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The Heart of Worship - Job

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The Heart of Worship                          Macomb Baptist Church – PM

Job 1                                                                                  10.19.08

On October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire swept through the city. Horatio was a prominent lawyer in Chicago, and had invested heavily in the city's real estate, and the fire destroyed almost everything he owned.

Two years later, in 1873, Spafford decided his family should take a holiday somewhere in Europe, and chose England knowing that his friend D. L. Moody would be preaching there in the fall. Delayed because of business, he sent ahead of him his family: his wife, Anna, and four children, daughters Annie, Maggie, Bessie, and Tanetta.

On November 21, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, their ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel and two hundred and twenty-six people lost their lives, including all four of Spafford's daughters. Anna Spafford survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Spafford beginning "Saved alone. What shall I doo…” After receiving Anna's telegram, Horatio immediately left Chicago to bring his wife home. On the Atlantic crossing, the captain of his ship called Horatio to his cabin to tell him that they were passing over the spot where his four daughters had perished. He wrote to Rachel, his wife's half-sister, "On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down, in mid-ocean, the waters three miles deep. But I do not think of our dear ones there. They are safe, folded, the dear lambs." He then went back to his cabin and penned the words to "It Is Well With My Soul". He could proclaim that even in tragedy all was well with His soul because of his God. In Job we find a similar response of a man facing great tragedy.

Read Job 1

Today in Christianity, there is much discussion of worship. What is it? What does it look like? The questions go on and one. Tonight I would like us to look at the account of Job as we consider what is as the true heart of worship, even when life hurts.

Before we look at Job let’s take a minute to define worship.

I. Defining Christian Worship

  • It is not natural, it is a  supernatural work of the Spirit of God for it is natural that we worship the creation rather than the Creator – I Cor. 2:14; John 4:24
  • It is not worked up by a feeling or an atmosphere. Worship is emotive, but simply because there is emotion does not mean that there is true worship
  • Worship is ascribing worth, honor, glory, praise and significance to God in our word and action

Now that we have a definition, from Job we can obverse several truths about worship. First of all as we look at this chapter, we observe several realities that true worship is not based upon.

II. Worship is not based on…

  • Gathering as a community of believers
    • We observe this not directly from this passage but from the greater context of what we find here. Job is tucked in the middle of our Old Testament, but chronologically it was the first book of the Bible that was written. At this time the only place that the church existed was in the mind of God. Notice that I’m not saying that worship doesn’t happen or even isn’t a significant and vital aspect of the gathered church, but that worship is not just a church thing. It is not something that should only happen between the hours of 9am and Noon and then 6pm and 7pm on Sundays. Job’s heart of worship was not based on gathering as a community of believers.
  • Social status – v. 3
    • Job was “the greatest of all of the men of the east.” His position of influence, his social status was due at least in part to the wealth that he possessed and when it was all gone, we still find him worshipping God in verse 20. Job’s heart of worship was not based on gathering as a community of believers or upon his social status.
  • Fiscal prosperity – v. 3, 14-17
    • Job was a man of incredible wealth, as we just mentioned, and yet when he lost it all, verse 20 tells us that he worshipped his God. We lose some of our retirement thanks to the troubled markets and we instinctively worry and grumble. We have the assurance from the pen of Paul that in all seasons of life God is working all things for His good in the lives of His children. Job didn’t even have the truth of that passage to rely on and yet Job, when he lost all of his wealth, what did he do – he worshipped his God. Job’s heart of worship was not based on gathering as a community of believers, upon his social status or in his fiscal prosperity.
  • Family relationships – v. 3, 18-19
    • Job was blessed by God with seven sons and three daughters. And when Job’s children were instantly taken from him, it is so incredible to me to see what he did. Throughout the book of Job we find plenty of wrong responses by Job’s supposed friends, but not from Job. He lost all his children and did he sit there and question God and His authority and His sovereignty? Did he sit there and mope and complain? Did he sit there focus on the lives that had been taken from him? No! He did mourn the great lose, but then he worshipped his God. He proclaimed that the Lord blessed him with great things, with a great family and praise be to God, it was Him that took it away according to His sovereign plan. Job’s heart of worship was not based on gathering as a community of believers, upon his social status, in his fiscal prosperity or on his family relationships.
  • Being paid off by God – v. 9-10
    • Satan believes that everyone has a price tag for worship. Let’s read Matthew 4:8-10. Satan attempted to convince Christ to worship Him, offering Christ the kingdoms of the world if He would simply worship Him. Satan thought that Christ had a price for His worship. And here in Job we find that Satan also believed that Job had a price tag for his worship and he thought he knew Job’s. Let’s read verse 9 and 10 again…Satan was convinced that the only reason Job worshipped God because God was protecting and blessing all that Job had. Literally, what Satan was saying to God is that he believed that the only reason Job worshipped God was because God paid him off to get Job’s worship. And Satan was convinced that if all that was taken away that Job would curse God and worship him. Does your worship have a price tag? Do you worship God in the good seasons of life but question Him and His ways in the difficult seasons of life? Does your worship have a price tag? Job’s didn’t because he’s heart of worship was not based on gathering as a community of believers, upon his social status, in his fiscal prosperity, on his family relationships or on being paid off by God.
  • Knowledge of the results of testings and trials
    • When we read of Job we naturally think of the beginning of the story with the end in view, and that is something that Job was not privy to. He didn’t know that chapter 42 was going to come. Let’s read verse 10 and 12 together…He did not have the awareness that God would bless him with twice as much as he once had. He could not see the end, but placed his trust, his confidence in the God of the end. Is your confidence in God or your circumstances? Job’s was in God and that drove him to worship even in the most difficult of life’s circumstances. After all he’s heart of worship was not based on gathering as a community of believers, upon his social status, in his fiscal prosperity, on his family relationships, on being paid off by God or on the knowledge of the results of testings and trials.

