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September 26, 2021 7:00 pm
For those of you who are observant probably have drawn the conclusion that this morning I want to talk to about suffering no one wants to suffer. We may welcome small trials, counting them joy as Jane would encourage us because of what they will do for us, but no one invites life altering pain. No one wants to lie awake in the middle of the night wondering about what this pain.
What this diagnosis. What this doctor's report is going to bring affliction isn't on welcome guest.
We don't pray for it.
We don't seek it, and when it does come into our lives.
We are consumed with relief from it. We cried to God that we might be delivered that we might be rescued that there may be reprieve.
But in Job, we discover the surprising truth sometimes deliverance comes by affliction you say say that again. Sometimes God's purpose in affliction is to deliver us by affliction, trying come at this a number of ways. So if things are little foggy as we move forward. I trusted clear to what if, in your suffering.
God doesn't purpose to deliver you from the storm that is coming to your life but to deliver you in the storm that is his purpose is to do something greater for you and in you then to provide temporary relief. I was reading in my Bible reading a number months ago in Job chapter 36 and I was reading in the English standard version. I want to read it to you here in the new King James that I read your hearing earlier than I want to read it to you in the ESV, but that will be the focus of our attention this morning, Job 36 verse 15 he delivers the poor in their affliction, and opens their ears in oppression. Listen to it in the English standard version, he delivers the afflicted by their affliction, and opens their ear by adversity. He delivers the afflicted by their affliction, and opens the rear by adversity. It's in one sense, it doesn't seem to make sense.
The statement seems to make no sense at first glance, how can affliction deliver the afflicted. That's the question.
It seems that God's purpose is to rub salt into the wound. He delivers the afflicted by their affliction. Again, we want to be delivered from affliction to have whatever is troubling us removed and we pray and we work and we seek that. So if we want rescue and relief from affliction. How can we possibly find it by affliction. We need to think about this because what's seems to be implied here that there is something that is of greater threat to us than the temporary suffering and affliction. It's common to our life and the question that we must wrestle with is what is so great a threat to our spiritual well-being that God will send affliction in order that our lives might be delivered from this text is saying that whatever deliverance God has in mind is greater than our desire to be delivered from the affliction itself.
So we must be willing to look below the surface and begin to think and contemplate and develop a robust, scripturally sound theology of suffering because suffering is so much a part of our lives. So this is the way I would like to proceed this morning were going to look at the messenger in verses one through four of this chapter very do that very quickly. The messenger and then were going to look at the message itself. So let's examine number one the messenger and who is he who is the human messenger.
You notice his name is Ellie who were introduced to him in chapter 32 and he speaks from chapters 32 all the way through chapter 7 is not to be confused by Job's other three friends who came and spoke to him and spoke words of a true hymn of God and God will but later on in the chapter rebuked those three friends for their misrepresenting him. Eliphaz so far and Bildad. Those three men. So this man is not one of those three men. He is a different man. So look with me. It verses one through four.
Let me read them again and very quickly. I want to point out four things know five things to you about him. Ellie Hugh also proceeded and said bear with me a little and I will show you that there are yet words to speak on God's behalf. I will fetch my knowledge from afar. I will describe righteousness to my maker for truly my words are not false, one who was perfect in knowledge is with you, behold, God is mighty but despises no one he is mighty in strength of understanding the reason I think it's important to think about this man and as the messenger is because these other three men spoke things about God that were false or misrepresentation someone you to see that this man stands apart from that, and what he says about God is trustworthy. So five things about Ellie Hugh I want you to see number one and appeal to a motive number three in authority number for a name and number five, a claim so very quickly.
The appeal what is the appeal. He says, verse two, bear with me a little while and I will show you, bear with me a little while and I will show you I have something to say LA you know those that we do not naturally listen to God's truth. We need to be encouraged on grappling in truth, so he says bear with me a little while and I will show you that there are yet words to speak on God's behalf, and perhaps those words have an arresting effect on you this morning you've come in your hearing yet you're not here you're not fully engage your mind is wandering and you need to be reminded that God has something to say God has something to say to us today from his work.
