Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Tim Potter
- Category: The Book of Job
- April 24, 2022
Wisdom for God's People Enduring Calamity.
Most Christians are enduring some level of difficulty at any given point in their life. The story of Job offers us wisdom in how to endure crisis and calamity in a godly way.
The opening narrative of Job can be divided into 4 scenes that switch between 2 settings. Job 1:1-5 set up our understanding of the main character, Job. Then the scene switches to Heaven, where Satan accuses Job of idolatry, saying he is faithful to God only because of God's gifts (Job 1:6-12). Job is a trophy of God's grace and model of godliness. God knows Job's heart and why he serves Him. Satan's accusation is not true.
Satan can do nothing without God's permission. God will never allow him to do too much that would cause us to turn to apostasy, but only enough to prove our faithfulness. He takes away everything Job has, both material possessions and children, and likely his popularity. Job responds with faith (Job 1:13-22).
In the second heavenly council (Job 2:1-6), Satan revises his attack. He says Job is treating his own health as an idol. God grants permission for Satan to afflict Job's body, which he does in the next scene (Job 2:7-10).
Job maintains his godliness and even remains kind toward his wife who struggles with the trial more than he does. He says she spoke like a foolish woman, but he knows the pattern of her life was godly. The scene ends with an omniscient commentary: "Despite all this, Job did not sin with his lips." What an amazing thing to be said about someone under an extreme trial!
Spiritual & Theological Implications
The heavenly scenes in the book of Job tell us a few things about angels, particularly fallen ones and specifically their leader named Satan. We see that Satan seeks to destroy and devalue our knowledge of God. This is true of him throughout Scripture. He is the "adversary" (literal meaning of the name Satan) of God and His Creation. He is a prowling lion (1 Peter 3) but one on a leash. As one author said, he is a trespasser on another lion's territory, and he is infinitely outmatched by the Lion of Judah.
Satan scrutinizes and suspects our motives, accusing sinners while God pities them. He is a liar and cheat who tries to change rules to save his own face and is evil in all his designs. He is always cruel, while God is always gracious.
Though the leader of fallen angels, Satan is a finite creature. He is completely self-absorbed and unable to understand the transforming power of salvation. He actually believes he can cause godly people like Job to curse God.
1 Peter 1:12 shows us that all angels are learning. Specifically, angels confirmed in holiness are inquiring about salvation because they don't understand how fallenness can be redeemed.
Job's saving faith demonstrates he values God above all else. Calamity tests our values, those that make up our character and our priorities. We can enjoy God's good gifts, but they must not become our identity.
Why would Job need to prove this? One author described Job as the stage, and his soul as the arena of a cosmic struggle. Many New Testament verses show that there is a celestial audience watching human affairs; and the unbelieving world also watches and scrutinizes our responses as we endure difficulty. (See Ephesians 3:8-13, 1 Peter 1:10-12, James 1:12, and 1 Corinthians 4:9.)
Job 1:21 shows that Job believed his calamity came from God. He didn't know Romans 8:28 or Proverbs 3:5-6, but he lived their truth. Remember that whatever God allows or assigns, Satan is limited. Your trial is playing itself out on a cosmic stage, and even angels will rejoice at your faithfulness (Isaiah 53:10-12, Luke 15:10).
- God's grace will always be practically realized to match the degree of our trial. The grace that enabled Job will work the same for us! It will be enough no matter what happens in our lives.
- Grace is our tutor how to love others in the fires of calamity.
- Grace teaches us it's okay to mourn and grieve in agony even while we count our trials as joy. These things can coexist. There is no unrealistic expectation of stoicism for human beings going through difficulty. Pain hurts, and God knows. Worship in these moments can be a struggle, but there is nowhere else we can go for answers.
- Grace teaches us to trust completely in God's sovereign choice and find rest there.
- Grace shows us how to fully enjoy good gifts while understanding the brevity of their existence. The book of Ecclesiastes encourages us to do this, while remembering that God has no shelf life. He will remain forever satisfying.
- What difficulty are you enduring right now? Whatever the degree, your trial is of cosmic importance. Whether we live or die, God reigns, and we reflect His grace.
- Calamity teaches us about our own hearts. Who do you value most?
- Be confident that God's grace will enable you to respond in a godly way to every difficulty. Rehearse, remember, and live these truths. Do them together.