Job 10:8-17

Sermon preached on March 05, 2017 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

In our text we see Job questioning about why God created him. This is one of the most important questions that a person could ask. Why are you here on this earth? What is your purpose? What are you supposed to be doing? What is life all about?

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 Mikhael Gorbechev told a story about a young prince who came to power. He desired to rule the country well so he asked the wise men of his country to share the wisdom of the ages so that he could rule well. They went away for 10 years and returned with wagons loaded with books. The prince told them to summarize it so that it would be useful to him. Ten years later they returned with 10 huge volumes. The prince still thought it was too wieldy to be of any use so he the wise men to go back and shorten it. Ten years later they came back with one huge volume but the prince thought that was too much so he told them to sum up their wisdom in a few words. When they came back said to the prince,

"People are born. People suffer. People die."

Are we on this earth to suffer? Did God create us for that? Why did God create you? Did God create Job just to destroy him? That's the way that Job felt. Job compares himself to clay and God to a potter. Job is pointing out the futility of a potter making something and then destroying it. He feels like God is doing that to him. If a potter was incompetent or if he was just learning, you could understand that. If a potter was making a bowl and it turned out all lopsided you could understand if he would immediately throw it way and destroy it.

That's not the way that God worked when He created the world. When God finished His work of creation, He observed everything He had made, (Genesis 1:31)

"and it was very good."

But sin ruined God's creation. When Adam sinned everything changed. But even then God didn't destroy His creation. Instead He gave a great promise to Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3:15 God said to Satan,

"And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."

That first promise held out great hope for mankind. It pointed to the great Messiah, the seed of the woman who would come, defeat Satan and thwart his work.

There is still going to be a judgment on unrepentant sinners. God is going to judge the world. God has a right to deal justly with sinners. God has a right to punish sinners. God has a right to take their sin and rebellion and turn it so that He is glorified. That's what God did with Pharaoh. In Romans 9:17 we read,

"For the Scripture says to Pharaoh:
'I raised you up for this very purpose,
that I might display my power in you
and that my name might be
proclaimed in all the earth.' "

Then in Romans 9:21 Paul asks,

"Does not the potter have the right
to make out of the same lump of clay
some pottery for noble purposes
and some for common use?"

Yes, God has that right. As Paul wrote earlier in Romans 9:11–15,

"Yet, before the twins were born
or had done anything good or bad—
in order that God's purpose
in election might stand:
not by works but by him who calls—
she was told,
'The older will serve the younger.'
Just as it is written:
'Jacob I loved,
but Esau I hated.'
What then shall we say?
Is God unjust? Not at all!
For he says to Moses,
'I will have mercy
on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion
on whom I have compassion.' "

The great wonder is not the fact that a just God would punish some sinners, but the fact that He would have mercy on some. God promised that He would save sinners, that He would send a Messiah to die for their sins. In subsequent history God gave hope to people through many great and precious promises. It's in the context of those promises that Job complains. He is complaining, not as a general sinner, but as a friend, a follower of God.

God had already shown mercy to Job. And Job was faithful to God. It's in that context that Job is crying out to God. Job was asking God why God would destroy him when He had made him thus. He says that God's hands shaped him, that God molded him like clay. He goes on to say that God showed him kindness and watched over his spirit.

John E. Hartley writes, (The Book of Job, NICOT; p. 186)

"But whereas one would expect the potter to display his work proudly and to protect it carefully, God has made his vessel Job complete, and is now consuming… him."

The first chapter of Job shows that God was displaying Job proudly. In front of the heavenly host, He said to Satan, (Job 1:8)

"Have you considered my servant Job?
There is no one on earth like him;
he is blameless and upright,
a man who fears God and shuns evil."

But Job doesn't know about that. He thinks that God is destroying him. But, even in the midst of that, Job knows that God is not One to throw away the work of His hands. Job is saying that he should not be destroyed because God has worked something good in him.

Indeed, Job says that God's hands have shaped and made him. In Job's speeches, the work of God's hands in the sense of God making something, (as opposed to God destroying something) always refers to making something good. For example, in verse 3 of chapter 10 Job said,

"Does it please you to oppress me,
to spurn the work of your hands,
while you smile
on the schemes of the wicked?"

Job says that he is the work of God's hands, in contrast to the wicked. We see the same thing in Job 14:15. Talking about his renewal and acceptance with God, Job said to God

"You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature
your hands have made."

David spoke of this in Psalm 139:13–15. He said to God,

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together
in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together
in the depths of the earth…"

Christopher Ash says this of Job being the work of God's hands, (Job, p. 149)

"It is at the same time a beautiful and a pathetic passage. In verses 8, 9 he pictures the hands of God (the personal intimate action of God) carefully putting him together, as he did with Adam (Genesis 2:7), taking incoherent disconnected matter ('dust') and organizing it into a living organism of wonderful complexity. 'What is the point of making me,' asks Job, 'if you only did it to 'destroy me altogether' (v. 8), to 'return me to the dust'(v. 9)?"

So when Job asks God why He created him, it's not in the context of Job being a part of sinful humanity. It's in the context of God had started a good work in him, in recreating Job in God's image.

There are two important lessons we should draw from this.

First of all,

as a child of God, as someone whom God's hands has made, as someone whom God is renewing in His image, in righteousness, holiness, and knowledge,

you are exceeding precious to God.

You are God's work. The church, which you are part of, is God's masterpiece of creation.

