The Curse Causeless?

The Curse Causeless?

Scripture: Job 4:17, Psalms 119:65-72, Job 2:11-13
Date: 11/05/2016  Lesson: 6
"Job stands as a symbol for all humanity, for we all have been caught up in the great controversy, and we all suffer in it. And we all, at some point, need compassion and sympathy, not sermonizing."
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Good morning, friends. Welcome to Sabbath school study hour coming to you from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church. A very warm welcome to the members and those who are visiting with us here this morning. We're glad that you've chosen to join us - even though it's cold and rainy outside, we have a warm place where we can gather together and study God's Word. Now, we've been studying through the book of job and today we find ourselves on lesson #6, which is entitled the curse causeless - lesson #6 - and for our friends who are joining us, if you don't have a copy of our lesson, you can go to the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.

org - and you can download lesson #6 and study right along with us. We also have a free offer that goes along with our study today - a dvd - a positive side of suffering - and we'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks. The phone number to call is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #819. That number again is 866-788-3966 - ask for the dvd entitled a positive side of suffering - and we'll be happy to send that to anybody here in North America. Well, before we get to our study, as usual, we'd like to begin by lifting our voices in praise.

I'd like to ask The Song leaders to come and join me here on stage, and they will lead us in some musical items. Thank you, Pastor Ross. We love to sing together before we get into God's Word, so I invite you - those that are at home - to pull out your hymnals and right here, we're going to sing some of our favorites this week - o how I love Jesus - I pray that that is The Song that it rings in your heart every single minute of every single day until we see him again. Hymn #248 - o how I love Jesus - we'll sing all three verses. There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth; it sounds like music in my ears, the sweetest name on earth.

O how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, because he first loved me. It tells me of a Savior's love, who died to set me free; it tells me of his precious blood, the sinner's perfect plea. O how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, because he first loved me. It tells of one whose loving heart can feel my deepest woe; who in each sorrow bears a part that none can bear below. O how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, o how I love Jesus, because he first loved me.

You know, that chorus is one of the first songs our children learn in Sabbath school. As - I was just thinking, as we were singing that, if we can get that through, whether it's our children's brains and hearts, or whether it's us as adults, that we can truly believe that Jesus loves us with everything he has and that he paid that price for us to save each one of us - to save me, personally. It makes life just so much grander here on earth - that it's so dark and he is about to take us home and I am so grateful this morning. Praise him! Praise him! - Because he loves us we praise him. Hymn #249 - 1 page over - we'll sing all three verses.

Praise him! Praise him! Jesus, our blessed redeemer! Sing, o earth, his wonderful love proclaim! Hail him! Hail him! Highest archangels in glory; strength and honor give to his holy name! Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard his children, in his arms he carries them all day long: praise him! Praise him! Tell of his excEllent greatness. Praise him! Praise him! Ever in joyful song! Praise him! Praise him! Jesus, our blessed redeemer! For our sins he suffered, and bled, and died. He our rock, our hope of eternal salvation, hail him! Hail him! Jesus the crucified. Sound his praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong. Praise him! Praise him! Tell of his excEllent greatness.

Praise him! Praise him! Ever in joyful song! Praise him! Praise him! Jesus, our blessed redeemer! Heavenly portals loud with hosannas ring! Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever. Crown him! Crown him! Prophet, and priest, and king! Christ is coming! Over the world victorious, power and glory unto the Lord belong. Praise him! Praise him! Tell of his excEllent greatness. Praise him! Praise him! Ever in joyful song! I pray that you are praising him all week long. At this time, Pastor Ross will lead us in prayer.

I invite you to bow your heads as we open with a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege for us to be able to gather together and open up your word and study together. And, today, as we always do, we ask for the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds. Lead us into a clear understanding of why there's pain and suffering in the world, and help us, also, to see your love and your providence and your leading in our lives, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug.

Thank you, Pastor Ross. Morning, friends. Good morning. Family, countrymen, lend me your ears. We're going to study our Sabbath school lesson #6.

I want to welcome our friends that are watching via streaming or you're watching on satellite or it might even be direct free-to-air tv. We're just thrilled that this broadcast is going through so many mediums and we meet people all over the world that are watching. Last week, I was in Washington, d.c. For some important meetings, both of our church, and I met with some other religious leaders in Washington and was there - the fringes of Matthew - the hurricane Matthew - came by and so it was very interesting to watch what was going on there, but trials come to people and a lot of people suffered as a result of that hurricane and, I don't know if you've had any hurricanes in your lives, but we're going to be studying, today, more on the story of job - the book of job - and today our lesson is #6, where it talks about the curse causeless - the curse causeless - and we have a memory verse. And the memory verse comes to us from the book of job chapter 4, verse 17 - and if you want to read it with me - job 4:17 from the new king James version - are you ready? "Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his maker?" That question will come up again in the lesson, but what do you think the answer is? "Can a man be more pure than his maker?" You know, you can get a beautiful white lily that will come out of a black swampy pond, and you'll see a few cases in history where you'll see a rotten father and a rotten mother and, for some reason, they end up with a great kid.

