Most people assume that the pursuit of happiness is a human right. But according to the Bible, God doesn't exist to make us happy. In fact, sometimes God allows us to go through terrifying circumstances and none of it makes us smile.
So if the goal isn't happiness, what is it? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll finds the answer in an ancient story recorded in the Old Testament book of Job. If you missed Monday's program, we'll begin with helpful highlights. Chuck titled his message, When Calamity Crashes In, and we start with prayer. In a few weeks, our Father, we will recognize a day of thanksgiving, but we'll not wait for that day to say thank you now. For the women and men who have served you faithfully, courageously, and even those who gave their lives, who are not here to receive our thanks, that lie under white crosses all around the world, thank you for each one in the memory of those brave men and women who wore the uniform proudly and fought the fight, finished the course, reward them and encourage them this day, set aside to honor them. Thank you, Father, for people of faith who have led the way for us on whose shoulders we stand. We are stronger today because of teachers of the truth, preachers of the Word, mentors of the message, people we've respected, learned from, been reproved by, and shaped in many ways to become the people we are today because they were the people they were then when we needed them most.
So we pause to give you thanks for them as well. Speak to us today. Use our gifts in this offering to reach others who have yet to hear of the Savior and to know of the truth of the cross and the transformation you can bring through your son Jesus. In His name we pray and because of His name we give through Christ our Lord.
Everyone say amen. You're listening to Insight for Living. To study the Bible with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scriptures studies by going to insight.org slash hope.
And now the message from Chuck titled When Calamity Crashes In. You see, Job wasn't enthroned upon his own throne. He worshiped the living God. Make no mistake about it, he had spent his life staying ready.
So there was no need to get ready for what was to come, shocking though it was and grievous though it became. He stayed away from evil. On top of all the other, he's a man of moral and ethical purity. A man like that gets noticed, especially by his peers. And the consensus among those around him was he's the greatest man among us. On this occasion, when the Lord God and his subjects, the elect angels have come together, there was also among them, Hasatan, the Hebrew says. Hasatan.
It's got the hiss of a snake in his name. He's there too. The Lord notices him and speaks to him. What have you been doing? Oh, I've been walking up and down across the earth, observing here and there certain people. You notice Job, blameless, man of integrity, purity, walks with me, loves his wife, great father, 10 children, wonderful business, camels that are on caravans, bringing back a prosperous business world that he has cultivated. And I blessed him.
Yes. Hasatan says, of course he walks with you. Who wouldn't build a wall around him and his family and his home and his possessions?
Of course he walks with you. You spoil him. You take those things away. It's a different story. For some unrevealed reason, we're told the Lord agreed.
You may reach out and take away everything he has. Verse 11 states, but keep your hands off Job. Look at how it reads. One day Job's sons and daughters were feasting in the old brother's house. A messenger arrived at Job's house with the news. Your oxen were plowing with the donkeys and they were feeding beside them when the civilians raided and they stole all of your animals and they killed all the farm servants. I'm the only one escaped to tell you. While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with his news.
The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all your shepherds. And I'm the only one escaped to tell you. While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with his news that three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I'm the only one escaped to tell you. While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived and says, your sons and daughters.
No, no, no. The worst possible thing Job could imagine, the house in which they were all feasting, enjoying one another, collapsed. And they are all dead. Now he stood up, tore his robe in grief. And if you will allow me a little bit of preacher's imagination, I believe he took his wife in his arms and whispered, sweetheart, we've lost it all, including those we loved so much.
But the one we have loved most has chosen to do this for some unrevealed reason. Please observe. He shaved his head. Fell again to the ground to worship, to worship, to worship. No cursing. Hasatan despised that moment most of all.
How could that possibly be happening? You see, the way Job lived his life, God owns it all. So when he chooses for whatever reason to remove it all, he has every right to take it all without an explanation.
Will you remember that? Will all of us please remember that the same God who gives has every right to take? Nebuchadnezzar spoke of it following his insane years in the field when he took the pen in hand in Daniel's writings and he added verse 35 of chapter 4 of Daniel, all the inhabitants of the earth are as nothing. He does according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can stay his hand or say unto him, what are you doing?
