What Will Sustain You?
Job 1:20-22; James 5:10-11
This message was preached the day after I had officiated at my aunt's funeral. She and my father had died within one week of each other near the Thanksgiving holiday.
My mother was caught off guard. As we approached the stand next to the vault, the ground above my father's grave was still rough. It was extremely obvious that someone had been buried only days ago. My granddaughter asked in her normal cheerful childish spirit, “Is that where Papa is?” This has been one of the hardest moments for my mother.
“How are you doing, Pastor?” a lot of caring people have asked. The death of a loved one is always an ordeal. Three words are critical to me, “God is good.”
Some are experiencing suffering and pain today that is greater than my own. When I see my discomfort in the light of what these are facing, I am rebuked.
Has a nurse ever asked you, “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?”
A social worker offered me pain relief when dad was dying. I think she was surprised that I was at a 2 on the emotional pain cycle. My mother lost her twin sister and husband of 60 years. Her pain level is much higher. How will she survive? Three key words, “God is good”
The Bible tells of a saint named Job.
- No other man was as God-fearing as was he in that day. He was God’s standard.
- No man in that day was as kind and wise as was Job. He was man’s standard of goodness.
- No man was as rich and prominent as was he.
A Satanic storm wiped him out. While he was still reeling from the first punch, a second came and wiped out his health. Then came the third blow – his friends turned on him in the midst of his grief. THAT IS WHAT A 10 LOOKS LIKE.
When the reports came:
- Job rose from his chair
- Job tore his coat (a robe of honor)
- Don’t get the idea that Job stoically said, “That’s bad news. Let’s not lose our heads.” Chapter 3, Job suggests a new holiday. Call it “Job’s Birthday.” However, it is to be recognized as a day of mourning.
- Job shaved his head
- An unmistakable custom of mourning – like wearing black or an arm band. Job did not try to put the best face on a bad situation.
- Job fell down
- A man who loves God completely can be emotionally devastated when the disaster strikes.
- Job worshiped God
- His grief turned to worship? While he was on the ground empty of all happiness, Job remembered three key words, “God is Good”.
Hear the words of James:
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
We are told by God to weep with those who weep. Does God follow His own instructions? When your heart is breaking, does God cry with you? I see my daughters embracing each other in tears yesterday, what does that do to a father?
On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your pain level today? Hopefully for most, it is not above a three. If you are to survive, you need three words, “God is good”
How does one worship God when his life is crumbling all around him?
Three abiding convictions:
Every Gift We Have Comes from a Gracious God
A.We have no rightful claim on Joy
1.We enter this world “naked”
2.1Timothy 6:5-8 – NT statement of Job
Envy & Covetousness is normal and alluring
B.Let us learn to give thanks rather than cry for more
1.Children cry when they think they are entitled to happiness.
2.Would you rather not receive goodness?
a)Nature is cruel -
Modern man believes that KARMA to do what nature cannot.
b)God is Good
Every Gift God Gives Has an Expiration Date – Psalm 90
A.No human life is forever – Psalm 90:9, 10
1.Normal expectations –
What is you life expectency
2.Our very life is a gift – Psalm 90:12-15
A man’s life is the dash between two numbers on a gravestone
B.Only God is eternal – Psalm 90:4
C.If the gift is ever eternal, it becomes an idol
1.Many idolize their children
- To lose them is “just not right”
- Job buried his future
2.Many idolize their spouses
D.Only one exception to the rule – John 3:16
2.The costliest gift – Hebrews 12:2
3.His poverty makes us rich
4.“God is Good”
God Is never Foolish When He Takes a Gift Away –
1.Foolish does not describe Job's words
2.Job did not charge God with being foolish in His actions
B.Who thinks God is Foolish?
- Ted Turner went to church
- Ted Turner wanted to be a missionary
- His sister contracted a painful and incurable disease
- Ted and his family prayed for her to be spared.
- When she died, Ted wanted nothing more to do with God.
Ted Turner is not alone
C.Where is God when our loved ones die?
1.Lazarus’ sister Mary, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.”
2.God does not treat death foolishly – Psalm 116:15
- We do not understand
- We argue, this is not the right time
- No one had a better excuse than Job – 10 children wiped out as young adults
D.When we cry “WHY ME? WHY NOW?” we may not get the answer we want.
1.All will agree – “I don’t understand”
2.Where you land will depend upon your esteem of God
- Ted Turner was convinced that God, if He existed, was cruel and capricious
- Job was convinced that God was good. – Psalm 119:68
A.Job had no explanation for his misery
B.He had three convictions that allowed him to worship God instead of screaming at Him.
- Every Good gift comes from God, not me
- Every earthy gift has an expiration date that I do not control.
- When God takes a gift away, He never does it foolishly
C.Do you know the Good God as your God? Have you received His free gift?
The recording of this message is available at First Baptist Church.
Please contact and ask for the morning message for December 2, 2012.