It does happen. And sometimes you have good parents that come up with rotten kids. I mean, that's - adam and eve had a murderer, right? And you think about hezekiah - great king - had manasseh - terrible king. And so, can something pure come out of something bad? One of the nicest people I know was born into a family that was dysfunctional, alcoholics, abusive - and she turned into such a delightful person. I just thought, 'how can that be?' If it wasn't for the power of the Gospel, it wouldn't be.

But, when it comes to God, can a person be more pure than their maker? And the answer is 'no'. So we're going to be delving into the big questions and that's Sunday's study in our lesson today. The big questions - now, up until this point in our study of job, we've been talking about the story, the background, the Great Controversy. You realize, the first couple of chapters of job are dealing with the story, the circumstances, the trials that came, and, in the last chapter of job, it talks about the consequences and the blessing and the reversal, and the restoration. But, about everything else in the other 39 chapters, is prose and dialogue.

And, I remember the first time I read the book of job, forty-something years ago, it was so deep, but it was so profound that I was in awe of these statements. And, keep in mind, as you read this, you are reading some of the thoughts and insights and philosophy of great people. You know, you talk about there are rumors about a land of atlantis. You ever heard the stories of atlantis? That's where the atlantic ocean actually gets its name - about a race of people that were very bright and they lived a long time and they were very powerful, but then they turned to wickedness and the Gods, according to the Greek method, the Gods punished them and the whole land of atlantis was swallowed by a flood. You know, the story of atlantis actually comes from something that did happen - the people who lived before the flood, they lived a long time and they had great intellects.

They were destroyed by a flood because of their wickedness. So it's rooted in some truth. And, even some stories like pandora's box - is rooted in the story of eve - the tree of good and evil. And so, some of these legends are rooted in truth, but these people, back in the days of job - in prior lessons, we've explained, they measured their lives in centuries. Job lived over 200 years.

And it's not like, you know, you live sixty years and things start to get fuzzy, today. I think it was James dobson that said, 'life isn't fair - about the time your face clears up, your mind gets fuzzy' - today, but it didn't used to be like that. Their minds were clear and they almost had - they didn't write a lot of things down because they had virtually photographic memories back then and they'd rehearse history verbally and - oral tradition, they remembered it. Of course, they didn't have - our senses bombarded by television hours a day, and all the other media, and so when people spoke, it really meant something. And so, as you go through this dialogue, it's talking about the great themes.

Now, I've got to answer, before I delve into what - what we're going to delve into here, I probably should say something. You've got the statements of job and then you've got his three friends - later a fourth friend appears - and - and we've identified who these people were, I believe, in earlier lessons - that they're all related to esau and, during that time, of the descendents of esau, and several of them, you can trace by their names, where they lived - it's the area east of Israel - more like the country south of where you'd say 'edom', which is - if you picture your map of Israel and you can see the dead sea, if you go southeast of the dead sea, that was a big, vast territory; it wasn't like it is today. Now it is a - just a - almost a useless desert - a very barren country - but there has been a change in the climate of the world. We know we've found petroglyphs in northern africa that show that there were, in the deserts there - there they have engravings of crocodiles and giraffe and savannah animals, and it was lush and it was great pasture land. But the climate changed and it turned into desert and so, back when job and his friends were living in that area - look at all the flocks of sheep and the donkeys job had - great pastureland - and there was more water and more rain - and they farmed.

There's allusions to farming - and so, just giving you some of the background - so job's friends, they say some things that are not correct. Does that mean that part of the book of job - almost fifty percent - is the responses of his friends - they say something, he says something - they say something, he says something - does that mean that those chapters where job and his three friends are talking are not inspired? No. How do you get around that? God says, at the end of the book of job, 'job, you're going to pray and offer sacrifice for your friends because they did not say that which was right concerning me.' But that doesn't mean what they said was not inspired. I'll put to you that I think what they said was inspired and it was true - generally speaking. Now, what I mean by that is they were talking about when bad things happen to bad people because they do bad.

