Have You Seen God?
Our Great God • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 43:57
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Have You Seen God? (Job 38:1-7, 19-21) A towering inferno of fire erupts in the midst of a grand and ancient forest! A storm deluges a dry, parched land. Thirty foot waves collide with an eroded beach. The ground rolls from the mighty force of the quake. Lightning splits the sky with white hot heat! Desert sands are lifted to the heavens by an overwhelming wind. This is the power of creation on display. We are amazed, terrified, and simply awe struck when faced with this power. But, do we ever pause to consider that God not only created these things, but sovereignly controls them? In other words, He has the power to start and stop these forces with no effort. It’s precisely this power and majesty that Job is confronted with by God. Job has spent much of the book defending himself against his friends. He has called on God to hear his case and see that Job is innocent. What we learn from this is that Job does know God. Therefore, it is precisely his knowledge of God that gives him the confidence to plead his case to Him. Dramatically, Job gets his requested audience with God. But the result was not what he expected. Look at verse 1 of chapter 38. “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:” As a former Weather Forecaster for the Air Force I find this section very interesting. Answering from a whirlwind. God spoke to Moses through a burning bush, He led the Israelites with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Here He is seen using a whirlwind. Now, a whirlwind could be a tornado, but more likely this seems to be a very large dust devil. In fact to help you see it, here is a picture of one in the desert. Just imagine this barreling down on you. It would get your attention. Yet, what else does this verse say? He doesn’t just show up with force or merely moves nature to impress Job. He actually speaks to him! From out of the whirlwind comes the voice of God. We read here that God is a speaking God! God is not merely a force. Or a power that emanates at some distant point. God is a true and living being. The eternal One who hears, sees, and speaks! A.W. Tozer spoke of the mistake we often have in seeing God’s work in creation as a carpenter who is fashioning items out of wood. Yet in reality God spoke and out of nothing came everything! Psalm 33:6 reminds us, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” Hebrews 11:3 states the same truth, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” God’s words are powerful and therefore when Job hears the Lord’s voice it gets his attention quickly! Of course it’s not just that a whirlwind appears, or that God’s voice issues from within, it’s what God says that even further gets the attention of Job and should likewise grab our attention! For the next 4 chapters from 38 – 41, God proceeds to declare His strength and power to Job. Job is challenged at the start by being asked, and I’m paraphrasing, “who dares speak of things they have no knowledge about”? Then God commands Job to stand up and essentially take the defense stand while He prosecutes Job with His interrogations. Job had been sitting in the ash pile mourning since the devastations came upon him. Yet, now he is ordered to stand up and “Dress for action”. Job had continuously asked for a hearing before God. He desired to question God as to why these things were happening to Him. A good and righteous man. Yet, when God appears He puts Job on trial and asks Him the questions! These chapters are a fascinating read. We only have a few that we’re looking at today, but because God is a speaking God, throughout the entire discourse we see one overwhelming argument. God alone is sovereign, omnipotent, and omniscient. God is in control, God is on His throne, and God knows all things at all times! Or put more directly, He is the sovereign, creating, and sustaining God! We would do well to remember these truths in our lives. So looking at just a few of these statements. Out the gate the first question and issue addressed is the beginning of the world. God states matter of factly, I created all things! I have established the universe. Job is asked simply, “Where were you when I did these things?” We can answer the same question. Where were we? Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that there was a time when you did not exist? Before you were ever born, the world had already been in place. Kingdoms had risen and fell. Families grew and moved. Wars were fought, scientific discoveries were made. So many things occurred before you ever took your first breath. There is only One who was there from the very beginning. God alone. God alone laid the foundations of the earth. God alone made all things. God alone sustained all things. The very fact that you are here today and hearing this message is a testament to the faithfulness and power of God who has kept this universe intact. So why do you think that is? Is He simply bored and has nothing to do? Or is there a bigger picture? A story established before the world began. A story about a particular people and a specific individual. Only one being can establish such a story and control every facet of it so that what He has willed will come to pass! So again these next few chapters spell out in grand beauty the might and power of God. He then comes to a point of asking Job about the very first things of creation. Light and Dark. Look briefly at Genesis 1:1-5, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” God