Tag: How to Handle a Cross

Final Exam

Job 42

All know what is required for graduation: time spent in school, pass the finals, show up for ceremony and get diploma. No question, Job had done his time in school of suffering. Lead teacher had come by for some final instruction. Graduation is in sight, not quite there yet. Have been intermediate tests and quizzes along the way for Job. The biggest test to date – the one that came from Satan: would losing everything but his life (and expecting to lose that) incite Job to curse God?

But Job still must pass his final exam in order to receive his diploma, the equivalent of God’s “well done”. As we go down through the questions God expected Job to answer, pencil in your own responses: if this were your final exam, how well would you do on the test?

There are three basic (short essay) questions: what about God? what about forgiveness? what about the future?

A. what about God? v.1-6

God finished speaking to Job, made it clear he expected response – Job, do you still think the same way as you did at the beginning? if not, what changed?

remember, God didn’t answer Job’s questions: why did this happen? what did I do to deserve this? how can this be just? why won’t you answer me?

all God did was ask whole bunch of questions (77 of them), mostly ones that at first glance didn’t seem to apply

yet Job got the point God was making to him, was profoundly changed by his encounter with God of the whirlwind

Job’s response – here’s what I know; here’s what I said; here’s what I experienced; here’s how I’ve changed

what Job had known from the beginning: God is omnipotent Sovereign over all things – never seriously questioned God’s power, his ability to achieve his purpose (2)

after all – this is God who caused Sarah and Hannah and Elisabeth and virgin Mary to do what man considered impossible

what Job had said: much that was right – see verse 7!

problem was not so much that Job had said what was wrong – had spoken beyond his ability to comprehend (3)

like driving after dark: can have pretty high level of confidence in what you see as far as headlights reach, beyond that not so much; Job had gone way past the headlights

what Job had experienced: much about God, had heard much from others about God and his nature and his actions (5)

almost certainly lived before Moses, lifespan of approx. 200 years, means he had no written word from God – what he had was oral tradition, passed along from generation to next

now…chapters 38-41…has experienced God himself – heard the voice of God, felt the presence of God, not just with his senses but also with his very soul – Job has seen the unseen

how Job changed: could not find words to express difference between knowing about God and knowing God but it radically changed him (6)

whole view of God and world and himself changed – thought he was ok to start, then he experienced God

note: if you want someone (including yourself) to see their true colors, show them God in all his beauty and majesty

“Job has lost all, but he has found God and is content. Even without the knowledge of God’s love that comes from Golgotha, he found Him more than sufficent.” Ellison

Is God sufficient? Or…will you be taken in by siren song playing in every store and media outlet – without their wares, it won’t be Christmas and you’ll live a second-rate life

Is the love of Christ that flowed from Calvary adequate compensation for bearing his cross? Do you need some additional payback – Christmas bonus, praise of men, extra line in your epitaph – to make Christian life worth living

B. what about forgiveness? v.7-10

Job figured out he had spoken beyond his knowledge, how about Eliphaz and companions? they were totally clueless, accused Job anyway – God doesn’t go there

no mention made of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu’s unjust treatment of Job; God’s focus on the wrong they did toward Him! (7)

“The force of 42:7 is that however foolishly he may have said it, Job was looking for a God big enough to comprehend his experience. On the other hand, however wisely they may have put it into words, his friends were upholding a God small enough to conform to their theories.” Ellison

first thing the friends needed to learn: same thing Job did, the greatness and glory of God – they needed to know just how far short of reality their views of God were

totally (for them) mind-blowing expectation God had for them – the one they thought God had rejected would be their mediator (8)

they had to take their sacrifices to Job, he would act as their priest, their mediator – “My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly”

Job had prayed for a mediator, someone to stand between him and God with hand on both; now he was expected to do that for his friends

sound familiar? Isa. 53:4-5​​​​​​​…we thought he was being punished, ​​​​​​attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. ​​​​​​​He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, ​​​​​​crushed because of our sins; ​​​​​​he endured punishment that made us well; ​​​​​​because of his wounds we have been healed.”

how could Job pull that one off? where would he find strength and grace for that task?

“He might well have thanked God that they had treated him as they did, for had he known their comfort and care in his adversity, he might never have been thrown back on God and so have learnt to know Him in this new way.” Ellison

Job experienced God in the whirlwind, experienced forgiveness in the silence afterward – wasn’t the thunder of God’s wrath that Job heard, was the tender quietness of forgiveness and reconciliation

friends did as God required – got their sacrificial animals, ate their humble pie, went to Job and probably sought his forgiveness first (9)

absence of humility on their part toward both Job and God would have rendered their sacrifice ineffectual

their future hung in the balance – would Job pray for them or not? would he forgive them first so his intercession would be sincere?

indeed, he did – evident by God’s restoration of Job’s losses; God does not reward half-hearted obedience

Does God’s forgiveness granted to us through Christ have sufficient meaning and relevance that we will forgive others? Do you really grasp how much you have been forgiven? The price of your forgiveness and mine was the very life of the Son of God; the one who came as babe in manger for sole purpose of going to Calvary. If you really get that, how can you be unforgiving?

C. what about the future? v.11-17

at lowest point, when Job thought life about over and had nothing else to cling to, declared Job 19:26​​​​​​​”…after my skin has been destroyed, ​​​​​​yet in my flesh I will see God”

absolutely convinced there had to be more to full scope of human existence than just this life; if not, why bother?