Psalm 19:1 says of the heavens and the sky,

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim
the work of his hands."

If the heavens and the skies proclaim the glory of God, how much more do His people who are being renewed in God's image. Christian, as a human being you are the crown of God's creation. You are made in the image of God. Although sin has corrupted that image in human beings, with His hands God is restoring you in that image. In Ephesians 4:24 the apostle Paul urges Christians to,

"put on the new self,
created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness."

God is doing something remarkable in His people. He is re-making them in His image. He is using them to show His glory. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 and 16.

"You are the light of the world…
let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds
and praise your Father in heaven."

You are light of the world showing people what God is like. In 2 Corinthians 3:2–3 the apostle Paul wrote,

"You yourselves are our letter,
written on our hearts,
known and read by everybody.
You show that you are
a letter from Christ,
the result of our ministry,
written not with ink
but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone
but on tablets of human hearts."

Your lives, your behavior, are like a letter from Christ, showing the world have life should be lived. As Colossians 1:27 says, Christ is in you. Isaiah 60 tells of the glory of Zion. Verse 16 says that they will know that the Lord is their Savior, their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. It then says, (Isaiah 60:19–21)

"The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness
of the moon shine on you, for the LORD
will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Then will all your people be righteous
and they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor."

The work of God's hands, His people, will be for the display of God's splendor. Or as the apostle Peter put it in 1 Peter 2:9

"But you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises
of him who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light."

Job was like that to the people all around him. He was kind to the poor, to widows, to orphans.

The point of all this is that God is recreating people in His image. He is restoring His image in people. He is making them holy, righteous, a people that display His splendor.

If someone wants to know what God's love is like—they can read about it in the Bible. What it tells us is wonderful and glorious. But we can also say that if someone wants to know what God's love is like—they can see it in you. They should be able to look at a Christian and see them loving others as God loves others. God's people are, in a certain sense, His glory.

As such His people are so very precious to God. Isaiah 43 is an amazing passage of Scripture. It speaks of the Lord saying to His people that He is their Creator, that the don't have to fear. When the pass through the waters He promised to be with them, that the rivers would not sweep over them. When they walked through the fire He promised that they would not be burned, that the flames would not set them ablaze. He then said, (Isaiah 43:3–7)

"For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious
and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north,
'Give them up!' and to the south,
'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters
from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."

John Calvin says of God, (Sermons on Job: Chapters 1-14, Sermon 29)

"It is certain he recognizes his workmanship. God, in a manner of speaking, looks at himself and contemplates himself in men. It is with good reason that he looked upon everything he had made and found it good. Now for that reason, man is the principal and most excellent work of all his creatures.""So Job intends here to express God's infinite wisdom as it is seen in the human form. It is as if he were saying, 'And Lord, will you destroy such an excellent work in which your wisdom, your power, and your inestimable goodness glorify you? Will you take pleasure in destroying your glory, which appears and shines in men?' "

God values the work of His hands. In Jesus Christ He is making you new. You are a part of Christ's church. That church, which includes you, is so valuable to Jesus. In Ephesians 1:22–23 Paul wrote,

"And God placed all things
under his feet and appointed him
to be head over everything
for the church, which is his body,
the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."

Jesus is head over everything—for the church. Frank Thielman writes, (Ephesians, BECNT; p. 112)

"Christ is the head over all the inimical forces of the universe and that he serves in this capacity for the benefit of the church."

How precious are His people to Christ. How precious you are to Him.

Remember this truth when life is difficult, when you face troubles. You are exceedingly precious in God's eyes. John Calvin said of God, (Sermons on Job: Chapters 1-14, Sermon 39)

"He has respect for his work and his workmanship. We ought always, then, to think about that every time God afflicts us."

The second lesson we see in our text is that

God will not abandon his work in us.

Job asked God if he was going to do that. God's action toward Job showed that He was not going to abandon him, He was not going to destroy him. In Psalm 138:8 David declares,

"The Lord will fulfill
[his purpose] for me; your love, O Lord,
endures forever—do not abandon
the works of your hands."

John Calvin says, (Sermons on Job: Chapters 1-14, Sermon 39)

"God preserves us in the condition in which he placed us and that it is not enough that he created us at first, that he gave us life and movement, but that he must continue to do so. Now if that is to be recognized in our present lives, there is even a stronger reason that God must be praised for being pleased to renew us by his infinite goodness, for repairing his image in us, and for leading us by the hand, so to speak, until we finish our journey."

In Philippians 1:6 the apostle Paul told the Philippian Christians,

"being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus."

Calvin writes, (Sermons on Job: Chapters 1-14, Sermon 39)

"That being the case, we should always be persuaded that God, as he contemplates his workmanship in us, will be moved and inclined to do us good and sustain us, for we know what holy Scripture says about him, namely, that he preserves what he has made and that what he has begun he will bring to completion."

Why did God create you? To show His glory in you. Christian, your life is a precious work. God working in us, renewing us in His image—is the greatest accomplishment in the universe. It is God's work. He will carry it on until it is complete.

If you're not a Christian, this means that in your present situation, what Job feared is hanging over your head. Job said to God, (verse 8)

"Will you now turn and destroy me?"

As it is now, your existence is a great tragedy. You were created to glorify God. Yet you are refusing to do it. You are refusing Jesus who is the only One who can save you and make you new. Go to Jesus. Ask Him to save you. Ask Him for mercy now.