Sermon Series: Going Through Adversity
Book of Job
Sermon # 5
STAY WITH GOD IN SPITE OF CRITICISM
Introduction: Look at your neighbor and say, “Get off my back”!
There is a piece on criticism: You Cannot Please Your Critics.
An old man was traveling with his young grandson, riding his donkey. When they passed through a country village, the onlookers grumbled, “Look at that old man walking while that strong young boy is capable of walking.” The criticism cut deeply into the heart of the grandfather, so he changed positions and started riding the donkey while the boy walked. But within minutes other people started mumbling, “Look at that! A healthy man riding the donkey and making that poor little boy walk!”
So, the old man changed positions again. This time both he and the boy rode on the donkey. But the critics howled, “Look at those heavy brutes making that poor donkey suffer.” So, the old man and his grandson jumped down and started walking. No one will criticize us for this, the old man thought to himself. But he underestimated the critical nature of people. Soon he heard the people say, “Would you look at that. A perfectly good donkey not being used.” So to stop all criticism, the old man carried both the donkey and the boy.
No matter what we do, someone is likely to criticize us. Regardless, of how carefully we conduct ourselves, we cannot please all the people all the time. The key to enduring unwarranted criticism is how we respond to it. Like the old man in this story, if we listen to our critics without discernment, we will surely end up carrying a heavy load. A person must know how to deal with criticism when it comes his way. That’s where Job was. No matter what he did, his friends rode him hard. It was not easy for him to know how to respond to their criticism.
Who do you call on when you face a physical crisis in life? Who do you call on when criticism is overwhelming? Who do you trust to help you? Your physician, spouse (husband or wife), parent, child, relative, neighbor, friend, or pastor? When Job faced his crises of criticism from his friends, he would continue to STAY WITH GOD IN SPITE OF CRITICISM.
(Job rejects Zophar’s accusations by reaffirming his innocence and the mysterious dealings of God with mankind.)
A. I am unimpressed with my friends v. 1-2
1. You really know everything, don’t you?
2. When you die wisdom will die with you
B. I am equal to my friends v. 3
1. They acted as if they were wiser
2. They acted as if they were superior
C. I am mocked by my friends and by others v. 4-5
1. He called on God & God had answered him
2. He was just & blameless yet he was still being mocked
3. Yet, his friends seized the opportunity to criticize him
D. I am surpassed by my friends v. 6
1. People at ease often do not suffer, but mock trouble
2. Robbers often prosper rather than suffer
3. Sinners & idolators who provoke God often feel secure
Matthew 5:45b, “God make his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and He sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
(Job scolds his friends that even the animals know that evil sometimes overcomes good.)
A. Inquire of the animal kingdom v. 7-8
Job sarcastically instructed Zophar by saying, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you.” Since Zophar compared Job to a wild donkey (cp. Job 11:12), Job struck back by telling Zophar that he had much knowledge and instruction to gain from the animals and the birds. Specifically, Job’s friends would learn that the righteous often suffer and the wicked do succeed, contrary to what they had said.
1. Nature itself proves that calamities are not always due to misbehavior (sin)
a. Consider animals & birds
b. Consider the earth & the fish of the sea
B. Learn of the heavenly kingdom v. 9-10
1. Consider that all creatures recognize God’s hand in natural disasters
2. God’s power over life proves that a person ‘s destiny is in God’s hand
C. Inquire of the aged men v. 11-12
1. Job’s friends did not use their ears to verify the truth of the words
2. Job’ friends had failed to grow wiser as they grew old.
(Job acknowledges God’s supreme rule over both rulers and nations.)
A. God is over all things v. 13-15
B. God is over all people v. 16-25
God’s Word teaches that He has chosen the weak and despised things of the earth to shame the strong and the wise (1 Cor. 1:26-29). He confounds the wisdom of the wise and tears down the strength of the strong. Indeed, God’s ways are unsearchable, unknowable----they cannot be fully grasped. Job did not know why he was suffering, but he understood that God knew. God ruled the world and possessed all wisdom and power (v. 13-25). Therefore, Job knew God had some purpose for his suffering in mind. Job’s way was not God’s way, and he did not understand. Nevertheless, he chose to stay with God in spite of criticism.
When we criticized, we should remember Job’s example. Our way (choosing not to suffer) may not be God’s way. Nevertheless, he chose to still trust and call upon God---just as he always done.
STAY WITH GOD IN SPITE OF CRITICISM!
Responsive Reading: Job 12;13-25