We desperately stand in need of it and he's a gracious God in order to give it to us so number one appeal number two and he has a motive.
What is his motive is motive is that he is speaking on God's behalf. There are yet words to speak on God's behalf.
He's God's mouthpiece. I cannot tell you adequately enough. How many times my mind has been arrested by the fact that God has been kind and gracious to me in ways I cannot detail to you simply because of his concern for you that God wants to communicate truth to you and therefore God has worked in my heart and life, not just for my benefit. I been the beneficiary of the kindness and mercy of God, because God wants to communicate his truth and he was to communicate that truth through me to you so I'm grateful for you because you have been in in a secondary way, a means of grace in my life God has been so kind to me and I'm I cannot tell you how many times I've said the guy got thank you for your mercy. I don't deserve this you been kind to me beyond what I would ever expect and therefore you must love these people because you want to speak through me to them and that's what's going on here. He is a motive in his motive is to speak on God's behalf. What is his authority. Notice he says I will fetch my knowledge from afar.
I will fetch my knowledge from afar. In other words, I'm not drawing on my own inside. I'm not drawing on my own intellect and that that phrase from afar that expression is found other places in the Scriptures. The psalmist says to God, you discern my thoughts from afar someone 3239 verse two. Jeremiah says that God calls himself a God far away. Jeremiah 2323 so what Ellie Hugh is saying that his authority is outside himself.
He is being informed by God. He is a messenger of God. That's his authority. I will fetch my knowledge from afar.
I will describe righteousness to my maker's aim.
What is his name. Well, his aim is to ascribe righteousness to his maker to prove or to demonstrate that God is just in his dealings, and that's been Job's complaint sees what this incredibly difficult dark path he's come to the conclusion that there's a measure of injustice with God and Ellie. Hugh is going to speak to that issue and bring correction and then finally, what is his claim. What is Ellie Hughes claim what Ellie Hugh claims that because his motive is right that his authority is God given that his aim is God honoring in the content of what he says is reliable that it is it is not false. He's claiming to speak as a prophet of God and all of that to say that what is recorded here for us is it is not erroneous is not a misrepresentation of God. He is indeed a prophet of God and is we go through the rest of the book, God will review Job's three friends who spoke on truth and misrepresentations of truth, but he will not rebuke this man because this man is a prophet of God, he is speaking truth, he is representing God right now think with me. Secondly about the message.
The message and I'm going to focus on verses 11 through for verse 15.
Well let me back up to verse eight we read these verses again and were going to go through this a couple of times and then bring some application number eight verse eight, and if they are bound in fetters held in the cords of affliction.
Then he tells them their work and their transgressions that they have acted defiantly. He also opens their ear to instruction and commands that they turn from an if they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures, but if they do not obey.
They shall perish by the sword, they shall die without knowledge, but the hypocrites and heart store up wrath. They do not cry for help. Where he binds them.
They die in youth in their life ends among the perverted persons he delivers the poor in their affliction, and opens their ears and oppression. Ellie, who is describing affliction. Any uses the language of captivity people are bound in chains and their clot in the courts verse eight there, bound in fetters held in the cords of affliction and affliction and suffering has that kind of effect on it doesn't update it.
It has an arresting effect. It grabs us it gets our attention. We feel enslaved by bound by, we can get away from it. It controls us.