That is a basic truth in life. What they did not know is that job was an unusual exception because of a cosmic battle. Generally speaking, what they said is true. And we're going to delve into some of that here as we get into the lesson. So, all of job is inspired, is what I'm saying.

The principles that even his friends share - these are great men. These are leaders of tribes. They were Godly men. They worshiped jehovah. They were all related to Abraham.

What they say is true and inspired, but not for job. They said it to the wrong person. It would have been true in general principles of life. Is that making sense? Alright, so it delves with some of the big questions and the first section on the big questions - job 23:10 - no matter what happens in life, we've got to remember that God's in charge and, even if we don't understand or it doesn't make sense, it says, "but he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people and sometimes, when bad things happen to good people, it's because God is allowing us to be tried. Jesus was good, but was he tempted? Jesus suffered on the cross - was it for his sins? It was for our sins.

And so, bad things happened to Jesus even though he was a good person. So, when you go through a trial and you think, 'Lord, what did I do to deserve this?' I'll not give you my list - I've got a little list of things I think, 'oh man, why did that happen to me? What did I do?' Have you ever asked that? 'What did I do?' Because you always think cause to effect - 'I did something and a bad thing happened.' I remember my grandmother told me - she was Jewish and she believed in God, unlike my mother and father, and she would say, 'God is going to punish you.' She'd shake her finger and say, 'God's going to punish you if you do that.' And she taught me that there was a God and there was a judgment and that you - there'd be consequences, not just when you died, but there'd be consequences when you're alive. And so, we're tempted to think, you know, if you drink and you drive and you have an accident - cause to effect. If you're rude to everybody, folks may not be nice to you. It's kind of cause to effect.

If you're a thief, then your substance may not be blessed - bad things may happen to you. And you always think, when something happens, 'what did I do?' King uzziah disobeyed God, he got leprosy. King ahaziah disobeyed God, he got gout. It said he had disease in his feet - they don't know what it was - it might have been gout, but he suffered with it. And so you think, 'if I get a disease - if I get sick - what did I do wrong?' Now, how many of you know people that are very careful with their health, with exercise, their body - they're good people - and they get sick.

Have you known people that never smoked and they got lung cancer? It happens. It's not often, but it does happen. And you say, 'why?' So all these questions are being asked. Let me ask you another question. I'm just trying to get you to think.

Is - the book of job is dealing with these big questions. If something bad happens, is it God's will? If something bad happens to you - is everything that happens God's will? Let me just ask it that way? No. No. But can God work things together for good, even though something, initially, was not his will? Yes. Was it Jesus' will that Judas should betray him? No.

Did Jesus foretell he would? Yes. Does that mean it was God's will? No. Didn't God need someone to be the fall guy - to betray him? I mean, the prophecy said, you know, 'my friends betrayed me and sold me for 30 pieces of silver.' And so, it must have been God's will. He said, 'look, I need somebody to be the fall guy, so, turn in my son so he can die for your sins, so, oh, let me see, eenie, meenie, miney moe - how about Judas? Sorry Judas, you can't make it. You've got to be the bad guy in this cosmic story that I'm developing.

' What do you think? No (inaudible). I don't think it was God' will. Jesus was desperate for Judas to repent. He knew what would happen because he knows all things. It doesn't mean it's his will.

In the Lord's prayer, when you say, 'thy will be done', why are you praying that if everything is going to be God's will? Later today we're going to be talking about islam and Christianity in prophecy, beginning a series, and you've maybe heard muslims say, 'it must be the will of God.' Whatever happens they says, 'it must be the will of allah.' Have you heard that before? That's not true. God is not willing that any should perish - that's what the Bible says - God is not willing that any should perish. But will many perish? Will it be the minority or the majority that perish? The majority. Broad is the way that leads to destruction. It's not God's will.

And so, what you have happening in the world today is a lot of things that are not God's will. When you suffer, is it always God's will? No. No, but can he work it for good? Yes. That's the question that - when those - was it God's will that Joseph's brothers sold him? No. Didn't Joseph say, 'God has worked this for good'? Yes.

That he might save much life. But God didn't want his brothers to do something bad so he could accomplish his will. God took what they did and made good out of it that much life should be saved. You see the difference? But it's never God's will. God does not tempt anyone evil.