Job knew some things about what he had lost: his portfolio was only for this life – the Lord gives, the Lord takes away

even his health only temporary – would eventually die and body experience decay; btw, same true about his suffering

certainly a wonderful blessing (12) that God graciously granted to Job – could have simply replaced what he took away!

Job didn’t ask for it, didn’t expect it from God; Job was definitely thankful for God’s blessing

God had already made clear he was not Job’s enemy – he talked with Job; restoration of prosperity made that fact clear to everyone

notice God doubled his portfolio – sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys – but not his children; or…did he? (13)

“In the hour of Job’s greatest desperation he had been driven to the hope of life beyond the grave. Now God says Amen to it. …by giving him only ten new children God assured him that he would yet meet those he had lost beyond the grave.” Ellison

important to note that restoration of prosperity and family to Job was a process, for which Job’s wife mighty thankful!

also important: the way God restored Job showed great value God places on human life – replaced the animals Job lost…and gave equal additional amount; did not do so with children

each of Job’s 20 children unique and valuable in God’s eyes, apparently Job viewed them in same way

as important as Job’s family was to him, something else had far greater priority and significance

Job confident he would see first 10 children again, but thought of that wasn’t what kept him going

Job 19:26-27​​​​​​​”And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”

Job’s yearning was for moment he would see God, his Redeemer; being reunited with family, that’s great, that’s wonderful, he’ll get back to you – God is one he intends to see first

Is the promise of our eternal inheritance in Christ great enough that we will deny self, take up our cross, and follow Christ?

knowing about God is good; knowing God is better; experiencing God is best it gets here – his Spirit speaks to our spirit, we live conscious of his immediate presence

but there’s another level – seeing God, face to face, in all his exalted glory – the one who took on flesh, pitched his tent among us

King of kings and Lord of lords became a servant that he might stand between sinful man and holy God with a hand on each, drawing them together

So…how did you do? What about God – is he sufficient for you? What about forgiveness – do you forgive as you have been forgiven? And what about the future – do you long for that moment when you see your Savior face to face? If your reply is like that of Job, affirming “Yes” to all three questions, then deny your self, take up your cross, and follow Christ.

Options Are Expensive

Job 41

Have you ever gone shopping for something: a car, appliance, house? Price is really attractive; sure, it’s base price, but a few options, added features won’t change things much. Tweak this a little, add one or two things, get this instead of that. The grand total is: sticker shock!! Let’s revisit a few things – some of those options have significant cost attached to them. Not always an upfront cost either; could be a cascade of things – if you want this that way, then also requires whole host of other changes, each with its own cost.

And what does all that have to do with our text? How does idea that options are expensive relate to crocodiles and Job? For that matter, what does leviathan or super-croc have to do with Job, anyway? God must think there’s a connection, He brought it up! Believe the key to unlock connection lies in previous chapter: Job 40:15“Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you.”

As if God told Job:

“I made you both and I purposely made you different. Leviathan has particular qualities that set him apart from other creatures. You aren’t like him, Job. I made you both – like me in some ways, not like me in others. Crocodile is fearsome, not communicative with others (all teeth and no smile); impervious, not sensitive to others (vulnerable); powerful, not protective of others; intimidating, not interactive.”

God had full range of options available when he designed Behemoth, Leviathan, and Adam. Each is different, created specifically to hold unique place in God’s all-comprehensive plan. God had Christmas in view at Creation – form he gave to first Adam defined form of last Adam at his Incarnation. Jesus, the last Adam, in his humanity had qualities he did because of how first Adam was created. Same was true of Job, is true of you and me. God could have made Adam, Job, you and me like Leviathan, but at what cost?

A. could have made him untameable and insensitive to others (1-9)

even if could hook this super-crocodile, could never reel it in; if you could, then what? what useful purpose would it serve? (1)

cannot be subdued in ways other creatures can – a ring through his nose, bit and bridle, useful for working or riding, NOT (2)

let’s say were able to make it a captive – would never sue for peace; would resist to the death being held captive (3-4)

here’s a ridiculous picture: trick leviathan into wearing a leash, give him to daughters for a pet – who in right mind would do that? would be foolish to trust creature in those circumstances (5)

not really suitable for eating, you really want to try? go ahead, you’ll only do it once – if you survive the encounter, won’t ever do it again; no hope of ever overcoming leviathan (7-9)

we talk about crocodile tears, when did you ever see one cry? no croc ever shed tear over lunch, none ever shed tear when its own young were lunch for another predator

crocodile basically untameable, and because of that, insensitive to anything outside itself and its desires

could have made Job that way – insensitive and unresponsive to others, concerned only with what furthered his own personal agenda

B. could have made him powerful enough to subdue all others (12-25)

as God goes along in his description, piles up accolades – revels in glories of this creature he has made

leviathan has strength and defenses no other creature can overcome; can’t even seriously intimidate the big guy – simply goes his way, doing his own thing

physical power that is overwhelming – powerful limbs (12), strong neck (22a), heart as hard as a millstone (24)

fearsome appearance – terrible teeth (14), scaly hide / coat of armor (15-17); appears to have glowing eyes and mouth that breathes fire and smoke (18-21)

causes terror in any who would try to face him – courage simply evaporates, opposers turn and run away (22b)

all he need do is display power to cause fear, doesn’t actually have to use his power to cause mighty men to retreat (25)

this superhero of creaturely world subdues all others by intimidation and actual exercise of power – whatever territory leviathan wants is unquestionably his

could have made Job that way – with force of appearance and strength to overcome all opposition without regard for them

