When calamity strikes, how do we maintain any hope that God can be trusted? Whether it's a threatening diagnosis, perhaps a financial disaster, or a broken relationship, our personal suffering becomes a test of our confidence in God's goodness. God is deeply tested through adversity. Shortly thereafter, God and Satan had a conversation about Job's insistence on doing the right thing.
Let's pick up the story now in Job Chapter 1. Do you notice Job, blameless, man of integrity, purity, humility, walks with me, loves his wife, great father, ten children, wonderful business, camels that are on caravans, bringing back a prosperous business world that he has cultivated. And I've 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 farmhands, 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. The 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. 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. 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 rein 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 me 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.
And on top of all this, when you observe. Verse eight, he scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. 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. 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. I have a friend who was traveling across South Texas fiddling with the dial on his radio trying to find one of those stations that would help keep him awake. He came across a country preacher who happened to be starting a series on Job. And he said, well, I just chose my title.
This is what I'm going to call it. Can't eat by day, can't sleep at night. The woman I love don't treat me right. Pretty good title, buddy. Misery personified.
Let me give you a couple of always and never pieces of advice as I stand here with no boils. Yet. Who knows what may come? No loss of children. By God's grace.
Yet. Who knows what may come? Still have my wife.
By God's grace. So let me pass along a couple of things I hope you will remember you who are married, especially. But all of us who have close friends. Here's an always piece of advice. Always guard your words.
When your mate or your friend is going through a hard time. Guard your words. You have no idea how they can affect the one who is hurting. What you say means more than you realize.
And even if you forget them, they won't. Guard your words. Here's a here's a never piece of advice. Never suggest that that person compromise his or her integrity. Never suggest suicide.
Never. It's the Lord who gives. It's the Lord who takes away. I know.
I've seen situations so impossible. I really believe death would be better. But that isn't my call.
And that isn't anyone else's. Job would go when it was God's time for him to go. Back to the story as we wrap it up. 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? Will every health and wealth tell evangelists, remember that verse? Will everyone who promises you prosperity if you give to this ministry having no right to make such a promise? As if God is a heavenly bell boy.
Happy to wait on us. If we just ring the bell. 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. He's there to grow us into a person like his son. Who learned obedience through the things he suffered. Hebrews 5 8. Job has a reproof for his wife. You speak as a foolish woman.
He has a reaction to his condition. Shall we accept good and not adversity? Sweetheart. Look at all the good God has given us. Aren't there days of darkness, heartache, disappointment?
Of course there are. That's a mature response. And the beautiful part. In all this, Job said nothing wrong. His resist theology held fast.
His determination remains strong, and Hasatan hated him for it. No wonder he's seen as the greatest man of the East. I would love to have known him. And I've known some great people, but no one like this. So I want to say three things that you can take with you. And I will do the same. First, I want to say that our trials are inevitable.
Don't be surprised. Many of you have suffered many things far worse than I've ever suffered. My heart goes out to you. I salute you for your endurance. But there are more trials to come. I'll say that to all of us.
A man named Robert Alden put it this way. This is a hard lesson for some believers to learn, especially if they have been promised health and wealth, or have misunderstood that God's wonderful plan for their lives involves only pleasantness and not troubles. What he takes or what he gives us shows the Father's love so precious. Thank you, Father, for your wisdom in taking from me what I thought was valuable.
But it's not as valuable as your will. I will not allow this trial to turn me away from you. I will not be surprised that it has happened. Do not be surprised what tomorrow holds or next week. Or next year, if we live to see next week.
And next year. Don't be surprised. Here's the second lesson to learn.
Our world has fallen. We're all imperfect. Don't be fooled. When people who love you give you wrong advice. They don't mean it to be wrong.
They're just imperfect. This was bad advice from his wife. It wouldn't be good that he curse God and die with cursing on his lips.
Probably no one on earth loved him more than his wife. But that was bad counsel. So remember that our world is fallen. We're all imperfect. Even those who love us the most.
Can tell us the wrong thing. I have to add, just to balance it out, they also can say the right thing when we don't want to hear it. But the point here is that we're not to be fooled when we hear the wrong thing from someone who loves us. Be sure you balance what you hear with what the Scriptures teach.
This is always our guide. This is always the foundation of what we believe. This determines what's right and wrong. That's a politically incorrect statement.
