Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. When we're the victims of economic collapse or slander, something within us demands an answer. Today, through the life of Job, we'll explore the heavenly reasons for our earthly misfortunes and how Jesus would answer Job's painful cries.
Stay with us. 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, your current series is God, Why Me? Do the teachings of Jesus actually address the torture of soul that Job experienced? You know, Dave, what is so remarkable is this, that Job, of course, lived centuries before the time of Jesus. And yet we find out that Jesus does answer Job. For example, Job says, Oh, that there was an umpire between me and God who could lay his hand upon us both.
Put a hand on me, put a hand on God and bring us together. And Jesus is the mediator between God and man. Job also cries out and says, In my flesh I shall see God. And Jesus says, I am the resurrection and the life. So even though Job does not see it clearly, he is really crying out for Jesus. I've written a very short accessible book entitled God, Why Me? It's actually based on this sermon series based on the book of Job. I think it will be a tremendous blessing to you. Now for a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. God has planted within every single human heart the desire to live eternally and to find the answer to ultimate questions. You can't get away from it. All of us would like to find out what the real key to life is all about. And some questions that we have in life are much more important than others. The question, for example, of where you live on earth is not nearly as important as the question of where you are going to live for all of eternity.
Reconciliation with a human being, important though it is on earth, is not nearly as important as your personal reconciliation with God. This is the fifth in a series of messages on the book of Job and we're going to be looking at some of the longings of Job's heart as we look at the text of Scripture in just a moment. But before we turn to the book, let us remind ourselves of something.
We have a wonderful advantage that Job lacked. Job did not live, you see, after the time of Moses. He lived before the time of Moses. So he had no opportunity to pick up a copy of the Scriptures and to read about the great miracles that God did in the life of the nation Israel. He lived prior to the prophets who proclaimed the justice of God but also the faithfulness of God. He did not have that revelation that he could draw on. Furthermore, needless to say, Job lived before the time of the New Testament. He was not around and he had not heard of the coming of Jesus Christ. That was anticipated, as we shall see in his book, but he had no sure knowledge of the coming Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. He didn't know that Romans chapter 8 verse 28 was in the Bible, that all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the cold according to his purpose.
All of those things were hidden from him and yet we are astounded at times at the insight that he had as he, in this book, is groping for God to find an answer to his intense, prolonged, and seemingly meaningless suffering. And so with that background, I want you to take your Bibles and let us look together at what Job contemplated and the needs that he had, and today we're going to take the liberty of showing how Jesus Christ becomes the answer to his quest. Years ago, Campbell Morgan wrote a little book entitled The Answers of Jesus to Job, and there are many questions that Job asks that Jesus answers.
Today we shall look at only three. First of all, I want you to take your Bible and turn to Job chapter 9 verse 33. Job chapter 9 verse 33.
If you've been here before, you know that Job is in a great dilemma. His friends are constantly dialoguing with him. Generally, their words are words of condemnation and judgment. They are not being very sympathetic in his plight. They're basically telling him, Job, all that you would need to do to get your act together is simply confess your sin and then God will bless you. In other words, they are saying you are getting what you deserved.
Job is looking into his life and he doesn't agree with that at all. He has served God and loved God and though he's not perfect, he's saying, I am getting far worse than I could have ever deserved. In the ninth chapter, he begins with this word, verse 2.
In truth, I know that it is so, but how can a man be right before God? What he's saying is, I wish I could come into God's presence as we learned last time. He said in that fantastic soliloquy in chapter 23, oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat, but we emphasize that no matter where Job turned, God was not there. He said, behold, I go forward, but he is not there and backward, but I cannot perceive him. He hideth himself on the left hand that I cannot find him and then he also hideth himself on the right hand that I cannot see him.
Job is in a quandary. He is searching for God and God seems to be so far above him that he cannot find him. Now in this chapter, he yearns for a resolution to the alienation that he feels from God and this is what he says in verse 32. Speaking of God, he is not a man as I am that I may answer him that we may go to court together and there is no umpire between us who may lay his hand upon us both.
That word umpire means mediator. Now why is it that Job is crying for this? Why is he recognizing that he cannot go to God as it were directly without someone who can lay his hand upon God and man? Well, I want you to know that Job is becoming very much aware of the sin in his own heart.
Notice we pick up the text in the very same chapter. Notice it says in verse 27, though I say I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my sad countenance and be cheerful. I am afraid of all of my pains. I know that thou wilt not acquit me. I am accounted wicked. Why then should I toil in vain if I should wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet thou wouldest plunge me into the pit and my own clothes would abhor me? Job is saying I'm becoming aware of sin in my heart and there's nothing that I can do that I can do to get rid of it even if I wash myself.