is in very direct ways recounting the story of creation to Job. He is reminding him that this earth, your family, your wealth, everything exists because of Him! He spoke and they came to be. Even the very basic elements of light and dark are all under His sway. We now come to a verse that is perhaps one of my top favorites. There is real sarcasm in these words and in them a very sharp rebuke. God pauses in the midst of asking these questions of Job and states, “You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!” I specifically like the way the New Living Translation puts this statement. It reads, “But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!” Can you imagine what Job was feeling at that moment? God is in the middle of listing off all of these marvelous things that we as humans are unable to duplicate. He pauses as if to say, “I’m sorry for telling you all of this, because clearly you’ve heard it before. Being there when it happened and all.” What is God saying? It’s simple. He’s reminding Job and us that we are the creatures. He is the Creator. We exist because He made us to exist. No one has of their own will or might brought themselves into existence. We were created and born, without our input. He is the master of life. He sets the boundaries, He sets the seasons, and He controls our past, present, and future! So ask yourself today on your way home, “What do I really do on my own without the need of anything or anyone?” Are you able to even listen to this message by your own will and might? Consider the fact that to listen, you need working ears, you also need a brain to process the sounds into understandable communication. Your brain of course needs blood and oxygen. These are put through the body by your lungs and heart. Both of these organs need water, which comes from outside of your control. (You could try to make water but you need existing chemicals to do so). Then the oxygen itself comes from the atmosphere itself and not from your own devising. In other words, even something as simple as listening is an ability that you have no power over and only God Himself can control and direct it. Consider the immensity of the universe. Do you realize that our planet is at just the right distance from the sun with just the right rotation, just the right tilt of the axis, just the right sized moon, and just the right mix of chemicals and minerals for life to exist? The rest of the following four chapters continue to lay out observations and challenges. Some of these are only recently discovered. For example when God states a few verses later there is a channel or path for the lightning. In the late 1700’s men began to experiment with and learn that lightning was electrical. It was during the 19th and 20th centuries when streamers and leaders were discovered. These streamers and leaders create a path or “a channel” if you will for lightning. So thousands of years before its discovery God told Job of these paths. How? Because only the One who created all things would know how all things work! Finally we come to the end of God’s speech. Job is given the opportunity to reply and what he replies speaks volumes to how you and I should reply and think. Look at chapter 42:1-6, “1 Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job declares an amazing truth. He had heard of God. He knew who God was and as such he served Him. But he states, that “now my eye sees you.” We know he didn’t see God, but only physically saw the whirlwind. So what does he mean? He means that the intellectual knowledge the things he had heard spoken of and taught about God had now been made visible to Him. He looked at the creation around Him and all of his knowledge finally clicked. It’s like the old saying goes, “the penny dropped”. God and His might finally came into view. We must ask ourselves the same question. Has the penny dropped for you? Have you looked past the textual knowledge and the intellectual stimulation to see, to truly see Who God is? Can you say like Job, “now my eye sees you?” Simply hearing about Him is not enough. You must see! This past weekend my family and I were blessed to take a trip to Stone Mountain in Georgia. If you’ve never been I would recommend it. There is a lot to do. But I bring this up because Stone Mountain is listed as 825 feet above the ground and five miles in diameter at its base. This sounds large and impressive. However, it wasn’t until my wife and daughter actually saw it with their own eyes that they realized the enormity of this rock. They had heard of it with their ears, but then they saw it with their eyes. Job had all sorts of knowledge about God, but after this encounter his eyes were opened and He saw exactly what this meant. So we must ask ourselves, what about today? How do we see God? This seeing God brings us to Christ. Colossians 1:15-16 states, “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” When Philip, Jesus’ disciple asks him to show them the Father and it would be enough, Jesus’ response was, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) So how do we see God? Through seeing Christ. Yet, some may argue that we no longer have this ability. Jesus has ascended into heaven. So we can’t physically see Jesus anymore so how can we see God? To this I would remind us of what Paul wrote in Romans 1:19-20, “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” This is the exact argument made by God to Job in our passage. Do you want to know how you can know if there is a God and if He is powerful? Then simply look. The dwelling of light, the foundations of the