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Joy Will Come in the Morning

September 20, 2020 Speaker: Kit Johnson Series: Job

Topic: Expository Passage: Job 42

 

Introduction

We’ve reached the end of our journey through Job. I’ll never forget this series, because it mirrors such a strange time in our country, our community, and our church. I wrote the first sermon from my bedroom, and I preached the few first sermons looking into a camera with only 5 other people in the room. Of course, you watched from your living room. I preached several of these sermons 3xs, and I’ve preached the last few sermons outside. So, Job has gone with us everywhere.

At least for me, Job has been a steady anchor through COVID, but also the social unrest, political turmoil, and everything else that has gone on in 2020. This is because we’ve struggled with Job through some of the hardest questions man has ever asked. We’ve  also seen the glory, wisdom, and compassion of God. And we’ve seen how to process it all by humbling submitting to the authority and perfect wisdom of the Lord. I trust that God has used his Word to encourage and challenge you in many ways. Rather than dwelling on all that has been bad this year, let’s remember how we’ve seen God’s sustaining grace.

Today, we come to the end of our study with Job 42. There are two major features of this chapter. First, Job offers a very important confession. He acknowledges the wisdom of God and the foolishness of men. Second, God declares his approval of Job. It’s a wonderfully encouraging chapter of Scripture and a perfect conclusion to the book. I’d like to divide our study this morning into 2 challenges. First…

I.  Walk humbly before the Lord (vv. 1–6).

It’s hard to overstate how significant Job’s confession is to the message of Job. I said in my first sermon, “Job is not fundamentally about human suffering (which is what we often think)…Rather Job is an exploration of the infinite wisdom of God and his incomprehensible ways.” Job and his friends have been on a quest to understand why God does what he does. They think human wisdom and logic is sufficient to comprehend God.

Then God shows up in Job 38–41. He doesn’t explain why he allows human suffering; rather, he uses a series of illustrations from creation and some pointed and sarcastic questions to assert that he alone is infinitely powerful and wise, while we are very small, very weak, and very limited in our understanding. Very simply, God is big, and we are small.

Now Job responds in 42:1–6. He sets an important example of how all of us should respond God’s speech and to the story of Job. Specifically, Job humbly acknowledges that…

God alone is sovereign, wise, and glorious. Job begins by humbly confessing God’s sovereignty in v. 2. This is a beautiful statement of a foundational doctrine. First, there is nothing that God cannot do. His power is limitless. We call this omnipotence.

On the flip side, “No purpose of Yours can be withheld from you.” God has no rivals. Nothing in the universe from Satan to the smallest particle resists God’s sovereign might. God always accomplishes whatever he determines to do. But why is God’s sovereignty important to the story of Job?

First, it confronts our desire to control our destiny. We all desperately want to control how life turns out. That’s why Job’s friends have argued so vehemently for retribution theology. They refuse to believe that they could do everything right and still have life turn out in shambles. But God has made it very clear that we are not in control. God is.

Second, and more importantly, by Job is admitting that he was wrong to demand answers from God. Earlier in the book, Job set himself up as judge and jury over God. He demanded that God explain himself, but now he is admitting that he has no right to demand anything from God.

Again, God is the potter, and I am the clay. Therefore, he has the authority and the right to do with me whatever he determines is best. As much as we naturally resist this truth, surrendering to it is foundational to your ability spiritual rest. We only enjoy rest when God is big, and I am small.

Then in v. 3, Job acknowledges God’s unique wisdom. He begins by quoting God’s indictment of 38:2. God accused Job of “hiding counsel without knowledge.” Job agrees with God. “Therefore, I…” Job admits that God’s wisdom is infinitely greater than his own. Therefore, his efforts to explain God’s ways only brought darkness, not light.

It’s worth saying one more time. God’s mind is so far beyond ours. He perfectly knows everything there is to know, and he is able to take all of that knowledge and perfectly apply it to a wise and good purpose. It will blow your mind, if you try to comprehend God’s mind.

Therefore, rather than attempting to understand God’s infinite ways, we must focus our energy on learning to rest in them. I don’t have to understand it all, because God does, and his purpose is always perfect.

The 3rd attribute that Job acknowledges is God’s infinite glory. I love the confession of v. 5. Job was obviously well studied in the doctrine of God before this story began. He had “heard” all that there was to hear. But then God showed up in the whirlwind, so Job adds, “Now my eye sees You.” It’s Job’s way of saying, “Yeah, I thought I appreciated God’s glory, but the sight of even a fraction of his majesty blew me away.

