Have you ever found yourself saying something to someone and then realized that they already know it? Like a patient telling a doctor about some “medical fact” they read on the internet or when an atheist tries to lecture a Christian on what the bible really says. That’s what has just happened to Job. After Elihu gets done berating Job for going too far and reminding him of the God’s justice, God decides it’s His turn.
“Where were you?” Is the basic question God asks Job. With scathing sarcasm He humbles Job. It’s as if to say, “Remember Who you’re talking to!” There is nothing that you know as well as God knows. And what you do know is as nothing compared to God. His power, wisdom, and might are obvious in creation in so many ways. You should remember that when you are talking to or about God. Remember it and fear. Also, remember it and rejoice. Because this God, the one in the heavens who has done whatsoever He has pleased is also the God who has become your Father by giving His Son for you. Remember that when you’re talking to God or about God too.
“You Shall Not Commit Adultery.” What does this mean? “We should fear and love God that we live a pure and decent life in words and actions and that husband and wife love and honor one another.”
I’m sitting on my couch as I write this midst the calming, cheerful glow of Christmas lights. It’s one thing I’ve always loved about this time of year. I remember when I was little, my brothers and I would get up early on a winter morning and lie next to the baseboard heater in the living room soaking in the heat and basking in the glorious Christmas glow of the tree. But there’s such a thing as a time and place isn’t there? I mean if it were a hot August morning, I wouldn’t want to be cozy up next to a heater! And if the lights were on all year long, they wouldn’t be so special. That’s a little bit like sex and marriage.
Some people accuse Christians of being prudes about sex. I heard one character on a show once say something to this effect – “There are only two kinds of people in this world: people who like sex and people who are utterly creeped out by it.” She was referring to Christians with that last part. It’s a common idea: anyone that wants to impose any limitations on sex must be creeped out by sex. Satan has very successfully peddled the lie that using sex with anyone you want in any way you want is “freedom.”
When we follow what God says in His Word about sex, we don’t do so because we are creeped out by sex but because we value it as something special. We understand rightly how good it can be in the proper context and how bad it can be otherwise. God created sex for marriage. He blessed it when He gave man and woman to each other (Genesis 2). In fact, God did not render His final perfect “it is good” until He had created sex and marriage. In that context, it is a very special thing. Because marriage is a very special thing! In it, besides for sex, God provides companionship and comfort, the joy of children and grandchildren and so many other wonderful and unexpected blessings. I believe it is the most wonderful of all God’s physical gifts.
And that is why He protects it. For this great good can be used for great harm. Look around you at the results of the sexual revolution. Look at the broken families, the broken relationships, the pain and heartache which are a direct result of the ungodly way that the world (and our own sinful natures) treats sex. Can there really be any doubt that God got it right when He said it should be this way: “A man shall leave his Father and Mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
God demands that we treat his gifts of sex and marriage as He intended. He demands purity from us in thought, word, and action. Yes that means that He wants you to wait for marriage to have sex. Yes, that means homosexuality is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Yes, that means you shouldn’t watch porn or dirty movies or masturbate, it even means you shouldn’t have a lustful thought for someone you aren’t married to (Matthew 5:27-28). Does that seem like a lot to demand? Certainly it’s far more than you can are capable of keeping, and the same goes for me. It’s good then that we can pray confidently with David in Psalm 51, “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with Your free spirit.”
In the peace of the forgiveness of sins won for us at the blood-soaked cross of Calvary, may we be set free from slavery to worldly desires and serve the Lord with pure thoughts, words, and actions. Keep sex and marriage where they belong – keep them special.
Job 17 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job%2017&version=ESV Most people try not to think about death. They don’t understand it. They don’t know what to think of it. It frightens them. So they don’t think about it. But there are times when death breaks past the barriers and crashes into the mind. And when it does, men and women must grapple with it’s reality, with it’s imminence, and try to understand what it means. When they do, most people make one of two fundamental errors. They often make both!
The first is to think of death as rest without having Christ. People write “R.I.P” on tombstones and some even look forward to death as a way to rest from the troubles of life. But without Christ, without faith in God and in the forgiveness of sins that He brings through His Son, such hope is entirely vain. Because death is not nothing and it’s not a mystery. Death is not rest. Not for those who do not believe. It’s not the stage exit at the end of the play of life as Job’s poor excuses for counselors seem to think. “There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked” (Isaiah 57:21). Death is much worse for the unbeliever than anything in this life.