God is good; he can't do bad because he is perfectly good. Alright, well, we're going to look in - I'm going to have someone look up for me, job 5, verses 17 and 18 - you have that, hafdis? And I'm going to read psalm 119 - this is the longest chapter in the Bible. I won't read the whole chapter, but there's a section here that talks about, kind of, cause and effect. Psalm 119, verse 65 - this is in your lesson - "you have dealt well with your servant, o Lord, according to Your Word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe your commandments.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word. You are good, and do good;" - see, it's saying God is good and he does good - 'I was afflicted because I went astray' - see the cause and effect happening here? "Teach me your statutes. The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep your precepts with my whole heart. Their heart is as fat as grease, but I delight in your law. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

" See how God sometimes allows affliction that we might learn something? So when you're going through a trial - I don't know about you, but I've prayed before, 'Lord, whatever it is you want me to learn, help me learn it quickly so I don't ever have to go through this class again.' Amen? Amen. What it is - help me learn it. It is good that I was afflicted - "that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver." And here you see there's a connection between affliction and gold and silver, which reminds me of 1 Peter 1:6 - Peter 1:6 and 7, for "in this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials," - does Jesus say something about rejoice when you are persecuted for righteousness sake? And here Peter's saying you can rejoice even in your trials - "that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the Revelation of Jesus Christ". And so, when you're going through trials, have you ever looked upon it with excitement saying, 'oh Lord, you're doing this because you love me and you're getting me ready for heaven.

This is wonderful'? It's kind of hard to have that attitude, but this is what Peter is saying. Alright, go ahead, please, read for us job 5:17. "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the almighty. For he bruises, but he binds up; he wounds, but his hands make whole." Happy is the man - now, what book did you read that from? Job. And this is even job - happy is the man that God corrects.

And this is good - it says, 'he bruises but he binds up. He wounds but his hands make whole.' You ever see a child that rejoices when their parents discipline them? You know, we often forget, but it's good when you have young children, if you need to discipline them - I remember once, my father said, 'this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.' And I never could understand that. (Laughter) but, I mean, I do now, but I didn't then, but sit your children down and say, 'you know what? I'm doing this because I love you, so you can live - it's for your good.' And if the kid keeps running out in the street, and you've got to paddle them or whatever so you can save their life, then that's a good thing. I remember one time, one of my kids - I won't name which one - after they got a car, got into a little fender bender. They were okay - it bent the fender - and I was thankful.

I mean, I wasn't thankful for the damage, I was thankful that it would put the fear in them to be careful and realize that your car is vulnerable and that you have to be careful or you can not only damage the car, you can damage yourself. You're almost happy when they have a little accident and they learn about gravity so they avoid the big accident, you know what I mean? And that's kind of what the purpose of discipline is. God is trying to save us from the big accident, which is waking up to find out, in the second resurrection, that you're lost forever because there's no recovery from that. Okay, now we get into the big - some of these other big questions. When have the innocent perished? Is the heading we're looking at right now - when have the innocent perished? Well, that's a rhetorical question.

Someone is going to read for me, in a moment, job 4:7 - I'll read job 2:11, "now when job's three friends heard all of this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place - eliphaz the temanite, bildad the shuhite, and zophar the naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head" - now remember, job had done that too, so they're commiserating with him. The Bible says, 'mourn with those that mourn, weep with those that weep, rejoice with those that rejoice' - and here they're mourning with those that are mourning. There's a verse in Proverbs, it says, 'it's not a good thing when you sing to someone who has a heavy heart' - "so they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

" Not just great, but very great - great - he's lost everything, he's lost his children, which were so precious - he had been sacrificing for them every day and now he's lost his health and he's in agony. I mean, he's just been laid very low. His grief is very great. And so, they don't know what to say. They don't say anything.

They just mourn with him. How long did they mourn? Seven days. It'd be hard to keep quiet for seven days. If you go to a hospital room and you see a friend suffering, don't you want to say something to try to comfort them? But, you know, sometimes there's nothing you can say. Sometimes, if you've got a friend - brother or sister - that's really suffering, the best thing you can do is just be there and let them know they're not alone and let them know you care and sort of try to divide their burden by bearing it with them.

That's why they tore their clothes and they threw dust on their heads and they sat down where he sat, which wasn't a very pleasant place. You remember where he sat? The city dump. So they sat with him and they commiserated with him and they shared his suffering and - but as those seven days go by - and I just want to pause here and - can you think of somewhere else in the Bible - someone that mourned for seven days? David. Yeah. I don't know who said it.

Remember when David sinned with bathsheba and the child - the product of that relationship became sick? David went in before the Lord and he fell on his face and he fasted for seven days, praying for the child. You ever pray for seven days? The Bible says Jesus prayed all night long and I can honestly only think of one time I spent a night with a friend just praying and studying - spent the whole night - we, I don't know, we probably went to sleep about six, but just stayed up all night praying. Here they sat with their friend seven days - and these are wealthy important men. They're leaders of their own tribes - great men - to share his suffering. But, during that seven days, they're watching job groan in agony and scrape his boils - that's not very pleasant, but that's what it says - they're thinking, 'why is all this happening to job?' I mean, everyone wants to know why.

