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Contending with God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2020 12:01 am

Contending with God

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 21, 2020 12:01 am

When suffering arises, it sometimes brings with it the nagging suspicion that God cannot be trusted. Today, Derek Thomas considers Job's wrestling with questions of God's goodness in the midst of pain.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind were studying the book of Job, the heart of this book is the nagging suspicion among Job's part that God cannot be trusted. That's one of the pastoral issues about suffering, about trials, there comes a point where you begin to distrust God distresses Providence you just trust his motive. Many good to others is launching your press if you ever felt that way. Certainly many people have, especially over the past couple of months as we feel the effects of this global pandemic and the resulting damage the economy. The Old Testament figure Job could relate his world was turned upside down. He headed far worse than we do. His friends were of little help with her bad advice so look for someone who could plead his case today on Renewing Your Mind will discover that we do have some a friend a true friend was already doing that they are looking at Job chapter 8 and chapter 9 of the second of Job's comforters comes in and chapter 8. His name is Bill Dodds.

The socialites lots of jokes across about how small he was billed out the shoe I'd answered and said, how long will you say these things in the words of your mouth be a great wind lesson apply to course does God pervert justice or does the Almighty pervert the right was he saying is a little breccia than Eliphaz's far younger than Eliphaz and his community. St. does God pervert justice does God justice aside just for you Joe, this is a principal doesn't order in the world and to see time not order a dizzy turn that system upside down just for you. What is not.

Order in the world. We shorten our previous lesson. Eliphaz introduced it in chapter 4, you reap what you sow you get out of life, what you put into it. No more, no less, and many breached is 159 sermons in the book of Job and the middle of the 16th century in Geneva, the very first summer he said Job's friends have a very bad case, but they argue it extremely well. Joe has a very good case and he argues it very badly. The case that Job's friends are making is that suffering is always punishment is always, invariably, without exception, divine retribution of the law of the universe. That is their understanding of God not you must understand that Eliphaz and Bildad and so far for Elihu R then not weakening liberals that they they believe in law they believe in justice. They believe God is sovereign.

They believe God punishes they believe in the wrath of God.

And so the not delivered. Liberals this drawing defenders of the sovereignty of God within their application of the truth that wide of the mark. So, here comes Bildad chapter 8 verse three does God pervert justice. Justice aside, just in your case, everybody else fits this rule of the universe you reproduce so but not in your case is that is appropriate to understand since Job is protesting that he's innocent or does the Almighty pervert justice adopt under verse six.

If you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you_your rightful habitation of Job's protestations of innocence is correct. God welcoming them restore him. The fact that he isn't being restored. The fact that Job is continuing to decline into this ill health threatens to take his life is evidence of the judgment of God is upon them, the judgment of God can only be upon them for one reason, because he is a sinner because he is committed some act of sin. Now, in the past and is use them. Even a forgotten what it is that's the law of the universe and how can that law be turned upside down. Just to suit the purposes of Job that if you drop down almost the end of Bildad's first section 20 of chapter 8. Behold, God will not reject a blameless man nor take the hand of evildoers. God will not reject a blameless man of righteousness regarding Job's godly men. God will not reject a godly man if he's got a 40 thing about himself is true. God will come and indicate the fact is that there seems no evidence of this vindication, so Job must be incorrect and must be false and must misunderstand Job's comforters have the right view of things. You reap what you sow. Suffering is instant retribution every time every way without exception. Bildad, like his predecessor, Eliphaz has what you might call cash register understanding of justice, but you get what you deserve and so Job comes in and chapter 9 and I want to go right to the end of what he says in verse 33. There is no arbiter between us are the SV translates that there is a translation issue here. Whether this is expressing a wish or stating a fact. And you have an AES field but is this a footnote that has warned that there were an arbiter between us and transitions may reflect that. Whether this is a wish and desire. Whether it's a natural fact Mr. with the ESV transition per minute. There is no arbiter between us to my blaze hand on us both as his Job is pleading innocent is a case is a legal case number.

There's a court of law and then is God who is the judge is known in between is no arbiter. He needs somebody to represent him. He needs somebody to argue his case he needs somebody to come in and represent him before Almighty Job is saying.

I wish I had such a person or or is the ESV translation is, I don't have such a person. Not only is my plights sorrowful and misunderstood. But there's no one to correct it is going to represent my point of view before Almighty God, let him take his rod away from neighbors 34 and let not dread of him terrify me. Then I would speak without fear of him for them.

