikes. He loses everything and everyone except his wife to comfort him.
Some of you are laughing, because you know of this story. And I just read that one verse to you. What unnerves us is this. If Job is vulnerable, then surely I am. And you would be right.
None of us has any guarantees that because we commit our life to Christ that we're going to have a hedge of immunity our entire life. Oh, there will be seasons of blessing. And yes, God does preserve life. But you don't have a walking, ongoing guarantee of perfect health, of awesome wealth, of no problems, of God just carrying you if you're in the center of his will. Our relationship with God does not guarantee an easy life.
Verse 20-- "Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell to the ground, and worshipped." Now, notice his grief. He tore his robe, shaved his head, fell to the ground. That's expected.
You expect that. When somebody does that after all this happens, you don't go, I can't believe he did that. No, I can believe he did that. That kind of grief is to be expected.
Job was not some stoic, hyper-spiritual, praise the Lord, hallelujah kind of a guy. He lived in reality. He was grieved. There is such a thing as good grief.
And a person who doesn't grieve at a funeral or a loss is holding it inside. And it will wreck that person. Because it eventually will come out in unhealthy behavior
Job is grieved. This is expected-- tears his robe, shaves his head, falls to the ground. But then what comes next is unexpected-- and worshipped.
And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb. Naked I shall return. The Lord gave. The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
That shows you that grief and worship can commingle. You can be going through total loss and still mix that with worship. In all this-- verse 22-- Job did not send nor charge God with wrong.
Pain does something for us. And here's what it does. Pain quickly removes the veneer of who we are.
You know what I mean by veneer? Veneer is just a very, very thin coating of whatever. And pain removes the veneer, and gets down to the core of who you are, and reveals who you really are. Pain reveals who you really are.
Pain moves us in different directions, it seems-- either toward God or from God. Anybody can say, the Lord gives. The Lord takes. I think another level to say, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Now, Job does that. He doesn't sin. He praises God. He goes, praise God. Bless the Lord.
The Lord has blessed me and given. And because it's from Him, the Lord has decided to take it away-- incredible statement of mature faith. Sometimes God will calm the storm around you. But other times, he'll calm you in the midst of the storm.
The storm still rages. It doesn't stop. But you're peaceful. You're calm.
Now, again, Job knows what has happened. He doesn't know why or how. So that moves us to the second phase that is spiritual reality.
So far, Job really is the main character on Earth-- certainly, he is. But the camera once again pans backstage. And we get a behind-the-scenes conversation.
Chapter 2, verse 1-- "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord. And Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, from where do you come? So Satan answered the Lord and said, from going to and fro in the Earth and from walking back and forth on it."
I wonder how many of you still have the naive idea that Satan is in hell. Newsflash, he ain't. To put it in proper English, he ain't there.
He will be there one day. That's his eventual consignment. But until then, he's roaming around the Earth going to and fro, it says, on it. This is why-- 2 Corinthians 4-- he has called the God of this world.
You may ask, what is he up to? Short answer-- he's a people watcher. You ever get nervous when people are watching you? You're in a restaurant. And it's like, gosh, they've been, like, looking to me for there for, like, 10 minutes, just staring at my-- it's weird, isn't it?
You've got somebody studying you. You go, why would Satan watch people? He and his demons are studying weak points, vulnerabilities, best way to attack, strategy. The Lord said to Satan-- now watch this. Here it is again-- "Have you considered my servant, Job?"
The way it's worded would be better translated, you've been considering my servant, Job, haven't you? And the word considered is a military term of a general who would study a city before he would attack it. You've been watching. You've been studying. You've been looking, strategizing.
"That there is none like him on the Earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil. And he still holds fast to his integrity, although you have incited me against him to destroy him without cause." Think how Peter felt the day Jesus said, Simon, Satan has been asking about you.
What would you think if somebody said, Antonio, Tamera, Satan has been asking about you? You'd go, oh. Well, what did he ask? And what did you tell him?
Satan has been asking for you, Peter. He wants to sift you like wheat. Now, Satan does only operate by permission. He can only go so far, whatever God allows him to do.
Why God allows this to happen, and we're not told-- but if you remember in the gospels, the demons wanted to enter the pigs, because of the demon possessed man was the temporary house of those demons. They asked Jesus to cast him out to go into the pigs. And Jesus permitted them to do so.
But they only operate by permission. What that means is Satan has a leash. Though, I've often wondered why it is so long of a leash, why God allows him to have such reign.
But whatever the Lord allows Satan to incite against you, whatever God allows for his purpose to strengthen you to do whatever, he has his eye on you. And he has his hand on the thermostat. He's not going to let you become a crispy critter. He's watching you in the fire.
