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The Final Word

Job 38:4-10
mp3 file
 

 “Where were you when I established the earth? Tell [Me], if you have understanding. [5] Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? [6] What supports its foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone [7] while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [8] Who enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb, [9] when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its blanket, [10] when I determined its boundaries and put [its] bars and doors in place?” (HCSB)

 The common theology in Job’s day was that God played favorites with his creation.  He prospered those who honored Him and punished those who didn’t.  Because Job lived righteously all his life, he couldn’t understand why God wasn’t shining His favor on him.  Or more to the point, why God was doing quite the opposite.  From Job’s perspective, not only had God turned His back on him, He had directed his wrath towards him.  Job suffered.  He lost his children, his wealth and his health—all that was left was his pain and a wife who told him to curse God and die.  That’s all he had.

 Actually, he did have something more, he still had some friends.  Our natural inclination is to run away from people who've just been struck by God's wrath. When we observe someone receiving evil from the hand of God, we tend to not want to make eye contact with God because we don't want to be next. Not Job's friends. You've got to hand it to them, they didn't run away-they ran to him in his hour of need. And when they came they did a wonderful ministry for him. That is until they opened their mouth. 

 For seven days and seven nights they sat with Job and said nothing, because they "saw his suffering was too great for words." (Job 2 13 NLT) Now that's friendship. To come beside a friend and enter into his suffering. Their presence clearly communicated their love for him, they didn't need to speak.  But after a while Job began to grieve out loud which prompted his friends to respond to his words. Really, they would have been better off just remaining silent and listening to their friend. Instead, they decided that their friend who was going through an amazing amount of suffering didn't need their support; rather, he needed a lesson in theology.

 They argued and they argued. Job claimed he'd done nothing to deserve this treatment, his friends, in effect, said, "of course you have, God wouldn't be doing this to you unless you deserved it." Like skillful prosecutors, each of them took their turn accusing this righteous man of sinning, and getting what he deserved. Job continued to defend himself, until God set the record straight, "And it came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has." (Job 42:7 NASB)

 If you’ve read the end of the story, you know that Job’s suffering was bringing glory to God and was serving an eternal purpose.  Yet, even though he didn’t know the purpose, Job remained faithful to God. God wasn’t picking on Job or punishing him, but God was allowing Job to suffer to prove to Satan that Job’s righteousness wasn’t connected to God’s blessings.  In other words, even if God removed His outward blessings from him, Job wouldn’t forsake God. 

 Yet, at this point in the story, Job felt forsaken.  Job wanted to have his hearing before God.  He wanted to make the point that he was living righteously, and if he was wrong, he wanted God to tell him he was wrong.  

 Job knew he couldn’t drag God into court to settle the matter.  In Job 9:19 he said, “If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one! And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him?” (NASB) He wanted to ask God a simple question, “Why?”

 Moms, what do you say when your kids ask you "Why?" The answer "because I'm Mom and I said so" is the stock reply, but can you think of a better one? I've tried "why not," but their inevitable answer "because" defies any intelligent response.

 When Job asked God the "Why" question, God replied: “Where were you when I established the earth? Tell [Me], if you have understanding. [5] Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? [6] What supports its foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone [7] while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [8] Who enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb, [9] when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its blanket, [10] when I determined its boundaries and put [its] bars and doors in place?” (Job 38:4-10 HCSB) 

 "Because I'm God and I said so" is a pretty good paraphrase of God's reply to Job.  In any argument, God has the final word.  In reality, He is the final word.

 Aristotle identified three artistic proofs, the ethos, pathos and the logos as means to convince someone of something.  Ethos is the overall impression you form about a person's honesty and integrity.  It is the feeling you have about people that makes you believe that you can believe them.  You can't necessarily quantify it, but nonetheless, it is one of the elements that persuade you.  We tend to believe believable people.  The second of Aristotle's trilogy is the pathos.  It is gut feeling you have about the rightness of something.  It is persuasion from within.  The last word Aristotle used was logos the very word John used when he wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 HCSB)  It meant the final word.  The logos is the truth that convinces you to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt.  It is the indisputable evidence.  In the opening words of John's gospel he makes an important theological statement.  Jesus is the preincarnate logos.  He is the final word that was from the beginning. As Rev. 1:8 says, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" (NASB) Before time began, in the great expanse of eternity, Jesus co-existed with the Father He "was with God," but He wasn't just with God, John also writes that He "was God."

 As righteous as Job was, he wasn’t the final word and he wasn’t going to have the final word.  God is, and God did.

 Which brings me to my final word.  Today I close out this series on the attributes of God by preaching about his power, and I close my ministry with this great church with perhaps the most profound truth I’ve ever taught you.  Listen carefully, for it is my final word to you:  

 God is God.  I am not.  And neither are you!

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