The Insanity of Questioning God (Job Sermon 26)
October 31, 2021 | Andy Davis
Providence and Sovereignty of God
God has cured Job of questioning him and the Holy Spirit is ready to cure us as well. In Job 40:1-14 we learn why we should not question God.
- Sermon Transcript-
In 2013, Nik Ripken published a powerful book cataloging a 15-year journey that he had made, studying the experiences of persecuted Christians in the most spiritually hostile places on earth. The book's title, The Insanity of God, caused a lot of consternation, a lot of controversy among believers. Some people considered the title, The Insanity of God, blasphemous. But Ripken's research had led him into some of the most painful examples of the suffering of God's people, places where Christians often cry out with anguish, “Oh God, I thought you loved us! How could you let this happen to us?” Christians attacked, Christians beaten, Christians arrested, slandered, martyred.
Ripken's own journey had included the tragic death of his own 16-year old son from asthma, brought on by an allergic reaction. It happened on Easter Sunday and people asked, how could a loving God let this happen to your family on Easter Sunday? His work led him to Somalia, one of the hardest places for Christians on earth, where Christians systematically are gunned down by Muslim warlords, and roving bands of youth waving AK-47s, and just killing people at random. Led him to Russia, led him to Afghanistan, to China, other places where Christians are suffering all over the world. And the question came up again and again, how could such a powerful, wise, loving God just simply allow this kind of sorrow in the lives of people He loves? It all seems so insane. It was a word that sometimes came up.
Now the concept behind The Insanity of God comes from 1 Corinthians, chapter 1, where unbelievers look on God sending his own Son into the world to die on a cross, as foolishness. The foolishness of God. So it's in that same family. And we're going to find out in eternity that God has a perfectly rational reason for everything he does. It's going to be deeply, richly satisfying to us to see what those reasons are. And the purpose of this sermon today is to turn the whole thing around and say, what's really insane is for God's people to question God, for God's people to question God, to challenge God, to accuse God, to condemn God in some way of wrongdoing. I think that's one of the main purposes of the Book of Job, to humble us, and quiet us in times of our own suffering before such a majestic God, that we would be quiet under the mighty hand of God and not charge Him with wrongdoing.
The Book of Job addresses one of the deepest and most perplexing issues in the world. The problem of evil, the problem of suffering, problem of pain, different ways to say it. How can a good, powerful, wise, loving God allow such evil and suffering on people who don't deserve it? As we come this morning to this text Job 40:1-14, we come to a critical juncture in the book. Job suffering intensely has accused God more than once, multiple times of injustice in his case. Job then, to some degree, represents the entire human race, the suffering human race in bold questioning of God, to some degree demanding and accounting from God for his actions. This is a common theme in every generation, hauling God into court, cross-examining God, evaluating him. Ultimately perhaps even condemning him, even executing him with slogans such as, God is dead.
Perhaps no one in my studies or in recent history has been so bold on this topic as Elie Wiesel, the Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi death camp, where 1.1 million Jews were gassed to death. He said that he observed in Auschwitz, three Jewish men holding a trial of God in absentia for abandoning the Jewish people in the Holocaust. Inspired by that, in 1979, he wrote a play called, the Trial of God, set in a Ukrainian village in 1649, after the massacre of some Jewish villagers. And in Elie Wiesel's play, three traveling minstrels arrive in the village intending to put on a play, but instead put on a mock trial of God for the massacre. In his Pulitzer prize-winning book, Night, Wiesel wrote these chilling words:
Blessed be God's name. Why? Why would I bless him? Every fiber in me rebel because he caused thousands of children to burn in his mass graves, because he kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the holy days, because, in his great might, he had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna and so many other factories of death. How could I say to him, blessed be thou almighty, master of the universe, who chose us, among all nations, to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end up in the furnaces? But now I no longer pleaded for anything. I was no longer able to lament. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God, the accused. My eyes had opened, and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, and without man.
Well we human beings, when we go through suffering, we're ready to haul God into court. Maybe not to that extreme level, but we're going to be tempted to do it, to question him, to judge him for his actions in our case. C.S. Lewis, in his book, God in the Dock, that's the British of saying, God on trial, said this, "Many people are convinced that whatever may be wrong with the world, it cannot be themselves. Someone else must be to blame for every evil. Hence when the existence of God is discussed, they by no means, think of him as their judge. On the contrary, they are his judges. If he puts up a reasonable defense for being the God who permits war, poverty and disease, they will consider it. And the trial may end in God's acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the judge's bench, and God is the one on trial."