But he's not going to walk away and go, oh, I forgot. He's still in the oven. Psst. Paul says, he won't allow you to be tempted above what you're able to endure. So verse 4-- we got to move along. So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has, he will give for his life."
That's the law of human preservation. I think Satan was an astute observer of human nature. I believe this is true. People will do almost anything to preserve life-- fight or flight mechanism. Skin for skin, all that a man has he will give for his life.
"But stretch out your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh. And he will surely curse you to your face. And the Lord said to Satan, behold, he is in your hand. But spare his life."
Verse 7 and verse 8 talk about the boils that he had. And he sat in the midst of the ashes and scraped himself. Verse 9-- "Then his wife said to him"-- what an encouragement she turns out to be-- "do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die." Thank you, sweetheart. God bless you, too.
What 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?" You'd do well to study that verse. Meditate on that. In all of this, Job did not sin with his lips.
So here's the deal. We look at the world, but we only see part of it. We don't see what's happening in the really real world, behind the scenes, in the spiritual realm, in the realm of God, and the Angels, and the demons. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, Paul said, but principalities, powers, workers, the darkness of this age.
Remember when Daniel was praying, and an angel was dispatched to him to give him a revelation? He said, as soon as you started praying, I was dispatched from God. But the prince of Persia-- I had to fight with him-- the spirit prince of Persia-- for 21 days.
Finally, Michael had to come and bail me out. Now I got to tell you what God wants me to tell you. And I got to go back and fight the prince of Persia.
That's a spirit entity. That's an angelic force. And here is an angel fighting a demon who has great powers so that he needs the help of an arc angel to win the battle. If the prince of Persia was that bad, I wonder what the prince of Las Vegas might be like or the spirit prince of San Francisco. Or we could name any place.
So after a physical melody and spiritual reality, the bulk of the book is the mental agony that comes to Job when he wrestles with this-- not knowing why it has happened. But his friends come along to offer advice. You're not alone when you suffer. People are watching you. You're on stage.
Chapter 2, verse 11-- "When Job's three friends"-- you may want to put quotes around that-- "heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, for they made an appointment together to come and mourn with him and comfort him." Oh, that's beautiful. I want to mourn with you. I want to comfort you. That's good, and that's noble.
And it was awesome until they opened their mouth. Verse 13, "They sat on the ground for seven days. No one spoke a word to him." They should have left after that. They should have just been with him.
Don't try to persuade, or argue, or preach at people in suffering. Just be with them. Just hug them. Offer a word of encouragement from time to time. But let them lead.
Chapter 3 through 26 begins the dialogue between Job and his friends, his buddies. There are three cycles of speeches by these three men. I'm just giving you a summation.
The first cycle of speeches is chapters 4 through 14. All three of them give their speeches. The second cycle is chapters 15 through 21. And the third cycle in this dialogue is chapters 22 through 26.
We are going to dip down and notice a couple of things. Chapter 3 verse 1 says, "After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job spoke and said, may the day perish in which I was born. And the night in which it was said, a male child is conceived."
You know what that's called? Honesty. It's called venting. You know what venting is.
Sometimes my wife will just talk to me. And she said to me the other day, thanks for letting me vent. Sometimes a person just needs to vent.
And Job is venting. After all the loss, he's just rar. He's pouring it out. He's venting.
He said, I wish I was never born. So Eliphaz the Temanite starts in and basically says, "Job, the bottom line is you're a sinner. That's the good news. And the bad news is God is punishing you for it."
Chapter 4, verse 7-- "Remember now, whoever perished being innocent. Or where the upright ever cut off? Even as I have seen those who plow iniquity"-- that's sin-- "and so trouble reap the same." That's the best Eliphaz could come up with.
Chapter 6, verse 1 is Job's rebuttal to the speech given by Eliphaz. Job answered and said, "Oh, that my grief were fully weighed and my calamity laid with it on the scales, for then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea." In other words, what I'm feeling is far weightier and far worse than what you're hearing or seeing.
Therefore, my words have been rash. In chapter 6 and 7, Job responds to Eliphaz. After that, Bildad the Shuhite comes and offers his advice. He is even more insensitive than Eliphaz.
Bildad basically says, Job, you're a hypocrite. And the reason your kids died is because they were sinners. How'd you like to hear that as a parent losing a child? They sinned, and God punish them.
I won't read it. I don't have the time. He responds-- Job's retort, chapter 10, verse 1. "My soul loathes my life. I hate life. I will give free course to my complaint. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
I will say to God, do not condemn me. Show me why you contend with me." And he says to God, "Does it seem good to you that you should oppress, that you should despise the work of your hands and smile on the council of the wicked?"
