This week, we are turning to the Book of Job. It’s not an easy one. Not one we turn to all that often. It tends to be a part of Scripture of which we know only the Sunday-School-version. You know: The Devil came to God and said he could corrupt anyone, God said go ahead and try, the Devil took everything from Job – house, family, health – and told him to curse God, Job refused because he was a righteous man, eventually the Devil gave up and God restored everything Job had lost. And that’s not a horrible bare-bones telling of what happens in this dramatic poem. But it loses a lot of the nuance and ignores the beauty of the poetry found here.
Job changes – he begins the book as a self-righteous man. After he loses everything, three of his friends come to him and suggest it’s his own fault that all these terrible things are happening to him. He must have committed a terrible sin. But Job answers each saying that he has done nothing wrong.
Finally, a fourth friend, Elihu comes and reminds Job of God’s sovereignty and beauty (through looking at creation). Job remains silent. And some commentators agree that this is a sign of Job’s move towards humility and a sign that Job agrees with Elihu.
Then God speaks from a whirlwind. His speeches neither explain Job’s suffering, nor defend divine justice, nor enter into the courtroom confrontation that Job has demanded, nor respond to his oath of innocence. (His speeches neither explain Job’s suffering, nor defend divine justice, nor enter into the courtroom confrontation that Job has demanded, nor respond to his oath of innocence. ( Walton 2008, p. 339). In the end, Job acknowledges God’s sovereignty, his own inability to see the whole picture, and Job repents. Then God restores all that Job has lost.
And that’s the simplified version! But I believe that Elihu’s speech has something to say to us in these wilderness days. So let’s begin.
We start with Eric’s prelude, an arrangement of one of my favourite contemporary hymns, “In Christ Alone,” by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, arranged by Larry Shackley:
Our first hymn is #332 O Lord my God/How Great Thou Art:
Here is the sermon, “Remembering God in the wilderness,” including a reading of Job 36:24-37:24:
And here is the photo I shared as part of the sermon:
And our final hymn is #500 Glorify thy name:
Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep remembering who God is, look to nature to see His glory, and trust that He is with you in the midst of the wilderness.