That's what he saying and it is God is the one who's doing the binding verse 13 the hypocrites and heart store up wrath. They do not cry for help when he binds them so God in affliction, binds arrests, that's his purpose to get our attention. Ellie he was going to argue here that God uses the captivity of affliction to speak the people in their sin. Verse nine then he tells them their work and their transgressions. God bring suffering, God brings affliction into our lives. It's to get our minds, our thoughts are focus on things far more important than temporal relief. What is God doing what is God exposing what is God wanting to deal with in my life what sins are boiling to the surface. What sins are being exposed by this affliction that is brought into my life so he's arguing that God uses the captivity of affliction to speak to people about their sins and to open their ears to his correction. Verse 10, he also opens their ear to instruction verse 15 he delivers the poor in their affliction. Any opens their ears and oppression. Yes, God has this purpose. CS Lewis says Payne insists on being attended to. God whispers to us and our pleasures.
He speaks and our consciences, but shouts and our pains.
It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. So says CS Lewis, God shouts why he wants to get our attention and few things in life get our attention more than suffering and affliction. Then there's a contrast or the contrast between those who listen to God and those who refuse to listen to God. Notice verse 11.
If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures, but if they do not obey what they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge die without knowledge die without a knowledge of salvation. They will perish. That's the essence of what God is saying to us here again think with me about these words, he delivers the afflicted by their afflictions, and he opens their ear by adversity. Therefore areas that I want to enumerate for you about God's deliverance. And here's the question what does affliction deliver us from and what is more precious than relief from our temporal affliction. Let me mention for things to number one deliverance from disobedience and rebellion, God uses the instrumentality of affliction to deliver us from disobedience and rebellion.
Number two, to deliver us from wrath and judgment. Number three to deliver us from self-reliance and human autonomy and number four to deliver us from the love of the world. Deliverance from disobedience and rebellion.
The psalmist said before I was afflicted before I was afflicted, I went astray. There's something about a carefree life.
There's something about a life of blessing and prosperity that promotes waywardness and wars against walking closely to the Lord before I was afflicted I went astray, and if we do not recognize that spirit, that tendency that proclivity in us. We are in danger prone to what wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love even his redeemed children.
That spirit is with us before I was afflicted I went astray.
But he says but now but now I obey your word psalmist says deliverance from disobedience and rebellion.
That's the first thing that this text is pointing to an again I want you to see this, he delivers the afflicted by their affliction, have you noticed how the same son that melts the crayons on the dashboard must try and clean up his the same son, Matt, that melts the crayons on the dashboard hardens the clay in the field same son same. He what will what's what's the explanation for the difference. The Constitution of the two things the crayons in the dirt is anything to do with the condition of our heart. That's why it says here God brings affliction. He opens their ear to instruction.
He commands that they turn from iniquity if they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, there's a new take on the prosperity gospel is affliction. Affliction God brings prosperity by affliction if they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures, but if they do not obey. They shall perish by the sword, they shall die without knowledge.
Those who refuse to listen to God's voice God's dealings with them will perish. They will die without knowledge they will die with lack of a saving knowledge of God there suffering reveals the godlessness of their hearts, which is shown by their simply getting angry and resentful toward God. Verse 13 the hypocrite and heart store up wrath.
They do not cry for help when he binds them some in the heat of affliction and suffering God. Others are repelled by God. That's why I don't like God.
That's why won't submit to God.
That's why I despise God what he is doing in my life. That's the natural tendency.
This text says that those who are unwilling to obey you have a hard heart. There life is a downward spiral toward judgment. Verse 14. They Diane youth their life ends among the perverted persons that's where does.
There is a way that seems right unto a man bought the end thereof is death, but those who are made palatable. Their hearts are softened, there open to instruction. What about them. God brings them to a place of humbleness open ears and soft hearts, and he does that by means of adversity. When we revisit that verse in the Psalm Psalm 119 verse 67 again before I was afflicted I went astray. But now I obey your word. Whoever this man is this man at this particular place in his life as a revelation.
It has suddenly dawned on him that the trouble in his life. Sorrowful upsetting annoying pressure packed painful as it may be, at the time had been good for him. It had been good for him and it had been specifically set by God to benefit him. That's revelation is going to listen to what he wasn't saying he wasn't saying that the trouble itself had been good, far from but looking back on his life he could now honestly admit that it had produced a good effect in him. It had turned him and he needed turning he been heading in one direction then wham God got his attention.
