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God, Why Me? Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 31, 2022 1:00 am

God, Why Me? Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 31, 2022 1:00 am

When a child dies, a job is lost, or a reputation is slandered, we often wonder who’s behind it. Amid immense tragedy, Job showed us how to ask why. In this message, we reflect on the roles of God, Satan, and Job in this story. We may be shocked to find out who was ultimately behind the pain and suffering in which Job found himself.

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Jeff Noblit

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Why is the word that haunts us when things go wrong?

A child dies. A reputation is slandered. None of us escapes those times when we question God's purposes. Millennia ago, a man named Job showed us how to ask why. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, the series you begin today is called God, Why Me? Tell us why you chose this title.

Well Dave, I think that all of us would admit that we've spent an awful lot of time on the slope of a question mark. Why me? In the midst of a world where there is so much injustice, where we see so much on the news that breaks our hearts, when it comes to us, we all ask, why me? And you know, we may even ask that question as we confront our culture today, where there are so many cultural streams that are standing against our Christian witness. That's why I've written the book entitled No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture, and I need to emphasize that this is the last day that we are making this resource available. So I hope you have time to pick up a pencil or a pen and write this down. You can go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now because of the importance of this book and because it is the last day, I'm giving you this contact info again. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And of course I'll be giving you that contact info once again at the end of this message. But let us remember that God has a purpose in all of our trials. Many years ago I heard a story of a young man who dedicated his life to Jesus Christ for foreign missionary service. We can imagine that it was with mixed feelings when the day finally came when he said goodbye to his parents and friends to go to the mission field to which God had called him. But as he was traveling en route, the plane landed at an airport. He decided to write a note home, but because he didn't have any writing paper with him, he simply tore a piece from the newspaper, scribbled a note into the margin, put it into an envelope and sent it home and then got on the plane to resume his journey. But unfortunately the plane never did reach its destination. It crashed and he was killed along with all of the others aboard. His parents of course heard of the tragic news and a few days later they received the note that he had written at the airport. And what turned out to be an irony is that after reading the note on one side, they turned it around on the other side and it had been torn in such a way that there printed in thick dark letters was the short three letter word, why. And I suppose that there is no question in all of life that we so often ask God. Sometimes almost as a dagger in his heart is that age old question of why.

Why is it that those who are young sometimes die, those who are old who would like to die go on living? Why is it necessary for some people to experience an economic collapse, the death of a loved one or for that matter the death of a marriage or the untimely death of a person who is serving Jesus Christ just like that missionary? Well God willing during the next weeks we are going to be studying the book of Job. I hope to do a series of eight messages on the book of Job and I invite you to take your Bibles today and to turn to chapter one of the book of Job. Job is almost in the middle of your Bible, Job, Psalms, Proverbs is the way it goes in the Old Testament and today we're going to look at that first chapter and I encourage you to be reading the book of Job because what we will discover is that God is going to change Job's understanding of who God is and what a transformation that is going to bring about. Job begins the book thinking he understands God but as the book begins to unravel God is more mysterious than ever and you have to wait until the end to see how it all comes together and what the bottom line is. What we do know about Job is that the book itself is very old.

Scholars tell us that even the Hebrew that is used is very old Hebrew. There's no reference to the Aaronic priesthood so many people think that the book of Job may be as old as the patriarchs, perhaps one of the oldest books in the Bible. What we know about Job himself is a number of things. First of all in verse one we are told that he was an upright man, blameless, fearing God and turning away from evil. We know that he had a wonderful family. Verse two and seven sons and three daughters were born to him and if you look at verse three you know that he was very wealthy particularly as a man in his culture and a man in the east. His possessions also were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, very many servants and that man was the greatest of all the men in the east.

But this man who was so great and so righteous would turn out to be one who went through such an incredibly severe trial. And what I'd like to do as we try to handle the first chapter of Job is to invite you to participate with me in looking at this chapter from the standpoint of the three personalities that are involved in Job's struggle. The three personalities and we'll see the roles that each of them plays. First of all I want you to notice what God's role is. God's role is delineated in verses seven to twelve and if you're taking notes the word to put next to it is the word control.

Everything is in God's hands and I might say that God shows his control by first of all confronting Satan and actually being the one to bring up the question of Job and his righteousness. Verse eight there was a day when the sons of God and that is a reference to angels came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan came among them. He just shows up. The Lord said to Satan from where do you come and Satan said well from roaming around the earth and walking around on it.

I'm just patrolling and I've got the night shift and so here I am I'm showing up. And the Lord said to Satan have you considered my servant Job that there is no one like him on the earth a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil? And Satan says oh yeah sure. Does Job fear God for nothing?

Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has on every side? Thou has blessed the work of his hands his possessions have increased in the land but put forth thy hand now and touch all that he has and he will curse thee to thy face. The Lord said to Satan behold all that he has is in your power only do not put forth your hand on him.

So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord. What is God's role? God's role is first of all confrontation. He's the one who brings up the issue of Job's righteousness and almost seems as if he is taunting Satan. And so he brings up that issue of Job's righteousness and what Satan is going to do or not do about it as the case may be. And then God's role is one of permission. We read it there in verse 12 behold all that he has is in your power only do not put forth your hand on him. God says I'm going to prescribe the limits. I'm going to allow you to take him through this difficult trial but I am going to keep my hand on the thermostat while Job is in the furnace and I will let you do so much and no more.

You have to stay within the boundaries that I prescribe. So that's God's role. God's role is one of control. Let's look at Satan's role. What does he do? His role is one of acting.

His role is one of implementing. He is what God uses to do or to bring upon Job I should say this horrendous trial. And I don't know if you're like I am but I'm sure that when you stop to think of it all of us would agree that we are shocked at the strength that Satan is given in this account.

Notice first of all his power over people. You remember for Job this is a day that really was. It says in verse 13 it happened on the day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house that a messenger came to Job and said Job the oxen were plowing and the donkey's feeding beside them and the Sabeans attacked them and they slew the servants with the edge of the sword and I alone have escaped to tell you. Well that was terrible news but while he was yet speaking another came and said the fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them and I alone have escaped to tell you.

How do you like that for a double whammy? Verse 17 and while he was yet speaking another came and said the Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword and I alone have escaped to tell you. By now Job could not believe what he was hearing. Verse 18 while he was still speaking another came and said your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house and behold a great wind came from across the desert and struck the four corners of the house and it fell on the young people and they died and I alone have escaped to tell you. Look at the power of the devil first of all over people. You'll notice in verse 15 the Sabeans came. Verse 17 the Chaldeans came. Are you telling me that the armies of these wicked people is so surely in Satan's back pocket that he can actually stir them up and control them to the point where they do such deeds against Job?

I guess the obvious answer is yes. Now they had made a series of choices to become a part of Satan's territory that's right but it does show you the awesome ability of Satan to be involved in the affairs of men. It's breathtaking and then notice nature it says lightning came and that's verse 16 the fire of God that's an expression for lightning and then verse 19 a great wind came. What an interesting story.

What power and actually it's done by the devil but back behind the devil giving him permission to do it is God. I read this passage and I'm reminded of a story of a little town here in the land of the United States and there was to be a bar that was built in this little town and the people didn't want the bar that is most of the people didn't want the bar. So people from the church went over to the bartender and they said you know we are going to pray that lightning is going to strike your bar and it's going to burn to the ground.

Well the bartender was unconvinced but the people went home and had a prayer meeting and prayed that that would happen and a day later a terrible storm came a lightning came struck the bar and the thing burned to the ground and the bartender took the Christians to court and said that it was their responsibility because they had prayed that it would happen and the Christians hired an attorney to say no it wasn't our fault and the judge said that the only thing that he could conclude was that the bartender believed in prayer but the Christians didn't. Now I want us to look at this text of scripture and to analyze it theologically. Let's figure out what's going on here in the text.

Who is really back behind Job's trial? Who is what philosophers would call the ultimate cause? The ultimate cause is God. Not that he does it but that he permits it and he could choose to not permit it if he so desired. So back behind it is the ultimate cause which is God. The immediate cause is Satan but Satan operates only in accordance with the limits and the parameters that God sets. As Luther says even the devil is God's devil.

Now you know there are some seminaries where they teach young men for the ministry and then they have pastoral classes where you're taught how to marry and bury and do all those other things that we as pastors have to do and there are schools where they will teach you this. They'll say if a child should die of cancer don't ever tell parents that God took their child because they will be angry at God. What you do is you blame it all on the cancer and you say cancer took the child. Now I understand the sentiment of what is going on with that kind of reasoning but if you are a committed Christian and you believe your Bible you know better than that.

Certainly cancer may be the immediate cause but back behind the permission that this should happen is the will and the purpose and the plan and the providential government of God in the affairs of men. At least I hope that you believe that. Paul believed it. Jesus believed it.

Job believed it. 66 books of the Bible teach it and so I hope that you're on board on that issue. Now the thing is that we see here a very interesting picture of how even can you imagine me saying this in this day and age how that even a believer is actually harassed by Satan within the parameters of God's will and purpose. Remember in the book of Revelation it says to one of the churches that Satan shall cast some of you into the fire and into prison.