C. could have made him immune to any weapon used against him (26-34)

if it cannot be tamed, if it is incapable of reasoning and persuading, if no one can stand in its way, what then? what weapon could be used effectively against such a creature?

short answer: none – there is nothing that shake leviathan; it is absolutely fearless (33) and laughs at anything others throw its way (29)

none of standard military weapons have any effect: sword, spear, dart, javelin, arrow, trebuchet (26, 28)

simply shrugs them off, unable to penetrate his armor; has no vulnerable areas where weapons can penetrate

things that represent strength to mankind – iron and bronze – have no meaning to leviathan, have no power over him (27)

is just as “comfortable” / “at home” in the sea as on land – even water causes leviathan no misgivings, represents no threat to him

could have made Job that way – without any peer and immune to any outside influence, able to simply shrug off whatever came his way and pursue his course uninterrupted

D. could have made Job impervious to Satan, to pain, to everything but God – just like crocodile (10-11)

“No one is ferocious [enough] to rouse Leviathan” except God; Leviathan’s Creator is greater still, and sovereign over all things – everything under heaven belongs to God, including Leviathan

picture God paints here is of a creature impervious to absolutely everything except God – nothing short of God can affect it in any way

leviathan has no experience of pain, perhaps even no concept of it; concept of suffering of any sort totally foreign

leviathan cannot be challenged or harmed even by Satan; in fact, the dragon (Leviathan) is the one Satan impersonates (Rev. 12:9; 20:2)

could have made Job that way – impervious to Satan, to pain, to unhelpful friends, disloyal family and friends….

E. but at what cost? Rom. 8:28-29; Phil. 3:9-11

remember how this challenge all started? how it came about that Job experienced this incredible affliction?

Job 1:9-12So 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?….”

God could have responded by taking the hedge away and making Job bullet-proof – let Satan do his thing, take all the blessings away: oxen and donkeys and sheep and camels and servants and children

yeah, whatever, “the Donald” has been bankrupt more than once and come back, I can survive it too; no big deal

God could have made him super-immune to physical affliction – the worst he gets is the 24-hour flu and he’s over it

if Jesus’ temptation at hand of Satan had to be real in order to have significance, so also with Job’s affliction

for God to have made Job like Behemoth or Leviathan would have cheated Job and us out of some priceless gifts

one important thing Job needed to learn, we must learn also: Job appreciated God’s gifts, needed to appreciate God

Job 1:21 “…The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Job 2:10…Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

when Job lost everything but life and God, then encountered God in whirlwind, began to understand God was way more important than just his gifts

second thing Job learned: immunity to affliction is not what he needed; he needed God’s grace to please him in his affliction

affliction is essential part of life, consequence of sin entering the world: painful childbirth, painful labor for food, and that was just to start

truth is, sin brings suffering…of all kinds: physical, emotional, spiritual, social; to be immune or impervious to suffering is to be inhuman

next truth is: we cannot endure suffering and please God throughout it without God’s help – will run short of resources if we depend only on ourselves

if God had left Job to his own devices, Satan would have won; God could have made Job so he would endure affliction all by himself….and Job would have gotten the glory

God’s purpose (at least one of them) in Job’s affliction was that God would get the glory – was by his grace and enabling that Job kept the faith

as Job came to understand God more, know God better, see God more accurately – recognized how utterly dependent he was on God…and how all-sufficient God was to meet his need

hymns today all deal with relationship: relationship that supplies life (Revive Us Again), fellowship with Jesus and hearing his voice (In the Garden), experience that refines and strengthens love for Christ (More Love to Thee)

is an essential aspect of relationship with Lord Jesus: if we are to be like him, if we are to have true fellowship with him, must share in his suffering

being conformed to image or pressed into the mold of Lord Jesus involves suffering: 2 Tim. 3:12all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Started out with idea that options are expensive; some of options God could have selected when he made Job would have come with high cost. Here’s something else to consider: following Christ is an option that costs you everything.

Luke 14:26-27, 33 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple….whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

How to bear your cross? Forsake all that you have…including your life…and self, and follow Christ. Walk as close to Christ as possible, so he carries most of the load. Go in the same direction he is traveling, don’t resist his direction, keep the same pace. Listen to his voice as he speaks to you through his Word and by his Spirit. Strive to know Christ, to love Christ, to be like Christ in all things.

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.

God Is So Great

Job 39

How great is God! Song we sing frequently – How Great Thou Art. Good song, encourages looking beyond creation to Creator. He is not only good, saw that last chapter; is exceptionally great. So great that all things came into existence simply by his word of command. But how is God’s surpassing greatness supposed to help Job? How does it help you where you are, how does it help you bear your cross in way pleasing to God? After all, maybe this great God is so great can’t be bothered with / take time for little old you.

Easy to think animals can take care of themselves; must be able to, don’t all live in zoos. Manage to survive, even thrive most of the time. We know Deists were wrong – God did not create all things, then withdraw from active role in processes of nature and ways of man. But often see deism’s error only with regard to man – of course God takes care of his people, restrains evil, etc., but the rest of creation pretty much on its own. Our text makes it plain: we don’t see their Caretaker at work but he is present and active.