Now, one of the great purposes I think of the Book of Job is to help Christians put such notions to death. We do not think that this book of Job will cure the rage-filled, unbelieving world of such blasphemy, but it is able to cure us Christians of our version of it. God cured Job of questioning him. And the Holy Spirit is ready to cure us, as well. Now let me say this, this one thing: this book of Job is a very serious book. We have walked through it, and we're almost to the end. What the Holy Spirit, I believe, is saying to me and all of us is we're going to need this book. You're going to need this. Imagine if an angel came down from heaven and sat you down in his glory, and you, after being overwhelmed by his presence, sat and listened to his message and he said to you, one thing, “I want to tell you one thing, you are going to need the book of Job before you die,” and then left. How sober would that be for you? How serious. What are you need it for? Because you are going to lose all of the three categories of earthly blessings that Job lost, possessions, loved ones, and health. You're going to lose them all at some point. You may have significant trials long before you die, where you could lose some things significant to you, and you'll need that. But you'll definitely need it by the end of your life. And so we need to get ready, don't we brothers and sisters? We need to get ready to suffer well. And part of suffering well is to not accuse God of wrongdoing in your case, to not judge him.
So let's review where we are in the book of Job. God, in Job 38, has showed up in power. Look at Job 38:1-8. "And the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind. He said, ‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge. Brace yourself like a man. I will question you, and you shall answer me.’" Job, in his suffering had demanded a chance to confront God. He was confident he would carry the day, his day in court. He would be able to prove his own righteousness and God's injustice. In Job 31, Job says his righteousness was so pure that he would walk confidently into court to confront God. Verses 35-37 in that chapter, he said, "Oh, that I had someone to hear me. I sign now my defense. Let the Almighty answer me. Let my accuser put his indictment in writing. Surely I would wear it on my shoulder. I would put it on like a crown. I would give him an account of my every step. Like a prince I would approach him." Or as he said earlier in Job 13:22, "Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak and you reply to me." Speaking to God. So to some degree, Job gets his wish. God shows up in power, in a whirlwind, but he does it in a different way than Job ever imagined. He does it to confront Job in his arrogance. Then God begins to trace out his achievements in creation, and lines them up with Job's obvious limitations. Job 38, he speaks of the inanimate world that he made. The foundations of the earth, the creation and limitations of the oceans, the creation of the sky with its clouds, the ordering of sunrise and sunset, the shaping of the contours of the earth, the mountains and the valleys, the hills and the ravines, the subterranean regions of the earth with its aquifers. It's hidden water tables, the fountains of the deep.
Then the weather patterns, the snow, the hail, lightning, thunder, east winds, rain, torrential downpours and light sprinkles. God's wisdom in knowing how much rain to give to one place and how much to give to another, the dew and the frost, all of these weather patterns. And then the arrangement of the celestial bodies, the distant stars, the constellations, Pleiades and Orion, the distant starlight and all the physical laws that govern the cosmos, inanimate creation. Then at the end of Job 38 and on through Job 39, he talks about animals. The creation and the sustaining of the animal world. 10 creatures, he describes, lions and lioness, how they hunt for their prey. Ravens, how they feed their young. Mountain goats, how they give birth and then the doe also, as she bears her fawn. The wild donkey roaming free in the wilderness, the wild ox with its incredible strength, the ostrich with its foolishness with her young, but also her ability to run fast. The horse with its strength, its fierce courage and breathtaking speed. The hawk with its stunning speed and flight, and the eagle with its amazing ability to soar and its eyesight. 10 creatures. In all of these aspects of creation, God keeps bringing it back to Job and his obvious limitations, limitations of time. “Were you there when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Limitations of strength. “Do you have the power to do this? Or do you have the power to do that?” Limitations of knowledge. “Do you know how to do this? Do you know when to do that?”
So a man's stunning limitations are exposed in this abbreviated survey of God's activity in creation and in Providence, in sustaining creation. So he sums it up in chapter 40, where we're at now, Verse 1-2, “The Lord said to Job: ‘Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!’” hence the theme, the topic today. Job is contending with the Almighty. Job is accusing God. The fundamental issue here: mortal, sinful man evaluating and judging and contending with Almighty God. In our arrogance, we use our God-given gifts of thinking and reasoning and evaluation, and turn them around as weapons against the God who gave them to us.
