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Christianity is about so much more than "a relationship with Jesus." It is about a deep, holy union with the triune God. It's about sacrifice, submission, redemption, and propitiation. Unless you understand how much you need God, you'll never really understand how much He loves you. That's why describing the faith as a "friendship with God" falls far short of truly articulating what our Heavenly Father did for you when he sent Jesus Christ to earth and to the cross. Watch to learn more from this homily on Hebrews 9.
(A homily on Job 42. The video resolution is poor, but the audio is good.)
Are you in the midst of difficulty? Have you ever shaken your fist at the sky and exclaimed "why God, why?!" Has your heart hardened toward the Lord because of the unfairness of your circumstances? You are not alone.
That's why the church gave us the book of Job. In this old testament wisdom literature, we are given a glimpse into heaven. We watch disaster fall upon a good man, not because he was wicked, but because he was righteous. Did you catch that? Job experienced disaster because he was righteous.
Job's friends try to advise him in the midst of his sorrow. His wife grows bitter and tells him "curse God and die!" (vs. 2:9) But Job maintains his innocence and his faith, relentlessly demanding justice from the Lord God. Finally God answers Job in chapter 38 saying, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof . . ."
Over the course of four chapters, God outlines his sovereignty over all the earth, and Job is stunned into silence. Finally, in awe, Job responds by saying "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Oh that we too would remember the sovereignty of God and repent as he did, accepting our lot in life with gratitude.
The following is an excerpt from Sunday's sermon. Listen to learn more.
Men are lazy. I don’t mean to criticize men. But it’s true that a man will not give you his best without being challenged. There are those within our culture who are very adept at bringing out the best in us, we call them Coach, Drill Sergeant, Teacher, Dad, Mentor. These understand how to break down and build up a man to get the very best from him.
God in His sovereignty understood that Job was devoted to Him. He looks at the heart of a man, not the outward appearance. God had every confidence in Job that he would stand against any trial and not curse God, despite what the devil charges. But, we notice a He pus a limit upon what could be done to Job. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Corinthians 10:13).
“St. Gregory comments that the devil has already been defeated, the Lord is chiding him for the impotence of his pride. St. Hesychius teaches that the devil cannot even speak without first receiving permission from God.”
How many in history have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by witnessing the unshakable faith of one under persecution? One who trusts God under trial burns like a great fire for the world to see. It is Job who stands refusing to curse God despite losing all he had. He maintains his innocence, and refuses to give in to self pity. Listen to learn more.