This is the final sermon in a five part series on the story of Job from the Hebrew Scripture. There are two take-aways from this series. First, we can be honest with God, no matter how we feel. God invites us into authentic relationship. Second, God calls us into the space of paradox that brings warring dichotomies together. Watch the animation to see what I mean.
Here’s the Animated short I played at the end of the sermon…
Read the Sermon
This is our final week of Job.
This book is a very sophisticated piece of literature. It is a thought experiment designed to deal with this central question:
If God is good and just, then why do innocent people suffer?
Pastor Mark took us on the virtual tour of the universe and we heard God speak from the whirlwind.
The answer to the question is that the universe is bigger than our understanding and all we can do is trust in the relationship we have with God.
It has been a painful and powerful series, at least for me.
Today we come to the final moment, and it is time to reflect. What are the take-aways?
The key verse is Job 42:7,
The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends;
for you have not spoken of me what is right,
as my servant Job has.
Is it just me, or does this strike you as odd. Have you been paying attention to how Job speaks about God?
Let’s look at one example from chapter 23.
“Today also my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy despite my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his dwelling! I would lay my case before him, and fill my mouth with arguments… “If I go forward, he is not there; or backward, I cannot perceive him; on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him; I turn to the right, but I cannot see him…Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; If only I could vanish in darkness, and thick darkness would cover my face!
Job’s theme throughout the whole book is “I AM INNOCENT!” Why doesn’t anyone believe me? Why is God being so mean.
So, how has Job spoken rightly about God?
Here’s what I think.
[ADVANCE] He spoke TO God, as if God was a real, dynamic someone.
[ADVANCE] The friends spoke ABOUT God, as if God was a static formula.
If you hear nothing else from this series, hear this.
Be honest to God
God is your creator, like a loving parent, who wants to hear from you. God desires a relationship with you. Yes, God will discipline you when you need it. That is predictable pain. However, this God creates with a wild randomness and gives us free will. That means bad things can happen and it’s nobody’s fault. Yet, God has promised to be with us through it all.
Be honest to God.
Now, that’s the first take-away. But, I’ve been wrestling with a second one that gets a little deeper.
Remember, way back on the first week, we talked about the Job dilemma. It seems like there are three things at play in our observation of life.
We believe that God is good and just.
Justice punishes the bad and rewards the good. That’s the wisdom of Proverbs, the retribution principle, karma.
Yet, innocent people suffer.
How can all these things be true?
Logic says they can’t.
We see these polar opposites throughout Job
[ADVANCE] Either God is just OR there is no Justice
[ADVANCE] Either God is in Control OR the universe is Chaos
[ADVANCE] Either serving God is beneficial OR There’s NO POINT.
When we boil these down, it seems like most of our life experience comes to this.
Either I’m right and You’re wrong OR You’re Right and I’m wrong.
Have you ever noticed that?
Last week, on a Thursday morning, I was on my walk and wrestling with these thoughts and the fact that I would be preaching this sermon. An animation flooded into my mind. So, I spent three days and 25 hours to make this video. Now, I want to share it with you.
This is what I got from Job.