The pollution simply will not go away. So I am unholy and God is holy and God is mysterious and God cannot be fathomed. He is beyond human understanding, but more than that, God is accountable to no one. By the way, is that ever frightening to you, the fact that God gives not a count to anyone of his matters? If you're in an organizational structure, you can always go to somebody's boss, the person that you're having trouble with.
I suggest that you do that very gingerly and count the cost. But if you can somehow get to his boss, the person who is above him, maybe you can put pressure on the man who is so difficult to work with and the boss can do something about it. But God has no boss. God is his own boss and there is none like him and he is beyond accountability. And so Job is saying, oh, that I wish I had somebody who could put his hand on God and put his hand on me and bring us together so that we could have a meeting of the minds. Now, Job doesn't know this, but thousands of years later, Jesus is going to appear on the scene. And I want you to take your Bible, keep your finger in the book of Job, but take your Bible and turn to 1 Timothy chapter 2 verse 5. 1 Timothy chapter 2 verse 5. What a beautiful answer Christ provides for Job.
1 Timothy chapter 2 verse 5. For there is one God and one mediator also between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all the testimony born at the proper time. One mediator, the man Christ Jesus.
What an awesome statement. The reason that Jesus is the one mediator is because he was both God and man. You see, there are some cults that teach that Jesus Christ was a created being and that he wasn't God. But if he wasn't God and only a creature, he could not quite get to God either. Salvation is of the Lord because Jesus Christ was both God and man and he is the umpire. He is the mediator who can lay his hand upon us both and he can reconcile us and he can bring us to God and make us acceptable to God. That word ransom that occurs there in 1 Timothy means the price that has been paid for a slave. We are slaves of sin. Jesus paid the ransom so that we might be reconciled to God and today we can know that we have an umpire who can reconcile us to the Father. So first of all, Job says, oh, that there were a mediator. This is the cry of reconciliation. If only somebody could put in a good word for me and bring me to God.
Christ, the one mediator, does just that. Now, there's a second cry that Job gives us and this is in chapter 14 verse 14. 14 verse 14, and I hope that in your Bible reading you are reading the book of Job because we are able only to highlight a few significant texts.
It's a long book but it's filled with gems. You'll notice that he is crying here for immortality. The entire 14th chapter is devoted to the topic of death.
If you've been with us before, you know that we have discussed Job's deep depression and his suicide wish. You'll notice he says in 14 verse 5, since his days, these are the days of a man or a woman, since his days are determined, the number of his months is with thee and his limits thou has set so that he cannot pass. Job says that God has determined how long we're going to live and we can't go beyond that.
I mean, after all, if the Almighty has determined it, who are we that we can overthrow his plans or thwart his intentions? If we read this passage, we'd notice that Job is saying, you know, when a tree is cut down, there might be a part of a root in that ground that then springs up and the tree lives again. But what about a man? We take a man and we put him into the ground, we bury him and that is all that there is and he never grows up again. He never comes back. Certainly in Job's time, no one had come back. And then you'll notice that he says in verse 14, and here's the dilemma. You see, on the one hand, Job had no evidence that if a man died, he would live again, but at the same time, there's eternity planted in the human heart that is part of being in the image of God. So Job says, 14, verse 14, if a man dies, will he live again? That's his question.
Perhaps that word again should not be in the text because you'll notice that any word that is italicized in our Bibles does not occur in the original Hebrew, or in the case of the New Testament, the original Greek. What he's saying is, if a man dies, will he live? This is a question of continuity. Is there something on the other side of the grave or is this all that there is? Was Bertrand Russell right, that great atheist, when he says that when we die, suddenly all will be dark.
It'll be dark, we will be extinct, and there's nothing that survives the moment. Job is saying, if a man dies, will he live again? And he begins to contemplate the question, really, of immortality. You'll notice that Jesus Christ is a perfect answer to Job.
Of course, as we come to the New Testament, it is as if God just throws those shutters open, and the light of revelation comes to us, and all of the truths that are found as seeds in the Old Testament suddenly break forth as planted trees in the new, and Jesus standing at the tomb of Lazarus. You'll recall that he said, Lazarus, come forth, and he that was dead came forth bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus standing there said, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Immortality, yes. If a man dies, shall he live? Yes, he shall live. Let me ask you something.
Why is that important to Job? Because, you see, when you're going through suffering, you begin to ask the question, is there going to be an opportunity for resolution? What if I die in this suffering? What if the cancer that my doctor told me about is permanently mine, therefore my life is going to be very temporary? What if there's an accident? What if my life remains unfinished, and there's unfinished business?
