Let's pray together. Father we thank you for your goodness to us. We pause for just a few moments to consider that, how you've been so kind and so good and given us so many opportunities, you've given us life itself. And then beyond that you've given us everlasting life. So to put it in perspective we're pretty sure about the next few billion years, you've got that all taken care of because of what Jesus did. And so surely you have everything between now and then taken care of as well, even our life and our situations and what we're going through now on this earth. We commit all of that to you and we commit this time to you because we believe you the gracious sovereign wonderful God, you want to speak to us today, you want to reveal to us today, you want us to discover you today. And we pray that we would. In Jesus' name. Amen.
I think that as Americans we can pretty boastful about our accomplishments and our discoveries. After all, we're a nation of pioneers, we're a bunch of entrepreneurs and inventors. We like that about our identity. There was an Englishman and an American having an argument. The American was very boastful and said, "Ahem, when we Americans came up with a new way to process cotton, you Brits said it was impossible." And then he continued, "And when we invented the automobile and we invented the airplane, all you English people could say is, "Oh that's very interesting." And when we invented the computer, all you English people could say is, "Oh that's a very promising invention." So the American said, "So tell me, besides like a steam engine and few looms what have you ever invented?" And the Brit answered back, "You language."
Discovery changes the way we live. Discoveries lead to gadgets that make our life easier supposedly, fun at least. I've got this little iphone that I was giving announcements on, do you remember the first mobile phones? They were like that big. You had to carry them in a wagon and we were, we thought it was like so cool, like "Here look at this, it's a mobile phone." Koosh! But now, you've got a camera on here, a video camera on here, you can access the Internet, it's a telephone as well, music's on it, you can watch television on it. I've got like sixty applications besides that. It's amazing in this little piece of technology. Since the U.S. Patent Office opened in 1790 we dole out in this country a hundred thousand patents every year. We encourage discovery, we encourage development. But what is the greatest of all discoveries? What is the ultimate discovery? Well that would depend on who you ask of course. If you were to think about scientific discoveries, one might say, ‘The discovery of microorganisms, when that microscope was first developed and we could peer into that level of life, that was the greatest discovery ever.' Otheres would say, ‘The notion that our planets are moving was a great discovery in understanding how life works.' Another scientist, ‘It's understanding the DNA.' Still others would say, ‘Gravity.' On and on it goes. And all of those are great discoveries and we're grateful for all of them. But that is not the ultimate discovery. The ultimate discovery by far is a spiritual one, because this discovery doesn't just make your life better off, it makes your eternal life better off. And so what is that discovery? What is the ultimate?
Well here's my take on it. It's not that we're just supernatural in our makeup, you know wome people say, "I've discovered that we as humans have a supernatural component." Oh, wow, I'm glad you figured that out. But I don't think that's the ultimate discovery. Others might say, "The ultimate discovery is the discovery of God, that there is God." But I don't really think that's the ultimate discovery because the Bible says, "Only a fool would deny that, it's so obvious." But I think perhaps the ultimate discovery is not the fact of God, not the spiritual component of God, but it's who we are in relation to God, who we are in relation to God. And how we respond to that. Now that is what Job discovers. Job makes no less than three discoveries before this book closes followed by one decision. And that's our outline this morning. Three amazing discoveries, one appraising decision.
Before we jump into our text in reading it this morning, I want to pose a question to you. I want you to think about this, I want you to put this in your brain, in your heart, as we go through this study, it's about your own personal growth: when is change ever not needed in your life? When is change ever not needed? When do you ever come to a place where you just stop changing. I remember in my high school annual, I had some guy write in the back of my high school annual, "Don't ever change, dude." I said, "That's got to be the stupidest piece of advice ever written." "Don't ever change." I hope you're always changing. I would hope that as truth is revealed to all of us, about God, about life, about ourselves, that we make an evaluation and at the point of evaluation we make an adjustment. That's healthy life.