He says in Job 38:36, “Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind?” God did. And God made our astonishing minds and our evaluating hearts. And in our arrogance, we turned them as weapons against God. We contend with God, we question God, we judge God. And that is a very great sin. It is the very sin that Job will repent from- is repenting from in this chapter. But also it's very great damage done to our souls; in the midst of our suffering, when we need God the most, to alienate God from us and to make us hostile to God is not therapeutic. It is not therapeutic to vent against God. To blow off steam with these types of blasphemous words doesn't help us. So this is the sin that Job is repenting from, that God is addressing. And we are supposed to learn from it. We don't have to walk through literally all the suffering Job walked through. We can read and benefit. And here's the lesson: when you are suffering keep trusting in God, keep worshiping God. Don't accuse him of wrongdoing. Draw near to God through Christ, and he will help you. Along with this is the issue of discrediting God to justify ourselves, something that God specifically mentions here. As Elihu saw, clearly Job was so certain of his own righteousness that he was ready to question God's righteousness. We discredit God to justify ourselves. It's hard for us sinners, accurately to measure how great a sin this really is. For God's righteousness is infinite and ours, once we have sinned, is non-existent. As it says in Romans 3:10, “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.’”
"It is not therapeutic to vent against God."
After walking through God's response to Job, I want to zero in on this issue with four lessons. God is not accountable to us, and we are accountable to Him. And I want to unfold those lessons at the end of the sermon. Now, with all of this, we get Job's initial repentance, what I would call a step in the right direction. Look at verses 3-5, “Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I am unworthy- how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer- twice, but I will say no more.’” Job is instantly humbled by God's overpowering presence, God's mighty words. He repents. He is deeply aware of his unworthiness, his inability to answer God. He realizes that his sinful heart has bubbled up into sinful words. He deeply regrets the things he said about God. He has determined not to speak such sinful words again.
Now this is a true mark of godliness. This is the man who lived out a stunning level of righteousness in his life. He was blameless and upright, staggering levels of godliness as we saw in Job 31. He truly did fear God and shun evil. Many times great men and women of the world are proud and very hard to bring to repentance. It is a mark of true godliness that someone is actually easy to convict of sin, if the charge is true. They're ready to hear it. The further you go on in sanctification, the further you go on in holiness, the easier it will be to convict you of sin, not the harder. You become more and more humble and ready to hear and Job is like that. He doesn't defend himself. And so we should be ready for that at any moment, that the Lord through the Holy Spirit bring conviction and we humble ourselves and we yield to it. Job did that, but not deeply enough, it seems.
It didn't go deeply enough. God isn't through with Job yet. He's going to still work on him. And so he's doing a deep humbling work in Job. He's not about to light quick, superficial work in Job's heart. Sin is deep, much deeper than we think. It has deep roots. And it takes a deep work of humbling to root out and destroy all the sinful motions and aspects of our sin nature. And so God in his goodness to us doesn't deal lightly with our sins either. And so God speaks again from the whirlwind, almost as though Job had never said what he just said. He uses the exact same words he began with, with Job. Look at verses 6-7, “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the whirlwind: ‘Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.’” That's the exact same thing he said at the beginning. Then he digs into humble Job more, more humble than he has ever been before in his life. Job said, I'm unworthy to reply to you. God essentially said, “Job, you have no idea how unworthy you are. I will show you more how unworthy you are compared to me.” The fundamental issue here is God's commitment to justice. Job has discredited God's justice to establish his own. Look at verse 8, “Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?” But God's righteousness is infinite. Psalm 36:6 says, “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice is like the great deep.” That's comparing God's commitment to justice, to mountains and the ocean.
But that's actually nothing compared to the greatest display of justice, God's justice, there's ever been in history. And that is the cross of Jesus Christ. At the cross of Christ you'll see the greatest display of God's commitment to righteousness- to justice, there could ever be. As it says in Romans 3:25, what I call the glowing center of the gospel, “God presented him as a propitiation [or a sacrifice] of atonement through faith in his blood.” He did this to demonstrate his justice. It's a demonstration of the justice. The slaughter of Jesus on the cross as a substitute for our sins, is the greatest display of God's justice there could ever be. God would rather slaughter his Son, his only Son, whom he loved, his only begotten Son, his perfect son, slaughter him in the shameful and painful death on the cross, than to allow sinners like you and me into heaven un-atoned for. How could there be a greater commitment to justice than that? God's commitment to justice is like the brilliance of the noonday sun. We can't even look at it. Friends, your commitment to justice and mine is less. That's what we call a preaching understatement. We have less commitment to justice than God does. Ours is like a little match. His is like the sun. That's it. And how could we, sinners like us who have such a flimsy commitment to righteousness and justice, discredit God's justice?