That's why I love it so much. This book is always the truth. The truth. Square what you hear with the Scriptures. If it doesn't square, the advice is bad. Or it's ill-timed. Not given from a person who has an ill motive, but given probably in sincerity.
But it's incorrect advice. Don't take it with the Scriptures. Don't be surprised. Don't be fooled.
Here's the third. Our God is sovereign. So we must prepare ourselves for whatever. Today is part of the preparation. If I could pull aside each one of you all alone in my study and you and I could talk, I would say that. But since I cannot, I'll say to all of us, this is part of our preparation.
Don't be disillusioned. Don't think your God is handing out candy. Surely he blesses. And we all know what that is like. They far outnumber the tests. But our God is preparing us for whatever is necessary so that when we stand before him, we will be more like his son than otherwise because of the testing we went through.
And he never runs out of creative ideas. Our God knows what he's about. Now, then, this is all wonderful information for those of us who know and desire to walk with the Savior. Don't be surprised. Don't be fooled.
Don't be disillusioned. I have a word for you who do not know the Lord. You aren't prepared and you can't be. The trials that will come will level you. And because you have no foundation to fall back on, your sandy foundation will give way. And you'll be at a loss to know how to get back on your feet. And you'll turn to wrong people or doing wrong things or reaction or reacting in wrong ways because you have no savior. So begin at the cross. It's where it all starts. At the cross, life begins. Life as it's meant to be lived. Please bow with me.
Please bow. Where you're sitting, you know the condition of your life better than anyone else, even those who know you well. You know, if you are a child of God or still walking in your own way, you may be even faking it. You know that.
Maybe very few others would know it. Today's the day to come to terms with your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I urge you to trust in him right now. Simple prayer. Lord, I'm not prepared for what may come. I. I take away all excuses. I simply bear my soul before you and I come as a sinner needing you as my savior. Take me, Lord. Take me now. I trust in you with my whole heart. Thank you for coming into my life. This is a prayer for all of you who do not know the savior, regardless of your religious background or lack of such, regardless of your age, regardless of your gender, regardless of what you've been through, regardless of how you've been treated or mistreated. You begin at the cross. Trust him now.
You'll be amazed the difference it makes when trials come. He'll be there with you and for you. Plus, he will forgive your sins and prepare you your own home in heaven. Trust him now. We can help you with this decision. That is why we are here. Call on us. We will help. Thank you, dear father, for the hope there is in Christ. Thank you for your spirit that works in all lives. I pray that you would peel away all the sham and all the phoniness that has been built up over the years, and we will see ourselves as we truly are sinners in need of a savior. Hear those who call on you today and receive them into your family today. Now to him who is able to guard us from stumbling and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding great joy. To the only wise God, our savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power now and forevermore. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
This is Insight for Living. Our Bible teacher is Chuck Swindoll. And to learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, Chuck has just completed message number five in a 12-part series called Clinging to Hope.
And to help you dig deeper into this topic, he wrote a book that parallels this teaching series. It's also called Clinging to Hope, and it's available right now. When your world gets rocked by calamity, as it did for Job, and when the people around you are second-guessing God's role in it, it's tempting to sink into despair. In his book, Chuck will remind you that our God is not surprised by the chaos of our times.
God is sovereign, and he's in complete control. Again, Chuck's new book is called Clinging to Hope, and you can purchase a copy right now by going to insight.org slash hope or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. It's possible you're listening to this program alone in your car or perhaps listening to the podcast by yourself with earbuds.
But in reality, you're not alone. Millions around the world are listening to this program today, right now. For instance, one of your fellow listeners wrote to us and said, Dear Insight for Living, as a young, busy mom, I grew in the Lord via Chuck's radio ministry.
Many years have passed, and I still enjoy the teachings. My youngest, now in college, is also amazed at the nuggets of truth gained in such a short time listening. May the Lord continue to bless Insight for Living. We are so grateful for listeners like this mom in Wisconsin who affirm that God's word is changing lives. And we invite you to participate financially in this effort to bring God's hope to people around the world. You can give a donation today by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.
Or you can give online when you go to insight.org slash donate. You've heard him teach about the Holy Land using word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the old city. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life changing.
In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Insight for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12-day tour, March 5th through the 16th, 2023. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and taught. To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444.
Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 5th through the 16th, 2023. And make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444. Or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll brings a message of hope even when you're mistreated by those you love. That's Thursday on Insight for Living. .
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