Okay, we begin in chapter 38 with thre amazing discoveries. This is what I want you to notice about where we're at. Look at verse 1, "Then the Lord answered Job." Job has been waiting for this the whole book. "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind." Remember Job has been charging God saying he is unjust. Job maintained, "I don't deserve what I'm going through, this isn't my fault. I'm in pain. God, why won't you speak?" So, up til now God has been silent, now he speaks. Up til now, the only one God spoke to in this book is Satan behind the scenes about Job. Job's been crying out fo rhis and now God finally speaks. And boy does he speak. Chapter 38, 39, 40, 41; four chapters, it's God speaking to Job. And basically God's challenging Job with seventy questions. Seven-zerio, seventy unanswerable questions and God wants to prove two points. Number one, his majesty; and number two Job'z inadequacy. "This is who I am, Job, this is who you are not. And I'm the one your challenging." Here's what's really interesting to me about God speaking: God never answers the question, the real big question, the real nagging question that Job had, that we have. How can a good God, a God of love, a God of justice allow evil to exist, especially in my personal life? God never answers that question. The big question Job had: "God where are you when I'm suffering?" He never answers it. Instead, God escorts Job around the universe. He says, "I did this, I did that. You didn't. I made this, I made that, you didn't. I know this, I know that, you don't." And yet perhaps even more amazing, God not only doesn't answer the question but in chapter 42, we find Job submitting to this god who doesn't answer his question. So obviously Job has discovered some things that we need to learn about to get to that point. The first thing that he discovers is the majesty of God. Chapter 38, God is speaking, verse 2, I'll give you just a samples of this, we can't read through all four chapters obviously. "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (All those, all those men, Job and his three friends, they didn't know what they were talking about.) Now prepare yourself like a man I will question you and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding, who determined its measurements, surely you know. Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened. Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy? Or, who shut in the sea with doors?" On and on and on the questions go. He learns the majesty of God. Now these questions are rhetorical devices designed to educate Job. God takes Job on a field trip. This is an oral exam you might say. Fields like cosmology, oceanography, meteorology, astronomy and zoology. Did you notice in verse 1 that God spoke to Job out of a whirlwind? I wonder why. Could it be, because the only other time we read about it is chapter 1 verse 19, that's how his sons were killed. In a whirlwind, the thing that was the dread thing in Job's life was the whirlwind that killed his children. Now God is speaking out of the whirlwind, out of that horrible experience, God was there speaking to Job.
Now turn with me to chapter 42, let's get to the end, after God is done speaking. We find out what Job learns. "Then Job answered the Lord and said, ‘I know that you can do everything, 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. Listen please and 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." What did Job learn of the majesty of God? Well he says in verse 2 that God can do anything. Look at it, "I know that you can do everything." Now what's happening here? I'll tell you what's happening. God just schooled Job, for four chapters. So, Job just learned from God himself how limited God was. So in a nutshell, in just a basic statement, Job teaches us what he has learned, what he has discovered about God. God can do anything. Theologians give it the term omni which means all potent, which means powerful. God is omnipotent, he can do anything, he never gets tired, he never moves from a simple project to a big one and goes, "This is hard. This is going to be a tough one." He never runs out of enery. A.W. Tozer helps us and he says, "All of his acts are done without effort. He expends no energy that must be replenished." His self-sufficiency makes it unnecessary for him to look outside himself for a renewal of strength. All the power required to do all that he wills to do lies in undiminished fullness in his own infinite being. That's beautifully put. God never struggles, God never needs an assistant. That's why the psalmist in Psalm 47 says, "The Lord Most High is awesome." He is the great king over all the earth. If anyone ever deserved the word awesome, it was God. Yet we've assigned that word to every experience in the universes, haven't we these days. We says, "My hamburger, man, that was awesome." It was a hamburger, goodness. God is awesome, unique, he is majestic, he can do anything.
