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What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

Acknowledge His Sovereignty and Worship Him

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(10/21) Wait and Meditate

What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do #6

I. Suffering - A Required Course-Not an Elective

I recently pulled an old Bible Study out of my files that I did 20 years ago.

The opening line read, "Suffering is a required course, and not an elective." A little farther down the page I wrote, "Life isn't fair." But then God never said it would be. All of us would like to think that once we give our hearts to God that our story would read, "and they lived happily ever after." But that is not reality. I remind you of Jesus' words in John 16:33; Paul's in Acts 14:22; and our friend Job's in 14:1.

A few days ago, I was watching a hunting show about a hunting competition. One of the competitors shot a big buck and was rejoicing when just a short while later he received a call, telling him that his 22 year old son had been killed in a car accident. He had called his mother and told her he would see her in ten minutes, but those few moments never came. I sat there and cried for a man I didn't know, but I felt his pain. His son was his pride and joy, his hunting buddy. Moms and dads of soldiers hear similar words everyday as do others when their children or spouse don't come home on time and the police arrive at the door. A whole nation was stunned and wept for the families of 3000 Americans that lost their lives on 9-11-2001.

Stuff happens and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason why? You may well, have something in your life that has happened and you don't know why, and you don't know how to respond. Our question and the basis of this series is, What do you do when you don't know what to do?

II. A Summary - So far we have considered 5 of our 12 things to do when we don't know what to do. Let's just quickly summarize them.

A. Remember that God has a good plan even when I don't understand (Rom. 8:28; Jer. 29:11) At least 12 things He may be doing in your life.

B. Pour Out Your Heart to God (Ps. 62:8)

C. Live By your Faith (Hab. 2:5) Do what you know to do regardless of the circumstances or consequences.

D. Wait with Hope and Expectation on God (Ps. 27:14)

E. Meditate on God's Faithfulness, His Character, and His Promises (Heb. 10:36; 2 Peter 1:4)

F. And # 6 (today's) Acknowledge His Sovereignty and Worship Him

III. His Sovereignty - When we talk about the Sovereignty of God we mean that God is the ultimate authority, and power of the universe and that He is in complete control. Look at Psalm 115:3 Do you understand this? This is so important to grasp with our understanding and not just as a theological concept. Among other things this means:

A. This is my Father's world - not mine

B. He has a right to do as He pleases, plans, or chooses to do. He is the Potter and we are the Clay (Jeremiah 18:1-6; Isa. 45:9-12)

C. People are stewards or caretakers of God's stuff. It is all His-everything- and we just use or manage or care for His stuff.

D. He chooses to redeem and adopt repentent sinners

E. He chooses to condemn and punish unrepentent sinners

F. He has predestined to work everything in our lives to conform us to the image of Jesus.

G. He is using everything to prepare the world for the return and reign of Jesus Christ on the earth as King of Kings

H. He has chosen to bless His children with an eternal inheritance

I. He has chosen to give man free will and has already worked man's choices into His plans

J. AND- His plans include using or allowing Satan to work his evil in the world and even against God's adopted children

K. God takes counsel or advice from no one (Isa. 40:12-14)!!!

L. Bottom line- to quote Steven Curtis Chapman, "God is God and we are not." When we don't know what to do, we need to acknowledge that and worship Him, that is, to bow before Him and give Him Honor and Glory. I think of 4 examples of this from the Bible.

1. Abraham (Gen. 22:5)

2. David (2 Samuel 12:20-23)

3. Paul (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

4. Job - No study like ours would be complete without looking at this giant of a man.

IV. Our Subject -Job- Most of you may be familiar with Job, but I invite you to take a fresh look into what He endured. By the way, this may have actually have been the first book of the Bible. Job probably lived around the time of Abraham, before Moses wrote the first 5 books which included Genesis. So there would not have been any Bible to read. Notice 1:1.

A. His Faith four things are said. He was blameless (not sinless) a man of integrity, not hypocrisy; Upright-Not deviating from his path or his faith; One who feared God, he respected God and honored Him in everything; shunned evil, rejected peer pressure, didn't go with the flow of the culture.

B. His Family was full and blessed (v.2) Job loved his children (v.4) and they loved each other, no jealousy or dysfunctional actions here. Job and the Mrs. knew how to model family and love and their children learned well.

C. His Fortune - He would have been the Ross Perot, or Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet of his day. The Oxen suggest that He was a big farmer. The Camels suggest that he was in the shipping business, and the sheep suggest that wool was one of the biggest products. The female donkeys produced a delicacy of that day - donkey milk. This guy had no financial worries. He appeared to be set for life and for the lives of great grandchildren

D. His Fame-was through out the east. Job was known not just for his riches but for his philanthrophy. He was a man of great charity as chapter 31 will point out.

V. The Scene in Heaven (v.6) The Sons of God in this context are the created angels and they appear before our Father and among them was the arch-enemy of God and the human race-the Satan - or the adversary. Not a red guy with a goateee, horns, tail, and a pitchfork, but the loveliest of all created beings, more powerful and talented than any other creation, created to attend the throne of Heaven, but eaten up with pride and jealousy and hatred. There, before God,he does what he does so well, he accuses God of favoritism and Job of hypocrisy. Three things I see here

A. By the way, the fact that he roams the earth and probably at the speed of light, looking for people to destroy and to accuse ought to keep us sober. Our life is lived out on a battlefiefld, not a playground. If you really desire to live your life to honor God, you may well find yourself on Satan's hit list with a bull's eye on your back.