In chapter 11, Zophar, who's just been standing around saying nothing-- Zophar, so good.
Now Zophar, so bad chimes in and says, repent in chapter 11, versus 13 and 14. His message is, look, you just need to turn around and go God's direction. You're going the wrong way. You need to repent.
Now, when you have this kind of stuff happening to your life, with friends like this, who needs enemies? They are Monday morning quarterbacking Job's suffering. Day no nothing, like Job knows nothing, of why this has happened.
In chapter 13, verse 13, Job-- his response is, "Hold your peace with me. Let me speak. Then let come on me what may."
Here's a high point. He does have high points-- verse 15. "Though he slay me, yet I will trust Him." You'd do well to meditate on that verse.
Though it kills me, I'm still going to trust in the Lord all the way to death, even if I lose it all, even if it costs my life. Though he slay me, yet I will trust.
"Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation, for a hypocrite could not come before Him." Look it, he's lost everyone and everything except his wife.
He's thinking, might as well have lost her. I don't know if it was a blessing to hold onto her. But I have her. But I basically lost everything and every one. But I still have God. And I'm going to hold on to him.
Mother Teresa once said, you'll never know if Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you've got. If everything goes except Him, that'll be the test. I hope none of you ever get to that point in a test.
Eliphaz's second speech is in chapter 15. Basically, he says, Job, you're a fool. Now Job has had enough.
Chapter 16 verse 1-- "Job answered and said, I've heard many such things. Miserable comforters are you all." Amen. You could call yourselves counselors. "Shall words of wind have an end"-- you big windbags-- "or what provokes you that you answer." You see, Job's friends have reduced his suffering down to clever little laws and formulas.
If you did this, then this would happen. If you wouldn't have done that, then that wouldn't have happened. It's all a formula.
I'll never forget a couple who came to our church years ago. And they came because they left a church that was a "faith church," a health, wealth church. And the reason they left is because they had a little girl taken to the hospital who was sick.
The parents prayed. They had faith that God was going to heal the little girl. They brought the elders in. They prayed. And the baby died in the hospital in the emergency room.
The elders of the church then said to the parents, today your daughter would be alive if you had enough faith. That's being punched in the gut after being laid completely low. And they just thought, we feel so guilty. We didn't know what to do.
I said, first of all, it has nothing to do with your faith. And they got back to spiritual health. They got back on their feet again.
But this is what Job's friends are like to him. Cardinal rule, walk softly around a broken heart. Walk softly around a broken heart.
Don't say, I know how you feel. Even if you've also lost somebody-- not a good thing to say. I'm sorry.
Weep with them-- but not, I know how you feel. It's going to be OK. They're in heaven.
Those things are not helpful. Listen patiently. Be unshockable.
Here's the rule. Be a walking ICU. They see you coming-- oh, I'm glad you're here.
Well, Job wrestles with this. He has great flashes of insight from time to time. His defense to Bildad-- chapter 19, verse 23-- the dialogues continue, chapter 19, verse 23. "Job says, oh, that my words were written,"-- little did he know-- "oh, that they were inscribed in a book,"-- here we are reading it-- "that they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and led forever, permanence. For I know"-- boy, there's a lot you don't know when you're suffering. But watch what he does know-- "I know that my Redeemer lives."
This is before the gospels. This is patriarchal, folks. This is before psalms, and Daniel, and any prophetic utterance of the coming messiah. Here's this sufferer who gets this incredible flash of insight.
"I know that my Redeemer"-- of course, it could be translated defender, lawyer. But watch what he says about his Redeemer, defender, lawyer-- "I know that my Redeemer lives. And He shall stand at last on the Earth. And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that, in my flesh, I shall see God,"-- that deserves a sermon right there. And I've done one on it, so I won't do another one-- "whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold and not another how my heart yearns within me."
This is Christ in the Book of Job. If you want to know where the gospel is, you're reading it. Job pierces visually behind the grave. And he sees into the future. And he expresses a hope in immortality.
How? He knows he's going to die. He believes he's going to die. But he also believes, after he dies, he's going to live again and see God, see his Redeemer.
How is that possible? There's only one answer to that, Resurrection. Here is Job, perhaps the oldest figure or one of the oldest figures in biblical history, saying, I'll tell you what I know. I know that, when I die, there's going to be a physical Resurrection and that I'm going to be able to see God-- incredible statement of faith.
Chapter 23, Job's reply to Eliphaz's third speech-- remember they're giving these cycles of speeches, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. There's retorts back to them, 1, 2, and then retort back. Job is now responding to Eliphaz's third part of his dialogue, verse 1.