I believe it will be the same for us, when we see the Lord. I find it fascinating that Revelation describes the saints around the throne watching as God pours out his wrath on the world. But they don’t feel any of the conflict we feel when we see suffering. Instead, because they see God for who he is, they worship him for executing justice. Right now, we struggle with God’s ways, but when we see him and appreciate the weight of his glory, everything will make sense. So, Job confesses that God alone is sovereign, wise, and glorious. Notice as well that he sets an important example of the fact that we must…

Embrace the role of a student. Notice Job’s final words in v. 6. These are strong words. Job says, “I abhor myself.” And the Hebrew word translated repent speaks of a radical reversal of course.

Specifically, Job has been focused ever since chapter 3 on demanding that God vindicate for his righteous life. But now he reverses course. Instead, of pushing his will on God, he confesses that God is the potter, and he is the clay. He submits to God’s will, whatever it may be.

This attitude is especially clear in v. 4. Job is clearly quoting God so you could move, “You said” to the beginning. The point is, “God said, ‘Listen…’” And Job is saying, “I am ready listen.” Instead of pretending to be the teacher and pushing his will on God, he embraces the role of a student and a servant.

Again, this is essential to casting your cares on the Lord. So often, we pray about our cares, but we refuse to be content unless God gives us what we want. We still think we know what’s best, and we’re not submitted to God’s will. We still want to be the teacher, and we enjoy no peace or rest.

We need to embrace the humble spirit of Job and say, “God is the Lord, not me. His purpose is what matters, not mine. He knows what’s best; I don’t. Therefore, you are the potter, and I am the clay. I will embrace whatever you have for me, even if it’s incredibly hard.” Embrace the role of a student.

Then, the book ends in vv. 7–17 with God’s evaluation of Job’s friends and of Job himself. The central lesson of this section is…

II.  Wait on the Lord’s reward (vv. 7–17).

You probably noticed that God has a very different response to Job’s friends than he has to Job. The primary lesson of vv. 7–9 is…

Carefully represent the Lord (vv. 7–9). God’s differing evaluations of Job and his friends is obvious even before he gets to Job. 4xs in vv. 7–8, God refers to Job as “My servant.” He is very clear about his acceptance of Job, but God says to the friends, “My wrath is aroused against you.” Considering God’s display in the whirlwind, that’s not something you want to hear.

Then God requires a hefty sacrifice to atone for their sin—7 bulls and 7 rams. Only the wealthiest of people could afford such a sacrifice. And God humiliates the friends even more by requiring them to have Job offer their sacrifices for them and pray for their forgiveness.

Talk about eating some humble pie. These guys had taken 8 turns accusing Job of all sorts of evil. They blamed him for his children’s deaths. And by the end, they had grown very harsh and nasty. Now God makes Job their mediator between himself and his grace. It’s quite a statement.

But all of this raises the question of why is God so angry at them, and what is so different about these men’s sins in contrast to Job’s? Afterall, Job has had his own failures. Twice God says the reason is, “You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” I wish God would have expanded just a little more.

But the point seems to be that while Job didn’t always get it right, Job’s friends went far beyond Job in how they misrepresented God. Job never let go of his belief that God is sovereign and that God would ultimately do what was right. As a result, Job said some incredible things in the darkest of times about his confidence that God would redeem him and that he would live with God in heaven someday. His faith and integrity held fast.

But Job’s friends had seriously distorted God’s character. Their retribution theology compromised God’s sovereignty, and it denied the infinite purposes of God. Furthermore, it exalted health and wealth as the greatest good we pursue. Therefore, God condemns them for incorrectly representing God.

There’s an important warning here that we need to be very careful about how we speak of God. Specifically, we need to stay carefully anchored to what the Bible says. If you ever hear someone begin a statement about God with, “I like to think…”, run the other way. It doesn’t matter what your pea-sized brain likes to think. What matters is what God said.

Therefore, all our conversations about theology must stay rooted in the clear statements of Scripture. I get so frustrated when debates about theology, becomes a battle of human logic and argumentation. Who cares what arguments you can make? Can you show me in the text? We need to be careful to humble ourselves before the Lord and stay anchored to his Word.

In sum, God finishes his words by affirming Job’s favor and by condemning Job’s friends. And then the narrator drives home God’s approval of Job by describing how God blessed him. The primary lesson for us is…

God is compassionate toward his people (vv. 10–17). Everything about these final 8 verses is intended to emphasize God’s approval of Job and his magnificent blessing.

First, God restored Job’s fortune. Verse 10 says that God gave Job twice the wealth he enjoyed prior to everything that happened. Verse 12 gives the details. Everything here is exactly twice of what Job previously enjoyed.

God blessed Job with 14,000 sheep. That’s a massive herd, even by modern standards. God gave Job 6,000 camels in order to rebuild his huge trading company. God gave him 1,000 yokes of oxen to plow the soil and plant crops. And God gave Job 1,000 female donkeys to carry all of his supplies. It’s pretty incredible to imagine. God didn’t leave any doubt about his approval.

