This sermon is provided from notes provided by the author from the pulpit of …
THE WIND TUNNEL – A Time to Test
Wisdom from Job 1-9
I. THE TEST CONDITIONS
To test is not to make: it is to show what HAS been made. Job was – and is – a man of od. Now he is with the Saviour.
His exemplary kindness, mercy, justice and stature were famous. Stan presented himself before the Lord who referred to this picture of sincerity, this love of righteousness, Job.
Satan sneered: Does Job serve you for nothing! The man was very rich. Ulterior motives, the sultry anti-saviour implied, explained it all. The Lord is never afraid to test: sot he test was on. You can do anything to his condition and affairs, but you cannot touch him. His life was to be immune. It was a test, not a slaughter. Calamity roared in like a tornado, then, sweeping the plains of Job’s life. Job’s answer to all this was pure: 1:21-22.
Again Satan presented himself, and tried to redeem his loss, by changing his sneer – 2:4-5, in still more radical cynicism. Life matters. Just touch his health …
Painful boils left Job humiliated, and his wife completed the lost picture – 2:9-10. Indeed, she even flaunted his ‘integrity’ before his face. His rebuke to her is classic - .
II. THE FRIENDS OF JOB DRILL HIS TEETH
Notice the tremendous feeling for Job, on the part of his friends – Job 2:11,13.
Here Job indulges in a shrill declamation of his grief. His fear has come upon him – . How exposing a personal ‘fear’ can be, of one’s values and one’s weakness!
Eliphaz gives an appeal to spiritual experience, a if the expert: at least, at this stage, Job’s own past is not is not questioned by his friend: it is only his present demeanour which is confronted. God, the message is, will wrongly afflict none (4:7). Job should work on that and seek help. His friend rightly points out that a man cannot be more righteous than is God! (-19). Indeed, he rightly says “I would seek God, and to God, I would commit my cause!,” 5:5, to God “who does great things and unsearchable.” He is on the very verge of the truth, but errs suddenly, as people may readily do when they become carried away, roused and self-assertive. “Behold,” he says (), “happy is the man whom God corrects. Therefore, do not despise the wisdom of the Almighty”. You will notice, however, his assumption, that the essential happening is CHASTENING, whereas in fact it is not, but rather a test. Job is slow to appreciate such jibes.
In fact, Job does show some cracks, like an advanced aircraft in a severe wind tunnel test. In stages, he realies the heights of God before which self-imposed assurances must bow, forcing him to humble himself, and even more importantly discern distinctly his own Redeemer, none other than God. We shall come to that later. God did not forsake him in trouble; but He did not reduce the strength of the test, either. What is the good of an aircraft, after all, if it cannot fly!
By the time of the eventual outcome of Job’s trials, millions of people for thousands of years have been counseled, consoled, educated and blessed, and doubtless many sent to the Saviour for themselves!
Job was not in fact receiving this treatment as a chastening but as an exhibition of truth, of sincerity, of loyalty to the Lord, as a testimony, and an indictment of cynicism. As the test proceeded, however, his friends began to drill his chattering teeth: they made worse and more pejorative assumptions about Job, and he was even indicted as if he had robbed the needy of his wages, or refused water to the weary: “Is not your wickedness great and our iniquity without end ?” This is hard to take! even from ‘friend’ Eliphaz (22:1-11).
Job protested as this new type of affliction tried him, even before it reached its height; and became despondent – 6:9. “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue” – he cries to his friends, but he challenges them: WHEN HAVE I EVER sought help, and what strength is in your words ? “How forceful are right words, but what does your arguing prove!” (). He laments in his misery: 6:6-7,17.
Feeling harassed, he refuses to acknowledge a sinful life as the ground of differentiation between him and other men! “I loathe my life,” he exclaims – . “I will speak of the anguish of my spirit,” he proclaims (). Then he foolishly turns on the Lord: “Have I sinned ? What have I done to you, O Watcher of men ?” 7:20. Later in -31, you find Job beginning to conceive, reluctantly, the reality of imperfection, that he is not his own judge. “If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet will you plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.” If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, but our hearts need exposure to His light!
III. JOB SEEKS AN OUTLET
In Ch. 8, you find ‘friend’ Bildad slicing some fat from the frame of the troubled Job, without much precision: “if you were pure and upright, surely He would awake for you!” – 8:6. In , he speaks of all who forget God, doubtless to instruct Job! “How can I answer Him” he queries (). In , he goes further in depth: “I am blameless, yet I do not know myself.”
Then he moves to the crux: -35. O FOR A MEDIATOR WHO WOULD PUT HIS HAND ON THE SHOULDER OF EACH OF US! What a dream … yet Job became very desperate.
A Mediator ? this is what we have as seen in I John 1:7-2:2, a barrister and representative, one of ourselves, and yet one with the status of deity. Job’s search was helped by God, so that he looked for the necessity for mankind. This is what Hebrews 4:16 shows in beautiful colours of empathy, sympathy and reliability, in Christ, the Messiah, the Redeemer. “Let us come boldly therefore to the throne of grace,” says Hebrews , that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” There is reason enough in His nature, work and actions: Hebrews , .
Soon more of the searching and the glorious result form the book of Job, we hope to present. Meanwhile study it this week, and find in it the marvels of God’s wisdom in this episode. It is better to be tested than to be chaff; it is better to be used than to lie and languish; it is better to be faithful than to fail; it is better to love God than to rebel. God is love; and in this love, there is strength and nobility, and the beauty of holiness; and none is EVER ashamed who puts trust in Him (Psalm 49:23: “for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me” (Ps. 49:23).