Sermon Title: “What to do when things go wrong”(Click Here to watch Sermon)
Scripture Reading: Job 3:23-26
Pastor Richard Brown
Job faced incredible trouble and calamities in his life. No matter how saved you are, pious, religious, at some point in your life, you will deal with unexplained tragedy, unjustified struggles and irrational pain. The book of Job is one of the oldest books of the Bible – it causes us to wrestle with the oldest theological question – why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? The narrative of Job reveals to us that there is no level of immunity that exempts you from hard times – everyone under the sound of Pastor Brown’s voice knows the reality of hard times.
We aren’t going to go through this life without trouble, hardship, pain getting our heart broken once or twice. Sometimes life hurts and it is unfair. There are just some things that happen to us just because we are alive. Simply because there is breath in our lungs – sometimes in our lives we experience worst case scenarios – the worst possible things that happen happen. Like you missed your wake up call, missed your shower, missed the bus, you are now standing in the rain, a bus splashes you with muddy water, you finally get to your destination but in your hurry because you’re late you realize you left the document you need. Life has a way of throwing things at us that aren’t fair; things we didn’t bargain for, things we didn’t deserve. Sometimes we are hit by things that are real nasty, ugly stuff. Some of us have experienced real tragedies like losing a friend, loved one, spouse or a child. Some of us have gone through divorce and have become disabled in an accident. Understand that we aren’t alone.
In Job’s mind, the worst thing that could happen happened. The thing he feared greatly happened to him. When things were going his way he was always afraid this very thing would take place. What he faced in his life was his worst case scenario. What he endured was deplorable and horrific but what he learned was priceless. We all have worst case scenarios in our minds. And you enter into a valley of affliction and when this happens you need to know what to do right when things go wrong.
The Bible reveals that Job lived a godly life and lived a graced life. He was living in shalom, but yet the Bible says he loses everything. A godly, good, graced life is not a hedge against trouble. We are not entitled to blessings though we live upright and missing the burdens. Many are the afflictions of the righteous. The old folk used to say that it is a hard road to travel and a mighty long way to go. In the text before us, Job is facing his worst case scenario. Calamity touches his fortune. He hears of the theft and the destruction of everything he has worked his whole life to accumulate. The perch, the top and pinnacle of success he worked for he loses and he finds himself broken and battered.
Calamity touches his family. The most devastating news of all. He was told all of his ten children were dead, having been killed at one time when the house they were in collapsed upon them. And Job’s own wife then encourages him to curse God then die – barach Elohim – curse God – some scholars say that she instructs him to bless God and die – give God thanks because it is over. She has just lost her ten children, she’s seen the family fortune disappear and at this point in the narrative her husband has a nasty disease. Job tells her that she is talking foolishly. The word foolish carries the same understanding as the fool that is spoken of in Psalm 13 and Psalm 53 where the psalmist says that the fool said in his heart that there is no God. Job is accusing his wife of having an atheistic mindset. Trouble can hit you so hard that an atheistic mindset and a foolish mindset will try to convince you that there can be no God allowing you to go through what you are going through. How can he love you and watch you face your worst case scenario? She is looking at the calamities and saying there must not be a God.
Calamity also hits his fitness. He is able to overcome overwhelming loss without compromising but here comes Satan – who wants to see Job annihilated. Satan now accuses him of only serving God only because he still has his health. So God allows Satan to afflict Job with every manner of sores. Job breaks pottery and he scratches the sores to get some kind of relief.
Calamity then hits his friendships. These friendenemies are not able to endure the mystery of his suffering. So they jump to conclusions. Anyone have friends like that? Hard times come your way and they jump to conclusions about the reason they are facing calamities.
The first of the three friends Eliphaz acknowledges Job has been a role model to others but then he turns and blames Job for his suffering. In Job 4 he says, “who is innocent that has perished?” Or where have the upright perished? He is saying if God has rejected you there must be sin – evil in your life for you to be going through this. Then comes the second friend Bildad in chapter 8 saying, “see God will never reject a blameless person nor take the hand of evil doers.” Then Zophar in chapter 11 saying, “if inquity is in your hand, put it away.” He is telling Job to repent.