We all want answers. God made us rational beings. He says, 'come, let us reason together.' They're trying to figure it out. And, in their minds, they're beginning to think, 'you know, he always seemed like such a nice guy, but anybody suffering like this, why would God allow this?' You know, when people see suffering, they always wonder, 'if there is a God and he is love, why does he let the innocent suffer? Why do children suffer? Why are they born with deformities and illness and, if God is good' - and there's all these questions we're trying to rationalize. We're trying to make sense of it, right? So, while they're watching job suffer, they begin to ponder in their hearts, 'maybe he wasn't as good as we thought.

There must be something going on. Why would a good God let a good man experience so much bad?' And so, finally, after seven days of thinking these thoughts and watching him suffer, they're beginning to wonder, 'well, maybe there's more to the story that we don't know.' And they sort of turn on their friend. They said, 'oh job, why don't you 'fess up before you die, you know? You don't want to go to your grave hiding the secret sin that brought on all this calamity. What is it? There must be something.' And so this is where - this is what's happening in the thinking and you - that bears itself out as you begin to read it. So you read here, when they saw that, no one could speak a word.

They saw his grief was very great. Go ahead, read for us, please, job 4:7. "Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?" Yeah, now eliphaz begins to talk and he says, 'if you're innocent, you don't perish.' He's not talking about dying the death that all men die, he's talking about perish early. It's like when Ezekiel says, 'if you turn from your sin you'll surely live; if you don't, you'll die.' Well, everyone dies eventually. He's talking about prematurely.

It's like David said, 'I was young and now I'm old and I've never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread. Well, David, again, is speaking in general terms. Have we never heard of any righteous people being hungry? So it's not an absolutely rule, it's a general principle there. And then, and this is - this is like - this was based upon the title of our lesson: the curse causeless - Proverbs 26:2, written by Solomon, "like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight." The curse does not come without a cause. And so, when they see job that looks like he's under a curse, they're saying, 'what is the cause?' So I guess I'm kind of speaking up in defense of job's three friends - don't misunderstand that - just that they were saying what was the conventional thinking that - God blesses the good and curses happen to the bad.

And even Solomon says, 'the curse causeless does not land.' Now, if you look in the new testament, you'll see an example where the disciples were even taken up with this thinking. In John 1, verse - I'm sorry, John chapter 9 - the Gospel of John 9, verse 1 - it says, "now as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth." Now when he's blind from birth, you know, if he had been turned blind then they would have said, 'well, he did something wrong.' And keep in mind, did Jesus ever heal somebody and say, 'go and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you'? Yes. Did some people - many people suffer physically because of their sin? That's what Jesus said - 'don't sin anymore or something worse than what I just healed you from will happen to you.' A lot of suffering is the consequence of sin, but not always, and that's what the book of job is trying to tell us. So they see this blind man and they're asking Jesus, 'Lord, who sinned? This man was born blind so how do we - how could he sin and be blind? What did he do wrong?' And so they say, 'rabbi, who sinned - this man or his parents - that he was born blind?' Now, you might be wondering, 'how can the man sin so that he's born blind?' The disciples - not just the disciples, the Jewish leaders, actually had a theory that God, knowing all things, knew that this person would sin so he punished him in advance. God knew he was going to be bad so, because of his sin, because God knew it, he said, 'I'm just going to make him blind from the start, to teach him a lesson.

' That's really got theological problems to it when you think about it. So what did Jesus say? "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," - now, he's not saying they're sinless, he's just saying it wasn't their sin that caused his blindness - "but that the works of God should be revealed in him." Now don't forget that verse. Why did job suffer? Because of his sin? Because of his parents' sin? Or that the works of God might be revealed in him? How many of you are glad that job suffered? Now what I mean by that - I wouldn't want to say that to you and I hope you don't say that to me, but what I mean is I'm glad the story's in the Bible, because through the story of job, I've often been encouraged. And when I think that - 'why is this happening to me?' You know and - I'm a big baby sometimes. I just go through a little bit of suffering - I just think the world's ending and Karen says, 'doug, get a life.