All but one of animals undomesticated, that one trained for war. Have significance to God but not for any reason that man would have. Unlike Adam (animals brought for naming), goal for Job is different: he is to learn from them, not show dominion over them. Even in midst of distortion wrought by the Fall, God still continues his benevolent oversight.

Might say: because of distortion wrought by the Fall, God must continue his benevolent oversight… because fallen man can no longer carry out his original mandate. Design in beginning was that man would manage what God had created – cultivate ground, practice responsible animal husbandry, make the earth a productive place and keep it orderly as created. Fall changed all that: both ground and creatures resist man’s efforts at management. Now, this side of the Flood, creatures fear mankind, further hindering God’s original mandate to Adam and Eve.

In Job’s day, and in ours, God’s greatness displayed in natural world is mind-blowing. Back to previous question: how does that help? Here’s short answer: if even lowly creatures can count on certain things from God, what are you worried about?? God is good and does what is good for his children – his greatness ensures nothing escapes his notice or ability to provide. God gives to his creatures: sustenance, shelter, significance, safety and sight. What more could you want or need?

As God’s challenge to Job continues, God asks a bunch more questions – bring to Job’s attention many things that he (Job) obviously cannot do. In many cases, are things Job would never think of doing for sake of creatures. God’s point is not that Job is incompetent idiot who can’t get it right; point is that God is great and competent sovereign who does it right. Not only can take care of his creation, actually does so 24/7 without any breaks or breakdowns.

A. sustenance – lion and raven (vv. 39-41)

particularly in light of recent vote (let’s not give human predators unfair advantage over wild things), wouldn’t seem like lion should have any trouble coming up with lunch

king of the beasts should be perfectly capable of hunting its own prey…successfully; at least, that’s impression from Marlon Perkins, Wild Kingdom

lions perfectly designed for what they do – have physical characteristics, instincts necessary to be effective predator; is what God intended, right?

um, not exactly: “Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food“; and it was so.”Gen. 1:30

so, the lion is acting contrary to original design, in very important way: what it requires for daily food

who do you suppose taught lions how to get food? not just for themselves, for offspring too? yup, God, back in Noah’s day and as needed ever since then

now think about their lunch: God didn’t design their prey for sole purpose of being lion food; original purpose in some way fit into how Adam and Eve were to manage the earth

life at Creation didn’t involve bloodshed, everybody was vegan at beginning; taking of life for whatever reason clear evidence something is wrong

that predators don’t starve to death gives witness to God providing them with not only skill but success

now, opposite end of spectrum, the raven: symbol of bad things like death or disease – probably because mostly feeds on dead things, that something else killed

just like lion, before Fall was none of that kind of food…for any creature; had to learn new and different diet

are at mercy of other forces in order to have food: certainly would not be mankind who cares for ravens, God must be one to hear cry of its young and answer

B. shelter – mountain goat and deer (39:1-4)

mountain goats / deer – can pretty well fend for themselves; equipped to go places many other creatures cannot, can travel at speeds many cannot match

speed and agility provide protection, allow them to reach shelter when in danger from weather or predators

is key time in life of these creatures when their protective mechanisms aren’t much use – most vulnerable moment is at birth, for both mother and young

if they are not to become extinct, must have shelter from harm during birthing process and for time afterward

mountain goats and deer are able to produce successive generations because God provides shelter at exactly right moments, for each individual creature

is especially significant because pain of childbirth not restricted to women – animals experience it also!

young continue vulnerable for period of time after birth – they live in fallen world, need to learn how to cope with danger

knowing how to stay safe not something originally designed in – wasn’t an issue until after the Fall

because of danger that surrounds young, need shelter until they develop strength and skill and stamina to avoid harm

C. significance – wild donkey and wild ox (vv. 5-12)

could put in this category lots of different creatures: platypuses, squids, moose, others that have questionable significance

wild donkey and wild ox a drain on the economy, not a contributor; in fact, strongly resisted any of man’s efforts to make them useful

wild donkey treasured its freedom, lived and thrived in places deemed unfit for polite society

wild ox a feared animal, never domesticated, eventually hunted to extinction by Egyptians and Assyrians

these two of no value to Job, successful farmer – before they would carry freight, wild donkeys would run away; instead of submitting to harness, wild ox would tear up the barn, break the equipment

why would Job, or any civilized person, care what happened to animals that weren’t important part of food chain, had no personal significance?

however….in God’s eyes both these creatures have significance – is he who gave wild donkey its freedom, then taught them how to act and survive in wilderness

don’t forget: untamable wild ox not the way it was supposed to be; we think Sigfried nuts to put head in lion’s mouth, and he was, but wouldn’t have been crazy at beginning

wildness of wild animals a consequence of sin coming into the world; God sees significance of each element of his creation without distortion of sin

D. safety – ostrich and warhorse (vv. 13-25)

might wonder why these two creatures paired together! ostrich has reputation for stupidity, war horse for intelligence

even though reputation and God’s assessment match, something else more important – according to what God said to Job, both creatures had complete disregard for danger

v.18: “She scorns [laughs at] the horse and its rider.” v.22: “​He mocks [laughs] at fear, and is not frightened”

in the one, such disregard is foolish, in the other, a sign of bravery; God takes credit for both – God deprived ostrich of wisdom (17), gave strength to horse (19)

so what is God’s point? creatures who are so little concerned with danger are at great risk, need someone to provide safety

left to own devices, would quickly pass from existence: ostrich has no thought for well-being of next generation

leaves eggs where they can be damaged or destroyed, forgets that when surviving eggs do hatch, fledglings need attention

if not for safety God provides, next generation would never make it in sufficient numbers to survive

war horse has no thought for well-being of present generation – in fact seems to desire the conflict, runs into danger, taking control from his rider and acting on his own

makes for good action video, successful waging of battle, so long as horse and rider are protected from harm

what horse cannot and will not do for himself, God does – ensuring safety in midst of chaos and violence

