The sermon for October 7th 2018 is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon, which is based on Job chapters 1 and 2, I talk about our experience of testing.
My God, my God
Why have you forsaken me?
Like Job sitting in the dirt
Scraping his skin
From pain within
I look everywhere
You are gone
My friends say
“You have sinned”
My theology of suffering
Looks very thin
I know you’re here God
I will not let you go
This is a test, and tests end
I will see your face again
The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on all the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him for no reason.”
After satan has been given permission to test Job by destroying all of Job’s property and killing his sons, Job still refuses to sin by cursing the Lord.
The Lord boasts about Job’s integrity to satan (which means the accuser). Satan retorts that people will give away everything to save their lives, but if Job’s body is afflicted he will soon curse the Lord.
So the Lord gives satan permission to afflict Job’s body. Satan inflicts painful sores all over Job. Even Job’s wife tells him to “Curse God and die.” But Job refuses to curse the Lord.
The book of Job challenges all of our pragmatic and religious theories about suffering.
There was no physical reason for Job’s painful sores, nor for the loss of his property and sons. It all seems so random- a run of personal disasters.
A religious explanation of his suffering is that Job is being punished for some hidden sin. Yet the text says that Job was without sin.
In many ways, Job is a picture of Jesus who fulfilled all righteousness without any sin, yet suffered physically and spiritually for the sins of the world.
Bad things happen in our lives. When they do, we need to cling more tightly to the hope we have in Christ,
Lord you have not promised to protect us from all evil, but you have promised to walk with us even in the toughest time. Please help me to trust you when my life makes no sense. Amen.