"Job answered and said, even today, my complaint is bitter. My hand is listless because of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him"-- capital H, God. Oh, that I knew where I might find God-- ever prayed that? Where's God in this?
I prayed. I've sought. I've worshipped. It feels empty, dry. I hear nothing. Where's God?
"Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat. I would present my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments"-- verse 8. "Look, I go forward, but he's not there, backward, but I can't perceive Him. When he works on the left, I cannot behold Him. When he turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him."
What truths are Job bringing out here? Simple-- God is not apparent all the time. You know what I mean by that? God is not apparent. You don't always see him. You don't always hear him. You don't always feel him. He's not apparent when you go into a situation.
But he's always aware. He's not apparent, but he's always aware. Because notice what he says after. "I look for Him. I can't find Him"-- verse 10-- "But He knows the way that I take. And when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold"-- amazing insight, again.
I don't know where God is. I don't know what God's up to. But God knows where I am. And God knows what I'm up to.
Can you live with that? I hope you can. There's great comfort in that. I don't know what God's up to.
I don't know where He is. He knows where I'm at. And He knows what I'm up to.
This is Job's view of sovereignty. Job's view of sovereignty is this. What is hidden to us is not hidden to God. What is hidden to you, what you can't see, or hear, or know right now-- God is not in the dark about those things.
If you hold on to that, if you can grasp this, I believe this will change your episodes of pain, and suffering, and sorrow. You're going to have more. You may be in one right now. But this will revolutionize your pain.
What's hidden from me is not hidden from God. Horatio Spafford-- you know the story-- a lawyer in Chicago, lost his family out at sea. He was going to meet them in Europe. They took a boat over.
The boat sunk. All of them were killed. He lost everything like Job.
He took an ocean liner, the story goes. And when the boat went over in the ocean where this ship previously had gone down, the captain said, this is where that ship went down. This is where your wife and children are below.
It was on the deck of that ship that he wrote the words that we have sung before. "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot now has taught me to say, it as well. It is well with my soul."
This is hidden from me. It is not hidden from Him. He knows the way that I take.
Well, in all of that, Satan is finally silenced. And I love it, because God proves to Satan through the life of Job-- I would say, Job proves to Satan in that-- that God can be worshipped apart from his blessings and his gifts. Whether God blesses you outwardly, whether God gives you gifts-- it's not like, well, if God didn't bless me, I'm not going to praise him. Your faith is worthless.
God can be worshipped apart from his gifts and apart from his blessings. Job left with nothing from this ordeal so far except with God. And he has already stated, I'm going to follow God no matter what.
Though he slay me, I will trust. I'm going to follow God when God strokes me with blessings. I'm going to follow God when he strikes me with pain.
Chapters 27 through 42 are monologues, three of them, one by Job, then Elihu, which is a character we haven't looked at yet-- I'm just going to mention him. I'm not going to really read him-- and then God. Chapters 27 to 31 is the first monologue. Job speaks-- five chapters. Job in his poetic fashion talks about his past, his past life experiences, and his present calamity, his pain and sorrow.
Chapters 32 through 37 are six chapters spoken by a young man by the name of Elihu or Elli-hu, depending on how you'd like to say it, depending on what part of the country you're from. This young man, of all of the four friends, is the most unique, because there is some semblance of wisdom. He gets angry at the three friends for bloviating against Job-- not too happy with Job himself.
Because he's saying, Job, look, I know you're suffering, but you served yourself above God. So this young man-- younger in years-- but points Job upward and basically says, look up. Trust God. Look to the heavens. Look to God.
So after physical malady, and spiritual reality, and mental agony, let's close with ultimate victory, chapters 38 through 42. Now God has a monologue. Now God is going to speak.
He ends the debate. And He restores Job. Chapter 38, verse 1-- let's just get the beginning of it.
"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, who is this who darkens council by words without knowledge?" All of these opinions of people who know absolutely nothing at all-- sounds so much like the media.
"Who is this who darkens council by words without knowledge?" They cloud the truth with ignorant words.
Verse 3-- "Now, he says to Job, prepare yourself like a man. I will question you. And you will answer me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth? Tell me if you have understanding."
Now, what God does here-- don't get too hard on God. I know Job is suffering, been through a lot, had to listen to his friends. But God's word is God's word. It's true whether you're feeling good or not. So God silenced him and basically gives him a science quiz in the next couple of chapters, ask him all of these questions that Job really has no adequate answer for-- questions him about the Earth, and about the heavens, and about different beings and creatures that God has created.
Verse 5-- "Who has determined its measurements? Surely you know. Or who stretched the line upon it?" Like, look, I'm the creator and the maintainer of the physical world, not you. There's things I know that you have no-- you can't even scratch the surface.