Not so in myself. There's nothing like the feeling of being alone and being a tiny little cog in a vast universe that you cannot control and cannot understand your prisoner and you been falsely charged or window life is been difficult in this dealt after a particularly difficult hand to know the victim of a vicious attack here, a single person in the multitude of other possibilities. Dissing wish there was somebody to stand between me and God. Between me and the sovereign creator between me and sovereign Lord to represent my case introducing the heart of this book to see behind that is Job. And then there's God in this God.

Yes, he's sovereign and is just the question that Job is wrestling with is God good not just good in general but is it good toward me and is wrestling with that Satan lies behind his calling it into question Satan has already laid down that thought Job's mind.

God cannot be trusted as justice may work one way with one person and another way with another person. There is no standard rule.

There is no predictability about it. Life seems unfair for chapter 9 verse one in this pickup some of the things that Job says here are some of the language Festival in verse three.

For example, if one wishes to contend with him talking about God. Maybe we need to go back up to verse two. How can a man be in the right before God. How can a man be in the right before God. If you take that first preacher to the gospel text Monday right before God are all sinners were all under the judgment of God, there is none righteous, no not one for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

We need a Savior. We need somebody to forgive us our sins we need Jesus Christ you can imagine that some wonderful some possible settlement that is absolutely nothing to do with the text itself is of the text means that a different context entirely.

How can a man be in the right before God. Job's problem is not to sin. From Job's perspective, it is not a sin because Job is saying he's innocent is committed and he said something is sinless, but his problem here is not to sin problem here is the justice of God. How can how can it be fair, how can it be right that someone who hasn't committed any particular sin and we been told that by God's godly men. How can it be fair, God visit that person and inflict upon that person. Pain and suffering and disease. What is Job saying what Job is saying this I can never have justice with God. But if I justice to someone who's in that position. You may know someone is in the position someone who's been violated horribly. The perpetrators never been caught.

They feel as if justice hasn't been done and not just in this world, but when God taken this problem brought before the Lord laid before this injustice is justice. If one wishes to contend with him contend verse three. Look at verse 14. How then can I answer him. Initially, the firm is capable of being translated argue. Notice how he goes on choosing my words with them as you do in an argument.

It's like a court of law. How can I make a case okay I'll do my words in verse 15, though I'm in the right eye color, answer him. I must appeal for mercy to my accuser, God is speaking to me. God is speaking to Job where is unifying justice. How is he going to argue with God. God is sovereign. He's a creator he's hidden from view. Job believes in the sovereignty of God believes in the transcendence of God.

Job believes as relates in a big hot God was outside of creation of God, whose other God is transcendent justice.

How can I can even plead my case, how can I even get a hearing on the other feelings that about a certain issue. The only way that you can get a hearing is to pray current to pray.

Job feel sometimes that you press just bouncing back of the ceiling going anywhere than a penetrating through the ceiling and not even being heard God's need hearing the heart of this book under almost in the heart of this book is the nagging suspicion among Job's path that God cannot be trusted with God cannot be trusted as one of the pastoral issues about suffering trials and difficulties about senses of injustice, and so there comes a point where you begin to distrust God distresses Providence who discussed his motive, he may be good to others. This email, insert other people's prayers and to rejoice in you send notes and I wonderful got a sense of your presbyters launching your press you been praying for something for 2030 4050 years of injustice versus three, four and five again if one wishes to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times during the summer, dissing one couldn't answer him once in a thousand times. If God were to speak of control possibly answer. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself.

He believes in the wisdom of God and he believes in the power of God the mind, the strength of God. But there's a twist here because hardened himself against him and succeeded in might rise up against God, and protested his ways unfair what Osama succeeded in that, likely to succeed before a sovereign God who is all wise and all-encompassing expecting to hear my my protestations was ever succeeded in that key verse five he will remove mountains, and they know it, not when he overturns them in his anger who shakes their displays as pillars tremble. Earthquakes is, believes in a sovereign God who believes in the God of powerful, important creative force that the summary in verse 24. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked.

He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not. He then is it when death comes from sudden calamity comes. What if it's not, brings this in concert God, who is responsible for this, then who is it Job believes that God is the creator. Job believes that God has the power to do beyond his comprehension to the closing line of verse 12 crusade to him. What are you doing and how can you go before God and say what you doing what you think you're doing it will send that to somebody doing something something silly what you think you're doing this is not the way to do it in your tickets on the minutia of an accident and saw José to him who will say to the sovereign God of heaven address the God of earthquakes of tornadoes and thunderstorms will say to him what you doing now in verse 13 God will not turn back his anger beneath him, bowed the helpers of Rahab to say something about this in the ancient near East. There were certain myths about creation. Job is observed familiar with the and one of them is the influence of Rahab. This is part of an ancient near Eastern religious belief.