It's not that bad.' (Laughter) she's very sympathetic. (Laughter) and, but sometimes, you know, I start thinking like that, then I think of others I know that are so much worse off. You've heard about the adage that says, 'I mourned that I had no shoes until I met a man that had no feet.' You know what I'm saying? And so, Jesus was saying, this man didn't sin, or his parents, but that the works of God might be revealed in him. And so some people suffer because our faith is being tried - we're being strengthened. Some people suffer because of their sin, and some people suffer because God is going to allow their suffering to be a vehicle for reaching many.

Why did God allow shadrach meshach and abednego to go through a fiery furnace? So he might be glorified. I mean, he protected them through the furnace, but it's - the furnace is an allegory for suffering. Peter talks about 'don't be amazed at the fiery trials you go through.' I read a good book by marvin moore years ago. I wish it was still in print. It's called - I think it's called witnessing through trials - something to that effect - and he takes all these stories about people who ended up being great witnesses because they went through trials.

Joseph - look at all the trials Joseph went through, but look at what a witness he is for us - of forgiving the ones who sell you into slavery. It's just a - it's a wonderful story. Because a person goes through great trials, they're often able to be a witness. Alright, the next section we're going to look at is a man and his maker. Now, we're going to do a little bit of reading.

We're going to backtrack and read some of what we just read here. Go to job chapter 4, please, and I'm going to kind of read 1 through 11. Someone is going to be reading for me 1 Peter 1:24 in just a minute. John, you'll have that? Alright, you'll read, I think, 24 and 25, but I'm going to read several verses before we get there. So, if we go to job 4:1, "then eliphaz the temanite answered and said:" - now this is the dialogue right, you know, job is saying, 'why didn't I die at birth?' And job, finally, after these days of suffering, he can't contain himself anymore and, like a ruptured vent, he begins to just pour out the anguish in his heart and in great eloquence, between his gasping and his moaning, he makes all these statements about saying, 'why? Why? Why? It would have been better not to be born.

Even the dead are at rest.' And eliphaz, he's thinking, 'job, maybe it's happening to you because you deserve it. Let me share some principles with you - "'if one attempts a word with you, will you become weary? But who can withhold himself from speaking? Surely you have instructed many, and you have strengthened weak hands. Your Words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees;'" - you've been a teacher to many others - "'but now it comes upon you, and you are weary; it touches you, and you are troubled. Is not your reverence your confidence?'" You're - you've got too much confidence in your holiness - "and the integrity of your ways your hope? Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?'" Now, generally speaking, that's true, but do the upright sometimes get cut off? Don't lose your place there in job 4 - and I know I've got someone standing by to read a verse, but go with me to psalm 37 - psalm 37, real quick, you looking 'em up? "Do not fret because of evildoers," - this is verse 1 - "do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." - Give you your desires, he'll bless you - "he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the Lord...do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass." Now, David is saying, 'you're going to see cases where wicked seems to be prospering, but it will not last. He'll end up being cut down like the green grass.

If you're faithful, you will end up prospering. So this is a general principle. Okay, back to eliphaz. "Remember now, who ever perished being upright [innocent]?... Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.

" Is that true? Doesn't even Paul say, 'God is not mocked; what a man sows he will reap.'? So he's speaking the truth. In general, that's a principle - "by the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his anger they are consumed. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions are broken. The old lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered." He's talking about the lion in context of the wicked. And he said, 'they may have been powerful, but they're going to come to a day of judgment.

' Alright, go ahead, read for us, please, 1 Peter 1:24 and 25. "Because 'all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.'" So if it looks like a man is wicked - or a woman - but they seem to have, outwardly, blessings and prosperity, first of all, it's often an illusion. You know, when I go to the Market, there's usually all these tabloid magazines there and I'll make a confession, while I'm waiting in line, I will sometimes read the headlines. Now, I know you never do.

(Laughter) you would never admit that in public - and if you buy them, don't tell anybody because your perceived iq will go down several points if you tell people you buy those magazines. Only time I bought - I bought one or two - I'm confessing now - I bought one or two because they had some prophecy on the cover that was so absurd I used it as an illustration to teach a prophecy lesson, saying, 'look at crazy prophecies.' But they're often covered with the rich and the famous. And they'll put the famous movie stars - the couples - on the cover and it's got this glamour and people just vicariously they think, 'oh, if I could just be as good looking as him or her' and 'look at all the money and the mansion and the clothes' and they just seem to have such success and - but, in reality, their lives are in shambles. And so, a lot of people, when you think the wicked are prospering, it may just look like that on the outside, but they're often not prospering. If you could go into their home and you hear the shouting and the screaming and the drinking and the problems and - so it's an illusion.