E. sight – hawk and eagle/vulture (vv. 26-30)

we’re going to use sight here in two different senses – sight as in understanding, then acute vision

hawk as well as lots of other birds has sight to migrate hundreds or thousands from summer to winter home

see and understand the way to go even when it is their first time; see and recognize destination when they arrive

we call it instinct, God gives a different reason – it is God who gives wisdom and sight to hawk, each hawk, each generation

and the eagle – able to see its food from great distances, go through all the specific motions to actually get it

building its nest, seeking out food, doing the aerial acrobatics, all of those skills and abilities not instinct – given by God

God is just as involved with his creation today as he was on Day 8 and it’s a good thing. See just how much God is doing on an ongoing basis to limit awful effects of sin and curse! He cares for his creatures from smallest to largest, smartest to dumbest, prettiest to ugliest.

Matt. 6:30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

If God gives to his creatures: sustenance, shelter, significance, safety and sight, will he not do the same for his child? Whether your name is Job or something else, the answer is a resounding YES. And God is great enough to do it all, perfectly – in his way, on his timeline, for his glory and for our good.

God Shatters His Silence

Job 38

Must admit getting a good grasp on this portion of Job is a challenge. Has become the go-to proof-text for creationists – look at all God has to say about what he did at the beginning. Often viewed as an elaboration of the Creation Story from God’s perspective, is used to beat evolutionists into submission. Another common perspective: an example of God showing up after he’s been challenged, then blow by blow (77 of them to be precise) reducing Job to a quivering mass of abject humility. There, little man, take that; see if you really want to challenge God to verbal duel ever again!

I believe both perspectives are wrong: God didn’t need to brag about anything to get Job back in line. He didn’t need to beat Job into submission either. Remember what this whole scenario is about:

Job 1:9-11So 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 blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.“But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

Job 2:4-5 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, 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!”

Now, after Satan has beat up on Job, his three friends and another all take their turns at trying to humble him and help him see his sin – where is Job? Still hanging on to his faith, perhaps not by much, but he has retained his integrity and his trust in God. God makes himself known to Job in the whirlwind, by doing so declares his and Job’s victory over Satan – Satan has lost the challenge, Job has not cursed God!

At this point, when God so to speak “shows up”, what is it that Job needs most from God? Not what did he want, what did he need? And, just as vital, what did God want Job to understand??

Job needed, first, to know that God was not his enemy. Then he needed reassurance that his faith had the right object: that the God he trusted was worthy of his trust – before, during, after his time of affliction. And…Job needed to understand it was because of God’s keeping power that Job kept the faith. Yes, Job had faith; but was in exactly same boat as father of demon-possessed boy – he asked for Jesus’ help with his son, Jesus told him “all things are possible to him who believes.” The father’s reply: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Left to himself, Job just like that father and you and me, when tested like Job was – the object of Satan’s best shots – would all have denied the faith. Was God’s greatness, not greatness of Job’s faith, that enabled him to persevere. Cannot over-stress that point: don’t look at Job and be discouraged, think your faith isn’t close to what Job had. What is important: is your faith in same God as Job? If so, cry out to God same as father did to Jesus: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Now, God is neither braggart nor bully; when he challenged Job, his purpose to increase Job’s understanding, but of what? Let’s back up: what did Job not understand? Look at v.2: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

What in the world does God mean by that? “darkens counsel by words without knowledge”? Job did not have a grasp on God’s providence; trying to figure it out only muddied the waters. Job and his friends had a lot to say about things they didn’t understand – were talking way above their pay grade. Rather than shed light on Job’s circumstances, they did the opposite – obscured the real truth about the full scope of God’s character and purpose.

More to God’s purpose than beating Job down, bragging about creation – enabling Job to understand some important, helpful and comforting truths about God. Now in the process, Job learned some things about himself. That is something that should be true about every encounter we have with God: the finiteness of our wisdom and power and existence, the greatness of our failings and our needs are all things we learn about ourselves. But all that should be overshadowed by the glories and wisdom and greatness and goodness of God. Remember Paul’s exclamation in Rom. 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!“For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?”“Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?”For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

When God shattered his silence, didn’t give commentary on first chapters of Genesis; he elaborated on what he showed Moses:

Ex. 33:19Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Ex. 34:5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

What we have in God’s self-revelation to Job in chapters 38 and following – a disclosure of his goodness as seen in his works of creation and providence. The two cannot be separated – creation has providence in view, providence carries out purpose of creation. But in all of this don’t lose sight of the goal: do not allow the greatness of God’s works obscure the greatness and glory of God. God didn’t ask all questions of Job just to wow him with what he (God) did; they were just means to end of seeing and knowing God better.

LBCF 5.1. God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom, upholds, directs, arranges, and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least, by his perfectly wise and holy providence, to the purpose for which they were created. He governs according to his infallible foreknowledge and the free and unchangeable counsel of his own will. His providence leads to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.

