Job Worships God
Job 29:1-5; 40:6-14; 42:1-6
INTRODUCTION If the fear of the Lord is wisdom, as Job discovered [Job 28:28], we may add that the worship of God is the highest employment of men and angels. Genuine worship must be in spirit and truth [John 4:24], and this involves a realization of our own unworthiness as well as a recognition of the "worthship" or worthiness of God.
The "friends" of Job had repeatedly charged that his afflictions were evidence of divine chastisement for sin, and Job had truly and ably defended himself against these false charges. But in chapter 32 and 37 Elihu (evidently author of the book) rebuked Job "because he justified himself rather than God" [32:2]. Finally Jehovah "answered Job out of the whirlwind" [38:1], with the result that Job gave up defending himself and humbly returned to the worship of God.
Rather than criticize Job for his temporary self-pity and self-defense, we would better seek to exercise patience ourselves in our comparatively "light affliction" [II Corinthians 4:17]. Lesson outline follows: 1. Remembrance, Job 29:1-5. a. Deliverance desired, 1-2. b. Deliverance described, 3-5 2. Remonstrance, Job 40:6-14. a. Question of motive, 6-8. b. Question of might, 9-13. c. Question of mutation, 14 3. Repentance, Job 42:1-6. a. Conviction of repentance, 1-2. b. Confession of repentance, 3. c. Consent of repentance, 4. d. Contrition of repentance, 5-6. NOTES ON THE TEXT: REMEMBRANCE, Job 29:1-5. Only those who have known and can remember the joy of salvation and then have lost that joy are able to sympathize with Job's longing for revival and renewed experience of divine blessings. Sometimes, as in David's case [Psalm 51], we may lose our joy because of sin; but sometimes, as in Job's case, it seems that God withdraws from us the manifestations of His loving care to test us and to teach us to appreciate Him more. In either case, remembrance of previous joy may serve to encourage us to trust Him for renewed favor.
Deliverance Desired, 1-2. Who would not, in times of affliction, desire deliverance from present troubles in order to enjoy again such days "as in months past?" Sometimes, however, we get so taken up with our miseries that we forget past blessings; God therefore allows us to suffer until we remember Him and His goodness and develop an earnest desire for deliverance.
Deliverance Described, 3-5. Plaintively Job recalled details of divine guidance, protection, provision, and blessings when God's presence with him was manifest, and while his children were still living.
REMONSTRANCE, Job 40:6-14. Elihu had already rebuked Job at length with reminders of divine power and majesty, so preparing him to hear from Jehovah Himself in chapters 38 through 41. At this point in the lesson we have a portion of God's overwhelming remonstrance.
Question of Motive, 6-8. Does the puny creature dare to complain against his Creator? And does he realize that when in effect he finds fault with the judgments of God it is only because he wishes to justify himself?
Question of Might, 9-13. Before we venture into controversy with God, it would be wise to consider whether we can match His infinite power. Behold His mighty works: can we match them? The very idea is ridiculous.
Question of Mutation, 14. For a man to save himself, in the full sense of salvation, would require a change in his own nature which he is powerless to accomplish. More than that, it would require a mutation in the immutable God, and this can never come to pass.
REPENTANCE, Job 42:1-6. Any time we get to thinking too much of ourselves, a little communion with God will give us a better perspective and bring us to repentance. Compared to his "friends," Job was a righteous man and spoke rightly about God, as we are told in verse 7 and 8. But he needed to repent of forgetting to praise God while trying too hard to justify himself. Conviction of Repentance, 1-2.
Knowing God's omnipotence and omniscience, how can we hold to any position or opinion of our own? Let us join with Job in expressing our conviction: "I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee." Confession of Repentance, 3.
Proper humility and honesty before God compel us to confess that too often, like Job, we have uttered things we did not understand; we have spoken beyond our knowledge of things too wonderful for us. Consent of Repentance, 4.
Let us simply ask God for His Word and then listen to it; let us "consent unto the law that it is good" [Romans 7:16]; let us come to agreement with God. Contrition of Repentance, 5-6.
Job's vision of the holiness, power, and glory of God made him abhor himself and brought him to repentance "in dust and ashes," symbolic of great grief and humiliation. In Job 2:8 we see him in the ashes mourning his physical bereavement and affliction; here we see him in deep spiritual contrition because of his disaffection from God.
CONCLUSION [Job 19:25] Here we have an expression of Job's faith uttered from the midst of his miseries -- a faith that he never lost despite the worst that the devil could do to him. May we never be tried as Job was tried; but whatever our trials, may we take encouragement from his example. See Job 42:10-16. And for an infinitely better hope, see II Corinthians 4:15-18. ===============
[From Ashland Avenue Baptist newspaper, December 9, 1977, pp. 2-3. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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