And, even if a person looks like they're prospering for a little while, how long is this life? Like grass, it withers, and then we're judged. Alright, going back to - I want to continue now and I want to read - I'm going to go from verse 12 to 21 in job 4:12-21 - still talking about eliphaz here. "Now a word was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a whisper of it." - Now he starts to tell about this supernatural experience - "in disquieting thoughts from the vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair on my body stood up." - You ever been scared and your hair stands up? - I could use a hair-raising experience right now, actually - "it stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence; then I heard a voice saying:" - here's the big question - this voice getting ready to make this declaration - "'can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his maker? If he puts no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error," - were there angels that were charged with error and were they cast out of heaven? If even angels are accountable - "how much more those who dwell in houses of clay," - now, when he talks about houses of clay, it's not just talking about people who live in brick houses there in the middle east, he's talking about our bodies are made of clay - these are called houses and tabernacles - "how much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before a moth?" - Moths would come through and plague their produce and they were vulnerable to moths or locusts - "they are broken in pieces from morning till evening; they perish forever, with no one regarding.

Does not their own excEllence go away? They die, even without wisdom.'" And so, he's basically saying that, you know, 'man is nothing' and 'how can we be more righteous than God who made us?' And this is the big question that's being debated. Isaiah 64:7 - I need to hasten along here - he says, "and there is no one who calls on your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities." - Again, talking about how vulnerable we are. Romans 3 - he says the same thing - verse 19, "now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." - We've all sinned - "therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight," - is a man more righteous than God? No. "...no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Alright, next section: the foolish taking root - and I actually stole from my own thunder - I read psalm 37 already and that's in my notes. Who's going to read, for me, Proverbs 26:2? Manjeet, you'll have that? Alright, it says in Luke 1:52, "he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.

" God can completely turn the tables on a person. And so, here you've got an example where job was at the pinnacle - good, wealthy, healthy, blessed, prosperous - and almost overnight he goes from weak, sick, devastated, destitute - and then God takes him later and brings him back up again. God can completely turn your tables. I can think of a couple of times in my life where I had absolutely nothing and in 24 hours, the Lord completely turned my circumstances. I remember once, I'm not proud of it, but I was in jail and I got released from jail with nothing but what the police gave me - my, you know, watch and wallet or whatever it was - and I had nothing.

I needed to get a job. I needed to get a place. I needed to get some food - I had nothing - and I prayed - this was the early days when I was just learning about the Bible and, keep in mind, it was a transition for me. I think I was arrested for hitchhiking years ago and I did not pay the fine and then I got stopped for hitchhiking again and they had a warrant out for my arrest and so they threw me in jail. And I said, 'Lord, will you please help me?' And I can't tell you all the circumstances, but before the sun went down that day, the strangest things happened: I had a job, I had food, and I had a house - in one day - and I had no money or anything at the beginning of the day.

And just completely reversed my circumstances. Alright, I actually gave you the verse I read already, but go ahead, read that again, manjeet - Proverbs 26:2. "Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight." Yeah, now that - what you read - was from the King James version. Earlier it was the new king James version and so it - it's just - actually, I think you read the new king James version too - I take that back. Anyway, again, that's Proverbs - that's Solomon's observation that the curse without cause does not come.

There is a reason. Now, the reason might be - was there a reason the curse came to job? Yes. No. Not because of job's badness, but was there a reason? Yes. The reason was that he - that God and the devil were debating on whether he would really be faithful and God withdrew his protection from job.

You see, most of us, like job, are hedged in by God, because if we weren't, the devil would try to destroy us. Now, there are some out there that the devil actually owns and he sort of blesses them or uses them for his own purposes. They just - they really are in the hands of the devil. But I think that God is hedging in most people and protecting and blessing. Alright, let's see here.

And then we've got 1 Corinthians :19, "for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 'he catches the wise in their own craftiness" - we can't always figure out why these things are happening. Psalm 34:6, "this poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all of his troubles." So when we're going through troubles like job, what's the answer? A poor man cried out and the Lord heard him. We've got to just - you've got to turn to the Lord. Did job pray through - you read the book of job and he's crying out.

The answer didn't come right away. When you read the book of job, how long do you think job's sufferings lasted? A few weeks. We don't know, but, you know, I've got a theory - I can't prove it - that - how long did the plagues of Egypt last? A few weeks when you just back them up, you know? It says, 'and there was for this day' and then Moses prayed and it went away and then pharaoh wouldn't let them go and he prayed - another plague came - and you just kind of piece it together and it's like, oh, maybe a month - all those things happened very quickly, which reminds us that in the last days, the final events could be rapid ones because, if you had gone to the children of Israel a few days or a month before they began the Exodus and said, 'you know what? You're going to be on your way to the promised land in a month.' They'd say, 'oh, no, government works too slowly. We'll never - we have committees and there're going to have to be appeals and then the court's going to have to meet and 'oh, we'll never get out of here.'' But they left the God factor out. And when the plagues fell, things happened very quickly.