But there is rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). And that rest is not a “nothingness” either. It’s eternal joy and glory with the Father. Death is much better for the believer than anything in this life! And that’s the other major error that many make with regard to death. Many lament the death of people in this world and blame God for being cruel. And while death is something to lament because of the loss and hurt that it creates here, it is also something to celebrate when it is the death of a believer because of the joy that it brings to them and to God. “Precious in the eyes of the LORD is the death of His saints!” (Psalm 116:15). Job is longing for death still in chapter 17. Even more so perhaps now because of the continued abusive and foolish counsel of his friends. He knows that in death he will have rest, rest from the troubles of this world. Rest from the false accusations of his friends, rest in the eternal joyful presence of His God. That’s the truth about death. No rest for the wicked, eternal rest for those who have faith in Christ!
Job 11-13 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/…
The third of Job’s friends, Zophar, speaks up and Job isn’t very pleased with what he has to say either. It’s kind of the same as what the first two friends said: “You deserve this, you must have done something, in fact, you deserve worst.” Again, there is a sense in which that is true. For all of us, our sins justly deserve God’s temporal and eternal punishment. But Job’s friends have forgotten about faith. They have assumed that their wealth and ease are products of their own goodness rather than gifts from a merciful God. And they fail to see that the same is true about Job. His misfortunes are not the punishment for his sins anymore than their riches are the reward for their goodness. Rather, both are gifts of God’s mercy. God is trying Job, testing His faith and showing it to us so that we can see that even if He should slay us, we can trust Him.
Job believes that God is going to kill him. He knows that God has done this or at least has allowed this to happen. He doesn’t know why. He doesn’t understand what is going on. But he knows that God is not against him because of his sin, He knows He has loved him, forgiven him, and is with him. Job believes in God. Job’s friends do not, they believe in themselves: in their riches and in their works.
Don’t let good times deceive you into thinking that all is well with God. And don’t let hard times trick you into thinking that God hates you. There is only one way to be right with God – faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Then, we know that material blessings and suffering are both gifts from the hand of a loving God and though He may slay us, yet we can trust Him!
1 Corinthians 1:31, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
It’s not usually helpful to say “I told you so.” What good does that do someone who has just failed at something? It only rubs salt in the wound! But it can be very helpful to say “God told you so.” Whenever God is proved to be right, it is cause for great rejoicing for God’s Church! It reminds us that He is always faithful, always true.
That is the case when it comes to marriage. A colleague shared the article linked below with us pastors and I, like him, found it very encouraging. You’ve probably heard the claim before, “50 percent of marriages end in divorce.” You’ve probably heard people make comments about that like this, “Why should I even bother getting married? It fails half the time anyway.” We’ve known for a long time that those statistics (and excuses) were complete nonsense. Here’s proof. According to this expansive study, the divorce rate in society in general is about 30 percent. That’s a lot lower than 50. But far better than this is what the study reveals about the difference between the divorce rate among practicing Christians and society in general. Couples who regularly attend church have a divorce rate of only about 10 percent!
This is great news. And it isn’t really surprising. What it means is that those who follow God’s plan for marriage and sex, are far more likely to have successful marriages. Didn’t God tell you so? See, this is good news for the Church and for all. If you are in a marriage that is struggling and someone tells you that there’s a 50-50 chance yours will fail, that’s discouraging. If someone tells you that there is no difference in the divorce rate between practicing Christians and the rest, then you might feel like there is no point in going to church! If you are a young person contemplating how to proceed with your romantic relationship, then these lies about marriage might make you think there is no point, that it doesn’t work.
But as always, “let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). God’s always right. That means that marriage does work. It means that His plan for it is the best way. And it means more than that too. It means that everything He said is right. It means that He was telling the truth when He said that He died for our sins, rose from the grave and is coming again to take us home. It means He’s right when He says “Your sins are forgiven.” It means that there is strength and eternal comfort for those who are struggling in their marriages, those who have already suffered a divorce, and those who are doubting their faith. God was right. Didn’t he tell you so?