Awesome God First St Johns Lutheran Church August 10, 2014

 

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father, and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know that we trust and obey God and never rely on our own understanding said … AMEN
Pastor Cory Burma refers to the Rich Mullins song “Awesome God”, Burma says that Mullins was surprised that people were taking “awesome” in a contemporary sense, like amazing, or really cool. “awesome” means that God is “to be feared and loved, one who has done things our mind cannot fully comprehend.” 1
If we go back to chapter 1 in the Book of Job starts by saying “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from all evil.” Quick note, Uz was also where Moses lived for forty years.2 Satan reports into God, and seems a little random, but God pops up with: ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” The Hebrew word translated “turning away”, means not just avoiding but even actively turning away evil influences. So what we see here is God not just commending Job for being so great, but actively pushing away the influence of evil. WOW! Wouldn’t that be great, if God was talking about you that way? Ya that Jim he’s such a great guy, not only does he live his life right, but he actively does things in order to rip out evil in his part of the world. I’d certainly love it if God talked about me that way. But Satan kind of challenges God on Job; sure Job’s great, everyone would be great if you set them up the way You’ve set up Job.
You might hear in Christian circles people praying that God will set a hedge about them. In other words that God will protect them and this is where the expression comes from because Satan says; “Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house?” (Job 1:10) Satan is saying; “of course Job is all righteous, he’s your fair-haired boy, you’ve set his life up to be perfect. Job knows where his blessings are coming from and so of course he’s going to be faithful and upright with you. But if you rip everything away from him then “he will surely curse Thee to Thy Face.”’ I couldn’t find anyone who would take a shot to say why God would allow Satan to go and stomp on Job, but there can be no doubt that God, in His sovereignty, has already set this whole thing up. I have no doubt that God wants us to know that He doesn’t have favorites, that He will subject us to trials, that no one is so “good”, that they are immune to the trials and tribulations of life.
Job is immensely wealthy and he has a lot to lose and almost immediately Satan swoops in and arranges for the Sabeans to attack and they took off with all Job’s livestock, and killed all his servants. Then a great wind comes and knocks the house that his children are in and kills all his children. What was Job’s response to what would seem to be this unfair treatment? Those words we have heard so often: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21). Wow! Job is a righteous man. Then God allows Satan to take Job’s health. At this point the advice starts pouring into Job. His wife says, the Driskell translation; “really, you’re still faithful to God? Just curse Him and die!” Advice Job rejects. Then his three friends come along; Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar. What’s their answer to all of this? … Come on Job, you’ve obviously committed a really huge sin, fess up, ask for forgiveness and then trust God. Longman and Dillard point out that “The Three friends represent the age-old wisdom of retribution theology… God blesses the righteous; he curses the wicked. If so, then if Job suffers, he must be a sinner in need of repentance.”3 Now is that the case? Is Job being punished for some really humongo sin?… No! We just read at the beginning of Job what God Himself has said about Job: “…there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar are all wet, they don’t know what they’re talking about, yet they presume to make judgments for God. Not smart! Job even responds after Zophar’s speech to say: “Behold, the ‘fear’ of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.”(Job 28: 28) Job goes on through chapter 30 praising and extolling God and then, well, the cheese kinda slips off the cracker. “Hey it’s not because of my sin, come on, look at all these great things I’ve done to serve God,” really saying “hey I don’t deserve to be kicked around by God and I’ll tell Him all these great things to His face, ‘Behold, here is my signature; Let the Almighty answer me!… I would declare to Him the number of my steps”’.(Job 31: 35, 37) OK, now Job’s kind of stepped off the deep end, now he’s getting a little self righteous and ya, “maybe God does owe me an explanation, because I did all these great things and I don’t deserved to be kicked around.”
Elihu has stepped into the conversation now and he takes offense and finally someone is the voice of reason. He tells Job, woe now, just wait a minute here: “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33: 4) Let’s get a little perspective here Job and remember who created us and what He does for us. You have no right to demand an explanation. Elihu goes on four more chapters praising God and all that He is. Then finally what happens? … Ya, our reading today. God Himself steps in and says, woe, wait just a minute all of you and speaks to Job. “Hey, where were you when I created all things, where are you when I sustain all things. You have no clue the vastness of all these things. Who are you to get up into My grill and demand answers.” God goes on three chapters pushing Job and questioning him. Obviously Job is just overwhelmed, he has no answer to God’s questions and finally says: “But now my eye sees Thee; Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5-6). God gave Job a four chapter beatdown, which applies to us also. Especially in this day and age when we think that science and technology have all the answers and we don’t need to rely on God. Read chapters 38-41, do you think you or any of our brilliant scientists have any answers to the questions God raises? No! Sure, we can still keep learning and searching, but keep in mind that there will always be questions that we will never know the answers to.
Take some time this week to first read chapters 28-30 in Job. See how Job glorifies God, even though Job has just been beaten down and maybe we might think unfairly, but in His sovereignty. “…we know, that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
as Paul told us in our readings from a couple of weeks ago. From ancient Scripture God is using Job’s experience to teach us today that it’s not our understanding that matters, it is God’s will that matters and yes sometimes His will is really tough to accept. But in the end, it is God’s will who saved us through Jesus, His will, which we don’t understand, that caused Jesus’ suffering but for our deliverance. When we are Job, we don’t understand the need for suffering. When we are sinners in need of a Savior, then we do accept God’s wisdom, that wisdom that put His own Son on a Cross to die for our sins.
So yes, “Our God is an awesome God, He does reign from heaven above with wisdom, power and love, our God is an awesome God.”
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s