What a statement of sovereignty. Nebuchadnezzar, the once proud king who had been brought to nothing. Our God is in the heavens. The Psalmist speaks. He has done whatever he pleases. And just as the Psalmist and just as Nebuchadnezzar, Job worships. I believe his wife did as well, perhaps, a little reluctantly.
Maybe not. But how deeply she is touched with the loss. Do not forget, she too lost 10 children. She too lost their way of making a living. She is no longer the first lady of the community.
They are bankrupt. Nothing. He says, I came naked from my mother's womb.
I will go back naked. The Lord gave me what I had. The Lord has taken it away. Praises be his name. No cursing, Satan. No cursing. And all of this we read in the last verse of that chapter, Job did not sin by blaming God.
What a perspective. He held it all so loosely. He also realized that you can't take anything you have on this earth with you. My mentor and longtime friend, now gone from a Ray Stedman at Peninsula Bible Church out in Northern California for so many years, told me of the time that he was invited to speak at a conference. The conference included a wonderful banquet at which he was to speak. And he had forgotten that in the letter of invitation, it mentioned it was a formal banquet and he should bring formal clothing.
Ray had taken only casual clothing. And as he arrived and looked over the plan for the week, he suddenly churned a little, remembering that there is that formal banquet coming and he should have brought something, a coat and a tie to wear for that evening. And he didn't. So he got an idea. Each morning he had walked and noticed that not far from the site of the conference, there was a funeral home. He thought, I can go and borrow a cadaver's suit and wear it. And no one will know. I'll get a tie and a nice shirt and I'll take it back.
If there's a charge, I'll pay the charge. So we did. The funeral director smiled and said, well, this is new.
I've never done this before. But he loaned it to him and Ray was off and running and speaking at the banquet that evening. I love this story.
Said I was speaking, Chuck, and I was going on and on as I often do. I reached to put my hand in the pocket and I realized there are no pockets in cadaver suits. I never thought of that before.
Of course, I've never worn one yet. You can't take it with you. This is what Job is saying. You would think that's it. Done.
Finished. If you think that, you don't know Hasatan. He lives to see you fall. He exists to hear you curse and blame God.
Because things don't go the way you thought they should have gone. Job doesn't fulfill that agenda. So he's back round two. He and God face to face, the Lord says to him, you see my servant Job, he's the finest man in all the earth. Chapter two, verse three. Blameless, a man of complete integrity, fears me and stays away from evil.
He's maintained his integrity. Even though you urged me to harm him, your Bible may read ruin him. The Hebrew says, swallow him. You wanted me to swallow him up or let you do that. You were given free reign and he did not curse me.
Satan replied, ah, skin for skin. You hurt him to the bone. You make him suffer. You'll hear cursing like you've never heard from him before.
Look at the limitation. Verse five. Reach out, take away his health. He will surely curse you to your face. All right, says God. Verse six. You may do that, but, but spare his life. You will not kill him.
That's all Satan needed. He took off with plans to make Job even more miserable. He struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot. Boils. We've sort of bypassed the day of boils, haven't we? Anybody?
No, I'm not going to ask that. I was going to ask if you have a boil, but you don't. I have had a boil. When I was throwing a paper route as a young teenager, my, one of my first jobs, and it was right below my elbow and I had mirrors on my bike.
Naturally, that was cool. But every time I'd throw the route, throw the paper, I'd bump that boil. You'd think I was martyr number three in my generation because of one boil. He's covered with them. I spoke with a practicing dermatologist, a believer, and he said physicians have had a field day trying to diagnose this loathsome disease. And I quote, what the Bible calls sore boils, the medical world prefers more specific identification.
The guesswork is extensive, he said. Some examples, there are those of us who say it could have been smallpox, a kind of elephantiasis, chronic eczema, a form of leprosy, psoriasis, pittiriasis, keratosis, pamphegos foliocos, I'll stop there, or some form of melanoma, skin cancer. The physical maladies, painful beyond telling, various symptoms are mentioned in the scriptures.
