THE AWESOME POWER OF GOD
At the Georgia School of Preaching, I teach a class on the book of Job, and this last week we went through the speeches of Elihu, the younger man in the controversy.
As a background, Job is struggling with the “why” of suffering, and his three friends, Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar go to the “pat” answer that men suffer because of some sin or wrongdoing in their lives. Job’s three friends make assumptions about the sin Job had been engaged in and encourage him to repent. (I have heard people say the same thing today when they hear of someone suffering, they say something like this, “I wonder what they did against God that made them go through so many difficulties and trials.”). That becomes our “go to” when bad things happen to godly people. We make assumption of something horrible in their lives, and we treat the wounded one as if they had committed the sin we assume they did. (They may have done so, but the assumptions are not always true).
Sometimes, when we do suffer in this way, we do a critical self-examination to see if there was something we did wrong against God. We search our hearts and consider things that we may have said or done. Most of the time we know when have sinned against God or against another.
Job knew that he had done NOTHING to deserve the afflictions he went through. He lost wealth, his children and then his health. He did not know the discussion that was between God and Satan in Job 1 and 2. He had to try to muddle through, in pain and suffering, in heartbreak and woe. Mrs. Job was hurting as well, and she lashed out at him and told him to curse God and die (Job 2:9).
Job’s three friends added to his burden by trying to accuse him of some sin, and he knew that he had not done anything to deserve the trials he was being put through. Through the book he answers his friends, and pleads his righteousness, but they don’t listen. In chapters 26-31 he turns to God and states that he wants some answers. He wants to ask God “why” because he knows he has not sinned to deserve this kind of punishment and treatment.
Then a young man named Elihu, who has been listening to all the “arguments” and explanations between Job and his friends, speaks in Job 32-37. He was an “angry young man” because the friends made no answer to Job, and because Job justified himself rather than God. In these chapters Elihu proclaims God’s justice, wisdom, omniscience, goodness, and majesty, and He makes it clear that NO MAN can be self-righteous before God.
In chapter 37, Elihu talks about the rain and snow, and how mere mortal man has no control over these things whatsoever. He asks how the clouds, burdened with water droplets, can be carried by the wind and then released in the areas God wants! He talks about the power of thunderstorms, of lightning, and how it splits rocks, and the beauty of a soft fallen snow, where everything is quiet and still.
He then challenges Job – how can you think that you have the right to question God and his dealings with men? Many today claim that when they see God that God will have to answer to them for the way he has run the universe and the world. Such arrogance shows how stupid men are that makes such claims.
We see the awesome power of God in the weather, and in the creation itself. Some believe it just happens. They fail to see God at work in all these things. . . .
Today, many are in worship today because it is Easter! We rejoice that you have come to be with us, and I would like to suggest that we consider the awesome wisdom and power of God in sending His Son, Jesus, to the earth to save man from our sins. Many in the world will take a few moments to think of and remember this, and it is good that they do so. Only God could have come up with the plan of salvation by sending his “Only Begotten Son” (John 3:16) to live here on earth and die for the sins of mankind.
This teaches us how much God does love us, and how much he hates sin! We live in a world of sin, and we never notice it in our own lives. We think that sin is not a big deal. We don’t take it seriously. We laugh at it on television or in the movies. We cannot see how sin taints everything in our world, and it is the source of every evil thing that takes place in the hearts of men. Sin begins in our hearts, and man cannot, by himself, deal with sin without paying the ultimate penalty — separation from God throughout eternity.
Just as Elihu stressed God taking care of the world he created, the Bible’s story talks about how God deals with the sin that separates us from God and from our fellow man. It took the sacrifice of His Son to pay for OUR SINS! OUR SINS! HIS BLOOD FOR OUR SINS! How can we minimize that which separates us from God? How can we laugh at that which will cause eternal separation from God?
The cross shows us that we cannot take sin lightly. The cross of Jesus shows us what it takes to deal with sin permanently in our lives. Christians do not need to flirt with sin, or have sin in their lives — but we have to admit that we do. Just as it took the awesome power of God to create the world, and give us rain and thunderstorms, so it took the wisdom of God and Jesus’ willingness to die on the cross for YOUR SINS AND MINE. Can we really minimize sin when we see the cost? Can a Christian continue in sin that grace may abound? Paul answers that question in Romans 6:1-8 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” ESV
No longer enslaved to sin! We have died to sin! It took God’s wisdom, His GREAT LOVE, and Jesus’s loving willingness to die for us to be saved.
The hope of the resurrection from the dead helps us to realize that this life is not all that there is — there is something better for the one who takes advantage of the awesome power and wisdom of God in saving us from . . . OURSELVES.
Each Sunday we gather to remember this — not just on Easter. We partake of the Lord’s Supper to remind us of the cost of our salvation. We are reminded of the power of God, and the wisdom of God, to do these things to save us from ourselves. Don’t take this for granted. Die to yourself and live for Him. And you will have the promise that you will be resurrected to enjoy a new, eternal life with him who made it all happen because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. This life is not the real thing; the end all of end all! ETERNAL LIFE WITH HIM IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL!
If we can help you in understanding these things more, please let us know. We would love to show you from Scripture, what God wants from you — we sum it by saying that he wants YOU! He Loves you! Will you spurn his love? Will you miss out on eternity with God because you refuse to obey? He leaves that up to YOU!