Look more carefully at verse 2, the second half. Not only can God do anything, God controls everything. "And," says Job, "The no purpose of yours can be withheld from you. Now I know that some of you struggle with the sovereignty of God, you've wrestled with it, you are not at ease with that concept. And I'm not here to try to prove that point this morning, don't have the time. But I will say, you will be a happier person when you finally rest in the fact that God is in control and God is sovereign and life will go better.
How powerful then is God? He's powerful enough to make everything in the universe. And powerful enough to take care of anything in your personal life. That's sovereign power. Now when I think of power, unfortunately my mind takes me back to Star Trek, because I'll never forget, it seems like every episode, the chief engineer Scotty was so worried that they'd have enough power to get from one place to the next. Remember all those episodes? "Help me, I don't think we can hold it together. We need more power. Where are the dilithium crystals, Captain?" He was so worried that that starship would have power to make it through the journey. God never worries about having enough power. And God's followers should never worry about god's power. He has enough, unlimited supply.
A small boy was trying to tell his friends about God and the best he could come up with is that God is greater than Superman, Batman and the Power Rangers put together. That's not bad. Theologians don't do any better than that. So he has discovered the majesty of God, it's an important thing to discover.
The second thing Job discovered is the inadequacy of man. Since we're in chapter 42, look back at verse 5, "I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear but now my eye sees you." Now watch this, he's focused on god but now he turns quickly in contrast to god on himself. "Therefore I abhor myself. I hate what I've learned about myself. And I repent in dust and ashes." Now keep that thought, move back to chapter 40. Chapter 40, now chapter 40 is the only place in this long monologue that God gives to Job where Job interrupts God and says something. And then God continues on again. Chapter 40, verse 1, "Moreover the Lord answered Job and said, ‘Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? He who rebukes God let him answer it.' And then Job answered the Lord and said, ‘Behold I am (what?) vile.' NLT, New Living translation, I am nothing. I am vile. What shall I answer you? I lay my hand over my mouth and once I have spoken but I will not answer. yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.'" Did you notice a contrast between the one who contends, that's Job, and the Almighty, that's God. It's a contrast Job is drawing between himself and God. See for four chapters God tells Job in effect, "Job, I'm God, you're not." And now Job says, "I get it. In fact, I am nothing in comparison to you." Do you know what's happening? In seeing god in his majesty, Job now sees himself next to God and whatever appraisal you have of yourself before you see God, once you see God you go, "Yech, ouch, man!" It's amazing how quickly we change when we stand next to him. My mind goes to the prophet Isaiah and here's why: Because he was a notable prophet. You know Isaiah was the Billy Graham of Judah. He would m arch through the streets of Jerusalem and gain an audience with the people when he would say, "to what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices?" sayeth the Lord. "I've had enough of your burnt offerings and the fat of your sacrifices. I want justice." And then he would turn around and say, "Come let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, I'll make them as white as snow." That beautiful articulate appeal. Isaiah the prophet, the Billy Graham of Judah. Until he gets to chapter 6. Chapter 6 of Isaiah he sees a vision of God high and lifted up and the train of his robe splenderously filled the temple, the glory of God was seen and now Isaiah the prophet says, "Woe is me. I'm ruined." Did you get that? Not, "Wow is me." That may be before you met god. Now it's "Woe is me." Interesting reaction. Why did he say that after having a vision of God? I know people who say they've had a vision of God and they write books and go on speaking tours about it. Not this guy, it humbled him because even a prophet next to the purity of God's holiness must say, "Woe is me." This what it would be like, I don't know what kind of a voice you have for singing, you may have a pretty good voice. Or, if you're like the average person, you can do the shower great, no problem. You can carry a tune. Some wish that you'd carry it out but you can carry a tune. You sing and you love to sing. But it just happens that one day you're in church and you're sitting next to somebody with the most beautifully trained voice you've every heard. And now you have to sing out in the shower next to that person. And however good it sounds in the shower, it doesn't quite sound like that now, do you know what I mean? And so you hear them sing and you start going, "Ehhhh," squeaking out your little tune and you say, "Woe is me."