There is this understanding that God sends calamities on wicked people only; it is called the theology of divine retribution and it assumes that God blesses those who are faithful to Him and punishes those who sin. If there is some merit to this, it is clear this isn’t the case with Job. God Himself declares at the beginning of Job that Job is a righteous man – not a good man, godly man or graceous, but that he is a righteous man – right before God and man. Yet Job is in an unbelievable crisis. Job finds himself in this. What do I do right when everything has gone wrong? But look at this. The Bible says that God started it. God started all of this. Job is completely oblivious to the events that are taking place in the spirit world. Some of us are oblivious to conversations that are happening in the spirit. God is listening to Satan attack the servant of the Lord and Satan appears to be holding all the cards; he unleashes the fury of hell upon Job. Yet through every part of this God is in total control. God exercises His sovereignty. But how can we have a problem with the Potter? God was in control all the time, God was the initiator, Satan did not speak until he was first spoken to by God. God is the One who initiated this entire episode. God was the initiator, instigator and the inhibitor. God gives Satan permission to attack Job and He sets the limits of how far the devil can go. God is in control of the entire situation.
No matter what you are going through, many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers them out of them all. He knows when to deliver the godly, and He knows when to rescue. Our duty in the valley is to know what to do right when things go wrong. God brings Job up about how spiritual and special Job was and He establishes the ground rules of the calamity from the beginning until the end. The entire affair is under God’s control from the beginning to the end. We can’t understand why God would allow it but we must have faith that God is in control. So what do you do when life hits you all at once and you are overwhelmed? Understand that God is our divine architect. He knows why He made you and how much weight the building can bear. We can bear anything He’s allowed. Nothing can happen outside of your capacity to bear it. He controls the timing of our trials. He controls the duration of our disruptions. He controls the extent of our disruptions. Everything He allows in our lives is for our good. Romans 8:28. Paul doesn’t say all things feel good or are good but that all things work for the good – the bad things, the evil things, the unjustified things – they all work for the good of them that have faith, unshakeable and unswerving faith. So what do you do right when things go wrong? Job is in an unbelievable crisis. God is the instigator so there are some unchangeable circumstances. Someone today is facing an unbelievable crisis. But what do you do right when things go wrong?
Job is in it with unfazed faith – he has faith that cannot die that can conquer anything. He has a faith that can overcome the worst case scenario. In the aftermath of the devastation in the destruction and death, Job still had a testimony for the Lord that served to glorify God. More than what Job did before, he worships God. Look at his unphased commitment. Look at Job’s reaction. Faith reacts. If you have faith it reacts. Job shaved his head and tore his garments – these are signs of mourning, surely his heart is broken, understandable that he shaved his head and tore his garments. The next thing Job did is what takes us by surprise. We are surprised that Job worshipped. Don’t let any calamity or anyone take your praise away. In that moment when his world came crashing down, crumbled at his feet, Job turned away from his problems, pain and dead children and he looks into the face of God and he worship through his pain, calamity, misfortune, through his family dying and his wife giving him crazy advice, through his sickness and before all of his frenemies.
You cannot attach your faith to the outcome, it must be attached to the income. The unceasing supply of strength that God supplies in the time of trouble. In the time of trouble He shall hide me – David didn’t say He’d take away the trouble, but that He’d hide him. We have to have a reaction and a response. When Job speaks he doesn’t attack God. Be careful about what you are going through and how you talk about it. He offers praise to the Lord for the blessings that he has enjoyed, he commends God. Job says “naked I came into this world and naked I will leave”. Job says, “the Lord has given and has taken, blessed be the name of the Lord”. He had a faith that if God gave it, then He can take it away and vice versa. We say all the time every Sunday we have because we give and we give because we have. It’s a reality – the same God that has taken away has the ability to restore. That’s why we got to worship God because He knows what He is doing. Whatever He allows in your life is for your glory and for your good.
We see Job’s realization. We have to react, respond and realize. Job understands that everything that he ever owned came from God. He realizes that he was blessed to have any of it. He realizes that God found him trustworthy so much so that God initiated, instigated and inhibited. Doubtless there were many other people alive; Job wasn’t the only righteous, good, godly, graceous man – Job realized God saw him worthy to go through what he was doing. The God in heaven isn’t just requiring you to have faith in Him but God has faith in who He designed you to be, He has faith that after you have been tried you will come out as pure gold. There is no time for us to be taken through the 40 chapters of Job to see the lessons that God brought Job through. The book of Job is a beautiful book. It speaks to us about what to do right when things go wrong. Don’t lose your faith. Don’t lose your confidence. It has great recompense of reward. There will be glory after this. There will be a performance. Job received everything and more. Everything taken from him was restored to him and doubled. God wants to restore you but you have to know what to do right. You don’t have permission to talk crazy. You have permission to bless the Lord. to worship God. The same God that initiated, instigated, will inhibit. He will tell the devil no further. After he has tried me I will come out as gold. Though worms destroy this body, yet I will see God. Job had an unshakable, unfazed faith in God. You may be in an unbelievable crisis but you have to go through it with unfazed commitment.