And what about all the injustices that were doomy? And what about all the fulfillment in my heart that has never been satisfied? People today teach that everybody who has a fulfillment in his heart or a desire in his heart should find fulfillment.
Well, I'll tell you, there are many people who don't, many people who don't, many people who can't. They are in circumstances where they must live with the frustration of desires and aptitudes that are unsatisfied. The question is, will there be an opportunity to resolve this at some later time?
The answer of Christ and of the New Testament is yes, yes, because if a man dies, he shall continue to live. You see, it's that that began to give Job hope. I remember reading a story of a swimmer, a young woman who was trying to swim many, many miles, something like the English Channel, which I believe is about 26 miles. And as the boat that was with her was going along, she asked to be taken out of the water. She became too weary, and so they put her into the boat. And as she looked then from within the boat, she could see the shore.
It was much closer than she realized. And she regretted later having given up because she said, if only I had seen the shore, I think I could have made it the whole way. And when we open the pages of the New Testament and we find out that Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, and the suffering of this present world is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us, suddenly we begin to realize that we can see the shore, and so we can make it. My dear friend today, in your loneliness, in your heartache, in your depression, in your sense of worthlessness that may have been imposed upon you for whatever reason, in all of the anxieties that are not working out, the promotion that you had in your hand, but it slipped through your fingers, in the injustices that take place in the workplace where others are promoted above you because they perhaps are doing some things that aren't right or they are friends with the boss, whatever it may be, I want you to rejoice today that the Bible teaches that we can see the shore, and because we can see the shore, we can make it. Job's first cry is a cry of reconciliation, oh, that I would have a mediator who could put his hand upon us both. Job's second cry is a cry for preservation.
What he's saying is, oh, I want to outlast this life so that I will have an opportunity to make up in the life to come and to find the answers in the life to come that I'm not getting in this life. I find the book of Job very remarkable because Job, centuries before the time of Jesus, was asking all of the same questions that you and I have today, but we have the benefit of looking back and seeing Jesus. Jesus has come. We see the purposes of God much more clearly than Job could have ever seen them. I've written a book entitled God, Why Me? It's a short, accessible book on the book of Job, and I think it will be a blessing to you, even as you counsel others, as you go through your own suffering and trying to understand the purposes of God. This booklet, I think, is going to be a very important resource. Now, what you'll discover at the end of the book of Job is that God comes, and do you think that God is going to give Job all the answers?
Well, we'll wait and find out. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks in advance for helping us, because together we are making a difference.
Let me give you that contact info again, rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And I want to thank you in advance for your support of this ministry. We're dependent upon your prayers and your gifts.
Thank you in advance. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life. Today's question deals with God's omniscience and His will regarding salvation. Let's listen to Rusty, who writes, I was listening to the radio when you were talking about God being an all-knowing God. My question is, does God know when a person is born whether that person will go to heaven or hell? And if he does, why create a soul that won't believe and have to suffer going to hell? Why give us free will when he knew many would not choose Jesus and suffer for eternity?
I just can't figure this out. Well, Rusty, I want to congratulate you for asking me the most difficult question that I could ever be asked. If I had a full answer to that, why, then indeed, I would be omniscient.
I would be God. So let me simply say, in answer to your question, the answer is yes, God does know the future. Yes, God does know that some people will be saved and some will be lost, and He knows who they are.
Everything is present to Him. Now if you ask the question as you do, why does God create people whom He knows in advance will be lost forever, it is very difficult for us to answer. I remember reading Martin Luther on this point, and he says, to believe that God is good, though He saves so few and damns so many, is the highest degree of faith. I've discovered the older I get that there is much more mystery to God than I originally thought. And all that we can do is to say that He works all things after the counsel of His own will.
It is here, Rusty, perhaps, as nowhere else. We need to trust both in God's goodness and His justice and believe that His plan is right, and if we understood all the facts, we'd also agree that indeed, it was good. Luther said that when we are confronted with these kinds of questions that we cannot answer, we need to run to Jesus Christ.
Because there we see in Jesus Christ compassion, we see love, we see His desire to save people, and it is there that we find our anchor, our security. So Rusty, go on believing, no matter what. Some deep waters today for Dr. Erwin Lutzer from a listener named Rusty. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at rtwoffer.com and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
That's 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Life's ultimate question, when I die, will I live again?
That was Job's issue several thousand years ago, and that question still haunts men and women today. Next time on Running to Win, more on why Jesus has the answer to life's ultimate questions. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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