And I went just through chapter nine, picking up tidbits of what Job endured. The sores were inflamed and ulcerous, chapter two, verse seven. There is persistent itching, which caused him to take the potsherds and scrape himself, chapter two, verse eight. Degenerative changes in facial skin and disfiguration, chapter two, verse 12. Loss of appetite, chapter three, verse 24. Fears and depression, 325. Purulent sores that burst open, scab over, crack and ooze with pus, 75. Worms that form in the infected sores, 75.
Difficulty in breathing, 9, 18. I stopped there, though I was less than a fourth of the way through the book of 42 chapters. Horrible. Miserable beyond telling. And on top of all this, will you observe, verse eight, he scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes.
We don't know what that means in our day. Warren Wiersbe, the late Warren Wiersbe writes, there the city garbage was deposited and burned and there the city rejects lived, begging alms from whomever passed by. At the ash heap, dogs fought one another over something to eat and there the city's dung was brought and burned daily. Now the city's leading citizen was living there in abject poverty and shame. All that he humanly had left were his wife and three friends and even they turned against him. In summary, it must have been a time of complete confusion.
It was a time of total isolation and no visible reason for hope of change. Terminal pain. His wife says to him, just curse God and die. Before we castigate Mrs. Job, will you please have a heart? She spoke foolishly and Job says so, but look at where she's coming from.
Remember those times in your life when you could cut your tongue out for saying what you should not have said in a rash moment of irritation or pain or retaliation or confusion. We all remember such times. I frankly believe she lived to see the day she regretted ever saying it, but she said it. In her grief, in her loss. And don't forget she will no longer have a husband that she has enjoyed all these years. Those lovely evenings together around the fireplace. Those romantic nights they enjoyed never again. Those beautiful trips they could take together no more. Now it's a husband covered with oozing sores. So she blurts out what she shouldn't have said. Job's response after all of the loss and now all of the pain. Look, verse 10, you talk like a, talk like a foolish woman.
Don't say that. Now look at his question and will you remember it the rest of your life, please? Should we accept only good things from God and never adversity? Our God is in the heavens. He does whatever he pleases and whatever is glorifying to him and best for you and me, regardless of how you and I may feel about it.
He isn't there to make us happy. It's remarkable to see Job respond with such humility, even at his deepest moment of pain and suffering. You're listening to Insight for Living and the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll.
To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, Chuck is talking about clinging to hope when calamity crashes in. And if you're prepared to dig deeper on your own, you'll be glad to know he's written a brand new book that complements his teaching series. Chuck's book is called Clinging to Hope. There's a complete chapter on the topic he addressed today.
Plus, he addresses 11 other relevant subjects such as what to do when unexpected tests rattle our world, how to cope when doors of opportunity get slammed shut, and how to survive when troubles come and stay. You'll enjoy reading Chuck's biblical insights on these issues. And this is a wonderful book to pass along to a friend or perhaps to a child or grandchild who needs a dose of encouragement. Some may decide to use this book in a small group Bible study. Again, Chuck's brand new book is called Clinging to Hope. To purchase a copy right now, go to insight.org slash hope, or call us.
If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Well, as you would imagine, our world is filled with people who are desperately searching for hope. And we make it our mission to send these daily programs far and wide so people have access to clear and convincing Bible teaching. In fact, Insight for Living is translated into eight languages other than English, expanding our audience in parts of the world where Bible teaching is rare. So thanks so much for remembering the critical importance of giving generously to Insight for Living. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or you can give online at insight.org slash donate.
Take it from Chuck's window. There's nothing quite like the beauty of the great frontier. Wide open skies, pristine glaciers with various shades of blue and turquoise mingled within them towering pine trees and all manner of wildlife. I'll tell you, Alaska is truly a masterpiece of God's creation. I've been to a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but honestly, nothing compares to the beauty in Alaska.
God is awesome. Come with us on the Insight for Living Ministries cruise to Alaska, July 1 through July 8, 2023. When I'm in Alaska, I feel like I'm in an amazing painting created by God. Let yourself get lost in the majestic beauty. Spend quality time with those you love. Allow God to refresh your soul as you reflect on his word and his goodness in your life. To learn more, go to insight.org slash events or call this number 1-888-447-0444.
The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck's Swindoll explains what to do when calamity crashes in, tomorrow on Insight for Living. The preceding message, When Calamity Crashes In, was copyrighted in 2019 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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