Without God

August 31st, 2021

Job 42:1-6

Have you ever met or been around someone who knows everything? I don’t mean someone who is intelligent and has a high I.Q. I mean someone who thinks they know everything, someone whose confidence has grown beyond their own ability. We often use the old phrase “They are too big for their britches.”

In the midst of Job’s difficulties and the traumatic events that took place, he loses perspective, and over a period of time puts more confidence in himself and his own abilities than perhaps he should have. In Job 29, we find Job speaking about himself in a very confident way. His three friends Zophar, Eliphaz, and Elihu had confronted him and suggested that he look inside and find those things that were wrong. Job responded in a way that implied arrogance. Job had become “too big for his britches,” so to speak. God had allowed the tragedies in Job’s life because of Job’s righteousness and God’s confidence in his trustworthiness. But now that righteousness and trustworthiness had grown into arrogance that God would not allow.

In chapters 38–41, God confronts Job and helps him come back down to earth by asking questions that cannot be answered by anyone. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Who determined its measurements?” On and on, God’s questions came. When the Lord finished his questions, Job had been shocked back into reality.

As we come to chapter 42, our chosen text for today, Job’s perspective has been adjusted. He now not only has a proper understanding of God, he also now understands more about himself and the limitations that we all have in common. Job says: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” For Job, it was a time of confession. Job lost so much in his life, but he found himself. Job was forced to take a hard look in the mirror and he came to three valuable conclusions about God and himself. In the first six verses of chapter 42, Job reveals those conclusions.

First of all, he concludes that God is incredibly wise and strong. God can do as God wishes—anytime, anywhere, with anyone. There is absolutely nothing we can hide from God, neither our actions nor thoughts. God knows all things. We are reminded of this valuable truth in John 4 where Jesus approaches a woman who knew all too well about rejection in life. She had been married five times and was now living with a man. When Jesus told her to call her husband, she said she was not married. It was at that point that Jesus confronted her present condition. She was astonished. Jesus knew everything about her. Jesus knows everything about us. Jesus is wise and strong.

As the same time that Job learned what he did about God, he also learned something about humankind. Whereas God is strong and wise, people are both weak and unlearned. We cannot do as much as we’d like to think we can. Job said in verse 3, “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” For the first time in a long time, maybe for the first time ever, Job saw humankind as we really are—helpless, defenseless, and hapless without God. Our knowledge is limited, our strength runs out, our patience wears thin, and our best falls short. We need something or someone to help us. We need someone to lift us up. God promises in his word that he would uphold us with his power. Jeremiah proclaimed that there is nothing too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17). Job’s response to this realization in his life was to hate himself, to repent with great remorse. We, too, need a hard look in the mirror and a deep look into God’s word. They both will reveal to us what Job learned: God is God and we are not.

In addition to acknowledging God’s strength and wisdom, Job also confessed that people are weak and unlearned. Surely we would come to the same conclusion. Without us, God is still everything, but without God, we are nothing. Noah, without God, would have simply been an old man. Moses would have been a young man in a foreign land miles away from home. Without God, the blind eyes of Bartamaeus could not have been opened, Lazarus would have remained dead, and the disciples would have never given up their professions. Without God, where would you be? Where would I be? Without God, we still would be in our sins, and we would have no hope of heaven. Praise the Lord, we will never have to face life or eternity without God. As Paul states in Romans 5:8 (KJV): “But God commendeth [or extended] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” that we may have the opportunity to know God in a personal way; that one day we might receive Christ and know his great love.

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