(Summary Sunday Sermon on 15-Feb-15)
The God of AGAINS
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
2 “I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
6 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”
7 And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. 8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what isright, as My servant Job has.”
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job. 10 And the Lordrestored Job’s losses[a] when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold.
12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys.
God of restoration
We have been learning that despite every mess in our lives, our God is able to restore us. The first six verses of Job shows his humble response. He compares his former and present knowledge of God. The former comes from others, that is by the hearing of his ears. The present knowledge comes from seeing with His eyes.
Often, we hear from others – preachers, pastors and evangelists – about God. However, the situations and challenges of life help us see and understand God, His attributes and virtues.
Meanwhile, Job’s friends had come to meet him. For about seven days, they didn’t even say anything to Job. They saw his devastated life and wept. The richest man in East had become a nobody. After their brief period of silence, they started speaking. But instead of being encouraging, words of condemnation and contention spilled from their mouths. The Bible records Job’s disappointment at this. Job asks them, ‘Why do you persecute me like this?’ But God became angry with them. In Job 42, He instructs them to ask Job to offer sacrifices to God and pray on their behalf. Job was vulnerable before God. He showed the struggle of his faith before God and God was still pleased with him. He honored Job. He didn’t see anything wrong with Job. Honesty and vulnerability before God lead to restoration.
We may pretend and put on a show of our religiosity, but being honest and vulnerable is saying, ‘Yes, I don’t know what to do. I am struggling’. God honors such humility. The Bible says that God asked Job to forgive his friends and pray for their restoration. Do we forgive? Have we forgiven our friends, relatives, in-laws, neighbors and whoever else has hurt us? Have we prayed for those relations to be restored?
God the pursuer
Job 1 shows his practice of regularly giving offerings and sacrifices to God on behalf of his children. While he was in pain and turmoil, he was unable to continue this practice. Then in Chapter 42, God tells his friends to ask Job to offer sacrifices and pray on their behalf. Many a time, we think that we are running after God. But God is the one who pursues us. He comes and calls us to have an intimate relationship with him.
Sometimes, we wonder why can’t pray faster. We make attempts to wake early in the morning to pray but somehow we don’t wake up on time. But often, even though we go to bed late, the Spirit of God wakes us up every morning. David cries out in the Psalms, Morning by morning, he comes and wakes me up. We are all planners. We live in the times of internet booking and online ordering. But with God, we are unable to plan or call unto Him. It is important that we respond to God when He calls us to an intimate relationship.
Blessings of the latter days
Job 42:12 says that the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his former days. Whatever might have happened or is still happening in our lives, God promises that our latter days are going to be blessed more than the former days. In Order for that to happen, we need to stand in faith on the Word.
Faith in God doesn’t imply our outward religious actions. Sunday church attendance, tithing and offerings to God do not constitute faith. Faith happens when we worship the Redeemer who has caught hold of us in the midst of our painful situations. We trust that He shall open the door for us. There might be struggles, hurts and disappointments. Doors don’t seem to be opening. We may have sickness but we worship the Jehovah Rapha who is able to deliver us and break every bondage. That is faith in God.
Greater faith is when we say that whether or not God blesses us now or later, we will still say that Jesus is our Lord and Restorer. We worship the Lord knowing in our hearts that He is the Lord of heaven and earth and of our situation too.
We might have gone through hell but we must praise God because He is with us. Even though we I was caught in water, the water will not overtake us. Our God is able to bless our latter days. God is a god of restoration.
The first family
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Genesis 4:1, 2
The Bible says that Adam knew Eve and brought forth Cain and Abel. They were a Christian family. The parents would have taught the two boys about worshipping God, giving Him sacrifices and blessing His name. Accordingly, both the brothers offered sacrifices to God. God accepted Abel’s and rejected Cain’s. Cain’s face fell. He kills Abel. God inquires of him about his countenance. He tells Cain that if he did good, would he not be accepted? God is no respecter of person, but He respect testimony. He is impartial but He cares about our standing on the Word of God.
If God is impartial, then why do our lives sometime define certain things? God loves us so much that sometimes, He draws behind us and says, ‘Come on; Live out your life well’. If we do well, He will accept us. We don’t need money or position to be able to do well. It is the condition of our heart.
A murderer and a dead son
The first family has a murderer and a dead son now. God had told Satan and Eve that there would be an enmity between their seeds. She would carry the seed of Jesus inside her. Through her, the lineage of Jesus would come. Eve was the promise bearer. She had a destiny attached to her life. When we recognize the call and destiny attached to our lives, there will be attacks. But the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world.
Adam and Eve must have been filled with discouragement and pain. When we are in despair and hurt, we aren’t even able to relate with each other comfortably. When life is going fine, we might address our loved ones with endearments and patience. But when we are hurting, we lock ourselves away. We snap at people around us. The intimacy in the relationship gets affected. Even with Job and God, their intimacy was affected. God had to pursue Job and draw him back into an intimate relationship.
“Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
10 But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.
Job is in anguish. He doesn’t know where to turn to look for God. He can’t understand why there is so much of pain in his life. He knows that God is doing something, but He is unable to understand what it is.
During times of pain and hurt, even God seems far. But Job’s testimony was in his declaration that ‘even when I’m going through the fire, I shall come out like gold.’ He has kept watch over his life and taken care of the Word of God in his life. He protected himself. He didn’t disown or curse God, even when his wife told him to do that. He knew that His Redeemer lived.
We worship the God of restoration. No matter what our situation is, we can stand on the faith and protect ourselves by the Word. Our Redeemer lives. He shall restore us. Even before any restoration happens, we can trust that we will come out as pure gold. We might not feel like relating with anyone. But we worship a God who draws us to His intimacy. What a loving God He is. Every morning, He calls us. Our relationship with Him draws us back to restoration.
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.”
God blesses Eve again with another son. Our God is a God of ‘AGAIN’, of restoration. Even if we have lost much and nothing looks good, God says, ‘AGAIN I can rebuild you. Again, I can lift you up from the ashes and change your situation’.
All that is required of us is to stand on the Word of God. Our Redeemer lives. We know for sure that even when everything is destroyed, we will stand in the flesh and glorify God. As we take hold of the Word, our latter life can be much better than the former. Even if we cannot perceive what’s happening, let us choose to believe in God. It’s a decision of the heart.
We had been praying for a couple for almost 5 yrs. Last week, they told us that God had blessed them with something that hadn’t happened for the past many years. They were joyous. God restored to them.
Let us chisel our life so that we are standing strong in the Word. Let us consciously weed out everything that is not good in to our live. Let’s believe that God is a God of AGAIN. Our latter life can be much greater than our former.
A Christian should not pretend and perform. We should live out our life honestly. If there is a problem in our lives, we should acknowledge it. It’s easier for God to work in such a life than when it is covered up. When we are vulnerable and honest in God’s presence, it leads to restoration. It leads to an intimate relationship with God. When He calls us again and again, we must come back to Him.
Let us strive to develop our relationship with God. Let’s be drawn back into intimacy with Him. Let us do well in everything. Whatever has been given to us, let’s give back our best.
May our heart’s attitude be that even if we can’t perceive God around us, we will trust in the Lord. Though He slay us, we will trust Him