The cords of affliction had captured him. He been flattened by whatever it was event in his life and he acknowledged that before this affliction came, he was heading down and unwise unhealthy path. I think many of us can relate to that if we do not understand God's posture toward written rebellion centers when Adam sin in the garden.
What was the result of that. Did ego looking for God in repentance and sorrow he could from God. God came looking for him right folks. That's the gospel, God comes looking for us. And if God didn't take initiative. If God didn't come looking for us, we'd all continue to hide and run from God. So this man in Psalm 119. He acknowledges that before this affliction came, he was heading down and unwise and unhealthy path astray before I was afflicted I went astray away from God out of the path of blessing out of the black path of righteousness on the path that leads to death.
That's the path I was on then then the affliction game.
The bad thing that became a good thing the wound. The disappointment the setback. The pink slip the rejection. The heart ache. The divorce the failure.
The doctors report whatever it is the affliction it intruded into his life and it took hold of him. It took him by the shoulders.
It took him and got his attention, and it dragged him back on course and now many miles down the right road. He's looking back and he saying to himself, you know that was a very hard thing. But thank God for it right. We can all not all but most of us can say you know what there some things in life.
I do not want to revisit their too hard or too painful. But as I sit here I thank God for them because I am the person I am today.
I'm on the path toward heaven that I'm on the day because God used that in my life and had God not intervened.
Had God not got my attention. Had God not in rapidly with the cords of affliction, where would I be yes. So not only deliverance from disobedience and rebellion but number two deliverance from wrath and judgment.
Deliverance from wrath and judgment.
That's what awaited this man again, the contrast if they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, but if they do not obey.
They shall perish by the sword, they shall die without knowledge the hypocrite in heart stores up wrath. They do not cry for help when he finds them storing up wrath. What sobering troubling thought that the longer a man persists in his disobedience, and in his rebellion and his defiance continues on the path away from God. He is storing up wrath storing up wrath.
So God brings affliction into our lives to deliver us from wrath and judgment. I think if we had the time and we had opportunity to hear people's salvation testimony.
Most of us would say you know what life is going well. This was, I thought I had life figured out in advance. God did this, God did that got knocked the props out from under me. There I was, that's that's the testimony of a lot of people. That's what God does. It is a kind mercy of God when he does that. Right when he afflicts us in our affliction to do us good. Number three deliverance from self-reliance and autonomy.
Listen to what Paul said Paul said in second printing chapter 1 verse eight.
He's talking about a time of intense affliction, intense suffering. He says we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Think about that is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill type of suffering and affliction. That's an intense kind. We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, but that was to make us rely not on our sale, but on God who raises the dead were so self-reliant, partly I got this yeah this is a bump in the road but I can handle this. That's the American way, self-reliance, autonomy, independence, and all those things war against our relationship with God because God is wanting to make us dependent on him desperately dependent on him so God's brings affliction into our life to deliver us from self-reliance and autonomy and we don't understand that when we feel our weakness.
We don't like that when we come to the end of ourselves we don't welcome that we don't see that is advantageous, but when those things happen. It is spiritually advantageous because we are not looking to ourselves for not looking within were looking outside of ourselves were looking to the God who was saved us to sustain us. So it's a kind mercy of God that afflicts us so that we would be delivered from self-reliance and autonomy we sign this morning, but ON gloomy doubts prevail. I fear to call the mine, the springs of comfort seem to fail in all my whole decline yet gracious God, where shall I flee thou art my only trust and still my soul would cleave to the though prostrate in the dust.
He's our only hope. And then God uses affliction to deliver us from the affliction of loving this world we are masters at Ewing out cisterns places in the world where we felt think is satisfaction, only to see the water that's in that broken cistern leak away and it doesn't satisfy. And why would we. Why would we run to a broken cistern. It doesn't hold water. When Jesus is.
