Sermon: Where Are the Answers When We Need Them?


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Purpose: To show how God dealt with the questions of Job and how God’s method satisfied Job

Where Are the Answers When We Need Them?

Learn how Job found peace

Job 13.20–27

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • March 13, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – Songs emphasizing God’s control or our trust in Him


  1. We want answers NOW!
    1. Some people do not like our capitalist culture, but
    2. they like the service culture it created, because
      1. we demand service, and
      2. we get it…NOW!
  2. Anything that we want to know,
    1. we can find as fast as we can type, no
    2. even faster, because
      1. as we type in a search engine,
      2. it finishes our question for us.
        1. We hit return and
        2. instantly we have countless results.
  3. Grandparents Day is March 17 at my granddaughters’s school.
    1. So I put it on my computer calendar.
    2. When I started to put in what school,
      1. it did a quick search of every place in America (or was it of the world?),
      2. with a similar name, but
        1. as I typed more,
        2. it found the correct one, and
          1. I hit Return, and
          2. by doing that
            1. it could tell me how long it will take to get there, and
            2. asked if I wanted an alert to remind me when to leave.
  4. Before we go somewhere,
    1. we can discover what the weather will be…by the hour!
    2. We can know the weather everywhere at anytime!
  5. Why then should we wait when it comes to suffering and the issues of life?
    1. We go to the doctor and find a cure for just about everything.
    2. We have drugs to combat the most powerful diseases.
      1. Yet, when it comes to the reasons for our personal suffering,
      2. we run into the wall of mystery.
        1. We want answers, but
        2. they do not appear as immediately, if at all.
  6. The Book of Job shows us
    1. the mysteries of suffering and
    2. the mysteries of God.
      1. Job had questions for God and
      2. demands of Him, even as we do.
        1. However, God answered Job with a multitude of questions.
        2. Yet, in the questions, Job found his answer.
  7. Let us put ourselves in Job’s suffering and
    1. see what he learned about suffering and God.
    2. Perhaps we will find the same wisdom that Job found.
  8. First, let us remember what Job suffered.
    1. The Sabeans (ancient Yemen) stole Job’s 500 oxen and 500 female donkeys and killed the servants, except one.
    2. Fire, perhaps lightning, killed Job’s 7,000 sheep and the servants, except one.
    3. The Chaldeans took his 3,000 camels and killed the servants, except one.
    4. A powerful wind destroyed the house of Job’s oldest son, where Job’s ten children had gathered, killing all of them, except one servant.
    5. Then Satan afflicted Job with painful boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his foot.

      “Boils…are painful, pus-filled bumps that form under your skin when bacteria infect and inflame one or more of your hair follicles” (Mayo Clinic Web Site).

    6. He lost the support of his wife when she encouraged him to die,

      9 “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2.9).
    7. His friends, initially supportive of him, turned against him,

      2 “How long will you speak these things,
      And the words of your mouth be like a strong wind?”
      (Job 8.2)
    8. Children despised him,

      18 “Even young children despise me;
      I arise, and they speak against me.”
      (Job 19.18)
    9. The young people, whose fathers Job treated well, mocked him,

      1 “But now they mock at me, men younger than I,
      Whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock.”
      (Job 30.1)
    10. Because he had to break open the boils to let the pus run out, and because he sat on the ground in ashes, he mentions this about his skin,

      5 “My flesh is caked with worms and dust,
      My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.”
      (Job 7.5)
    11. You get the picture.
  9. Yet, Job had lived the right kind of life,

    1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1.1).
  10. Therefore, he wanted to know why he suffered,

    19 “How long?
    Will You not look away from me,
    And let me alone till I swallow my saliva?
    20 Have I sinned?
    What have I done to You, O watcher of men?
    Why have You set me as Your target,
    So that I am a burden to myself?
    21a Why then do You not pardon my transgression,
    And take away my iniquity?”
    (Job 7.19–21a)

    2 “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me;
    Show me why You contend with me.
    3 Does it seem good to You that You should oppress,
    That You should despise the work of Your hands,
    And smile on the counsel of the wicked?
    (Job 10.2–3)

    23 How many are my iniquities and sins?
    Make me know my transgression and my sin.
    24 Why do You hide Your face,
    And regard me as Your enemy?”
    (Job 13.23–24)

  11. We then discover great truths in the Book of Job.


  1. God: The Powerful One

    2 “Who is this who darkens counsel
    By words without knowledge?
    3 Now prepare yourself like a man;
    I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
    4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Tell Me, if you have understanding.”
    (Job 38.2–4)

    1. From there to chapter 41,
      1. God asked Job numerous questions about nature.
      2. All the questions ask Job if he did any of the things of nature:
        1. Who made boundaries for the seas? (38.8–11)
        2. Who can bind the constellations? (38.31–33)
        3. Who put wisdom into man? (38.36)
        4. Who provides for all the animals? (Chapter 39)
      3. I like this one,

        19 “Have you given the horse strength?
        Have you clothed his neck with thunder?
        20 Can you frighten him like a locust?
        His majestic snorting strikes terror.
        21 He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength;
        He gallops into the clash of arms.
        22 He mocks at fear, and is not frightened;
        Nor does he turn back from the sword.
        23 The quiver rattles against him,
        The glittering spear and javelin.
        24 He devours the distance with fierceness and rage;
        Nor does he come to a halt because the trumpet has sounded.
        25 At the blast of the trumpet he says, ‘Aha!’
        He smells the battle from afar,
        The thunder of captains and shouting.”
        (Job 39.19–25)
    2. What then did God do with Job’s questions?
      1. God blasted Job’s questions out of the water,
      2. showing Job that he has no idea how to run life on the Earth.
    3. Job got the point,
      1. that he sought things beyond his ability to comprehend,