So that goes on through chapter 38 and 39. Job finally gets it-- chapter 40, verse 3. I'm going to show you how Job gets it. Chapter 40, verses 3-- "Then Job answered the Lord and said, behold I am vile. What shall I answer you?
I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken. But I will not answer yes twice. But I will proceed no further."
But God continues through chapter 40 and 41. Look, I'm sovereign. I alone control what is uncontrollable. And here's the biggest point God wants to make with Job.
Job, I've asked you all these science questions about the physical world. If you can't understand my way in the physical world, what makes you think you can understand my ways in the spiritual world? If in the seen, visible world you can't unwind and unravel what I've done, how could you possibly be able to conjecture about what goes on in a realm you have no purview over?
It's very logical and theological. Job is humble. He's submissive.
Chapter 42, verse 1-- "Job answered the Lord. And he said, I know that you can do everything and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from you. You asked, who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know know.
Listen, please. Let me speak. You said, I will question you, and you will answer me.
I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear. But now my eye sees you. Therefore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes."
It sounds familiar, doesn't it? Isaiah saw a vision of God. The first words out of his mouth-- woe is me. Wow is you. Woe is me.
When Peter finally understood Jesus was divine, he said, depart from me. I'm a sinful man. In seeing God, Job saw himself. Therefore, I abhor myself, and I repent in dust and ashes. This is repentance and compliance.
Verse 10-- "And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends." Woo, Job, go pray for those friends that gave you rotten council. You heard a testimony tonight. Kim gave it before the study-- so powerful about that prayer of forgiveness and releasing those things from her captors, the rapists. I forgive you-- pouring that out.
"The Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before." He doubles up on everything except kids. He gets 10 more kids.
And so he doubles up on everything else but the kids. And you think, if you have 10 kids, double that really wouldn't necessarily be a blessing. So God blessed him.
Verse 16-- "After this, Job lived 140 years and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died old and full of days." As we close, how about this?
Never let what you don't understand about God and his ways rob you from the love and care that God has towards you. Never let what you don't understand rob you of what you do understand. When you don't understand things, instead of going and fixating on it-- I don't understand this. I don't understand why this. I don't care why this.
OK. What do you know? What do you understand? Now pivot to what you know and understand.
Job-- I know my Redeemer lives. Live there. I don't know why this is happening. But I know my Redeemer lives. I know, at the last day, I'll see him on the Earth.
So when you don't understand, pivot to what you do understand about God. And understand this. Suffering in the hands of a loving God can bring about great good.
If I were to have open mic night and have you share your testimony about your periods of suffering-- which I would recommend you do in home fellowships-- a lot of you would say, this is what I learned through it. This is how my faith deepened through it. This is where I am now because of it.
That's what you would do. There's fruit from it. Never underestimate the tool that suffering can be in the hands of a loving God who will not let the fire fry you but come back and pull you out of the oven in the nick of time.
No temptation has taken evil, which is common demand. God is faithful, won't allow you to be tempted of what you're able to endure. With the temptation, also make a way of escape.
The best illustration I heard of it is this. A bear is trapped in a cage by a scientist. The scientist simply wants to study the bear in order to make the bear's life and other bear's life better.
But the bear doesn't understand the motive of the scientist. The bear just knows he's in a cage. So the scientist comes up to the cage, probes, and pokes the bear, puts a hypodermic needle in it to take blood and do some tests.
And the bear is thinking, that's a hostile creature. I need to kill it. It's trying to destroy me. That's not the motivation of the scientist.
Finally, the scientist wants to let the bear go but has to tranquilize the bear to spring the cage so that everybody else is safe around there. So when the tranquilizer goes into the bear again, the bear is thinking the very worst instead of the best. This creature is out to kill me.
That bear does not know the truth. The truth is the scientist is trying to help the bear and other bears. You don't know what God's up to any more than the bear understands what the scientist is up to. Fair enough analogy?
So when you come up against the wall and you don't understand, just think, the scientist does. Somebody smarter than me knows. He knows the way that I take. And when I come out of this cage, I will come forth as gold. Amen.
Let's pray. Father, you are a good God. And we've said it before. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.
And so we say it again. As we've swept over this Book of Job and considered this man's suffering, Satan's scheming, your permitting, his friends miscalculating, and finally you restoring, may we rest in the fact that what is hidden from us is not hidden from you. And what's more, you have our best interests at heart.
And what's more, you cause all things to work together for good to those that love God and are called according to his purpose. Thank you for that promise. In Jesus' name, amen.
We hoped you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from The Bible from 30,000 Feet.