HOPE IN DISCOURAGING TIMES
September 5, 2021
Sermon Series: Going Through Adversity
Book of Job
Sermon # 3
HOPE IN DISCOURAGING TIMES
Illustration: The Devil’s Garage Sale
Introduction: One day the devil decided to have a garage sale. Taking his finest tools of destruction----hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit, lust, lying, pride----he priced each one according to its value and placed them on the driveway. But the most worn tool was set apart from the other instruments. A curious customer picked up this worn - out tool, looked it over, and noted that it carried the highest price. He asked, “Why is this tool higher than the others?”
The devil laughed, “That’s the tool called ‘discouragement.’ It is more powerful than any other tool I have. When I use this tool on a person’s heart, I can pry it open and then use all of my other tools. It is my most strategic tool and, therefore, comes at a higher price.”
Although this is only a fictitious story, there is much truth in this parable. When Satan pries open a person’s heart to sow discouragement, that person becomes an easy prey for all the devil’s other instruments. What exactly is discouragement? It is the emotional state of being deprived of hope. It is being dejected, disheartened, and deflated to such an extent that one wants to give up on life. It is being despondent, despairing, and so dismayed that one loses all sense of rational perspective and sinks into an emotional black hole. This is exactly the direction in which Job was moving.
Although Job initially responded well to his trials (Job 1:20-22; 2:8-10), his friends had become the devil’s tool of discouragement to pry open Job’s heart. He would become easy prey for the devil’s other devices. What is the most cunning by Satan is that this discouragement would stay under Job’s spiritual radar, coming not from his enemies but from his friends.
In this lesson Job will answer the accusations of Eliphaz that are found in Job chapter five. His response is found in Job 6-7. Remember Eliphaz has told Job that he does not suffer for no reason. Eliphaz believes that Job has sinned and that is the reason that he is now suffering.
Don’t throw in the towel!
Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel? Do you know what it means to throw in the towel? It means to quit or to give up. Have you ever felt like your situation was so hopeless that the only thing you could possibly do was quit and never look back?
In Job’s hopeless condition, there are two things he asks of his friends:
DON’T DISREGARD MY CALAMITY
· Eliphaz didn’t like the way that Job lamented after his pain
· Eliphaz obviously thought Job’s words were unwarranted and uncalled for.
· Job’s consuming, agonizing ordeal: He appeals for understanding and sympathy.
“But Job answered and said” v. 1.
A. He felt the heavy weight of his misery.
1. His misery outweighed all the sands of the sea.
2. His misery was the reason for complaining (Job 3:1-26).
3. His misery made him feel God was against him: that God had shot poison arrows at him.
4. His misery gave him the right to cry out just as a starving donkey or ox does.
5. His misery was like tasteless, unsalted food & the white of an egg: that was to be rejected and complained over.
All Job is asking was that before they rebuke him for crying, they must first see why he is crying and have a little pity.
· Do you want to eat bland food if it doesn’t have salt? (No)
· Do you enjoy just eating egg whites? (No)
· If you do have to eat it, I believe it comes with a little groaning.
Well, that is job’s point.
Do you expect me to suffer so immensely and just sit here and take it without groaning?
· Do you expect a person to lose all he has and not weep?
· Do you expect a person to bury his children and not mourn?
· Do you expect a person to be in physical pain and not groan?
Job denies Eliphaz’s charges of wrong doing, contending that his pain gives him a right to moan as he does.
So, Job’s request is simply that they wouldn’t disregard his calamity.
His second request is:
DON’T DEPRIVE ME OF CONSOLATION
(Job believes he has not denied God’s Word.)
A. V. 8-9, Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for. What was his desire? He had wanted to die in order to escape suffering. An early death would release him from this ordeal.
B. V. 10-11, Job’s one consolation was that he had not denied the words of the Holy One. Unlike his wife, he knew he had remained true to God. Job had not cursed God or rejected his words, which, in essence, would have been a denial of the Lord.
Do you know why Job could look favorably at death?
Because he knew he was pleasing God.
He knew that death would be better than life for him.
That was the ONLY consolation and hope he had at the moment.
Eliphaz tried to convince him that
*He wasn’t righteous,
That God wasn’t pleased
Therefore, Job wouldn’t even be able to look forward to death.
Despite all Job had endured, his one consolation
Was that some day death would bring relief?
C. V. 11-13, What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure?” “Is my strength the strength of stones, Or, is my flesh bronze?” Is it that my help is not within me, And that deliverance is driven from me?”
Job friends wanted him to “suck it up” under adversity.
They wanted him to quit groaning.
And Job basically says, “Who do you think I am?”
· Do you think I’m made of stone?
· Do you think I’m made of bronze?
No, I’m suffering and I have no help nor deliverance, but you just want me to stand here and take it without so much as a whimper.”
His friends’ expectation was clearly unreasonable, and Job requests that they show him at least an ounce of understanding.
Brothers and Sisters before you go rebuking a person’s manner of grief.
You ought to at least take careful inventory of their situation,
But they do hope to have your sympathy.
How to Deal with Rejection:
1. Rest in God’s Greatness (Isaiah 40:28).
2. Rest in God’s Goodness (Mark 10:18).
3. Rest in God’s Grace (2 Cor. 12:9).
Responsive Reading: Job 6:1-13