The same is going to be true of for Leviathan and behemoths. Perhaps later in Job. The closing chapters of Job, and so on. I don't think that we're meant to infer from this that Job believes these myths is he simply speaking into the culture and the culture of the day believes the ancient near Eastern culture of the believes in the in the import of these mythological creatures in creation and then Job mentioned, so I don't think you were meant to infer that he believes in them in any way expects, but simply saying well even even the art. Even your imaginary God's want to help other than the heavenly possibly be of help here.

CS Lewis says on this that there are some aspects of these ancient near East, and Mr. course which are true of existing distorted the been turned into something else.

The point here is this how can we expect to hearing from someone so powerful. This is God is the biblical God to the mother Job Lisa you feel you feel helpless and you feel insignificant. The something welder something arbitrary about what God does in verse 20, though I'm in the right my own life would condemn me though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse, but I can't win even if I speak the truth even if I were to contend with the Almighty and speak the truth. What is your McNair to send him like Eugene Peterson's the message here and that's a paraphrase of chapter 10 is Job continuous and he says while in the beginning of verse 10 he says I loathe my life in the sense of reverter that section in Job chapter 3, but then in verses 21 and 22 yens are not my days few events cease and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer before I go and I shall not return to the land of darkness and deep shadow, the land of gloom like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where light is its thick darkness and end Eugene Peterson says is the time to call it quits on my life and to let up and let me smile just once before I die and embedded before and nailed into my coffin field in the ground and banished from good to the land of the dead blind in the final doc yes sir, Job wishes he had an arbiter of sort. Suffering can do dissing to make you cynical cynical about God cynical about ever getting justice cynical about the order of the universe or perhaps to cynical about God's attitude toward you? You may believe that the gospel song is fine for others but the stars you everything seems to be what just turned upside down. Everything seems to go work with stored Caddy rumpus.

But when it's place you wishes there was an advocate is very important to verse 33 of chapter 9 there is no arbiter or is it a wish, I wish there was an arbiter. Job is not looking for someone to forgive him his sin, but we have an advocate with God, Jesus Christ the righteous one, you can run from here into the New Testament and rented to Jesus to wishes he has an arbitrary wishes as an advocate wishes as a lawyer is what he wants from summative representative in a court of law represent his case he wishes he could find one and you can say what Jesus is our advocate for his lawyer. He is our representative but representative in what sense Job is looking for somebody to forgive them is since that's at this point. His point is that he is in the right to plead my case I think of a beautiful woman in Memphis, to whom something truly awful stunned.

I think of a teenager was tired of being picked on unfairly. I think of a widow bereft of her life partner facing the future that seems full of documents, uncertainty, think of a family trying to pick up the pieces after the teenage son has taken his life bruise rates smoking flax financing. We have a Savior who heals the brokenhearted talking here about somebody is going forgive us our sins. Of course he does that. That's the point here.

The point of Job is saying here is that we had somebody who could argue my case who could represent my case before God. Jesus does that is being in a place where there seems to be no justice is being in a place where violence is done to him. He's been in a place where he's tried out my God my God why have you forsaken me you seen the brutality and the injustice of this world and represent your case in here.

You cry out to him and receive to have lost all hope this will have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Instead of contending with God asking why blaming God for our difficulty. We must turn to him for help.

Reminds me of the first question and answer of the Heidelberg catechism. What is your only comfort in life – then the answer is that I am not my own but along with body and soul both in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, and he goes on to say that he so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly father that her hair can fall from my head you're listening to Renewing Your Mind. And we have further a very timely and hopeful message by regular teaching fellow Dr. Derek Thomas all week.

We have been hearing portions of his series from the book of Job's Old Testament book allows us to consider what the Bible says about our darkest moments. How to reconcile God's sovereignty and the existence of evil in 12 messages.

Dr. Thomas addresses these difficult questions I would like to send you the entire series is contained on two DVDs just requested when you give a donation of any amount to regular ministries you can find us or you can call us with your gift at 800-435-4343 leader ministries provides so many other wonderful resources. For example, table talk magazine earlier today I was searching for an article on the table talk website and found one titled working we turn in fearful times.

I commend this article to you.

There are several others just like it and if you like to receive the print edition of the magazine.

You can subscribe it.

Table talk and while you're there, sign up to receive table tax free weekly email digest so that you never miss any of our online exclusive articles. The web address again is table talk tomorrow as we wrap up the series from the book of Job, we will see the hope that Job found in the midst of his pain messages titled my Redeemer lives. We hope to see you right back here Friday for Renewing Your Mind

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