! Title: The Supremacy of God
Text: Job 38-42
Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on 2-18-2007
Last time I spoke, it was on the importance of being a God-centered person rather than man-centered, that God Himself is not driven by man but does everything for His own glory or His own sake, it’s the end for which all is created, He cares more about His name than He does us, He loves Himself more than He loves you, He’s committed to His glory more than you.
I believe God wants to dismantle the pride and props in our life that keep us from being centered on His glory.
It’s not about us, from Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to God be the glory.
Today’s message is a good follow-up to that theme as we look at the Supremacy of God, which is to say “God is Supreme” or “God is God and you are not.”
That sounds so simple and basic (of course God is God, not us) but in reality, many of us live like we don’t believe that; we try to play the role of God sometimes, we try to control things, we may not say it out loud but we think our way is better than His, and we complain when things don’t go the way we think they should, which ultimately is an insult to the supremacy and sovereignty of God over all things.
READ JOB 42:1-6
Growing up as a missionary kid, one of the most well-known stories to missions communities is the story in Ecuador of the Auca Indians (now called Waodani) who in 1956 killed Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, and the other young men who were speared to death while trying to reach a savage stoneage tribe with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some of you know the story of the families that survived them, the pain, how like Job things didn’t seem to make sense to these young families, God was still God and in His sovereign plan that cannot be thwarted, He allowed Elizabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint to have a ministry among those who had killed their loved ones and the gospel of Christ transformed their entire culture.
I had the privilege of going deep in the Ecuador jungle and visiting that tribe and seeing where the events unfolded, the same week Steven Curtis Chapman’s group was also coming to film a video telling this story.
One of the songs he made in light of this story (and I think also in line with our text) goes as follows:
/And the pain falls like a curtain On the things I once called certain /
/And I have to say the words I fear the most I just don’t know/
/And the questions without answers … fall I must /
/On this truth that my life has been formed from the dust /
/God is God and I am not /
/I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting /
/God is God and I am man /
/So I’ll never understand it all /
/For only God is God /
That is the message of Job, the supremacy of God, or to say it in simple words “God is God and I am not.”
If we are to study who God is, it only seems appropriate that we look at what He says about Himself in this book.
Job 38-41 is longest speech of God in the Bible, of all the times God has spoken audibly in human history, this is the longest, so I think we can see its importance.
Many believe Job is the oldest book of the Bible, written before Moses wrote Genesis, and during the same timeframe.
Job was not being punished for his sin, but nor was he without sin in all his speeches, as his friends with bad advice and theology provoked him to the point where he defended himself, and thought and talked wrongly about God, His trust wavered.
Job says “I repent” at end of book, so clearly there was something he needed to repent of
Read Job 10:1-3
Read Job 23:1-5, 32:1-2
Read Job 40:1-2 – God calls Job a “faultfinder” in others words, Job was guilty of blaming God ~/ finding fault, and reproving him
Read Job 31:35
Job calls on the Almighty to answer him, and this finally takes place where we pick up in the text we’ll look at today:
*Job 38:1 *Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
*Job 38:2 *“Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge?
Essentially, he is saying, who do you think you are? God says you have *words without knowledge *– in other words, you don’t know what you’re talking about.
It’s like in Romans 9 where Paul says, “/who are you, O man to talk back to God? Shall the thing molded say to the molder, ‘why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have a right over the clay …?”/
Job thought God was unfair, but he’s in for quite a lesson from God.
This portion of scripture is not for the faint of heart, it is absolutely overwhelming.
J. Vernon McGee said in approaching this chapter: “I want to confess as we come to this part of the book that if I felt totally inadequate up to this point, now I don’t even know what to say.
I feel like just simply being quiet, closing my Bible and stopping.
But we cannot do that, so we will simply read what God says, and I will make a few comments as we go along.”
*Job 38:3 *“Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“*Gird up your loins*” is a military command for a soldier to brace himself for a fierce battle.
“Before you can ask me the questions you want,” God says, “I have a few questions for you first.”
At the end of the verse he says *you instruct Me! * “Instruct me, Job, educate me, help me out here, tell me how I should be doing things better as God, enlighten me” – there is irony and sarcasm here
*Job 38:4 *“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell /Me, /if you have understanding,
These questions are clearly intended to put Job in his place.
If Job did not create the world, what made him think he knew how things should be run?
God says “*if you have understanding*” – it’s as if God is saying, “you think you know so much, Job, now just remind me, were you on my right or left side when I was creating planet earth, I can’t remember?
When the Godhead was meeting to plan how to setup this universe, where were you again?
Job got his day in court with God, but it was not what he wanted.
- God doesn’t show up with answers, He shows up with questions.
- In fact, Job 38 is by far the chapter with the most questions in the whole Bible
- When God starts the questions in verse 4, there are more questions than even verses in this section!
- God gives Job the “bar exam of the universe” – over 70 questions
- Job is not going to be able to answer even one of the questions.
*Job 38:5 *Who set its measurements?
Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
There is divine sarcasm when God says “*since you know*” – some translation say “surely you know.”
Were you helping me out then in setting the measurements and stretching everything to fit?
And if not, what makes you think you can help me out now?
*Job 38:6 *“On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone, \\ *Job 38:7 *When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
God is saying here, “tell me Job, the way the continents and land masses fit together, how does that work exactly?
Who was it who did this?
By the way, verse 7 is referring to angels and gives some help with the question what day of creation did God create angels since Genesis doesn’t mention them – this verse suggests they were created early in the week of creation.
Steve Lawson calls this chapter “Before the Supreme Court” in his excellent commentary on Job (much of what I have to say here is indebted to his work on this book).
Lawson writes: “The story of Job is one of high drama.
Job had been accusing God, the Judge of heaven and earth, of injustice and had demanded his day in court to present his case against God … But near the end of the proceedings the case took an unexpected turn.
Rather than God himself taking the witness stand as Job had hoped, God chose to put Job, the plaintiff, on the stand and examine him.
No other witness was brought forward.
No other evidence was submitted.
No more cross-examination was needed.
God Himself was in control of this entire court scene.”
*Job 38:8 *“Or /who /enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; \\ *Job 38:9 *When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, \\ *Job 38:10 *And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, \\ *Job 38:11 *And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’?
The exam here now moves from cosmology to oceanography.
Who sets the tides and who determines where sea level is?
Who controlled the waters of the flood?
God sovereignly controls the oceans and puts it in its place, and Job needs to stay put in his place as well.
In verse 11, the ocean is personified as being proud and God said you need to stop here, and Job needed to know his limit as well.
Job is never told anything about God’s plan and why all the bad things happened to him.
God doesn’t explain, He explodes.
He doesn’t answer the WHY question, He answers the WHO question.
God doesn’t reveal His grand design, He reveals Himself.
You might be tempted to think with all Job had been through, that when God showed up He would have wanted to make Job feel good about himself, boost his self-esteem, tell him to think positive and hang in there.
Instead, God shatters him and humbles Job to the core, flattening him as low as he can go.
This is actually the best thing God could do; draw all the attention to the Supremacy of God and to humble man to repentance, because only then can we experience blessing.
Brokenness must come before happiness.
The Lord informs Job that He really does know what He is doing, even though Job may not.
This, after all, is the essence of relationship with God.
The strength to face difficult times is not found in knowing why we must face them, but in the confidence that our great God loves us completely and that He is still in charge, working all things together for His glory and our good.
*Job 38:12 *“Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, /And /caused the dawn to know its place, \\ *Job 38:13 *That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it?
God is saying essentially, how many times Job, have you commanded the sun to come up?
Have you ushered in the evening even one time?
You haven’t, have you, Job?