Learn from Job to Worship God in Your Suffering (Part 2)

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And so with this I just now want to close with just six personal applications:

(1) When suffering comes, take refuge like Job in the absolute sovereignty of God.  Embrace it. 
Psalm 115:3 says 

3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psa 115:1 ESV)

Speaking of God, Daniel 4:35 says, 
... he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What are you doing?"

God's sovereignty is the rock on which to build your life. God's sovereignity is a rock on which to buld your church because it is this theology of God's sovereinity that makes people strong and deeply rooted in their faith and trust in God. When all other things are falling apart, you will always have one thing that can stand as a refuge and that is the fact that "God reigns".

Let me read a few quotations about the sovereignty of God from Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher of the 19th Century.

Is there a man here who cooks against divine sovereignty? It is a testing doctrine and if he does not recieve it, it shows that his pride is not yet out of him.  There is no attribute of God more conforting to his children than the doctrine of divine sovereinty. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlies, no truth for which they have made such a football as the great, stupendous, and yet more certain doctrine of the sovereignt of the infinite Jehovah

These are just some separate quotations they almost sound like they fall together which they do.

"Most men quarrel with this, but mark, the thing that you complain in God is the very thing that you love in yourselves. Every man likes to feel that he has a right to do with his own as he pleases. We all like to be little sovereigns. O for the spirit that bows always before the sovereinty of God.  Opposition to devine sovereignty is essentially atheism. Have you ever thought about it? That is where it altimately goes. It is just the beginning stage. But it gets there, eventually.

Men have no objection to a god who is really no God. A god who should be a subject of cuprice, a god who should be a servile follower of their will, who shall be under their control; but a God who speaks and it is done, who commands and it stands fast, a God who does as he wills among the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of this lower world: such a God as this, they cannot endure. And yet, is it not essential to the very being of God that he should be absolute and supreme? Certainly to the scriptural conception of God, sovereignty is an absolute necessity. 

No doctrine in the whole word of God has more excited the hatred of mankind than this truth of the absolute sovereignty of God.  The fact that God reigns is indisputabe and yet it is this same fact that arouses the utmost [greates] opposition in the unrenewed human heart. And I might add, it is this fact, that is a mountain of confort for the regenerated  heart.

I remember, very vividly, I was about 24 years old and I had one of the favourite proffessors of the seminary I was attending, he was a young man,  I din't think him as young at that point, he was 36 years old. His name was James Morgan. He was a passionate teacher and he was very loved by the students.  I was in that seminary for four years but in second year of my being in that Seminary,  James Morgan got stomach cancer and died a horrible death.  And I remember visiting him in the hospital and seeing him groan in agony and wondering how can he endure this pain.  He died and left four children and a young wife.

 I will never forget the memorial service at the Seminary. During James Morgan's memorial service, the president of the Seminary stood before the student body, friends and others and said, "Many people say that God had nothing to do with the death of Jim Morgan. If you take that position, you pour the best medicine down the drain."

God is sovereign.  I have absolutely no idea why God took Jim Morgan or why he takes people  the way he does.  I have been in Africa for several years now and I am still astounded at the number of deaths that occur here! In our student body at Westiminster College were I teach, there are deaths every week! and sometimes there are several deaths in one week and I don't think this experience is different other Ugandans in other locations in the country. 

I have no idea why God in his sovereignty does what he does but I know this: when it happens, our refuge is in the sovereignty of God; which is the foundation for worhip.

(2) When affliction comes, resist Satan the same way Job did 
(This is the second of the six personal applications that I want to bring to your attention as I conclude this message.) How did Job resist Satan? He trusted. He held fast to his confidence and trust in God. He did not waver from God's free and sovereign goodness and he never doubted is in any way whatsoever.

(3) When calamity comes, cry freely! grieve freely
That is what Job did. He tore his robes. He fell on the ground.  He was grieving.  It is not wrong to grieve. It is not sin to grieve.  Job worshiped in the midst of his grieving.  You can still trust God and grieve.  It is not wrong to grieve.

(4) When calamity comes, preach to yourself good theology 
Why has God given us the book of Job? He has given it to us to teach us, to prepare us so that we are ready when disaster strikes.  You will encounter calamities in life.  Therefore, lean good theology now before suffering comes.  Drink deep of God's word and of God's truth now and of his sovereign goodness now, and then you will be ready to preach to yourself  good theology when the calamity comes. One of the ways through which you can learn good theology is to believe and memorize God's word. You can begin begin by memorizing verses like "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord". "shall we recieve good from God and not also recieve evil?

(5) When calamity comes, trust God's goodness 
Let your treasure and joy be rooted in God. In most cases, when calamity hits us we appear to be  absurd and meaningless and we complain saying, "This suffering is too much, I dont deserve it!" And later on you cry saying, "why? Why me? Why now?" 

Like Job, you need to trust God even when you don't understand what God is doing.  Everything that God does is for his glory and for your good.  And may you trust God's sovereign goodness, even when you can't  see what he is doing. He is upto his glory.  He is upto your good. And the greatest part of his glory and your good is to give him yourself.

John Pipper says it this way in his wonderful little book, "God is the gospel":
"It is stunning how seldom himself is proclaimed as the greatest gift of the gospel.  But the bible teaches that the best and final gift of God's  love is the enjoyment of God himself. Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you? Or because at the cost of his son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever?" What is God doing in Job? His grace is enabling Job to make much of God in the midst of his suffering! And that is the greatest gift of the gospel, God himself. 

And this brings us to personal application number 6. This is the last one and we will be done with this.

6. Trust Christ's grace alone to enable you to stand in faith in the day of your calamity
Job is a model, he is a picture and a pre-figure of Christ.  Job was a great sufferer. He suffered greatly.  he was emptied and humbled and later he was exalted.

Like Job, Christ also suffered greatly, was emptied and humbles and later he too was exalted. Christ suffered infinitely more than Job.  Christ was emptied and humbled infinitely more on the cross, and exalted infinitely more in his resurrection and ascension. 

Like Job, you too can have a new heart and a new power to live a new life.  And the same spirit Christ gave Job, he gives to you; so that you may not only endure your suffering for Christ, but also delight in him in the midst of your suffering and see it as suffering for your good and your happiness. And to this, all God's people ought to say, Amen.

Let us pray.

Father we thank you so much for the book of Job.  We would be weak in our understanding of you and particulary in our understanding of suffering if we did not have this book.  You have given us counsel here that can sustain us in the midst of difficulty and we praise you.  And Lord, I would pray for your people because I know there are some who are suffering right now. Father, we pray that what we are leaning from the book of Job may not just turn out to be a study of something that is interesting. But that it will become an exercise in worship, and in divine medicine for the soul. so that if there are people who are suffering here, might be sustained and may you take these people and with their understanding of your word, might they be able to teach and to encourage others to endure and to trust and to delight and worship in the midst of their calamities. That you get the glory, we pray this in Christ's name, Amen.

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