Sunday, September 2, 2018

"Despite Job's suffering...."

Yesterday our pastor was away for the weekend and I had the service. As has become my habit on such occasions I read one of Rev. Paul Manuel's recent sermons: one that for a variety of reasons seemed particularly appropriate. From the sermon titled "Blessed Assurance," based on Job 19:25-27:
.... Job's suffering has made him keenly aware of his own mortality. That probably did not occupy much of his thinking when things were going well. As his life fell apart, however, the reality of his transience came to the forefront: "I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me....so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine." (Job 7:3, 15) Job knows that he will eventually die, perhaps sooner than later. ....

Have you yet faced the reality of your own mortality? It could be through a debilitating disease, a financial crisis, a relationship failure, or a combination of factors. More difficult to conceive: Have you ever considered the limitless possibilities of being with God in eternity? The Bible does not give many hints about what that second option will be like. It talks about an inheritance and a reward for the saints, but it does not specify what that entails, perhaps intentionally, because man in this life does not have the means to comprehend it: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9). When it comes to your future with God, use your imagination, but remember His expectation: The Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done (Matt 16:27). Your devotion in this life will determine your compensation in the next life. ....

Despite Job's suffering, despite his not knowing why he is suffering, despite the discouragement of the closest people around him, Job maintains his faith in God and his assurance of a future with God:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)
The sermon.