B. Also, remember this, Satan knows humanity. He knows that many people will turn on God if the well runs dry. Here is a question, would you love God, if there were no blessings beyond the promise of heaven; if no prayers were answered; if suffering were never checked; if no part of life seemed fair? Satan said, Job will curse you if you took it all away. But God whon knows the hearts of all men said, Give it your best shot, but don't touch his person.

C. Satan can only operate within the frame of God's sovereignty. That I don't understand. But I know it is true. The Father allowed Satan to test His Son - Jesus, and then to enter Judas to betray and have Him put to death. When Satan tempts, accuses, attacks you, it is with permission as in Luke 22:31-32.

VI. Shock and Awe (vv. 13-19) .

A. The Shock. There is no other way to adequately describe what happens next. Before another sunset in his world, his world would change like few others have ever experienced. Like a Tsunami, a series of un-fore seen events occurred that rocked this man's world. His business, His riches, and His family all gone in a tidal-wave of events. I can't imagine losing one child, let alone losing ten of them.

B. The Awe. Is Job's response (vv. 20-22). I don't know how close in time was Job's response to the news. I have a hard time imagining it was immediate, though it could have been. Maybe it was after the funerals or maybe it was immediate. Notice:

1. He arose -after perhaps being hammered to the ground.

2. Tore His robe - His outer covering, His blanket, His cloak

3. Shaved His head- White or gray hair on a man was asign of His age and His wisdom, it was his glory. His hair and beard are gone. A symbol of deep personal loss.

4. He fell to the Ground and Worshiped. Literally sprawled out face down on the ground and in full submission to God he ascribed worth and honor to God. He acknowledged God's Sovereignty and Worshiped Him. Listen to his words:

a. Naked I came..., and naked shall I return....(cp. 1 Tim. 6:7-8) I had nothing when I entered this world, I will carry nothing away. It doesn't matter what you put in a coffin, it stays there. No U-hauls, No pockets. Job knew that everything he had accomplished, achieved, and acquired, was really just on loan. He was entrusted with their use and able to enjoy them, but they belonged to God. Do you understand this? Your name may be on the deed or title, but in 50 years more or less, it will belong to someone else, because it is all God's. The money is God's, the earth is God's, it is not yours, its all on loan and you're going to leave without it

b. The Lord gave- the Lord has taken away. Job understood that the principle was the same even with his children. God may have used you and your wife to create your children, but really, they are His and only entrusted to you for a short time, like your possessions. They are His to call, or to take away. We are to train them, nurture them, discipline them and then release them.

c. Blessed be the name of the Lord - God is to be well spoken of.

You all know that this isn't the end of the story. The bell for round two is about to ring and once again we have another scene in heaven and the adversary appearing before our Father and accusing Him and Job again. Seething with hatred, Satan says Job is just to scared to curse God. Drive his pain deeper and he will turn on God. If a man has his health, he has everything, I am told, well, see what happens if you take that away, and once again permission to touch Job and destroy his health is given but he must not take his life. Satan strikes Job with a feverish staff infection resulting in boils, swelling, unimaginable suffering. When His wife encouraged him to seek euthanasia and end his suffering he refused and by the way, don't judge this lady, she has lost everything including 10 children and now her husband seems to be gone as well, so cut her some slack and look at what He said in verse 10, "But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips." At this point, it appears that Job believed that God had a good plan even if he didn't understand.

Can it get worse? Oh yes, it can, and it does. His best friends come to comfort him and after they get over their shock and horror at what they see, they show him no mercy. Instead of comfort and sympathy, they assume him guilty of something horrendous and accuse him, adding more emotional pain to his losses and to the physical pain of his illness. The man needs sympathy and comfort from his friends, but instead they attack his character and accuse him of some sin that must have earned this calamity, though they could not name a sin.

Now, can it get any worse? Yes, it can and it does. Job had enjoyed sweet intimacy with his Lord but that intimacy had turned to ice, as his sweet communion with God turned to silence. No comfort from his family, no comfort from his friends, no comfort from his stuff, there was no book of Psalms that his wife could read to him, and no comfort from His God. How long this took place we don't know. But Job is desperate for communion with God. Please talk to me God and tell me why.

The silence from God is broken in ch. 38, but God never tells him why; never tells him about Satan's accusations; instead, He reminds Job that He is God and Job is not. With 4 chapters worth of questions, He asks Job if He understood the intricate workings of creation and the universe. How does Job respond? look at 40:1-5, "Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said:

2 "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?

He who rebukes God, let him answer it." 3 Then Job answered the Lord and said: 4 "Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. 5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further."; but God isn't finished questioning him, and then again Job responds in 42:1-6, "Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2 "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,

But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes." Job then prayed for his friends and God forgave them and blessed Job by giving him twice as much as he had lost. Let's conclude this.

VII Our Summary

A. Choosing to follow Jesus is choosing to wear a bulls eye on your back. It doesn't protect us from pain, it makes us subject to it. Suffering is a required course and not an elective. Satan will attack you and God will allow it. But He is confident in your ability to overcome.

B. When suffering comes choose to acknowledge God's sovereignty. He owns everything. This is His world. I am his. All I have is His. He has brought or allowed this and He alone knows why. And Trust Him.

C. Remember He has a Good plan even if You don't understand.

D. Focus on the finish line (Job 19; Heb. 12:1-3)

E. Choose to Worship him. Refuse to be bitter. It will bless God and believe it or not it will bless you.

F. Our love for God is to be based on Who He is, what He has done in Christ when He came to die for our sins and then rise again to give us life and forgiveness, adopt us as His children and assure us of heaven, and what He has promised to do for eternity, not on what I believe he has done for me lately.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman