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Job 38:1-42:6

Author: Scott David Foutz

Text: Job 38:1-42:6 
Theme: God requires us to approach Him with proper understanding of
       His sovereignty.	

Introduction: Self-Centeredness in Worship
   1. 1983 Survey of the 8 most productive evangelical presses.
      88% of titles published related to self (discovery, nurture)
      and resolving personal problems and tensions.
   2. 1987 Survey of evangelical college students. 62% believed
      that one's own potential is as important others' needs.
      87% said they were working hard at self-improvement.
   3. 1991 Survey of 200 published evangelical sermons. 81% man-
      centered, 19%  related to nature, character and will of God. 
   4. Christianity has come to be viewed through the lens of 
       self- concern. Today's passage directly addresses this issue.

I. Setting
   A. Righteous Job & his suffering
   B. Friends' advice: sin is punishment, correction
   C. Job's demand 31:35-37 (cf. w/ contemporary attitudes
      regarding discomfort)

II. God's Reply (38:1 - 42:6)

   A. God's methodology:
      1. God doesn't mention the issue of Job's suffering.
         (cf. 31:35's "written idictment")
      2. Rhetorical questions (Who are you? Where were you? Are you able?)

   B. God considers Job's presumptions to be a darkening of His
      plan (38:2-3)
      1. God's sovereignty oversaw the creation of the universe (4-11)   
      2. God's sovereignty oversees the the government of the
         universe (38:12-37)
      3. God's sovereignty has provided all life with freedom and
         beauty (38:39-39:30)
         a. all these creatures are free from man's control
         b. all thes creatures possess a beauty which man can
            easily see
      4. Therefore, God's sovereignty is beyond the comprehension
         and expectation of man.

   C. God considers Job's presumptions to be a discrediting of His
      justice (40:8)
      1. Wickedness and suffering are beyond the ability of man to
         control (40:6-14)   
      2. God's prized creatures are terrifying and beyond the
         control of man (40:15-41:26)
         a. Behemoth (40:15-24)
         b. Leviathan (40:25-41:26)
      3. These are proofs that God's rule may indeed overpower,
         even terrify us.

III. Job's Repentance (42:1-6)

   A. "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours will be
       thwarted." (42:2)
   B. "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you."

   A. God will not respect our self-centered cries and complaints.
   B. As for Job, "seeing" may indeed be necessary for our understanding.
   C. God is to be worshipped as the sovereign and awesome Lord of

Illustration: Babylonian Theodicy's conclusion: forsake worship of
              a distant god.


See: Book of God and Man (Chaps. 10,11,14) by Gordis R.

1. Since Job cannot fathom the natural world and its workings, 
he should not expect to understand the       problem of evil.
2. God makes no mention of sympathy for Job's suffering.
3. Cf. 9:16-17; Although God does appear to Job in a whirlwind, 
instead of crushing him with His terror, God questions him to 
ascertain his wiedom. 
4. Three types of questions: Who are you? Where were you? Are 
you able? 

I. First speech (38:1-40:2,3-5)
   A. Wonders of the Inanimate World (38:2-38)
       1. God's Creative Activity (38:4-11)
       2. God's Government of the Natural World (38:12-37)
   B. World of Living Creatures (38:39-39:30) 
       1. Lion (38:39-41)
       2. Mountain Goat (39:1-4)
       3. Wild Ass (39:5-8)
       4. Wild Ox (39:9-12)
       5. Ostrich (39:13-18)
       6. Wild Horse (39:19-25)
       7. Hawk and Eagle (39:26-30)
   C. Job's Response (40:3-5)
       1. Job does not retreat on any point
       2. Job reiterates that God is all-powerful and man is weak (cf. 9:19ff.) 
   D. Implications
       1. All these creatures have two characteristics in common
           a. They are all free from man's control
           b. They possess a beauty that man can easily see.
       2. The universe is beautiful and orderly, but man is not 
			the measure of all things and the cosmos was not 
			created merely for man.
       3. The Creator cannot be judged from man's limited 
			vantage point.

II. Second Speech (40:6-42:6)
   A. God's Response to Job's Answer (40:6-14)
       1. Evil does continue to exist
       2. Challenges Job to destroy the wicked, and then God 
			will pay him homage.
   B. Behemoth (40:15-24)
   C. Leviathan (40:25-41:26)
   D. Job's response (42:1-6)
       1. Job repents of his error
       2. His error was not insisting upon his innocence, but 
			presuming to challenge God to judge Him.
   E. Implications
      1. The creatures are likewise not intended for use by man.
      2. These creatures are repulsive and fearful by man's standards.
      3. Yet, God rejoices in them as well as finds them worthy 
			expressions of His creative power.

1. Viewed against the backdrop of the cosmos, man's sufferings 
do not disappear, but they grow smaller and more bearable as 
elements within the larger plan of God's world.

2. Men's suffering in the world canot be explained fully by the 
conventional theory of sin and retribution (as argued by 
3. Nor can it be justified in terms of moral discipline designed 
to guard men against wrongdoing (as argued by Elihu).
4. The existence of real evil and suffering must not be 
permitted to distort the true nature of the universe, or obscure 
the pervasive pattern of good in the world.
5. Instead, the harmony and beauty of the natural order support 
the faith that there is a similar pattern of meaning in the 
moral sphere, since both emanate from the One God.
6. Sustained by this faith, man can bear the burden of suffering 
and yet find life a joyous experience, secure in the knowledge 
that God's world is basically good.
7. God challenges Job to change his orientation and view his 
case in light of the Creator's total cosmic design.  


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