But he wants to go further. God wants to humble Job more. It reminds me of Paul addressing the issue of God's ultimate sovereignty and salvation. And in Romans chapter 9, he says in verse 20: “Who are you, oh man, to talk back to God?” Boy, we need to drink that in, don't we? That's very humbling. “Who are you, oh man, to talk back to God?” So from verses 9-14, God is making, I think, one central point to Job: “I am God and you're not.” That's what he's saying in various ways. First, the awesome power of God's arm, and then the awesome power of God's voice. Look at verse 9, “Do you have an arm like God's?” This refers to omnipotence. God's arm represents his power to accomplish anything he wants. “Oh man, what about your arm? How powerful is your arm? Do you have an arm like God's? No you don't.” And what about your voice? Look at verse 9, “can your voice thunder like his?” I didn't realize this, but thunder is one of the loudest natural sounds on earth. A single clap of thunder can hit 120 decibels. That's 10 times louder than a pneumatic jackhammer. It's about the same level of decibels as a jet engine taking off if you're standing right next to a jet engine as the plane takes off. Later, I think, in redemptive history, God will speak to His people from the fire of Mount Sinai, with the ground shaking under their feet. God spoke the Ten Commandments beginning with these words: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods beside me.” The voice was so loud and the people were so terrified that they begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear the sound of his voice. So Job, how loud is your voice?
Next Job, what about your appearance? Look at verse 10, “Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.” Job, are you glorious and majestic in appearance? Do people have to hide their eyes because of your radiant light? Whenever God appears in some limited measure of his glory, never his full glory because he said to Moses, “No one can see me and live,” but whenever God shows up, the people are overwhelmed with dread and terror and fall to the ground. What about you, Job? Does that happen to you when you show up? Do people hide their eyes and tremble on the ground? And can you, Job, unleash the mighty power of your justice to humble the wicked of the earth? Look at verses 11-13, “Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and bring him low, look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave.” This is the program that God has for our sinful human race. We join Satan in his soaring arrogance, thinking we could rise up and challenge God. But we can't. And in order to save us, God must save us from himself, from his own wrath, his own justice against sinners like us. And in order to do that, God must humble us to the core. We need to realize and believe we need a Savior. And Christ is that Savior. God has to humble us because God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God blesses spiritual beggars who know that they don't have anything to offer, and come in broken humility, begging for forgiveness of sins from Christ. And they receive it. They are given the Kingdom of Heaven, if they'll do that. So, Job, if you can do all of these things, verse 14, “Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.”
"We need to realize and believe we need a Savior. And Christ is that Savior. God has to humble us because God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Man is constantly on a self-salvation plan. The only way he can save himself from the just wrath of God, is to be as glorious, and holy, and perfect as God himself. And we sinners cannot. So this is the deep humbling work that God did in Job and through him, all of us, as we read these words through faith. Now, what I want to do for the rest of this time is to circle back on this issue of thinking that we can accuse God, that we can judge God, condemn God; execute God for his wrongdoings. Job's basic sin is thinking he could arraign God before the bar of his own justice. I want to draw out four lessons.
I. Lesson #1: God is Not Accountable to Man
Lesson number one: God is not accountable to man. God is not accountable to man. When we suffer, we think to bring God to account; we think to make him answer for why he didn't heal our child. Jesus healed effortlessly. It was not difficult for him to heal any disease and sickness. And he's the same yesterday, today and forever. Why didn't he heal my child? Why did he allow the hurricane to destroy our home when so many other homes were not even touched? Why did the drunk driver kill our beloved mother, and he himself walked away, he survived? We have a certain boldness in this questioning as though we are on higher moral ground than God and God is below us having to answer for what he's done in our lives. But the fact is God doesn't owe anything to his creation at all. Nothing. Look at God's bold action with Job again, verse 6-7: “The Lord spoke to Job out of the storm: ‘Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.’” So God seizes the initiative because he's God. God is not answerable to Job. And so he makes a clear assertion. In the next chapter, chapter 41:11, he says, “Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” Do you hear that? “No one has a claim against me that I owe them anything. Everything in creation is mine.” That about says it.
