When my Mom’s alcoholic brother died, Mom looked in the casket as he lay in state, and wondered, “Where is Paul? Is he in Heaven or Hell?” But then she pondered, “If I died, where would I go? Heaven or Hell?” God used the death of her brother to bring her to Christ.
“Every deadly calamity is a merciful call from God for the living to repent” (John Piper in World Magazine. “Mercy for the Living”).
Job continues to grapple with the Problem of Evil.
1. God’s Suffering Believer in the Hands of Satan (Chapters 1 and 2). See Part One
2. God’s Suffering Believer in the Hands of Christian Critics (Chapters 3-37). See Part Two
3. God’s Suffering Believer in the Hands of God (38-42).
A. God questions Job about the physical earth that He created (38:1-21).
Finally God speaks out of a whirlwind. You recall it was a whirlwind that killed Job’s ten children. Thankfully, everyone one ends his arguments and counter arguments after three long cycles of debates. From God’s speech we learn that God does not have a “Hands Off” policy with nature. Nature is not a loose canon out of God’s control. God sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Paul in Colossians 1:18 assures us that by Jesus Christ “all things consist” or holds together including our universe and our personal lives.
1. God shows Job that He created the earth in 38:4-7.
2. God shows Job that He created the oceans in 38:8-11.
3. God shows Job that He created the sun in 38:12-15. Job had accused God of unjustly taking his wealth, family, and health in 19:7. God says, “They were never yours in the first place.”
One of the purposes of personal suffering and natural disaster is to produce repentence. Jesus held this view of suffering. In Luke 13:4-5, Jesus interpreted this current event: “Those eighteen, upon whom the tower of siloam fell, and slew them, do you think that they were sunners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall likewise perish.”
The unsaved should repent and trust Christ as Savior because they are going to die. C. S. Lewis made it clear that “natural disasters do not increase death, all of us will die.”
“Recall that when the Titanic sank, it went uner with 1522 people knowingly going to a watery greave. Even if we attribute the sinking to a series of human errors, God most assuredly was able to keep it from sinking without any violation of the human will. This is another reminder that the God who permits such unthinkable tragedies is one to fear. After the news of teh Titanic tragedy reached the world, the challenge was how to inform the relatives whether their loved one were among the dead or the living. At the White Star office in Liverpool, England, a huge sign was set up; one side read, “Known to Be Saved,” and the other, “known to Be Lost.” Hundreds of people gathered to watch the signs. When a messenger brought new information, the question was: To which side would he go? And whose name would he write on the cardboard? Although the travelers on the Titanic were disignated either first, second, or third class, after the ship went down there only two categories: the saved and the lost” (Erwin Lutzer, Ten Lies About God, page 115).
B. God questions Job about the heavens that He controls (38:22-38).
1. God controls the snow in 38:22-24. Job could not.
2. God controls the rain in 38:25-30. Job could not.
3. God controls the constellations in 38:31-33. Job could not.
4. God controls the weather in 38:34-38. Job could not. To embitterd Job, God was saying, “If I can control the machinery of the universe who are you to question my wisdom in controlling your life?”
C. God questions Job about His animal kingdom for which He Cares (38: 39-39:30). God chooses a wide variety of animals that He cares for. God does not destory His creation as Job had accused, but rather He cares for His for it.
D. Job repented not of a sin that brought on his suffering.
But Job repented of wrongfully responding to his suffering. Job used the exact words God used in 38: 2 to confess his sin. Job repented when he had no possessions, children, health, nor friends (42:1-6). Job proved Satan wrong. Job served God for “nought” (1:9).
When I was a freshman at Piedmont Bible College Dr. Harold Sightler preached in chapel and related how he was preaching in NC. His wife in Greenville SC drove to the store with their daughter in the back seat. She pulled into the middle lane to make a left turn when a speeding drunk driver crashed into the rear of her car and killed the daughter and almost killed Mrs. Sightler. Dr. Sightler was called to return home immediately that there had been a terrible accident. That night Dr. Sightler drove home from the hospital exhausted not knowing if his wife would live or not. He sort of tossed his Bible onto the dresser and said to God, “If this is the way you take care of your servant’s family while he is preaching all over the country for You, then I am going to stay home and take care of my own family if You are not.” Dr. Sightler fell off to sleep. The next morning his door bell rang and a well dressed man was at the door. “Are you Dr. Sightler” the man asked. “I am.” “I drove all night in order to see a man the Lord could turn the Devil loose on.” Dr. Sightler went back to his bedroom and got on his knees and repented.
Let’s go from the ash heap to the cross and think about problem of evil and personal suffering.
Like Job, Christ willingly physically. Like Job, Christ suffered socially.
Unlike Job, Christ willingly suffered spiritually and eternally for our sins and my sins not His.