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Sermon #2316[i] — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Lessons from the Life of Job
Text: Job 1:8
Subject: Gospel Lessons in the Book of Job
Reading: Job 42:1-17
Open your Bibles with me to the book of Job. We will begin in Job 1:8, where the Lord God challenges Satan. — Job 1:8
Job 1:8 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”
As we read the book of Job, we should read it with this in mind: — Everything we read about this man named Job, as it is recorded in this inspired piece of history, began with God challenging Satan. The challenge the Lord God put to Satan I now put to you. — “Hast thou considered my Servant Job?” — Have you considered God’s servant Job? That is what I want us to do. The title of my message is — Lessons from the Life of Job. Hold your Bibles open at the book of Job. May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher, as we review what he has written in Holy Scripture about this remarkable man, Job.
This is a gripping story, a fascinating drama. But it is much more. The Book of Job is an inspired narrative of the life and trials of a righteous man in this world.
The Book of Job begins a new section of Holy Scripture. The first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy, are commonly referred to as “the Law.” — Joshua through Esther are Historic Books. In these we are given, in the events of history, living parables, designed and worked out by God’s good providence, that explain and illustrate what is going on in our own lives.
In the Poetic Books (Job through the Song of Solomon, and the little book of Lamentations) we see God’s saints in worship. Perhaps that is what makes them the most commonly read portions of the Old Testament. In these Books, we are allowed to go with God’s saints into their private closets, as they pour out their hearts to their heavenly Father and put into words the very things we often want to say but simply cannot find either the words or the honesty to speak before the throne of grace. That makes them both precious and instructive, as well as comforting and inspiring.
The Book of Job is a great poem. Tennyson called it, “the greatest poem of ancient or modern literature.” Martin Luther considered the Book of Job “more magnificent and sublime than any other book of Scripture.” It reads like a drama, an epic drama, much like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
But the book of Job is also historical. Job was an actual, living person and these events actually took place; but God recounts them for us in this beautiful, poetic style so that we might have an answer to the age-old, haunting question, — “Why do the righteous suffer?”
Why do the righteous suffer? Job suffered by the assaults of Satan. He suffered by the words of his wife. And he suffered by the accusations of his friends. But if you asked Job why he suffered as he did, what the source and cause of his sufferings was, he looked past all those secondary sources to the Lord his God.
At the very beginning of the Book, we see clearly that the righteous suffer by the hand and will of the God we worship, trust, love, and serve. — Everywhere we turn in these 42 chapters, when Job speaks of that which he suffered, he declares that he suffered because the Lord God ordered it.
(Job 19:21) “Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.”
Why do the righteous suffer? Job gives us a very plain, unmistakable answer in chapter 23 — Job 23:10.
(Job 23:10) “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Though the Word of God is neither a book about science or history, whenever it speaks of scientific and historic matters, it is always precise and accurate. We have before us, in the Book of Job, that which is probably the very first Book of the Bible to be written. Job lived during the days of the patriarchs, probably about the time of Abraham. So, this Book was written more than 3000 years ago, long before the invention of modern scientific technology. Yet, no other Book of the Bible contains as much scientific data as Job. — Listen to Job 26:7.
(Job 26:7) “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”
What could more accurately describe the position and stability of our planet in space?
“Job’s contemporaries all believed that the earth was flat, and that it rested on the shoulders of one of the gods, or the back of an elephant or giant sea turtle. Think of it! Startlingly accurate scientific statements written more than 3,000 years before the discovery of America!”
Look at Job 38:7.
(Job 38:7) “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
No one in the world of “all-wise” scientists ever dreamed that rays of light give off sound that no human ear can hear, until modern times; but Job declared it, and it was written down in the Book of God, more than 3000 years ago, by the inspiration of God to whom the morning stars sing praise.
Read Job 38:24.
(Job 38:24) “By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?”
Reading those words, you would think Job had distinct knowledge of spectrum analysis. But this was written more than 3000 years ago.
In Job 38:31 we read…
(Job 38:31) “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?”
