Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
Blessings through the Lord Jesus Christ! As we considered last week, our Savior is a sovereign savior. And in his perfect wisdom, he has chosen to work through imperfect people like you and me. May that encourage us this week … that our weakness is made perfect in his strength! May we rest in the grace and love of Christ as we take the good news of Jesus to our dark and hurting world!
I want to remind you that we will be collecting the OPC Thank Offering this Sunday. Please be in prayer as to how you might contribute. To learn more about the Thank Offering, see here: http://opc.org/feature.html.
If you have any questions as to how the monies of the Thank Offering are used, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.
Finally, the devotional this week is a reflection from the book of Job on God’s goodness to us in the midst of the storm.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Out of the Whirlwind”
Job 38:1, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind.”
Job was a righteous sufferer. In the first verse of the book of Job we are told that Job was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Job was a godly man. He was a faithful man. He was a man who loved the Lord. He was a loving and faithful father to his ten children (1:5). Yet, in his mysterious and sovereign wisdom, God permitted Satan to ‘have his way with him,’ the only provision being Job’s life must be spared (1:12; 2:6). Thus, as Job 1-2 unfold, Job’s life falls apart. All that he has is taken from him – including, and most horrific of all – his ten children (1:13-19). Moreover, Job is struck with a disease so agonizing he literally scrapes off his skin (2:7-8). And although Job initially responds with wonderful trust in the plan and sovereignty of God (1:21; 2:10); he soon falls into despair and curses the very day of his birth (3:1-26). And while there are a few highpoints in Job’s words (13:15; 19:25-26; 23:8-12), by and large Job is in the valley of the shadow of death.
The book of Job explores the deep mystery of suffering. Why do we suffer? Why do the righteous suffer? What is the explanation? How does suffering ‘fit’ with the wisdom and purposes of God? The resolution comes in the final five chapters when God once again re-enters the scene. Throughout chapters 4-37 Job has desired an audience with God (e.g. 23:1-7); and in chapters 38-42 Job’s desire is granted … but not in the way he had hoped! Instead of God acquiescing to Job to answer all his questions, the spotlight falls on Job: “I will question you, and you make it known to me” (38:3; 40:7). Job is the one in the dock. Job is the one who will be interrogated. Job is the one to whom the questions come. And the striking (and somewhat paradoxical) point to note is that although God questions Job, this questioning overflows with the kindness, comfort, and mercy of God. There are three aspects of God’s ways that we should note in God’s interrogation of Job … and we can find all three in 38:1, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said …”
First, note the use of the covenant name of God, LORD (Yahweh). This is God’s personal, covenant name (Ex 3:7-17). And what is striking is that this is the first time the covenant name of God has been used in the text since the opening prologue. Thus, as the blazing spotlight of God’s interrogation falls on Job – it comes in the context of God’s covenant relationship. The use of this name would recall to Job that the LORD is a God who makes and who keeps promises, and is faithful to his people!
Second, note the simple truth that God speaks. God speaks to Job. God is present via his words. In other words, where God speaks, there is he is present. Thus, Job’s God is not a distant, abstract being with whom he can have no interaction; rather, Job’s God (the one, true God of the Bible) is a God who is present with and speaks to his people.
And third, note from where God speaks: “out of the whirlwind.” God often reveals himself through the storm and the wind (Ps 18:7-15; Ezek 1:4, 28). And such imagery highlights the power and the sovereignty of God. In fact, the rapid-fire questions God speaks to Job all serve to underscore his authority and his sovereignty (e.g. 38:4-11). The hardships job face were not the result of mere chance and happenstance, but were the result of the sovereign decree of God.
Dear friends, when we find life spinning out of control – when life seems to be falling apart – when we feel as if God has forgotten … May we remember these three truths: God’s promises, God’s presence, and God’s power! God will keep his promises to his people! God is present with his people! And God is in control of all things, including his own beloved sheep!
God bless and I look forward to seeing you this Lord’s Day,