God will never owe anything to any human being, ever. So therefore, we cannot demand an explanation from God. God made the universe and he can do with it as he sees fit. Daniel 4:35 says this as plainly as any text in the Bible, “All the people's of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” Says it, doesn't it? In other words, God is not accountable to any creature. No one can demand any explanation from God. Now, of course, many people do say to God, what have you done? But all I'm saying here, all the text is saying is: God is under no obligation to answer. He doesn't owe us anything. He is the Creator. He is the King. We are his creatures, to do with as he pleases. Perhaps no writing in the history of the church has said this as well, other than scripture, of course, as the Westminster Confession of Faith. And this is what it says: “God hath most sovereign dominion over every creature to do by them, for them or upon them whatsoever himself pleaseth. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands, and to him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience he is pleased to require of them.” That's kingly language, isn't it? That's God the King telling us who he is and who we are.
"God will never owe anything to any human being, ever. So therefore, we cannot demand an explanation from God."
II. Lesson #2: Man is Accountable to God
Lesson number two. Man is accountable to God. Look again at verse 6-7, “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the whirlwind: ‘Brace yourself like a man. I will question you and you will answer me.’” So God appears to Job in a whirlwind. He answers none of Job's questions. Instead he asks him a series of questions. And so that shows plainly that we are accountable to God. All creatures are accountable to God. God made men and angels with moral natures, with varying powers and put them in different levels of responsibility in his universe. And he will hold each of them to account for their position and their abilities. He will demand an accounting from each of them for what they did with their powers and their position. And so to borrow Nebuchadnezzar's words, though no one can say to God, “What have you done?” God does say it to us. For example, after Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in Genesis 3:13, “The Lord God said to the woman: ‘What is this you have done?’” And then in the very next chapter, after Cain murdered his brother Abel, in Genesis 4:10, “The Lord said to Cain: ‘What have you done? Listen, your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.’” We are absolutely accountable to God. We are answerable to God for everything. Acts 17:31 says, “God has set a day when he will judge the world with justice.” That day is called judgment day.
Jesus said of that day, Matthew 12:36, “I tell you that men will have to give an account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” That's just a detail in which Jesus is saying, “Everything, you'll answer for everything.” Or again, Hebrews 4:13, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything's uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” And then that judgment day is depicted for us plainly in the book of Revelation, Revelation 20:11-12, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who is seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were open. Another book was open, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” So on that great and terrible day, judgment day, every careless word we have spoken, every action we have done, all the ways we spent our time, our energy and our money, everything we ever did in the body, whether good or bad, we will give an account, and God will evaluate because he is the judge of all the earth.
III. Lesson #3: Christ Alone Allows Man to Survive God’s Accounting
Lesson number three. Christ alone enables man to survive that accounting. None of us can survive that accounting. God said in verse 14, “Then I will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.” Well, it can't. Job knew we could not answer God's accusations once in a thousand times. He said in Job 9:3, “Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand.” Our only hope, and friends it is a sure and certain hope, is Christ our mediator, Christ our Savior. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made him who had no sin [that's Jesus] to be sin for us [that's substitution] so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.” That beautiful transfer, our guilt, all of it, on Jesus. And he dies under the wrath of God, under the just wrath of God. His righteousness imputed to us freely, and we survive judgment day, and all of that by simple faith in Jesus Christ, not by works. So when God showed up in the whirlwind, Job realized his righteousness was not enough. So it is with us sinners, whom God is saving. We stop accusing God of injustice, instead we seek from God, the righteousness we so obviously lack. And this comes from faith in Christ.
I want to say one other thing under this heading here: Christ's suffering both atones for our sin, but also allows him to understand our suffering. It enables him to be a merciful priest, high priest. He can understand what it feels like to hurt and to suffer loss. The enraged human race accuses God of injustice, because, so they say, he doesn't seem to understand what it's like to suffer here on earth. Well, the incarnation answers that. By his incarnation, Jesus became a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. He is Immanuel. He is God with us, immersed in an ocean of sorrow and pain and death. Jesus was born into poverty, a member of a despised and subjugated race. He was reviled by his own neighbors. His own family at one point thought he was insane, and went to take charge of him. The religious leaders thought he was demon-possessed or Satan-possessed. He had dedicated enemies who plotted every day to kill him. He was arrested. He was tried illegally at night, condemned by the testimony of false witnesses. As soon as he was condemned, his own people began to spit on him, blindfold him and punch Him. He was handed over to the Gentiles and though Pontius Pilate knew he was innocent, he condemned him to death to save his own life. And he had him scourged, and he had him humiliated. And then he had him crucified.
