God Speaks in Suffering
October 28, 2018
Scripture: Job 33
I. God speaks that He is not unfair; His purpose is to rescue us.
A. In Job chapter 33 we hear the speech of God through one of God’s prophets: Elihu. God addresses Job’s accusation against God. Job says that he has not sinned (vs. 9). So, Job says that God is unfair (vs. 10-11). Even though Job has not sinned, God is treating Job like he is God’s enemy. God finds any excuse to attack Job. How does Elihu respond to Job’s accusation of unfairness against God? He answers pretty simply in vs. 12: “Behold, in this you are not right.” God is so great (vs. 12) that He can even use innocent suffering for our good.
B,If you are a Christian, one thing you can know for sure is that God uses even our undeserved suffering for good. His purpose in all that He does is to rescue us. It is not to harm us. We see the purpose of God’s speaking in our suffering in the conclusion of chapter 33 in vs. 29-30: “Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.” What does God want for you even when He brings you through suffering? He wants to rescue you from the pit. He wants to give you the light of life.
II. God speaks to our conscience.
A. Job’s complaint is that God hasn’t spoken at all to him in his suffering (vs. 13). But God answers this complaint with two words in vs. 14: God speaks. In verse 15 Elihu talks about how God speaks to us in our dreams. But it is not so much dreams that God speaks to us through in suffering. Where He really speaks to us is in our conscience. Elihu is saying that God gives us nightmares for a reason. God frightens us about sin. He is speaking to our conscience in order to warn us to turn away from some evil path.
B. God’s good desire for you is to keep your soul from the pit, to keep your life from perishing by the sword (vs. 18). This was the desire that Jesus had for Peter in Luke 22:31-32: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” Satan wants to destroy you. What is it then that is going to save you? Jesus will speak to you and your conscience. And Jesus will pray for you and your faith.
III. God speaks through suffering itself.
A. Suffering can be a gift from God. God speaks to us in our suffering that we need God. God speaks to us to let us know that we should not be so proud. Listen to what Elihu the prophet says to Job in vs. 19, “Man is also rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones.” Suffering itself is a word from God – a rebuke – meant to teach us something. In vs. 23 Elihu talks about a mediator who tells a person what is right to do in order to come back to God. And what will happen if Job listens to Elihu? Verse 26 says, “Then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness.” And innocent suffering also has a good purpose. It helps to defeat pride within us (vs. 17) as the Apostle Paul also learned through his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
God speaks when we suffer. Listen to your conscience and humble yourself before God.
The book of Job
Commentaries on Job by Francis Andersen and Christopher Ash