We have defined worship. It is ascribing worth, honor, glory, praise and significance to something, specifically here God, in our word and action. We have observed that just as Job, our heart of worship should not based on gathering as a community of believers, upon our social status, in our fiscal prosperity, on our family relationships, on being paid off by God or on the knowledge of the results of testings and trials. Now as we look at the example of Job we find his response of worship to the testings and trials of life.

III. Job’s Response of Worship to Testings and Trials – v. 20

In the King James there are 19 words in verse 20. In the original there are 9 words in verse 20 and 5 of them are verbs. After Job heard of all of the disastrous things that had befallen his possessions and family what was it that he did? Here are the 5 verbs, the 5 actions that we find Job doing in this verse. He…

  • Arose – very likely he was knocked off his feet by the messages he had just received. The force of the message was as that of a shotgun.
  • Tore his rob – he literally shred his robe. Job was a man of great influence and his robe would have been an object of great worth, and yet he shreds his robe.
  • Shaved his head
  • Fell to the ground – The idea being communicated here is that he lays on the ground with his face toward the dust.
  • Worshipped – and this is the most incredible and most telling of all the actions of Job that we observe in verse 20. This was true worship, not based on his feelings.

Look with me at verses 11 and 12 of chapter 2…Here we find Job’s friends. What do we see that is different about the account of Job’s response and the response of his friends?

They torn his rob as well and sprinkled dust on their heads, both acts of mourning, but also they wept. No where do we find it recorded in the entire book that Job wept for himself. That’s not to say that Job did not weep, but that is something we have to insert into the text, for it doesn’t say that. We could assume that he did weep. That is a very nature response in such a time. Job’s response was very similar to that of his three friends, but there was one big difference. Chapter 2 tells us the Job’s friends wept and chapter 1 tells us that Job worshipped. In response to the testings and trials of life, Job worshipped his God. What is our response to the testings and trials of life? When we hear the “C” word—cancer, when we hear of the untimely death of a friend or loved one, when we look at the sharp decline of our investments, when those closest to us let us down and hurt us deeply. Whatever it is, what is our response? What stood out about Job’s response is that though he mourned, in it all he worshipped his God.

We have defined worship. It is ascribing worth, honor, glory, praise and significance to something, specifically here God, in our word and action. We have observed that just as Job, our heart of worship should not find it’s basis on gathering as a community of believers, upon our social status, in our fiscal prosperity, on our family relationships, on being paid off by God or on the knowledge of the results of testings and trials. We have seen the example of Job where we find his response of worship to the testings and trials of life. Now let’s take a few moments to examine Job’s words of worship.

IV. Job’s Words of Worship – v. 21

  • All the things of this world don’t matter in light of eternity and his God
  • All things are in the hand of our sovereign God
  • All glory is to our God in all things

Even in the midst of trials and testing the main point of Job’s word’s was God. We look in amazement at how Job responded in this difficult season of his life. They only way that he could respond in such a way is that his focus was Godward. The only way we can respond in such a way as job did in difficult times is if our focus is Godward. Immediately after losing his wealth, his earthly possessions and his children Job gloriously proclaims that all the things of this world don’t matter in light of eternity and his God, that all things are in the hand of his sovereign God and that glory is to his God in it all.

Worship is ascribing worth, honor, glory, praise and significance to something, specifically here God, in our word and action. Our heart of worship should not find it’s basis on gathering as a community of believers, upon our social status, in our fiscal prosperity, on our family relationships, on being paid off by God or on the knowledge of the results of testings and trials. Just as Job we should respond with worship to our God in the testings and trials of life, those difficult valley experiences of life. And we should proclaim with Job, no matter the situation of life, that all the things of this world don’t matter in light of eternity and his God, that all things are in the hand of his sovereign God and that glory is to his God in it all.

So what is at the heart of true worship, the simple answer is our God, and God alone!

I’ll close tonight by reading an old puritan it is taken from a book, The Valley of Vision, and shares the same title as the book.

Read The Valley of Vision

The true heart of worship, it is all about God.

Oh, that we would find His light in our darkness,

            His life in our death,

            His joy in our sorrow,

            His grace in our sin,

His riches in our poverty,

His glory in our valley,

As we worship in all things.

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