Now I don't believe that we ever need to be controlled by Satan to do evil but there may be at times harassment that comes to us from the enemy that is to purify us, that is to change us, that is to transform us. At least that's certainly what happened in the book of Job. Now there's a third personality involved and he's the one that we're worried about and that is Job.

We've talked about God. His role is one of control. Satan, his role is one of acting or implementing the suffering and now what happens to Job? You'll notice in verse 20 Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. This is an awesome passage of scripture. You'll notice that Job did not curse.

Now later on you're going to see that Job is going to sink into deep deep depression. We're going to see that in future messages but for now he passes the initial stage in this trial with flying colors. He said naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I shall return there. Notice he doesn't blame it on the devil. He says the Lord gave the Lord. The Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord and though Job knew God did it, the text says he did not blame God. He was not like that man that a friend of mine told about whose house burned to the ground and when he came home and saw that his house had burned he was on the lawn pounding his fist into the sod and cursing the fire department and cursing God and and just cursing and cursing. Job did not do that. Job worshiped and said the Lord gave me the children. The Lord took them away.

Blessed be his most holy name. Initial trial Job passes. What I'd like to do now is to give you four lessons that I want you to write down anywhere that you can write it down. I taught this first chapter to a Sunday school class not too long ago and I told them that I wanted them to remember these four lessons as long as they live.

They might not need the lessons today. You might not need it today but if you live long in this world eventually you will need them. You will need them. I will need them.

We will all need them. Number one and this is shocking. When God wants to try somebody I mean really try them.

I mean really get at their heart. Nothing is untouchable. Nothing is untouchable. Frankly folks I read this passage of scripture and I am just the wind seems to be taken right out of my lungs. Here God wants to try Job. He and Satan have this little discussion in heaven and as a result of what happens his children die. Verse 19 10 children dead and I look at the text and I say well didn't their lives mean anything? You mean to say 10 young people with a wonderful future ahead of them with all kinds of possibilities and God just comes along and he allows through this windstorm for them to die just because God and the devil had made a deal that they wanted to try Job and I say to myself this is almost unbelievable.

Not unbelievable but almost unbelievable. It almost looks as if the children were expendable. God says I want to get at Job's heart and if it means that I have to take his children to do it I will do it because we're going to determine what it is that Job is really made of and I say wow and I've known people and you have known people too where God has zeroed in and taken from them that which was most precious. I think of the missionary with a sick baby. Every day the missionaries would pray oh God send rain so that the river might be able to flow and that we can get help because that was the only means of transportation and there is no rain and the baby dies and they walk out of the house and torrents of rain come out of the sky. If only that rain had come a day earlier or two days earlier they could have gotten help for what wasn't that difficult a medical problem. Almost as if God is saying I want you to trust me and I want to prove to you that I can take from you that which is most precious because when I want to try somebody nothing is untouchable.

Nothing. When God says to Abraham, Abraham I want you to offer your son as a sacrifice. Abraham says okay let's go with Ishmael. God says I'm sorry but because I want to really try you Abraham it's going to be Isaac.

It's going to be the son whom you love the most. Well my friend this is Pastor Luther and most assuredly I hope that you continue to listen to this special series. Today is a very remarkable day. We of course celebrate the Reformation that took place in 1517. America needs its own Reformation. That's why I've written the book entitled No Reason to Hide. In this book I talk about the various pressure points that we are facing in our culture today.

For example how do we answer the question that we live on stolen land? What about collective guilt, propaganda, the Christian left, gender neutrality? I end the book by talking about rethinking our view of suffering for Christ and pointing out that suffering does not mean that we are unfaithful.

It might be a sign of faithfulness. We as Americans especially as Westerners need to rethink the role of suffering for Christ. For a gift of any amount this book can be yours and today I want to emphasize once again is the last day we are making this resource available. Go to rtwoffer.com. Of course rtwoffer is all one word or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember this is the last day for the book No Reason to Hide. We're making it available to you as a resource.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. When all's going well believers have little sense of their need for God but when calamity strikes they'll tell a different story. When you lose your health or your child something inside screams why. On our next running to win more about the supreme purpose for suffering, a purpose hidden in the plan of God.

It's no secret that America is in crisis. Pastor's book No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture will be sent as our gift to you when you give a gift of any amount to support running to win. Just call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337. Online go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. Or write to Running to Win Moody Church, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-09 23:35:08 / 2022-11-09 23:44:13 / 9

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