Job's suffering - it seemed like it was a blitzkrieg, where the devil just hit him with these things one after another. If you read the entire book of job, this discourse could have all happened in one day. You and I can read the whole book of job in a couple of hours. I know, I've listened to it while I was driving down the road in my car. And so, this could have been the discourse all of one day.

And so, he - job prayed - cried out and God gave - saved him from his troubles - but sometimes you and I go through troubles and we don't get deliverance right away. And you might have to pray for awhile before you get an answer. Hebrews 12:4-6, "and you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as sons: 'my son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by him;'" now, who would be encouraged if they're rebuked by the Lord? It doesn't mean you be happy about it, in that sense, but you need to just say, 'alright, thank you, Lord. I needed that.' Don't be discouraged when you're rebuked by him, "for whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives." He scourges some or every? What did I just read? He scourges every son - and daughter. What that means - a scourging means trials or discipline.

Every believer is going to go through some discipline with God. So, next section - last section here - it talks about rushed to judgment and it begins with a quote from the book education page 146, "no truth does the Bible more clearly teach than that which - that what we do is a result of what we are. To a great degree, the experiences of life are the fruition of our own thoughts and deeds." And what she's talking about there is, there is cause and effect in life. You are, today, who you are, as the result of, largely, choices you've made and what you've taken in - everything from your mother and your father and your environment, but it kind of creates a sum total of who you are. There's a cause and effect.

Now, with that in mind, when a person's suffering - we're just going to tie this off here - did job's friends misunderstand why job was going through his trials? Yes. They thought there was some hidden sin in his life he wasn't confessing - there was something evil he had done. They were wrong. What does that tell us about judging? Don't do it. We've got to be careful.

Now, does the Bible say 'don't ever judge'? Doesn't it say 'judge not'? If you stop the verse there, 'judge not' means 'don't ever judge.' Thou shalt not judge - never? No, it says, 'judge not that you be not judged.' And the word 'judge' there, really means 'don't condemn' - 'for with what judgment you judge you will be judged, and with what measure you use it'll be measured back to you.' Jesus said, 'when you judge, use a righteous judgment.' And Paul said, aren't you able to judge anything?' Matter of fact, I'm going to read that here in just a moment. Romans 2, verses 1 through 3, "therefore you are inexcusable, o man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, o man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?" So you've got to especially be careful because if you're going to be examining someone else, are you being a hypocrite? Corinthians 4, verses 3 through 5, "but with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but he who Judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God." Sometimes we go to funerals and a person's eternal future might be in doubt. I won't ask if you've ever been to one of those funerals - and you're wondering, 'will he or she make it? Were they ready?' And most of us are just going to have to say we don't know. There's times where I've been very confident that a person knew the Lord and they had the fruits of the Spirit and I'm going to see them again in the Kingdom.

And there have been times where it really didn't look good. I, you know, when a person crashes a car off a cliff and they're - 'cause they've just come from a wild party, you're wondering - but you've got to be careful not to judge because God knows. We can't condemn. You just have to put those things in the Lord's hands and know that God's desperate to save people more than we are, amen? But he's not saying, when he says, 'don't judge', 'don't ever use judgment'. For instance, if you're a church member and you see a brother or sister, they start missing church, and they seem to start being weak in the faith, use your judgment and say, 'you know, they seem to be drifting and I care.

' And you can go to them and you appeal to them. James says do it in a spirit of meekness, not condemnation, lest you be tempted yourself. But, you know, we do need to care and we do need to use common sense and just - Jesus said, 'if you judge, use a righteous judgment.' Time is up, but I hope we've learned something today from the book of job. I want to remind you, if you missed it at the beginning, we do have a free offer. It's called the positive side of suffering.

It's a sermon done by yours truly, that talks about 'why do we go through trials? And what's a good thing to learn from that?' I think you'll be blessed by this. We'll send it to you. All you've got to do is ask for offer #819 and call 866-788-3966 for that free offer. That's 866-study-more and then when you listen, please share it with a friend. God bless you, friends, we look forward to studying with you again, God willing, next week.

Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, 'Biblehistory.com' is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word. Go deeper. Visit the amazing Bible time line at 'Biblehistory.com'.

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