True story, I was in Nashville, Tennessee a couple months back speaking. And I went, there's music shops everywhere, it's music mecca. And I was looking at guitars. And whenever I look at a guitar and ask questions, they would say, "Are you a player?" And I'd say, "Well yeah, you know I've played guitar for so many years." Well I'm with a guy who's from Nashville and he says, "Skip, be careful how you answer that question here in Nashville because what you don't understand is there's people who work in gas stations that are better guitar players than most of the rest of America who play guitar. These people are stacked so thick here in Nashville just waiting for a chance. So just be careful." And I'm thinking, "That's funny. Yeah right." So later that day I walk into a grocer store, a grocery store, in Leeper's Fork. And there's a guy playing guitar and I thought, "Oh how cute, a guitar player ina grocer ctore." He has an audience of only four people. And then I listen and go, "He's pretty good." And I keep listening, "He's relly good." And I come to find out, this guy was just voted the best blues guitar player in America by Guitar Player magazine. And he's playing to four people in a grocery store. And all I could think of is, "Woe is me." This wanna-be gets quickly humbled in that kind of talent presence.
Well, when you see God, this is the result. When you contact God, it deflates you of pride. Show me a person filled with pride, I will show you one who has never encountered the living God, it can't happen. Peter the apostle was naturally aggressive. He was a fisherman, that was his gig, he worked on the Sea of Galilee. Until Jesus got in his boat and when Jesus got in his boat, Jesus showed that he was a better fisherman. He dropped his net and there were so many fish that the boat almost sank. Now Peter didn't say, "Well you know Jesus I've done that too." No, all Peter could come up with was this: "Depart from me, I am a sinful man." Peter saw himself in the light of who he was with.
John the apostle had a similar experience. He sees the glory of Jesus in the book of Revelation and he said, "When I saw him I fell down as a dead man." Any time we encounter the living God, it brings conviction. Jesus called it ‘poor in spirit.' Poor in spirit. By the way, the old songs seem to have this element very present. They seem to not be ashamed to confess this inadequacy in the light of God's majesty. It's missing in a lot of modern songs. That's why we like to bring some of those old expressions and sing them often. "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wrtetch like me." Another song by Isaac Watts, the one who gave us "Joy to the World," says, "Alas and did my savior bleed and did my sovereign die. Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?" Did you hear that? We live in a different age than that. It's all about self esteem today. "For such a worm as I." But that's biblical, in seeing the majesty of God he saw the nothingness of himself but we cannot stop there. We discover more than that. And if that's all you discover, I'm sorry for you because you're just going to walk out of church every day and go, "Yeah I'm so bad. I'm just such a worm, I'm going to go crawl all over the parking lot and get in my worm-mobile and crawl home." That's not Christianity, that's a disease. What Job discovered is not only the majesty of God and the inadequacy of man but the generosity of that God toward man. The generosity, how God wants to bless the insignificant.
Chapter 42, verse 10, "And the Lord restored Job's losses. When he prayed for his friends, indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all of his brothers, all of his sisters, all those who had been his acquaintances before came to him and ate food with him in his house and consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. (What a family reunion that must have been.) Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning," and then the numbers of what God gave him are listed. I didn't have you read it but in verse 9 it says, "The Lord accepted Job." Isn't that interesting? We always think, "I've accepted the Lord." I think the Lord has accepted you. So it says, "The Lord accepted Job." Verse 10, "The Lord restored Job." In that same verse, "The Lord gave." Verse 12, "The Lord blessed. Get the language? God accepted, God gave, God restored, God blessed. This is the language of generosity. This is the language of a God who loves to bless his people. Let those words sink in. After God showed Job his majesty and after Job confessed his inadequacy, now God demonstrates his generosity toward this worm, Job. He blessed and lavished in love Job at that part of his life.
St. Francis of Assissi was asked by someone how he was able to accomplish so much. I thought you needed to hear his answer. He replied, "God looked down from heaven and said, ‘Where can I find the weakest littlest man on earth?' And he saw me and he said, ‘I found him. I will work through him and he won't be prideful because of it. He'll see that I'm only using him because of his insignificance."