Second, God restored Job’s fame. On the one hand, v. 11 is sickening. When Job’s wealth returns, so do his family and friends. Suddenly they all want to console him, and they even give him financial gifts. We’re thinking, “Where were you when he really needed you?”

But the narrator brings this up as another symbol of God’s blessing. Job 1:3 described Job as “the greatest of all the people of the East.” Later Job laments how he used to be a respected elder and voice of wisdom. But now, God graciously returns it all.

Third, God restored Job’s family. Verse 13 says that God blessed Job and Mrs. Job with 7 sons and 3 daughters. Notice that God did not give Job double the children. That’s probably because the first 10 were still his. They were just with the Lord. Regardless, it’s another symbol of God’s restoration.

Then v. 14 adds an interesting detail. It names Job’s 3 daughters, and highlights their beauty and Job’s favor toward them. It’s not entirely clear why the narrator includes these details and doesn’t name the sons. But it is clear that Job loved Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch; therefore, he took the unusual step of giving them an inheritance alongside their brothers. It’s another indication of Job’s unusual love and of God’s special blessing. God gave Job a lovely family that brought him great joy.

Fourth, God restored Job’s health. We can assume that God healed Job of his boils, because vv. 16–17 conclude the book by saying that Job lived 140 more years. This is double the 70 years that are mentioned in Psalm 90:10. Not only that, he enjoyed the blessing of watching his children and grandchildren mature. So, the book ends by highlighting the incredible blessings Job enjoyed for 140 years before his death.

So, God restored every blessing the narrator highlighted in Job 1, except for one. (Turn) The first quality the narrator highlights in Job 1:1 is that Job was “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.” God didn’t have to restore Job’s integrity, because he never lost it. It was the one thing Satan could not take, no matter how he tried and failed.

Notice again, Job’s reply when Satan took his wealth and his children (1:20–22). Again notice his response when Satan attacked his body (2:9–10). These are incredible words of faith and resolve. Sure, Job had some low moments, but God’s grace carried him through, and in the end, God was faithful and restored everything Satan had taken. God won. Satan lost. And Job was vindicated.

Now, we do need to ask what exactly God is communicating through restoring all of Job’s wealth? This is because some liberal commentators claim that 42:10 –17 couldn’t have been a part of the original story, because they undue the argument of the book. They claim that God spent 41 chapters shredding retribution theology and the prosperity gospel, only to promise wealth in the end. So, does the conclusion undo all that Job has taught us?

Of course, the answer is no! This is because in retribution theology, God is contingent on man. He is obligated to react to us. We earn prosperity, and God must oblige by giving it to us.

But that’s not what is happening here. God doesn’t bless Job, because he is obligated to do; instead, he blesses Job, because God is full of grace and compassion. In other words, God is not a heartless, vending machine in the sky; he is a loving Father, who cares for his own.

(Psalm 30): In vv. 1–3, David describes how he had endured some awful experience, but he cried to the Lord, and God lifted him up. As a result, notice the conclusion in vv. 4–5. Verse 5 is such a beautiful statement about God’s nature, and it perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Job 42:10–17. Yes, God has anger, and he allows his children to endure dark and difficult times. But all of these things are “for a moment.” But “Joy comes in the morning,” and “His favor is for life.” God’s grace far outshines his wrath.

Therefore, Job 42:10–17 plays a vital role in the message of Job. Yes, God’s purpose for us often includes deep valleys, sorrow, and pain. Normally, we don’t understand why or what God is doing. Oftentimes, it feels cruel and unjust. But God is wise and sovereign, so by faith I embrace it and hold fast to my integrity.

And I do so knowing that, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Because God is full of grace and kindness, he will not leave us in misery and agony forever. He is near to his children. And just as he cares for a mountain goat in the remotest wilderness, he will care for us.

It’s true that he may not bless you in this life the way he blessed Job, but Hebrews 6:10 states, “For God isnot unjust to forget your work and laborof love which you have shown toward His name.” God will be faithful in eternity to bless you beyond your wildest imagination. It will be worth it all!

Therefore, if anyone here is hesitant to repent of your sin and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, do not fear Christ’s lordship. He is a good master, because he is a loving Father. He proved that in sending Christ to die in our place. So, come to him today and be saved.

And if you are saved, surrender to the potter each day. “Hold fast to your integrity,” because as Job said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity” (Job 2:10)?

And then wait on the Lord. The conclusion of Job declares, that God will not abandon me to the valley. He will come with his reward. “Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

More in Job

September 13, 2020

God Is God and I Am Not

September 6, 2020

God’s Dominion over Animals

August 16, 2020

God Is Big and I Am Small