He walked through the streets of Jerusalem, carrying his own cross, bearing the approach of His own people. He was crucified. He was killed outside the city gates as a reject. And he died alone, crying out in his agony, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" The infinite dimensions of his suffering under the wrath of God can never be fully appraised. Make no mistake at all. Jesus's credentials of suffering are in good order. They are greater than yours or mine will ever be. And he has the right to speak to us in our pain. As it says in Hebrews 2:10, “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, through whom and for whom all things exist, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” It's an incredibly weighty expression. Jesus has been made perfect through suffering, a perfect high priest.
IV. Lesson #4: God Will Freely Explain Everything in Heaven
Fourthly, God will freely explain everything to us in heaven. Though God, as I've already said, does not owe any of us an explanation, yet, as his children, he will draw us into his counsel; draw us into his mind and in his purposes. And in heaven, that process of drawing us in will be perfected. Whenever anyone suffers in this world, they always ask the why question, right? Why did you let my loved one die? Why did you take my possessions from me? Why didn't you heal me of my disease or my sickness, my sorrow? Why? We cannot imagine as believers in the God of the Bible, that God has no answer to any of that. Imagine getting to heaven and you ask him the pointed question, why? And he’ll say, “I actually have no reason for that, I'm so sorry. But I'm so glad you're here now. Enjoy. It's a beautiful place. Why don't we just forget all that?” Can you imagine that? The irrationality of God, doing things for no reason at all? It's impossible. The insanity of God. No, no. He's not insane. He's perfectly sane. As he says, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. He's a very reasonable God. And he has his reasons. Now you would say, pastor, how do you know that he will explain everything to us? I just know. Well, no, I try to go from scripture and I've already tipped my hand. The whole direction of our salvation is being brought near to God. And that includes being drawn into the mind and the purposes and the intentions of God. His way of thinking, what he's doing in the world that cannot be perfected here on earth, but it will be perfected through our heavenly education.
Jesus said in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead I've called you friends because everything I've heard from the Father I've made known to you.” Friends, that's not going to be happening completely here in this world. He doesn't tell us everything. He can't. But in heaven, I believe he will. Or again, this is very powerful and provocative. Genesis 18:17, God, before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah deliberated within himself, not even out loud, but just within himself, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I'm about to do?” Abraham was called in another place, the friend of God. Abraham didn't know anything about that internal deliberation. God revealed it later to Moses when he wrote the book of Genesis. God's in the business of opening up his mind and his purposes and his intentions to his people. I just believe that's going to be perfected in heaven. William Cooper and his beautiful hymn, “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”, put it this way: “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform, he plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.” A few stanzas later, “Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan his work in vain. God is his own interpreter and he will make it plain.” I think that's true. It's not scripture, but I think it's true. The question is, when? When will he make it plain? Is he going to explain it to you here on earth? Mostly not. Do you know, we know more about the heavenly dimensions of Job's suffering than he knew while he was going through it? By reading Job one and two, we understand Satan and all he was doing. Job didn't know any of that. But friends, do you think we know more now the dimension of Job's sufferings, then Job knows now? What do you think? No. I think the education unfolds and continues forever in heaven.
Now we're going to transition to a time of the Lord's Supper. I'll close this time in the sermon in prayer, and then we'll prepare our hearts for the Lord's Supper. Father I thank you for the time that we've had in studying your word. Thank you for the depths of these lessons. We thank you for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the full forgiveness of sins available. We thank you that though you bring us through many dangers, toils and snares, Lord you're with us, and there's a purpose behind all of them. Lord, teach us not to revile you or insult you or vent against you, but instead to draw near you and to put our head on your chest as John did, and to weep before you, and to pour out our grief, and to ask you to help us and to understand your purposes. Lord teach us to draw near. And as we turn now to the time of the Lord Supper, we pray that you would send forth your Spirit to help us enjoy and benefit from it. In Jesus’ name, amen.