Three discoveries Job makes: The majesty of God, the inadequacy of himself, and the generosity of God's toward him. Three amazing discoveries that lead to one praising decision. Job discovers he has to do something about it. Chapter 42, let's see what he says. Look at verse 5, "I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, now my eye sees you," verse 6, "therefore (don't miss that) therefore because of what I have learned about you God, because of what you've taught me about yourself, because of these discoveries, therefore because of that I abhor myself and repent in dust an dashes." Now I know what you're thinking: Job, repent? Of what? What did Job do wrong? Well, he had to repent of his pride and his arrogance, that comes through clearly in what he said about God in this book and about himself in this situation. He had to repent for his attitude in demanding that God owed him an answer for what he was suffering. Job demanded, "God, you owe me an answer. You need to explain this to me." And essentially he is repenting of not having known God better. Essentially Job is not asking the ‘Why?' questions any more. He doesn't say, "Why this? Why that? Why would that happen? No, what he is saying is ‘I don't need to know why. I just need to know God, better. I repent of not knowing you better. You just schooled me, I get it. So the real problem then wasn't a theodacy problem. Remember the word theodacy? We described it for you, it's the idea of how can just loving God allow evil to exist in what he created? It wasn't that issue. It was a fellowship issue. A fellowship issue. Now, we're always going to hear these questions, every time there's tragedy I've heard and I've heard them for years. But I remember after September 11th, the resounding chorus of voices, "Where was God? When those planes crashed into those tours and thousands of people needlessly died, where was He?" God was in the same place he was at when his Son was lifted up on the cross: right there. Right there, the same place, right in the midst of the suffering. And you know the most disillusioned people after the crucifixion were Jesus' own disciples. They thought, "How could we be so duped? We believed this was it, that he was the one." Oh guys, just, just wait three days that's all. Just hold that thought for three days and watch what happens. Well Job gets a glimpse of God and that's enough for him, that's enough.
Now Job has to do something. And Job says, "I repent." Now that the concept of repentance is a key concept in the bible. Fifty-eight times in the New Testament alone, repentance or repent is mentioned. John the Baptist's first sermon probably could have been entitled, "Repent you slimy snakes." That was his first sermon, quite a sermon. He said, "You brood of vipers, who has warned you from the wrath that is to come? Bear forth fruit worthy of repentance." He loved that word. It was his first sermon. Among Jesus' first words were, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And fifty-eight times we read about it. But when we think of repentance, we think that's what unbelievers need to do, that's a word for the heathen. After all, Pet er said, "God isn't willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Paul addressed the Athenian crowds when he said, "God commands all men everywhere to repent." So we go, "Yeah, they need to repent." We have problem now, here is Job repenting. Here's the godly guy who suffered through not his own fault, who was leveled, the one God bragged about and said, "Have you considered my servant Job, there's no one like him on earth. He's upright, he's blameless." And now Job is repentant. Why? Here's why and listen very carefully. Repentance is a lifestyle because repentance metanoia means to change. To change, to reconsider, to change your mind, to alter your direction. It means to change. And it's not just for an unbeliever, in the initiating of salvation. But it's for a believer in the authenticating of salvation.
I'm going to close with a scripture out of Revelation chapter 2. Would you turn to Revelation 2? It's a great name of the book that we're about to look at. Revelation, we're going to get one, Revelation chapter 2. Now if you have a red letter edition of the Bible and you're turning there, you'll notice everything's in red. That's because Jesus is doing a lot of talking. He's talking to churches. This is Jesus talking to Christians who are in churches. And he says in chapter 2, verse 1, "To the angel of the church of Ephesus, write these things says he who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, "I know your works, your labor, your patience, that you cannot bear those who are evil; that you have tested those who say they are and are not and have found them liars. You have persevered and had patience and have labored for my name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you: You've left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent and do the first works or else I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Unless you repent." In verse 12, he speaks of the church at Pergamos and says in verse 16, "Repent or else I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth." That is his word. Verse 18, he begins to speak to the church of Thyatira and says in verse 21, "I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality. And she did not repent." Chapter 3, verse 1, "To the angel of the church of Sardis, Write these things says He who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, "I know your works, that you have a name, that you are alive. But you are dead. Be watchful, strengthen the things which remain that are ready to die. For I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard and hold fast and repent." And then it's neatly summed up in verse 19, (I love it) "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent."
Now I've got to believe the majority of the people in those churches were Christians. Not all of them, but the majority must have been God's people. This is Jesus writing to his people. And what's the book called? The Book of Revelation. Here's Jesus revealing truth to his church: truth about the future, truth about God, truth about themselves. And it's he's revealing truth to them he wants them to do something with the truth. He wants them to repent. To repent.
Now back tot hat original question we started with: When is change ever not needed in your life? When is change ever not needed? Are you the kind of a person that says, "Well now that I've reached this age, I don't change much for anybody." It's so sad, get to what age? Are you saying you just need to get buried now? When is change ever not needed? Here's the application: If you're angry with your wife and you hear a sermon about love and forgiveness, you know what you need to do? Repent. If you're sexually immoral with your boyfriend and you hear or you read the scripture that says, "Avoid sexual immorality," do you know what you need to do? Repent. If you are indifferent toward spiritual things, you're nonchalant about them and you come and hear about worship or you hear a radio thing or you read something in scripture or a book that talks about loving God with all of your heart, you know what you must do? You must repent. Revelation must lead to repentance. Discovery must lead this decision. And that's what Job ends with. That's what Job ends with. He finally says, "Okay, I get it. You're God, I'm not. You're huge. You're amazing. You can do anything and take care of everything. And what I see and know of you and now I see myself, oh man. But you're so good to me, you're so generous toward me. I repent. I change. At this point of revealed truth I alter my direction.
It's the end of the book Job but this is not the end of the lessons God wants us to apply in our lives. There's never a point where we don't need to change. So if you have that written in your annual, kindly erase it this afternoon. "Don't ever change," no, always change.
I found something, I've been waiting actuallyf or this moment to share it with you, "Ten Weeks of A Most Amazing Man: Job." I thought this would be a fitting end. Now you apply this to yourself but think of Job as you do. "When God wants to drill a man and thrill a man and skill a man; when God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part, when he years with all his heart to create so great and bold a man that all the world shall be amazed, watch his methods, watch his ways, how he ruthlessly perfects who he royally elects, how he hammers him and hurts him and with might blows converts him, into trial shapes of clay which only God understands, while his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands, how he bends but never breaks, when his good he undertakes; how he uses whom he chooses; and with every purpose fuses him by every act induces him to try his splendor out, God knows what he's about. God knows what he's about. If you were to ask Job, we like to this, "Job, give me one sound byte, dude. What have you learned through all of this? That's what we like to do with people, "Just give me one sentence, what have you learned?" I think he would say, "God knows what he's about. He knows what he's doing. I didn't ge tit. I don't need to get it. I don't need to know why. God knows what he's about. And Job was saying, "I can close the book now and rest, right there." And so shall we.
Heavenly Father, I discover Lord that there are lessons that you have taught me in years past that I have quickly laid aside or forgotten, you're so gracious to remind me of them. Reveal yourself to us Lord, reveal your splendor, your glory, your ability, your majesty. And in so doing, we will see our own falling short of that beautiful perfection. We'll be forced to say, "Woe is me," not "Wow is me" Nor, ‘Why don't they notice me?" But "Woe is me." But then quickly Lord to turn from that to how generous and gracious you are in your favor toward u, will leave us with only one important decision that we all must do and do regularly and that is to repent, to change direction, to alter and reconsider our thought processes snd our lifestyles. And be more and more conformed into the image of Christ. All of us have a long way to go. Thank you for your patience. Give us perserverance. In Jesus' name. Amen.