Pleiades and Orion are groups of stars in the constellation of Taurus. But I wonder how Job knew that. Remember, he did not have a telescope. This was written more than 3000 years ago!
Pleiades and Orion no man can control. Contrary to the modern environmentalists’ proud thoughts, the seasons are not to be altered by men. Job was taught by God that it was not in his power to make any change in the dispensations of Providence; to turn the winter of adversity into the spring of prosperity, or the spring of prosperity into the winter of adversity. Providence is God’s domain, not man’s. All we can do is submit to God’s work and quietly wait before him.
What you have in your hand is the Word of God. That fact cannot be denied by any reasonable person.
(Psalms 19:1-3) “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. (2) Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. (3) There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”
But it is not my purpose merely to demonstrate the veracity of Holy Scripture. I want us to see Christ in the Book and learn the lessons he has for us in this Book.
Behind the Scenes
In the first two chapters of Job (1:1-2:8), we are allowed to look behind the scenes to see what was happening and why. Remember, when you read these chapters, that Job did not have this luxury. It is written here for our learning.
1. Here we are told, and told by God himself, that Job was a righteous man, a believer, a saved sinner.
Many have misjudged Bro. Job, asserting that he was a lost, self-righteous hypocrite, as his three friends accused him of being. But the Lord God asserts otherwise (1:1, 8; 2:3).
(Job 1:1) “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”
(Job 1:8) “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”
The Lord God ranks Job with Noah and Daniel.
Ezekiel 14:14 “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.”
Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
Job was not a righteous, or perfect man by nature. And we see clearly that he was not perfect in his personal conduct and behavior. He was, just like you and me, a sinner saved by grace, redeemed by blood and made righteous by grace.
Job was a man who had been greatly blessed of God with grace and one to whom God had given greater wealth and honor than any other in the East (v. 3). He worshipped God and interceded for his sons and daughters at the throne of grace continually (1:5).
2. The Lord God is the absolute Monarch of the universe, ruling and controlling all things in heaven, earth and hell, even Satan.
I do not know what to make of or how to explain everything written here; but I do know that this passage is an assertion of God’s dominion and sovereignty.
Satan accused Job, as believers are always accused, of serving God for gain. And the Lord turned the fiend of hell loose on him both to prove otherwise and to improve his beloved servant Job (vv. 9-12).
As we read the first two chapters of this Book, it is impossible for us to put ourselves in Job’s place and form any right idea of what he felt.
(Job 1:13-22) “And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: (14) And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: (15) And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. (16) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. (17) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. (18) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: (19) And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. (20) Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, (21) And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (22) In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
(Job 2:1-10) “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (2) And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. (3) And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. (4) And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. (5) But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. (6) And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. (7) So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. (8) And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. (9) Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. (10) But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Beginning at verse 11 in chapter 2 and going through chapter 31, we see Job’s conflict with his friends. Wonderful friends they were. We’ve all had friends like these three men.
(Job 2:11-13) “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came everyone from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. (12) And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent everyone his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. (13) So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.”
Satan’s work was nothing compared to the work of these three, self-righteous, reformed legalists. Job’s name means persecuted, and they made sure he lived up to his name. — It was not their doctrine that was wrong, but their attitude!
Job described them, considerably more pleasantly than I would, as “miserable comforters.” They were all fully convinced that Job was a hypocrite and that he suffered divine judgment because he was, after all, a man with secret sins God was determined to expose by his afflictions. There are multitudes like them around the world in every age and in every church.
“These three men stand as lasting reminders of the need to handle suffering friends with great care and to refrain from giving quick and easy solutions to complex and trying problems…to speak little and listen much in our dealings with those stricken by calamity.” (Roger Ellsworth)
Elihu was a young man, but a man with a message from God. He rebuked Job’s miserable, tormenting comforters for their accusations, and rebuked Job for spending more time justifying himself before them than in justifying God before them.
Elihu spoke of God’s incomparable greatness. In chapter 33, he gives us a marvelous picture of God’s method of grace, by which he delivers chosen sinners from going down to the pit (vv. 13-30).
Š In Salvation
Š In Chastisement.
(Job 33:13-30) “Why dost thou strive against him? For he giveth not account of any of his matters. (14) For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. (15) In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; (16) Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, (17) That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. (18) He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword. (19) He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: (20) So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. (21) His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. (22) Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. (23) If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his (GOD’S NOT MAN’S!) uprightness: (24) Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. (25) His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: (26) He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness. (27) He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; (28) He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. (29) Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, (30) To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.”
God Confronts His Servant
In chapter 38 (38:1-42:17), the Lord God himself confronts his servant Job out of the whirlwind, by the irresistible, convincing power and grace of his Holy Spirit. Here, the Lord God effectually applies to Job what his messenger, Elihu had declared (Romans 10:17). The Lord graciously showed Job his greatness, glory, and solitary majesty as God.
(Job 40:3-5) “Then Job answered the LORD, and said, (4) Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. (5) Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.”
(Job 42:1-6) “Then Job answered the LORD, and said, (2) I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (3) Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. (4) Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. (5) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. (6) Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
(Job 42:10-17) “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. (11) Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. (12) So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. (13) He had also seven sons and three daughters. (14) And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. (15) And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. (16) After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. (17) So Job died, being old and full of days.”
Though mistaken in many things, Job’s doctrine was pure, gospel doctrine.
(Job 9:20) “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.”
(Job 9:32-35) “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. (33) Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. (34) Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me: (35) Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.”
(Job 3:17) “There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.”
(Job 14:13-15) “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! (14) If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. (15) Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.”
(Job 19:21-28) “Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. (22) Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? (23) Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! (24) That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever! (25) For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (26) And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (27) Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. (28) But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?”
Job a Type
Having shown Job his sovereignty and power over all creation, the Lord God convinced Job both of his nothingness and of the greatness of Jehovah. — “Then Job answered the Lord, and said, I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee…I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Being taught by God the Holy Spirit, Job abhorred himself. What a difference there is between the teaching of men and the teaching of God! All that men can say, all the preaching of men, without God the Holy Ghost ends just where it began, in the hearing of the ear. But when God speaks, the Word of the Lord brings conviction to the heart. When God speaks, those who hear his voice are brought low and Christ is exalted. Blessed Spirit of God, speak to me, and I shall hear!
There is much we should learn in the history of Job about the way God deals with his elect in mercy, love, and grace. But it might be profitable to our souls, if God will be pleased to make it so, for us to remember God’s servant Job as a very instructive type and picture of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Job was the greatest man of the East. — Christ, the Wisdom-man, whose goings forth have been from everlasting, is the greatest of all. In all things he has pre-eminence.
2. Job was perfect and upright, fearing God and eschewing evil. — Our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus, was and is the perfect Godman: holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.
3. Job was suddenly brought from great riches to great poverty. — “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
4. Job was assaulted by Satan. — But what were the sufferings of Job compared to the sufferings of our Lord Jesus for the salvation of our souls. Satan was the instrument that brought sorrow to Job; but all his adversities came by the will, decree, and hand of God; and he knew it. So it was with our dear Savior (Lamentations 1:12).
Lamentations 1:12 “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”
5. Job made an effectual sacrifice and effectual intercession for his friends by the will of God. — How our hearts rejoice to know that our Lord Jesus Christ made an effectual sacrifice for us and effectually intercedes for us (1 John 2:1-2).
6. Because Lord God accepted Job he accepted those for whom Job made intercession. — Because our great God accepts his Son for us he accepts us in him.
7. Job was laid low that he might be exalted very high. — Our Lord Jesus was made least in the kingdom of heaven that he might be the greatest (Philippians 2:5-11).
Philippians 2:1-11 “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
[i] Danville — Sunday Morning — June 23, 2013
Buck Mountain Baptist Church, Roan Mountain, TN — (06/17/13)
Rescue Baptist Church — Rescue, CA — (Sunday A.M. – 07/07/13
Zebulon Baptist Church — Pikeville, KY — (Thursday – 09/12/12) New Focus Conference, Eggleston, England — (Saturday – 04/26/14)
Fairmont Grace Church, Sylacauga, AL — (FRI-02/24/17)