Where Is Your Strength?

Job 40

“Because God in his dealing with Job designed his amendment, therefore he labors not to rack up particulars, but to sober his spirit, and for that end speaks calmly to him far beyond Elihu, because he has a mind to gain Job rather than to shame him.” James Durham

God’s goal for Job far different from that of his friends – they wanted Job to see everything that was wrong with Job, repent of his grievous sin, beg for mercy from God. God, OTOH, wanted Job to see God – everything he could stand to see of God’s holiness and majesty and glory and greatness. Purpose of Job’s friends to increase distance between Job and God until Job realized how wrong he was. God instead drew Job close, increased his understanding of God, knowing that Job would respond properly.

Good principle to remember here – often when dealing with others, are instantly prepared to let them know exactly how they are doing it wrong. Especially when a Christian brother or sister, should default to let them know just how great and wise and wonderful God is. Yes, God has standard – his law expressed in ten commandments, summarized in two. Don’t forget: those commandments reveal God’s character; they are important but shouldn’t stop there – keep going until you are close to God, can see him clearly.

God continues interacting with Job, pauses twice for Job to respond – end of verse 2, then at end of verse 14. Job answers the first time, remains silent after next challenge. In previous portion of speech, God highlighted his greatness, his goodness. Begins to narrow focus a little – his wisdom, justice, and providence.

A. question God’s wisdom? v.1-5

are you going to teach God?? now you have seen Me up close, are you sure you still think the same way? you wanted opportunity to challenge Me in court, how’s it working for you?

but you’d never challenge God the way Job did! Job went over the top, said more than he should have, probably because his affliction so incredibly severe

you wouldn’t think of arguing with God, correcting him, telling God how he could govern his creation better

how about when you grumble at what God provides – what did I do to deserve this? why didn’t I get that?

same as saying “if I were making the call instead of God, would have done this instead” – equals accusing God of not getting it right, declaring your wisdom superior to God’s

so what is proper corrective to that attitude? get a good look at God – from his word, from his world, from your own experience

start with God’s self-revelation in his word – with Holy Spirit’s help study it, know it, see God in it

then, informed by the Bible (not other way around), look at his world and see aspects of God’s character displayed there (Psalm 19 e.g.)

review how God has worked in your life – providing, guiding, protecting, saving, loving – now, about that criticism….you still sure it is justified?? Job wasn’t that confident!

Job didn’t get his questions answered, got something better instead: by increased knowledge of God grew in understanding of himself

> I am vile / completely unworthy / so insignificant – so much for building up Job’s self-esteem! but notice God never said anything to belittle Job, put him down, pile up criticism and shame on him

Job’s estimation of himself changed because his estimation of God changed; his 4-part response result of seeing God’s glory more clearly

> I am speechless – seeing God’s goodness and greatness showed Job how little he understood, how little he was

> shutting up now – as if God gave Job opportunity for cross-examination; wisely, Job declined the offer

> I have nothing to add – perhaps Job had thought “if God can successfully answer these charges, I have few more to add!” ummm, no, those things just as unreasonable, I see that now”

Job had come to personal understanding of principle Paul wrote

Rom. 9:20-21But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

sing “Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Thou art the Potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will While I am waiting, yielded and still.” then complain because we don’t like being molded that way”

when Job saw God, quickly came to realize he had no basis for complaint – could not rightly criticize God’s goodness, could not challenge God’s greatness, could not begin to grasp God’s wisdom

B. question God’s justice? v.6-14

here we go, Round 2! can you do it better? can you even do it? what do you really understand about justice?

Job and other four had crystal clear mental picture of what they thought justice ought to look like: the wrongdoing and just punishment, the right doing and just blessing, and timeline on which God ought to act

those five weren’t first or last to think that way – take Abraham, for example, and John the Baptist

Gen. 18:23And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”

wouldn’t be just to destroy the city, might be some Christians there; must be another way to do right

for God to be just in dealing with Sodom and Gomorrah, all his numbers had to work in Abraham’s equation

Luke 3:16-17 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Luke 7:20 When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?'”

where’s the winnowing fan, where’s the unquenchable fire, is God not acting or are you wrong person?

how come Christians are so horribly persecuted in N Korea, Kim Jong Il lives the good life? same in Pakistan or Afghanistan and we’re their allies? what about the sex offender, burglar that beat up the old man, stray bullet that killed a baby – if God is just, why doesn’t he deal with them?

here is God’s shocking answer to those kinds of questions from Job…and us: God says, “put on your big boy or big girl outfit, go out there and actually bring about perfect justice, I will worship you”

long, awkward silence – God waited for Job to do or say something – sat there, head hung low, hardly daring to even breathe, expecting to hear the thunder of God’s voice

like Job, when we see God for who he really is, quickly realize is absolutely no way we can match God and his justice; more important, our ideas of justice just like those of Job and friends – eye for eye – God factors in grace and mercy

if Jesus had carried out his ministry the way John the Baptist envisioned, we would all be hopelessly lost

John like others did not understand: Jesus came first time to bear judgment, not bring it; was his task to endure the Father’s judgment in the place of his people that they might have life

C. question God’s providence? v.15-24

since Job declined God’s challenge to try his hand at enforcing justice, God continues self-revelation, this time addressing question of God’s providence

look at the hippopotamus; huh? what does that creature have to do with Job and his suffering and his questions?

God made both hippo and Job and made them different and provides for each according to individual need

could have made Job stronger…like the hippo; could have made hippo wiser…like Job; God chose to do neither

so…Job needs to learn from both hippo and from God

God equipped hippo perfectly for his place in God’s order of things, did the same for Job

hippo even for all his brute strength still dependent on God and content in his dependence; doesn’t quarrel with God – Job should learn contentment, so should we

doesn’t matter what kind of day you’ve had, go home and dog wags its tail, gets excited, shows affection knowing you will take care of it; God will do no less for you

hippo’s strength and Job’s strength both came from God even though very different in nature

world has its measures of strength, don’t be seduced by them – military or physical or technological or intellectual strength – not the kind of strength God is looking for

God is looking into hearts and lives of his people expecting to see:

strength to love your neighbor as yourself; to love your wife more than your own life; to love Christ more than your sin; to love the sinner enough to tell him truth of Gospel

strength of forgiveness and seeking forgiveness; strength to prefer the needs of others before your own, to think of them more highly than you do yourself

strength of faith to persevere; strength of belief to stay true to the Gospel; strength of discipline to hold anger in check; strength of patience to relate to others in godly way

strength to handle adversity or prosperity; strength to take up your cross and follow Christ… wherever he goes

When God looks into your heart and life, what does he see? Does he see you doing the best you can, hanging on by your fingernails, relying on your own resources to pull it off? Are you trusting wisdom of friends and family and others to help you make it through?

Or does God see his own power coming to full strength in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10) as you depend on his grace to be sufficient? Do you depend on wisdom supplied by God’s Spirit and his word along with prayers of God’s people to help you make it through?

If you are depending on God, his power, his wisdom, be sure he will regularly shape and form you. You see, you have a destiny: to be pressed into the mold of the Lord Jesus. God expects us to do our part: committing to faithfulness, devotion to him, not resisting his efforts to shape us. Respond like Job: you are God, do what you will, I will trust you.

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