How low can you go?

“Sooner or later, we’ve all got a Job to do”

Based on Job 1:1, 2:1-10 & Hebrews 1:1-4

& Mark 10: 15.

Proverbs 9:10 tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Fear of the Lord the beginning of Wisdom, and knowledge of Him is understanding.

I thought to myself earlier in the week that I think I need to lighten the load, to concentrate my message not on the trials we face, but only on what’s good in our world. A sought of “oh to be a Christian, everything’s so lovely”.

Them I read the first scripture message for the week, Job. Who would have thought my predetermined thoughts would clash so much with the Word that God had placed before me to work with.

A quick 101 summary of the book of Job.

Job is an exceptionally good man. God himself stated in chapter 1, verse 8:

“ servant Job, there is none like him on earth, a blameless an upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil”.

And he had been blessed with a wife, seven sons and three daughters together with great wealth. A pastor who once said to me “to be a Christian doesn’t mean to go looking to get persecuted, but to face it when it comes” could have well been describing what was about to unfold for Job as for no apparent reason, Job is plunged into terrible suffering. In a series of disasters, his children are taken from him, his property and assets are either taken or destroyed, he loses his health and is inflicted with painful sores from head to foot.

The only thing he would seem to have left was his long suffering wife who also had lost all she had and buried all ten of her children. Who through this was led to tell Job to “curse God and die”.

Yet through all this, it is recorded that Job did not blame God for any of his misfortunes but answered with “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”.

What a guy.

But as he sits there on an ash heap, lost all his children and covered in sores, Job is visited by four friends. Each of whom try and help him understand why this has happened-which in summary was basically that he must have brought this ruin upon himself.

Eventually, despite Job’s insights and legendary patience he cracks and states his case to God as he recalls his life in detail. A life led so blamelessly that no wonder he cries out “Oh, that I had someone to hear me. I now sign my defence-let the almighty answer me.” (31:35)

And he gets his wish, God replies. God shows Job the splendour of his creation and that all he has done. Things that no human can really understand and then basically to Job finishes with: Maybe you have some advice to offer, perhaps you would like to take over and run the world better.

Ouch. Poor old Job gets the picture and repents in replying:

“I am unworthy-how can I reply to you. I put my hand over my mouth (40:4) I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can ever be thwarted. Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

At the end of the day, Job, us, must let God be God.

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

That the book of Job is the first in the series of the wisdom books in the bible seems not to have happened by chance and through all his misfortune Job has been brought to wisdom.

And that wisdom, as we hear it todays Gospel, from verse 15:

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it”.

Job has learnt this wisdom.

And what of the second part of that proverb: “knowledge of the Holy One is understanding?”

Is given to us in the reading from Hebrews, chapter one: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophet, but in these last days he has spoken by His Son., through whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he created the world. He is the radiance of the Glory of God, and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power”.

Is anyone still awake? I know that was a bit long winded but what we see that’s gone on here is still happening.

I’m not putting this in the same boat as Job, not even the same ocean but what does the world say of God. It blames God for everything that doesn’t suite their plan-that they know better, that they are their own God. Unfortunately this not only applies to the world, it applies to us.

Yet ironically, non-Christian’s, atheists and other religions, even though they will not attest to Jesus as the Saviour, agree that he was a good guy. Stood up to the crooked authorities, cared for the unfortunate, led from the front and was an inspiration of a person.

Blame God but cheer Jesus. But from Hebrews: “Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature”.

You see how ironic that is.

The gaining of wisdom and that child-like faith to put two and two together, that Jesus and God-the same, the same who see our suffering and, it must hurt, and both that are not about payback, but the simple truth that they want you to be saved.

There is so much we don’t understand, but like Job, it’s not really our business. Let God be God and ourselves, ourselves.

Many years ago my darling wife, the daughter of a pastor once said to me that her dad said everyone will have one great challenge in their lives, and it looks like mine is in your suffering. And there we see God, seeing how hard it is, but suffering with us to bring some peace. Peace in the truth-that forget all the theology it comes down to one thing, no matter what your disposition, when we are brought to our knees and realise it is true, that the gospel is true, and that like Job we can say and truly believe that no matter what may seem, our God wants for us to be with him, and if he must suffer with us, for no matter how long, so be it-he will do it.

A God of love that doesn’t enjoy our struggles, but lives with it just like us, that through this, maybe, just maybe we will see the truth, and when we do, nothing will ever be the same when we bow down, like Job and simply say the hardest words that can come out of our mouths-your will be done. Amen.


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