Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Hidden in the councils of heaven are the answers to the heartfelt cries of millions of people, people who simply want to know why. We seek a reason for our pain, and perhaps only the life to come will show us the answers we crave.
Remember though, beyond our pain is God himself. 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, we've come to the final message in your series, God, Why Me?
Give us a preview of The Purpose of It All. Dave, what I emphasize in this message are the benefits that came to Job as the result of his trial. But you and I must understand that oftentimes we don't see the benefits of our trial on earth. We have all kinds of stories, all kinds of friends who have gone through trials without any possible explanation in this world. But the book of Job still is very important because it reminds us that God is God. This is the second to last day we're making a resource available to you entitled God, Why Me? This is a short, accessible book I've written to help you as you go through your trials and help others go through theirs. For a gift of any amount, it can be yours.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember whatever God does, does have benefits, whether we experience them in this life or not. On November the 8th, 1994, Duane Scott Willis and his wife, Janet, were traveling on I-94 to Wisconsin when suddenly a semi-truck ahead of them lost a piece of metal, which perhaps weighed 30 pounds. Scott had only a split second to decide what to do, and rather than hit the tire, he thought that it would be best to drive over the piece of metal. And of course, as you may have heard, what happened is that piece of metal punctured the gas tank and the whole van in which they were riding was up in flames with six children in the back of the van. Five children died instantly. Another, by the name of Ben, was pulled from the wreckage and died hours later. Scott himself and his wife escaped serious injury, though they did have first and second degree burns. But while that van was burning and they said that they never even heard a peep from their children, it happened so quickly.
While that van was burning, Scott said to his wife, this is the moment for which we are prepared. The faith and the absolute trust in God that this young couple had became national news and I understand was actually beamed around the world as people, even the most cynical people, began to believe that there are still those who so trust in God that they can see six children die and still give thanks to know that they belong to almighty God. Something like happened to Job. He lost 10 children in a hailstorm, in lightning, and as a result of losing those 10 children, he also lost his wealth and his health. And now we come to the end of the book of Job and we begin to see how it all came together. And if you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to the book of Job and we come to chapter 42.
Job chapter 42. One of the similarities between the family of the Willis's along I-94 and the book of Job and its experience is that both families still saw in this life what God might do as a result of their tragedies. They began to be able to see the pattern that God might have in mind and that there might be some good that would come from something that would be so awful. As we shall see later, oftentimes that is not the case, but in these cases, that was so. What I'd like to do today is to give you three benefits that Job had as a result of his trial.
Three benefits, very quickly, taken from the 42nd chapter. First of all, notice that Job had a new conception of God, a new conception of God. He viewed God differently.
He was a better worshiper of God than he had ever been. If you were here last time and you remember that this is the last in a series of eight messages on the book of Job, but last time we emphasized that he now understood that God was bigger than he realized. God was the creator. God had spoken. God had made the sun and the moon and the stars and challenged Job with question after question as to where Job was when God did all this. He realized that God was bigger. He also realized that God was better than he realized because God was gracious and merciful and he had a purpose in nature even in the way in which he created the eagle and the hawk. God was good. But Job began to realize also that having underestimated God, he had overestimated himself and that's why when God says, Job, it's your turn to speak now.
You've wanted to bring me into court so that you could instruct me, here's your opportunity. You'll notice back in chapter 40, Job said, I will lay my hand upon my mouth once I have spoken, but I will proceed no further, even twice, but I will not answer. I have spoken too much already.
I have to keep my mouth shut. Oh, what Job learned about God in that remarkable experience. Now that did not mean that all of the mystery regarding God was gone. In fact, let me say this, that the better we know God, the more mystery there is. Knowledge never decreases mystery.
Knowledge encourages trust, but the mystery will always be there, probably even in heaven after a hundred billion years we will not have exhausted the mystery and the marvel of the beauty of God. You'll notice that the text says, verse 7, and it came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, my wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends because you have not spoken of me what is right as my servant Job has. When did Job speak something about God that was right? It was not when he was complaining bitterly against God for what happened to him.
That was not the moment. It was not even those moments in which he exhibited faith and said, though he slay me yet will I trust him. It was when he realized that God was sovereign, that God was accountable to no one, that in the presence of the living God, every single mouth is stopped and every question, though it may go unanswered from our point of view, every question is laid triumphantly at his feet, believing that he does well. It was when Job spoke like that, he spoke what was right about God. Now, one of the things that God teaches us in trials always is a new conception of God, a new understanding.
There is a new walk. There is a new faith. I've had people say to me, I never dreamed that God would do that to me, speaking usually about some tragedy. Sometimes we say it about his blessing too.