I am what is the bread of life. He is the springs of living water. Would you rather drink from a open spring you know is uncontaminated or would you rather drink from a canteen full of water that's been out in the sun for four days.
Well we know what would rather drink up, but our sinfulness somehow were attracted to that canteen of tepid water that is not satisfying to the taste and we walked right past the brook satisfying brook. That's the nature of sin and God wants to deliver us from the love from the world. Affliction has a way of making us long for heaven because we become aware, acutely aware that this world is not our home, that when our dreams are broken. We understand that were living in a broken world. Our dreams cannot be built on this world because of we do. It's like building sand castles.
Lot of time on effort, but as the tides come in and you go back there the next day they're gone gone the greatest joy of heaven will be seeing the glory of God in the face of the Lord Jesus, which will make everything in our lives. Even these present sufferings worth it all because not only is our pain. Not worth comparing with the joy of heaven. But Paul says in second Corinthians 4 that those afflictions, those sufferings are actually preparing us for glory will let me take five minutes to conclude with this conclusion. God has a campus of higher learning and it is the school of affliction.
The instruction is received.
Here comes through adversity assigned by God's sovereign and omniscient hand. That is to say that what God has ordained for one person.
He hasn't ordained for another person because God knows this affliction is designed to address that need for that person. But something else is needed over here so the instruction received in God school of affliction comes through God's sovereign and omniscient hand. It is the school of our redeemers alma mater. We sing stricken, smitten, and afflicted. See him dying on the tree. Jesus is no stranger to suffering and affliction. The Bible tells us that he learned obedience through the things that he suffered. We didn't learn anything in his deity. He was omniscient, but he learned something about's suffering in his humanity, and if I'm considering going to school when enrolling in a school I'm interested in the commendations and the endorsements from former students listen to the psalmist in Psalm 119, 119, verse 71. The psalmist said it is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn your statutes.
Psalm 92 Psalm 119, unless your Lawhead then my delight I would have perished in my affliction. Psalm 34 verse 17 to 19 the righteous cry out in the Lord hears and he delivers them out of all their trouble and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but what the Lord delivers them out of them all. Job said in Job 1315 though he slay me, yet will I trust him. Job said 23 verse 10 he knows the way that I take when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
Paul in second Corinthians 12 was taught that God's grace was sufficient for him or his strength is made perfect in weakness. Paul could say most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Every time I read that I think my I have a lot of growing to do. I got a lot of maturing to do because I am not going to the place where I say I'd rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. I want the power of Christ rest on me. But I want that without suffering without infirmities and God says no.
It's a package deal. But despite these encouragements. Despite these commendations in these endorsements.
Despite the promise of good to our souls, we are reluctant to enroll in God school of affliction. All we wish there was another place to learn the difficult lessons, but we soon discover that to be a Christian to be a follower of Christ automatically enrolls us in the school of affliction in the school of affliction. The book fees are minimal. There's only one primary textbook, and it is the Bible and in it we will learn all that we need for life and godliness tests are given regularly, sometimes daily tests of love tests of endurance tests of faith. Tests of patients God tests us so that we might know what kind of progress were making and we can be slow learners but are you thankful this morning that there is a patient professor who is committed to and will see to it that every student passes and there is a crown and a gown that replaces the customary cap and gown reserve for every student in one day. Each will receive a diploma that states all was given in love and intended for your everlasting good and oh what a graduation party. There will be father teach us humility teach us willing submission to your ways, grant us a measure of grace, that tethers are sold to you, and will not let go until you accomplish all your good purposes in us. Help us to grow and develop a more mature and more robust a more biblically informed theology of suffering dismisses this morning with a sense that we will view affliction perhaps different than what we have in the past, not something to run from something to embrace, knowing that there is a God who superintending it for our good and his own glory. Here is our God, for Jesus sake, we pray. Amen