A. the earth v.4-7

foundations (4)

has a foundation, not wandering around in space without purpose; is positioned relative to other celestial bodies in just right place for good of its inhabitants, especially mankind

measurements (5)

its size, mass exactly right for it to stay on foundation; measure and content of atmosphere designed to both support and protect life – supply life-giving oxygen and carbon dioxide, protect from harmful cosmic radiation; moon is right size at right distance to keep large lakes and oceans healthy

fasteners (6)

intended to be stable and durable, to serve God’s good purpose for as long as he intends; not just earth, rest of universe must be in right proportions of size/mass/distance and with right qualities (gravitational attraction e.g.) to prevent uncontrolled expansion or collapse

B. the sea v.8-11

dominion – shut in, this far but no farther

not Neptune or Poseidon who determines what sea does for good or ill; is God who exercises absolute dominion

definition – fixed limit, proportions

land masses are habitable since seas have fixed limits; proportion of water to land mass right for maintaining temperature, producing food, facilitating travel/commerce

duration – has both Creation and Flood in view

God’s word that birthed sea and land; God’s word that sent sea back to its appointed boundaries so earth would be habitable again following Flood

C. day and night v.12-21

time – the dawn to know its place (12)

one of first steps in bringing order out of original chaos: morning and evening 1st day; orders our days for good

safety – dawn restrains evil; purpose of DST (13)

“everyone practicing evil hates the light” John 3:20; daytime is safer because of human limits of vision

source – remains locked up with God (19-20)

God hasn’t given away keys to light switch; imagine what evil powers would do!! given that God is light, probably has power and uses far beyond what we imagine

D. snow and rain v.22-30

purposeful – how it is used (23, 26)

according to God’s purpose: show his power on behalf of his people (Josh. 10:11) and his goodness – growing things

plentiful – overflowing (25)

most of time falls in right amounts in right places to do good, not harm; is sufficient to sustain not only present life but support future growth

compassionate design (30)

the way water freezes (ice floats) – means food supply not off limits, things don’t die in winter, temperature is regulated

E. the human mind v.31-38

understanding of the seasons, navigation (31-32)

cannot control or direct constellations; do have sufficient understanding to read their story, use for finding way around

understanding the weather (37-38)

cannot control or direct weather; do have sufficient understanding to predict – especially important for safety these days

source of understanding (36)

rhetorical question, like others in our text: who did it? well, God, of course! But he did it because he is good; could have kept all his secrets locked up, not given ability to understand or keys to unlock

Because God is good, has done what is good and what will demonstrate his goodness. One of his good gifts is understanding; but…that gift has limits! Only God understands everything; has not granted same scope of understanding to us. Here’s what he has done though: has given us all understanding we need to be able to trust him and obey him.

Read his two books and what do we reach for conclusion? His world book tells us he is all-powerful; his word book tells us he is good and uses his power for good of his people. If all God has done in his works of creation and providence are for his glory and our good, God can certainly be trusted in our circumstances. There’s not a detail, a complication, an aspect or experience that is part of our lives that escapes God’s understanding. Means we can trust him no matter what is going on, especially when we don’t understand.

If you are in one of those places like Job, God probably won’t give you answers to all your questions. But…he will show you how absolutely sufficient he is for all your need. Trust God with everything: only he can bring you safely home!

God Is Indeed Glorious

Job 37

Remember where Elihu began this final speech of his: “Bear with me a little, and I will show you That there are yet words to speak on God’s behalf.” (Job 36:2) Elihu the self-appointed spokesman for God, determined to make sure Job knew all the facts about God. Starts out big and bold and brash, confident he had all right answers. Job and friends just needed patience to hear him out – would eventually be obvious he was right.

Like before, makes some valid points as he goes along, grows in his self-assurance with each challenge he offers up to Job. Works his way through the seasons: rains accompanied by thunder and lightning of autumn; hibernating animals, cold winds and ice of winter; fresh winds and rain of spring followed by intense heat of summer. Elihu sees hand of God in all this – the weather and change of seasons bear clear testimony to a majestic and glorious God at work.

Issues three strong imperatives to Job, each one growing in volume and intensity: listen to the thunder of his voice, Job; consider his wondrous works, Job; tell us what to say, Job. Then suddenly, Elihu becomes aware of something – when he began describing storm with its rain / thunder / lightning, far off in the distance and maybe not even coming their way. While he has been talking, storm has come nearer, now is nearly on top of them. And it’s no ordinary storm – Elihu has sinking feeling that he’s about to be overwhelmed, his voice and bravery trail off into the raging wind.

A. Listen to the thunder of his voice, Job v.2-13

imagine telling Job this!!! Job, who has been pleading for God to speak, respond to his demands for answers, and all he’s heard is deafening silence – tell him to listen attentively to God’s voice, right…..

yet Elihu is right – when God speaks, things happen; 7x, Genesis 1, “God said” and his command was instantly obeyed

when God spoke to Moses, gave ten commandments, awesome things happened: “Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.” (Ex. 19:18)

what God actually accomplishes with his voice goes far beyond what we can even comprehend, much less achieve

how many times did you have to tell junior to clean his room? do his homework? co-worker to do his job? – not so with God

apostle Peter helps understand how God uses his voice throughout all history: “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:5-7)

snow, gentle / heavy rain, freezing of ponds-lakes-rivers, seasonal behaviors of animals – hibernation of bears and woodchucks, migration of hummingbirds and monarch butterflies and geese — all evidence of God’s authoritative commands at work

but…Job probably thinking: never doubted God and his voice of command, sustaining his creatures and their environment; how does what you just said help me? I want God to speak to me in the midst of my pain and affliction and confusion!

