Job 2:10

Sermon preached on September 6, 2015 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2015. 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.

This past week, Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to sign marriage certificates for same-sex couples, was jailed. Davis is a Christian and took her stand on the Bible's teachings. She's getting a lot of criticism, even from conservative Christians. They're saying things like,

"It's the wrong case." "It's the wrong time." "It's the wrong person." "She's from the wrong church."

Those lines are from a article in the Aquila Report by David Murray. He admires the stand that Davis has taken and admonishes Christians who criticize her. He writes,

"We wanted a 'martyr'; but not this one, it would appear. If only it was someone who could write like Al Mohler, speak like Russell Moore, and debate like Ryan Anderson; someone from a mainline church, someone of impressive appearance, someone who had a perfect marriage record (Mrs. Davis is on her fourth marriage, having only recently been converted to Christ). But we don't get to choose our martyrs. God does that. As with salvation:"

Davis is in jail, suffering because of her Christian beliefs. How quickly persecution has come to America.

Recently, Professor Dwight Anderson of Bucks County Community College, at the end of an astronomy course he taught, offered a Christian book to each of his students. The book was "
How Good Is Good Enough?" by Andy Stanley. I haven't read the book but from the reviews I gather it's very good. It shows that the Bible teaches that we can't be good enough to win God's favor and earn a place in heaven. Professor Anderson put the books on a desk and said that they could take one if they wanted and not take one if they didn't want to. A couple of weeks later a student contacted him and told him that he wanted a higher grade. The student threatened him and said that if he didn't give him a higher grade, he would tell the administration about him giving the books to his students. Professor Anderson ignored the threat and two weeks later he got in trouble with his school for what he did. Some months later, he wrote a letter to his students, which said, in part,

"Please know that love is a way of life and not just an emotion. If each of us, little by little, with God's help, can incorporate these foundation stones of goodness into our lives…"

From what I understand, because he mentioned God, and because he had previously offered those books to his students, he got fired. He got in trouble for doing what every Christian should be doing—being a light in this dark world.

Christians sometimes have bad things happen to them. Job is the preeminent example of this. Disaster after disaster came upon Job. At the end of it all his wife urged him to curse God and die. Job responded, (Job 2:10)

"You are talking like a foolish woman.
Shall we accept good from God,
and not trouble?"

Job's question was a rhetorical question. He's not asking for an answer—he's making a point. He's giving the answer.

What's the answer to Job's question? The answer is obvious and clear—

sometimes God sends trouble to His people.

Job referred to his losing his possessions, having some of the stolen; to the death of his children; to his losing his health—as trouble that came to him from God. Other English versions translate the Hebrew word as, 'adversity', or 'evil'. The bad things that happen to us are under God's control and we can truthfully say that they come to us from God. As Job said of his situation in Job 6:4,

"The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God's terrors are marshaled against me."

In Job 12:9–10 Job urges his friends to ask the animals, the birds, the fish about the things that happen on the earth,

"Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind."

Job acknowledged that God sent these disasters on him. The prophet Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:37–39,

"Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth
of the Most High that both
calamities and good things come?
Why should any living man complain
when punished for his sins?

In Isaiah 45:6–7 the prophet Isaiah also gives us God's Words on this subject. God said,

"I am the LORD,
and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD,
do all these things."

The apostle Paul's suffering were from God. When God called Paul God said to Ananias, (Acts 9:16)

"I will show him how much
he must suffer for my name."

Suffering is part and parcel of the Christian life.

Yet many Christians today would answer with an emphatic, "No!" to Job's question.

The prosperity preachers would say, "No!" They think that if you're faithful to God He will give you only good things. But that is totally wrong. It is false teaching. Buck Parsons, editor of Tabletalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries recently tweeted on Twitter,

"Satan preached the first sermon and it was a health and wealth gospel."

But the prosperity gospel isn't true. The book of Job shows us that. In Matthew 16:24 Jesus summarized Christian discipleship. He said,

"If anyone would come after me,
he must deny himself and
take up his cross and follow me."