I'd never dreamed that God would give me all of these benefits. Well, I want you to know today that God is always teaching us, always enlarging our understanding of who he is, and there is nothing like a trial that will force us to that kind of new knowledge. First of all, then, he has a new conception of God.
Secondly, he has a new ministry for God, a new ministry for God. Notice what the Lord says in verse 8. Now, therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves and my servant Job will pray for you, for I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly because you have not spoken of me what is right as my servant Job has. So the three friends go and they did as the Lord told them last part of verse 9 and the Lord accepted Job.
Where had those three friends gone wrong? And how startled they were to hear this from the voice of the Lord because they thought that they were in the right. They had a wrong conception of God. For one thing, their conception of God was all based on law and there was no grace. Their wrong conception of God made them think that because they were blessed, they had health, they had wealth, they were not experiencing the tragedies that Job was experiencing, therefore they concluded that they were righteous.
Misunderstanding of God and therefore a misunderstanding of themselves. They didn't know that the reason that they had health and strength was not because they were more righteous than Job, it is because God is incredibly generous and sometimes gives things to people over and abundantly what they should never even think is coming their way. God is generous. Many years ago there was a book written on the book of Job entitled, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. Wasn't a very good book because at the end it said that basically God is doing the best he can but he's finite and this is all that he can do so let's be thankful that he gives us as much good as he does because he's struggling. That's an exaggeration but in effect it was based on the view of a finite God. Well, I was thinking this past week someday I'd like to write a book by this title, not why do bad things happen to good people but rather why do good things happen to bad people.
I see more of that. There are all kinds of bad people out there who are having all kinds of good things happen to them. You see what happened is Job's friends, they said to themselves, we must be good because we are blessed.
The answer is no, you are blessed because God is gracious. Notice their wrong conception of God led to a wrong conception of themselves. They exalted themselves but also it was a wrong view of Job because what they said was if you figure this out, if everything is based on works, cause, effect because Job is suffering that means that means that he must be a wicked person and we've examined his life and we can't see any wickedness so there's something that he's hiding from us and that's why you have chapter after chapter where in effect the friends are saying, Job, just get real, cough it up, tell us the truth, what is it, we know that this would have never happened to you were it not because of some specific sins of disobedience that you committed.
Now God was not willing to let this get by. God would not tolerate a justification of his righteousness on the basis of a false premise. Now these men tried to justify God, they said that God is righteous but God says you're doing it wrongly. I myself have said that Job is a good man who loves righteousness and turns away from evil. Now of course if you've been following this series you know that there are times when Job said that which was wrong, he became self-righteous but who of us would have done any differently in that situation and God's point is it was not because of some specific sin, it was not because Job was more wicked than other people. In fact Job was tried this way because he was more righteous than others and I wanted to refine him even further. Now what's interesting is that Job and his friends, their stations in life are reversed.
What a shock this must have been. Here are these self-righteous friends who keep saying Job you're this sinner and now suddenly everything is reversed and God says to them you had better get Job praying for you and you had better offer these sacrifices because if you don't my wrath is kindled against you and in humility they have to go to Job and say Job we were wrong you pray for us because we're in trouble with God. By the way Job had a new ministry for God in the life of his friends but he also has a new ministry which he didn't know in our lives as well. Job had no idea that for 4,000 years Sunday school teachers would be teaching his book, people would be reading about his story, sermons would be preached on it, he had no idea that this was going to happen and all that because of the struggle that he went through a river of blessing and encouragement has gone to the whole world.
So first of all he has a new conception of God. Secondly having come through the trial he now has a new ministry for God and thirdly he has new prosperity, new prosperity from God. Notice it says in verse 10 and the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends and the Lord increased all that Job had to fold.
By the way did you notice that? It says that the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends. Oftentimes it is in the process of being reconciled to others even those who have spoken ill of us as did these three friends it is at that moment that when we are willing to reconcile even with our enemies that the blessing of God comes. So notice it says that after he prayed for his friends God restored the fortune of Job and he did so by giving him twofold. Now there's some irony here because in the Old Testament when a thief stole something he was frequently supposed to return what he had stolen twofold. Now we know that God can't steal we already learned that in a previous message because everything that he owns is his but God is restoring Job and he's giving him twice of everything indicating that since he had lost it all he now is getting it all back twofold.
Notice it says verse 12 and the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. He began with seven thousand sheep he now has fourteen thousand. Three thousand camels become six thousand.