        1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

        2 “I know that You can do everything,
        And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
        3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
        Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
        Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
        4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
        You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
        5 I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
        But now my eye sees You.
        6 Therefore I abhor myself,
        And repent in dust and ashes.”
        (Job 42.1–6)

      2. That was Job’s second confession!
      3. The first time went like this, along with God’s response,

        1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said:

        2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
        He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”

        3 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

        4 “Behold, I am vile;
        What shall I answer You?
        I lay my hand over my mouth.
        5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer;
        Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”

        6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

        7 “Now prepare yourself like a man;
        I will question you, and you shall answer Me…”
        (Job 40.1–7)

    4. This is what happens in the Book of Job:
      1. Job’s friends tried to help him by getting him to repent.
      2. Job tried to help himself by declaring his innocence and challenging God.
      3. God helped Job by showing him who is in control.
        1. Then Job finally found peace.
        2. Without his questions answered, Job found peace.
    5. Job thought he had questions that God could not answer, but
      1. God had questions that Job could not answer.
      2. Nevertheless, that brought peace into the heart and mind of Job.
        1. He was okay with not knowing everything.
        2. He was okay with not knowing all the reasons for his suffering.
        3. He was okay with God running the show.
    6. How did God deal with the huge suffering that entered Job’s life?
      1. By showing the wonders of creation.
      2. Job could not understand the natural order of things.
        1. How could he understand the spiritual order of things,
        2. even as Jesus said to Nicodemus,

          12 “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3.12).
  2. God: The Mysterious One
    1. God never told Job that he had sinned.
    2. God never told Job that he had not sinned.
    3. God never taught Job that Adam and Eve brought death into the world.
    4. God never taught Job that his suffering made him a better man.
    5. God never revealed the confrontation between Him and Satan.
    6. God never revealed anything of the spiritual world.
    7. Here is a mystery:
      1. Job did not suffer because he was the greatest sinner;
      2. Job suffered because he was a blameless and upright man.
        1. Job’s friends, wise men, had it all wrong.
        2. Job erred in thinking that he could understand how God works.
    8. Job suffered torment before hearing from God, but
      1. Job experienced peace after hearing God,
      2. although Job still did not know any of the whys of his suffering.
        1. Job gladly confessed the infinite knowledge and wisdom of God, and
        2. his own folly and ignorance.
    9. God’s refusal to explain Himself to Job
      1. fits His nature as God.
      2. Do we have to know all that God knows
        1. to have a life of peace and contentment?
        2. Do we need all the answers to our whys on the subject of suffering?
          1. Could man handle the knowledge,
          2. if God had revealed His whole plan?
      3. Listen to Job himself,

        7 “He stretches out the north over empty space;
        He hangs the earth on nothing.
        8 He binds up the water in His thick clouds,
        Yet the clouds are not broken under it.
        9 He covers the face of His throne,
        And spreads His cloud over it.
        10 He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters,
        At the boundary of light and darkness.
        11 The pillars of heaven tremble,
        And are astonished at His rebuke.
        12 He stirs up the sea with His power,
        And by His understanding He breaks up the storm.
        13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens;
        His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
        14 Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,
        And how small a whisper we hear of Him!
        But the thunder of His power who can understand?”

        (Job 26.7–14)

        1. Job knew man cannot handle a full declaration of God’s power, yet
        2. Job demanded a full accounting from God!
          1. We readily confess His awesomeness,
          2. then curse Him for how our lives turn out.
    10. The answers of man are not worthy to be compared to the mystery of God.
  3. God: The Wise One
    1. Ted Olsen, editor of Christianity Today, summarized the Book of Job,

      Job in a nutshell:
      Job: Why?
      Friends: You sinned.
      Job: No I didn’t.
      God: Look at the cool animals!

    2. Do you wonder how that helped?
      1. What if God had revealed the heavenly confrontation?
      2. Would that have helped Job?
    3. Job needed a sense of wonder in the Creator he loved!
      1. That sense of wonder came from seeing the wonders of creation.
      2. What Job needed to know is that God is God,

        29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deu 29.29).

        2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
        But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
        (Pro 25.2)

        1. When your children were small,
        2. did they need to know everything?
    4. God showed the wonders of creation to Job,
      1. wonders that he did not understand, yet,
      2. God understands them, for
        1. God made them, and
        2. continues to keep them running just fine without man’s help.

          “Sometimes the Bible baffles me. Sometimes God baffles me. I should anticipate that, though, shouldn’t I? If God’s ways and thoughts are infinitely higher than my own (see Isa. 55:8-9), then should I not expect to fail to understand all that God does? If I felt OK with everything, then either I’m not paying attention or I’m delusional, thinking God thinks and does everything just like I would” (


  1. Is that not better than lightning-fast Internet searches for answers?
  2. When you confess that God exists,
    1. you confess what it means that He is God.
    2. It means
      1. He created everything.
      2. He controls everything.
  3. You also acknowledge that He speaks the truth.
    1. He has said that Jesus of Nazareth is His Beloved Son, and
    2. that if you follow Him,
    3. you will go where He is now.