Heb. 1:1-2God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;”

sometimes God thunders, other times he hides himself from view and hearing; always speaks to his people through his word – written and living

in written word have record of suffering of the living Word – that heart-wrenching cry from Calvary: “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”” (Mark 15:34)

what words do we hear from that Suffering Servant? the one abandoned and afflicted by his Father?

Isa. 53:5-6 “I was wounded for your transgressions, I was bruised for your iniquities; The chastisement for your peace was upon Me, And by My stripes you are healed.All you like sheep have gone astray; you have turned, every one, to your own way; And the LORD has laid on Me the iniquity of you all.”

because of what Jesus accomplished for his people, can say with Paul: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)

B. Consider his wondrous works, Job v.14-18

if Elihu’s intention to encourage Job, give him hope – totally blew it with next portion of his speech, series of rhetorical questions

expected same answer from Job for all of them – umm, no, of course not; that is God’s job, I have no clue

Elihu’s point? if you can’t figure out how and why God does everyday things, how can you expect to understand what God is doing in your life

and, btw, he hasn’t written it yet, but remember Isaiah 55:8-9“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

but…Job probably thinking, again: never doubted God’s power and wisdom; but how does what you just said help me? I want God to explain himself, I need God to explain himself to me in the midst of my pain and affliction and confusion!

far better for God to reveal himself than explain himself! which would you rather have – explanation about God or encounter with God?

Job will soon learn – encounter with the living God far more satisfying than anything else, was exactly what God knew Job needed most

in that encounter Job will learn that God can be trusted…without reservation of any kind

C. Tell us what to say, Job v.19-21

Elihu’s last shot at Job – Ok, you’re so smart, since God is like this in his glorious majesty, tell us what we should say to him!!

if you can’t even look at the sun when it is out, how will you possibly look at God and presume to question him?

fair question! God is certainly all that Elihu portrayed; he just didn’t go far enough, but still, how did beloved disciple act?

Rev. 1:12-17Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.”

D. Shutting up now v.22-24

perhaps Elihu looked over his shoulder, saw this was no typical storm; his confidence evaporated, head hung down, voice trailed off to mutter, God was in that whirlwind

speaking on God’s behalf no longer necessary, God was about to speak for himself, at least to Job

the other four – maybe like those with Daniel when saw vision of glorious man by River Tigris: Dan. 10:7And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.”

so who is right, Elihu or Job? Elihu offers no hope of real relationship between man and God; in his view, distance too great

God is God, clothed with awesome splendor and majesty; God does what God does, tiny little man can never figure out God or his ways; would be swallowed up (20) if he tried to speak to God

Elihu’s best advice: suck it up, do your best, take whatever God sends you and quit your griping

Job could agree with a lot Elihu said, even part about immense distance between God and man; unlike Elihu, Job recognized solution to his need

remember what he said few chapters ago: Job 9:33-35Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both.Let Him take His rod away from me, And do not let dread of Him terrify me.Then I would speak and not fear Him, But it is not so with me.”

here’s what Lord Jesus does as Mediator:

takes away rod of God’s anger – God need not be angry any more, sinner’s penalty is paid

takes away fear and dread – presence of Mediator guarantees acceptance of believer, no need for fear

stands between to reconcile and bless – ongoing work of Mediator standing between with hand on both that keeps believer reconciled to God; blessings of God for believer flow only through Mediator

this Mediator not your average well-dressed lawyer type; is glorious Son of God seen by Daniel and John, whose prayer had been answered:

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”John 17:1-5

We worship a God who is glorious indeed. We have a glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus. Don’t be satisfied with anything less than greatest understanding of God and his glory that he will give you. Moses pleaded with God: “show me your glory”. Don’t be shy, use Moses as your example, plead with God to show you his glory, wherever and however he chooses to do so. Moses didn’t get what he asked for, but didn’t come up empty either! Same will be true for you – sincerely ask God for more of himself. Don’t settle for anything less.

God Is More Than We Imagine

Job 36

Elihu like the young mechanic who needs to get job done but lacks the right tool. Goes to his full tool box – Snap-On work of art, real showpiece. Pulls out one, gives best shot, fails to get results. Goes back, again and again and again. Eventually gives up, believing problem is just too stubborn for him to solve. No clear progression to Elihu’s arguments, further along he gets the less relevant to Job they become; more insistent he becomes that he is speaking truth. Even goes so far as to claim he is speaking on God’s behalf.

Can almost see Job (and three friends, E-B-Z) look at one another, roll their eyes: oh boy, here we go again! Maybe a few yawns, squirming around, signs of inattention. Chief Straight Arrow – Camp Good News, story of Nehemiah, very engaging way of presenting Bible truth. Borrowed a technique from Elihu. When campers start to get restless, no warning at all: “Sit up straight, eyes front.” Elihu uses similar method: v.5, 22, 26, 30 – behold; listen up, pay attention, this is important. You know what? Elihu was right; makes four significant points about God – God is mighty, God is exalted, God is great, God is light. In short, God is more than we imagine. Living in fallen, sin-corrupted world that’s the kind of God we need.