The cross is a symbol of suffering and we are to take it up.

And in 1 Peter 4:12 Peter said to Christians,

"Dear friends, do not be surprised
at the painful trial you are suffering,
as though something strange
were happening to you."

Job's rhetorical question is a precursor to all this. R.C Sproul writes, (Surprised by Suffering)

"Job did not understand why God called him to suffer, but he did understand that God had called him to suffer. It was hard enough for him to be faithful to his vocation without his loved ones trying to talk him out of it."

Sproul refers to Job's suffering as a vocation. And that's what it was. Christians have that calling. In the book, Luther's Theology of the Cross, Carl Trueman writes,

"the cross was not simply an atonement, but a revelation of how God deals with those whom he loves.""The cross is paradigmatic for how God will deal with believers who are united to Christ by faith. In short, great blessing will come through great suffering."

Christopher Ash adds (Job, p. 54-55)

"Before the cross Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you ['you' here is plural, referring to all the apostolic band], that he might sift you like wheat.' Just as the Satan demanded to have Job to sift and test him, to see if he was—as it were—wheat or chaff, so he demanded to sift the apostolic band. And just as God the Father sent Satan off to do that to Job, so he does with the apostles. Jesus does not go on to say, 'But my Father has forbidden Satan from doing this.' Rather, he says, 'But I have prayed for you ['you' here is singular, Simon Peter specifically] that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers' (Luke 22:31, 32)."

So that's the first thing. God often sends trouble to His people.

The second thing we see from our text is that

Job says that we should 'accept' trouble from God.

Job likens receiving good from God to receiving evil from Him. He puts them both together. They are quite different things but he tells his wife that as we are prepared to receive one so we should be prepared to receive the other. We receive good things from God gladly, with joy and hopefully with praise and thanksgiving. We don't question them, we don't argue with God about them. Since Job puts these things together I think we can conclude that the word 'accept' implies, at the very least, submission to God's will. For example, Christopher Ash writes, (Job. p. 53)

"The sense of 'receive' is to accept, humbly bowing beneath God's loving providence."

Francis I. Andersen goes even further and says, (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Kindle Locations 1384-1385)

"Receive is a good active word, implying co-operation with Providence, not mere submission."

That could very well have been true. Job may have meant something more than mere submission. He very well may have meant that we are to trust God in such times and that in a certain sense, we are to embrace what God sends our way.

Now Job didn't have all the New Testament theology that we have. But he did have a personal relationship with God and he trusted Him. As such his words may have been a preview of the much fuller expression of embracing suffering that we see in the New Testament. For example, in 1 Peter 4:13, teaches us that when we suffer for doing good, we are participating in the sufferings of Christ. Peter wrote,

"But rejoice that you participate
in the sufferings of Christ,
so that you may be overjoyed
when his glory is revealed."

Suffering for doing good involves us in fellowship with Christ. As such we are to embrace sufferings with rejoicing.

In 2 Corinthians 12:10 the apostle Paul tells us how he faced troubles that came to him. He said,

"That is why,
for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses,
in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak,
then I am strong."

When you suffer, in a very real way you can draw close to Christ. You have a fellowship with Him. You can draw upon His great power.

But even the other sufferings of life can draw us close to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 1:5 the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

"For just as the sufferings of Christ
flow over into our lives,
so also through Christ
our comfort overflows."

The sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives. We are involved in a great battle. Job's sickness came to him because he was devoted to Jesus. Job didn't know about Satan's great challenge—but that was behind Job's illness. Philip Hughes writes, (2 Corinthians p. 13)

"there is such a thing as the fellowship of Christ's sufferings (Phil. 3:10; cf. 1 Pet. 4:13), that is, a sharing or partnership with Christ in suffering. To follow Christ is to follow Him into suffering. In this also the disciple must expect to be identified with the Master."

So I ask you, how do you react when something really bad happens to you?