earth, the channels for lightning, the rising of the Sun. All of these serve to remind us that we are not the all-powerful masters we are so often tempted to presume. We are completely and totally dependent upon God and upon His sovereign workings. The great, powerful, mighty God is the only master and the only One who determines all things. Job recognized this after his encounter and responded appropriately. What then should our response be? Look at the end of Job’s response to the Lord. In 42:6, Job declares “I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” What he does is to repent. To humble himself and recognize his finite status before the infinite God. He throws the dust and ashes as a cultural response for acknowledging ones submission and humility. Why? Because He Saw God! What of this repentance? Job has proclaimed his innocence throughout the book, so what is he repenting of now? He is repenting of not truly knowing God, of viewing what’s happened to him through his own self-judgment, and of impugning the character of God. Derek Thomas makes a wonderful statement about what comes about in Job throughout the book and this encounter. He writes, “From the broken, distorted shape that was Job arises a confession of trust in God that can only be described as beautiful. Through pain, Job had grown in his appreciation of God’s character. Trials had had an educational effect on Job. They had taught him things that otherwise he would never have known. Derek Thomas, The Storm Breaks: Job Simply Explained, Welwyn Commentary Series (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 1995), 310. ” Just this week I was able to visit a young man in jail. As we talked he became teary eyed as he described the effects of his actions, but joyfully stated that had it not been for what happened to him, he would have not come to know God nor personally give His life to Christ. Like this man and Job, it’s often in the valleys, in the dark night of the soul, where we are brought low so that we have no choice but to look up. When we do look up, we find God. He is never so far away that we can’t see Him nor He reach us. Today, I know that many of you have heard of God. You may know all the stories. Perhaps you have or do serve here or in other places. You memorize Bible passages. You do a good job at work and are an all-around nice, good Christian. But look honestly at yourself. Have you truly seen Him? Have you humbled yourself before Him? Have you acknowledged His sovereign faithfulness in your life? Despite our numerous differences and experiences, we all have certain things in common. We all were born into a world that was already running, we all struggle with sin and not doing what God commands, and we will all, individually stand before God Himself just as Job did. I want you to dwell on this thought. There is a day that is certain. There is nothing that can or will stop this day from coming. From the moment the world began this moment was set. When you took your first breath you were headlong into this meeting. The ultimate, perfect, powerful, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, and righteous God will bring you before His throne. In other words. You will truly see God! The only question, the only thing that needs to be answered now, is how will you meet Him? Friend or Foe? Repentant and Humble? Or Unremorseful and Arrogant? We have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. There are 613 commandments in the Old Testament alone. We so often think of the Ten and find ourselves struggling there, but how about when faced with 613? God states clearly that to break one commandment is to be guilty of them all. Have you ever lied, even once? Then you have broken all of God’s Law. Have you ever coveted what belonged to another? Then you have broken them all. The Scripture is clear and we must see it, when it declares there is none who is perfect. We are all by nature enemies of God. Our only hope is that God Himself would pardon us. Our hope is that God will show us mercy. The problem is that our guilt and sins are real and require a real payment. We must be justified. Do you feel the pressure? Do you feel the reality of your condition? Do you see God in His holiness? If so then you can truly rejoice in what I say next. For the Good News is only good to those who are see their predicament. Jesus, the second person of the Godhead. Fully God and Fully man, Coexistent with the Father took on human flesh. Not so he could give some moralistic teachings on how to be a better person and influence Romans! He came to redeem us from our sins. He lived a perfect life. Never breaking one of God’s Laws. Then in the ultimate example of a righteous man suffering unjustly, He laid down His life to die on the cross. He took on the curse we deserved. He died so that we may live! Yet, as if that were not enough, He rose again on the third day! Displaying His full and total conquering of death. So that now any who repent of their sins and call upon Him for mercy and salvation will be made clean. We will stand before the Holy God, seeing Him with our own eyes, and because of Christ’s great love we will be welcomed as beloved sons and daughters. We will see Him and we will be with Him forever. If you have not come to this point of repentance and humbleness, then I implore you. Don’t wait! Don’t wait until He comes like a whirlwind and calls you to testify to your rebellion. Do not meet Him as an enemy. Meet Him as a friend! Meet Him as your God! Open your eyes, and be able to say yes to this question. Have You Seen God? Let’s Pray