Five hundred yokes of oxen and five hundred female donkeys now become a thousand of each of those categories. And so God says as far as your wealth is concerned you now get double which I think is a pretty good rate of return when you stop to think of the fact that the book of Job may have taken place in the period of a year or two or maybe in a matter of months. Well now let's count his children does he get double of those two and he had seven sons and three daughters. Well that's actually the very same number that he had previously he had seven sons and three daughters. So God did not give him fourteen sons and six daughters for which incidentally Mrs. Job may have been profoundly grateful. But I do want you to notice that even though Job has the same number of children he still has double the number of children.
Because actually he didn't lose the first ten children. They were only relocated they were in heaven and he knows that he shall be restored to them and in heaven he shall have all twenty children. Bless him and bless Mrs. Job.
All twenty children will be there. And so God then also continues to give Job a long life. It says in verse sixteen and after this Job lived one hundred and forty years and he saw his sons and his grandsons for generations and Job died an old man and full of days. Now many people have looked at this and they have said if Job lived one hundred and forty years after his trial and God restored everything double it could well be that his trial came at age seventy. Now we can't be sure about that but that's a possibility. So if you take a hundred and forty years and you add the seventy what do you have there Rex?
What is that? Well two hundred and ten I think. Two hundred and ten years old Job would have died old in age and full of days. And thus endeth the book of Job.
But you know what? This is not where my sermon ends. What I'd like to do is to give you three lessons now that will help us to put it all together and answer the question of the purpose of it all. How does it all come together?
What is the bottom line? Number one let us always remember that God God is worthy of worship. God is always worthy of worship. Well my friend you certainly are going to have to listen next time to find out what the other benefits are. Meanwhile I want you to know that this is the next to last day we are making a very special resource available for you. It's entitled God why me? It's a short accessible book I've written to help us understand the book of Job to help us to understand God's role and above all to teach us to worship.
And as I have repeatedly emphasized and you perhaps have heard me say this again and again it's not necessary for us to understand God's purposes in order to believe that such purposes exist. For a gift of any amount this book can be yours go to rtwoffer.com. Of course rtwoffer is all one word rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
As a matter of fact you can call right now 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book why me and as I've emphasized this is the second to last day we are making this book available to you. Our desire is to help you walk with God and run successfully all the way to the finish line. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Pastor Lutzer your stance on the gift of tongues has one listener concerned to say the least.
George writes from Florida. As one of my favorite preachers I was disturbed to hear you speak against speaking in tongues on a recent Running to Win program. You explained why you thought the gift of tongues was not for today and therefore why it is of the devil. You claimed that in the Bible tongues were always known languages and since the tongues of today are not a known language they are not from God. Well I know personally six individuals that were given a tongue to speak to other individuals in their own language. That ended in salvation for those individuals and two even became pastors.
Now what do you think? Well first of all let me clarify something never have you heard me say that I believe that all tongue speaking is of the devil. I know that I have never said that because I've never believed that and so I hope that you don't think that I was making some kind of a blanket statement. But I've always said that there are three possibilities when it comes to the modern phenomenon of speaking in tongues. First of all in many instances it is a learned experience. People actually go into a prayer room and they begin to speak and they speak perhaps gibberish.
They speak language that does not really exist but they learn how to do it and after you've done it a while you can do it quite easily. In fact I've talked to people who have told me that who have been a part of the movement. Second it is possible and you must grant this that some tongue speaking is of the devil and this has been proven because people have taken tape recorders and they've recorded the actual language that was being spoken and they discovered that it was an actual language but it was filled with blasphemies. Satan does want to control people's tongues and so we need to warn individuals about that.
But third I've always believed that we should keep an open attitude to this. We can't say what God can or cannot do and there's always the possibility that God has given someone the gift of tongues genuinely and as your letter indicates very interestingly you say that you know some individual who had the gift of tongues and was speaking in a language he had never learned and as a result of that he was able to lead people who belong to that language to Jesus Christ. If that has happened then I would say that this is a genuine gift from God. Seems to me that God could do the miracle and as a result of that miracle the gospel could go out in a language that someone has never learned and he shares in that language group and people believe.
That to me would authenticate the gift. There's so much else that could be said but that will do for now. Just know that we need discernment in all these matters. Thank you Pastor Lutzer for a fair and balanced look at a very controversial issue. If you'd like to have your question answered on Running to Win 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 Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. Next time on Running to Win we'll see a suffering yet victorious Job admit that he is but clay in the potter's hands. He now knows that the potter can do whatever he wishes with his clay. Can we accept this reality?
What's more can we embrace it? Don't miss the end of a life-changing series taken from the life of Job. A series called God Why Me. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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