Our natural reaction is to be disappointed, to reject the trouble, to ask God to take it away. There's nothing wrong with asking God to take it away. But if God doesn't deliver us, if it is His will that we go through trouble, we ought to be like Job, Peter and Paul. Peter rejoiced in sufferings. Paul delighted in them. They embraced them because in them they knew that they could draw close to God and glorify Him. So it was with Job. In chapter 1, when Job learned of the loss of his possessions and his children, he tore his robe and shaved his head, (Job 1:20-21)

"Then he fell to the ground
in worship and said:
'Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord
has taken away; may the name
of the Lord be praised."

That's how we should accept trouble from God.

There's a great lesson here about the kind of faith we should have in God. As a Christian,

your faith in God should be absolute.

Job is absolutely remarkable here. He tells his wife that she is talking foolishness and that he is prepared to accept trouble from God.

How we should admire Job and the grace that God gave him. He suffered at a time when God's revelation was much less complete than it is now. Job didn't have so many of the clear teachings we have in the New Testament, like Hebrews 13:5-6 where God has said,

" 'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'
So we say with confidence,
'The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.' "

Job didn't know that God designs troubles for our good. He didn't know the truth of Romans 8:28,

"And we know that in all things
God works for the good
of those who love him,
who have been called
according to his purpose."

Job didn't know the truth of James 1:2–4,

"Consider it pure joy,
my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing
of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything."

Job didn't know the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:17,

"For our light and momentary
troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that
far outweighs them all."

There was so much that Job didn't know. William Henry Green writes, (Conflict and Triumph, p. 37-38)

"The king's broad highway through the wilderness of earthly sorrow, along with suffering pilgrims can now pass in comparative safety and comfort, hand not then been constructed. Its route had not been surveyed, nor a pathway broken. Job was one of the hardy pioneers to whom this primary work was committed."

Yet Job stood. At points he wavered, but he stood. Job didn't know that through his sufferings God was showing Satan and the whole heavenly host that His grace to Job would not fail. Job didn't know that his sufferings were for God's glory. He didn't know that God used his sufferings to teach his friends the folly of their theology. He didn't know that God used Job's sufferings to be a help to God's people throughout the ages. Yet He stood.

You have so much more than Job had. So much more truth, so many more promises. Shame on us if we don't stand in difficulty.

Yet, even more than that, Job didn't know nearly as much as we do about Jesus—the great Redeemer he was looking forward to. Christopher Ash tells us that Job's story, (Job, p. 54)

"points to a fulfillment greater and deeper than your life or mine. Job in his extremity is actually but a shadow of a reality more extreme still, of a man who was not just blameless but sinless, who was not just the greatest man in a region, but the greatest human being in history, greater even than merely human, who emptied himself of all his glory, became incarnate, and went all the way down to a degrading, naked, shameful death on the cross, whose journey took him from eternal fellowship with the Father to utter aloneness on the cross. The story of Job is a shadow of the greater story of Jesus Christ."

You know so much more than Job did during his sufferings. You know about Jesus and His work in such detail. You know about the greatness of His love for you—that He died for your sins. Christians, embrace the cross. Embrace fellowship with Jesus.

Christians, what does this tell you about God and His grace to you?

It tells you that God is absolutely committed to you. Trust Him. Draw close to Him.

It tells you that His grace is so great that it can overcome all the powers of Satan and darkness.

Job's Redeemer is your Redeemer. Trust Him. Trust Him when you don't understand His ways. Trust Him when darkness is all around. He will never leave you. He will lead you to glory. You can depend on Him.

For you who are not Christians—you know that this life can be dark. You know that there is so much suffering in the world. You do your best to avoid it. You know that death is coming at the end. You do your best not to think about it or you hope that it will be painless. You hope that death is the end of suffering. But for so many it's not.

Only Jesus can give final deliverance from suffering. He suffered and died for our sin. If you believe in Him you'll receive forgiveness from sin. After you have followed in His footsteps—He will usher you into eternal glory. Find life in Him.