As we become more connected through digital devices, we become less connected to flesh and blood people. You may have a thousand virtual friends, and not have one flesh-and-blood friend.
The difference between Jesus and the devil is the devil always serves his best first and then it gets progressively worse. The world, the flesh, and the devil always operate according the law of diminishing returns. What starts as a moment of pleasure always ends up as an eternity of misery. But with Jesus, He always saves the best for last. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, the best part of your existence is ahead of you–it may come after you die, but it will come. If you aren’t a Christian, this is as good as it will ever get for you.
We have now reached the climax of the book of Job. God finished questioning Job, and was waiting for Job’s reply. If Job had argued with God and said something like, “Yeah, I heard all of what you said, but, Lord, it’s just not fair that I’m suffering! What are you going to do about it, God?” If that had been his response that would have been the end of the story, and we probably wouldn’t even be reading the book of Job! Instead, Job finally gets it and responds to God in the proper way. If you are suffering and hurting, this is way you need to react as well.
The Bible is not a science textbook that tells us HOW we were created. It is God’s love letter that tells us WHY we were created. Man is arrogant enough to suggest how life began, but everything man says is pure speculation and hypothesis, because as God reminded Job, nobody was around to see it!
If God had delegated creation to me, I would have done things differently. I would have created a world where there is no disease or accidents or, terrorism, birth defects, or killer weather. But wait—God did create a world like that didn’t He? But he also created something extremely powerful: Human choice. He gave mankind the option to be cruel and unkind, or to be loving and kind. He didn’t create us as zombies or robots who would automatically bow before Him and love Him. When mankind chose to sin, we unleashed a horrible chain reaction of natural and accidental evil into the world.
Do you realize everything we see around us is temporary? All the mansions, all the skyscrapers, all the money, all the fame will soon be gone. But when you know Jesus you are in a permanent relationship. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Job used his tears as telescopes to look ahead to what God had in store for him. Even in his pain, Job confessed his belief in the goodness of God. He believed he would meet God and that God would forgive his sins. As we join Job on his journey in this lesson, notice his temptation, testimony and trust.
Job expressed his frustration at not being able to talk to God as an equal. He cried out for an umpire, a mediator. He needed someone to negotiate with God so His rod of punishment would be withdrawn. Too many people think they don’t need this spiritual mediator. They think they can find God on their own. But if you’ve ever committed one sinful act, or had one sinful thought in your life, you have disqualified yourself from being a mediator with God.
During Job’s time of testing, he suffered from the insomnia of despair. If you’ve ever lost a night’s sleep worrying about something, maybe there’s something you can learn from this message. We’re going to consider the reasons for insomnia and then we’re going to talk about the remedy for it.
Job was the target of hostility from his friends, but he refused to direct hostility back toward them. When someone insults us, our human nature screams out to say, “Yeah? Well, the same to you and more of it!” Job refused to become bitter about his friends’ false accusations. He said, “I’m not going to treat you the way you treated me. I’m going to treat you the way I want to be treated.”
God can take the most terrible situation imaginable and make something beautiful out of it. Our God is an awesome God and I’m glad He is in control. Whenever you go through tough times, you can either look for the junk or you can look for the joy. And in the end, God rewarded Job’s persistence and patience.
Whenever we suffer, we immediately look for someone to blame. If we can blame our suffering on our parents, our spouse, our co-workers or society in general, we can justify our bitterness, and it prevents us from moving on to becoming whole. And God gets blamed for a lot of suffering today. But in spite of his pain, and his unanswered questions, Job never charged that God was wrong.
What kind of faith do you have? Is it a fair weather faith? As long as things are good, you’re okay with God? Or do you have a foul weather faith–when a crisis comes you go running to the Lord? Jesus said that the Heavenly Father makes it rain on the just and the unjust alike, so make sure you have an all-weather faith.
When you get up tomorrow morning and go to work, what kind of difference would it make in your job if when you arrive at your workplace you said to yourself, “Today I’m going to work for Jesus”? I’m going to treat my boss as if my boss is Jesus. I’m going to treat my company as if my company belongs to Jesus.” Your boss may not even be a Christian or your workplace may not even be a Christian-based company but your attitude can be, “I want to serve the Lord in my situation.” That will make a tremendous difference.
Studies tell us the most painful death experience and the most intense grief comes from the death of a spouse, followed closely by the death of a child and then by the death of a parent. Studies have also determined the grief that accompanies suicide is unique among any other kind of grief experience. As we talk about grief today, and the stages and categories, these are not hard and fast. Different people’s grief experiences will be as different as their own personalities. But it’s good for you to understand that you CAN survive grief and move forward after being devastated by the death of a loved one.