Look around – neighborhood, nation, natural world: disasters everywhere. Epidemics, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, barbaric behavior by individuals and nations, examples of injustice and suffering abound. Then scariest place of all: sinful hearts of men, women, boys and girls – Jer. 17:9“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

Is that the way it is because God isn’t up to the job of fixing what’s wrong with the world? If all you look at is what you can see out there, might be tempted to reach that conclusion. Out there isn’t whole story, not even most important part. Far more important what God has revealed to mankind through his word.

A. LOOK, God is mighty v.5-21

power

Almighty God (Gen. 17:1-2, El Shaddai) – identified himself that way to Abraham: “the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”

has all the power necessary to bring about his purpose and he uses his power to that end; has resources and will and intent

world has been and is now the way it is because it suits God’s eternal purpose – he holds all power over all his creation, even the hearts of sinful man

created it in the beginning, destroyed it with a flood; will destroy again with fire and make it new on that Great Day he has on his calendar from the beginning

goodness

mighty, even almighty does not equal distant or disengaged from his creation – God doesn’t have imaginary friends or facebook friends, is not running things with an app on his iPhone

God uses his almighty power for good because he is good: we know that a little from observation and experience, mostly from his Word

our perspective far too limited to see how what God does is good: only see a tiny fraction of all that goes on in a tiny slice of time, and our tiny minds can only comprehend a little

must rely on broader perspective that comes from God’s point of view to really get it; even then, must take God at his word since he doesn’t show us everything

God pays attention to his people and their needs (7); that his people have needs not due to lack of goodness or attentiveness on God’s part

God teaches his people how to please him – not simply a case of “told you once what the rules are, you blew it, BOOM, there’s the payback”

tells them why life is tough (9), makes sure they understand what he means (10) – especially true when their affliction = chastening / correction (Rev. 3:19)

justice

God not only is just, he does what is just and will accomplish perfect and complete justice; can say that with assurance because he has both power and character to bring it about

man’s biggest problems with God’s justice: doesn’t act according to our schedule using our methods – if I were God, if it were up to me, I would…..

there is justice for both righteous and wicked – we don’t begin to see full scope of it even though Elihu has his nice little formula (6, 17)

for righteous: justice means Christ bearing full penalty for sin; for wicked: justice means eternal condemnation; what we observe / experience in this life small piece of whole picture

mercy

God does show mercy to those who are afflicted (15), whether affliction is for purpose of correction or for another purpose

truth be told, no one receives exactly what they deserve in this life, whether righteous or unrighteous

if God had not shown mercy, all would still be slaves to sin without any hope – Eph. 2:4-5But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”

talk about needing the power of an almighty God to achieve something – only God can bring the dead to life

B. LOOK, God is exalted v.22-25

world is not the way it is because God lacks wisdom or authority to change it

who can teach God anything

God is master teacher, source of all knowledge; problem evolutionists can’t solve: source of information present in universe

Bible makes it clear – it all came from God, whatever we might try to give to him came from him in first place; no wonder God told Isaiah: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9)

who can map out God’s course of action

no one can do that: it’s too big and complicated – encompasses all things in all creation for all time and eternity

besides, God already did it Isa. 46:9-10…I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

who can hold God accountable

recent comment: “Praying for the best result and hope God makes the right decision”; first thought, if ever any doubt God would make right decision, time for new god

Paul asked similar question to Elihu: “But 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?” (Rom. 9:20)

C. LOOK, God is great v.26-29

v.26 God is more than we imagine CEV

we, with tiny little minds at loss to figure out intricacies of his creation – how could we ever begin to figure out God

throw numbers around – this many stars and galaxies in the universe; this many light years across; how many species of bugs, cells in average human body, power released by sun per day

now explain what all numbers and measurements mean; wrap your mind around them, all of them, and all the rest

God spoke them all into existence fully formed and designed with embedded laws by which to function

his creative genius only one aspect of God’s thought; add in his providential governing of his creation, his eternal plan of redemption; put with that everything necessary to make it happen – got a headache yet?

God isn’t just great, infinite, immense – is beyond our words, our thoughts, our ability to conceive

D. LOOK, God is light v.30-33

scatters his light (30), covers hands with lightning (32) – dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16) sends out that light wherever and whenever he pleases, directs it to his intended target

if God is mighty, exalted, more than we imagine, should be no surprise that he is unquestioned sovereign governing his creation – what we call forces of nature actually created order following God’s purpose

just as surely as God directs track o a thunderstorm, so he directs rays of regenerating light into hearts of sinners dead in sin

no god of human design has power to give life; no god of human design has desire to give life; no god of human design has any life of its own

Charles Wesley understood the wonder of conversion. Knew from experience what was like to be dead in sin, then suddenly brought to life:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

If you have faith today in any other God than the one who does just that: brings dead sinners to life by the same power that raised his son the Lord Jesus from the dead, then your faith is worthless. If your faith is in the God of the Bible, one who is more than we imagine, then you need to talk him up. Make him look good by how you think, speak, and act; then talk about our great God to others. Tell them if they quit trusting in themselves or their manufactured gods, turn from their sin, trust in Christ and his righteousness, they too can have assurance of eternal life.

But, you say, I have faith in God but not enough to go talk about it. The size of your faith is far less important than the object of your faith. A little faith in a great God will accomplish much for Christ and his kingdom. There’s a whole world lost in darkness and sin; God sent his Son into the world to be the light of the world. Jesus expects his followers to be lights in the world, too. Take your little faith in a great God and with God’s help and by his grace bring the light of the Gospel to all who will listen.