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You Cant Unscrew the Inscrutable
05/17/2009
Scripture: Romans 11:3; Isaiah 55:8-9; Psalms 139:6...
Track 7 of 11 in the Job: Endure to the End series
Running time: 51 minutes, 22 seconds.
For those of us who grew up in the church or have been in the church for many years learn and hear of his great love and mercy, how compassionate He is, how he is just, fair, holy, full of grace. He sympathizes with our weaknesses and He knows what we need before we ask Him. Then we run into Job and see God stepping back into the shadows permitting Satan to do all the things he did to Job. While Job is going through all the pain and humiliation, God stays silent, keeps his distance and refuses to answer Job when he cries out for help.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


You Can’t Unscrew the Inscrutable

We have come to a hard lesson on the Book of Job. I almost decided to skip over it and not try to attempt to address the topic. This will be a hard lesson to teach and will probably be a hard lesson to understand and fully grasp. It deals with a topic that goes way beyond our comprehension. I started off this series with the statement, the Book of Job is not the study about a man named Job, in reality, it is really a study about God. Of all the books we find in the Bible, the Book of Job reveals a side of God we aren’t use to reading about or knowing.

• It was God who first met with Satan and struck the deal regarding Job.
• It was God who released the devil to go after Job.
• It was God who set the boundaries, placing limitations on each attack.
• It was God who permitted all of it to happen, start to finish.
• It was God (as we shall see shortly) who broke the silence and spoke to Job.

And it was God who set the record straight, rebuking the sorry counselors and rewarding His faithful servant. All the way through Job it is God who captures our attention and makes us wonder. For many of us and for me at times, God confuses us.

For those of us who grew up in the church or have been in the church for many years learn and hear of his great love and mercy, how compassionate He is, how he is just, fair, holy, full of grace. He sympathizes with our weaknesses and He knows what we need before we ask Him. Then we run into Job and see God stepping back into the shadows permitting Satan to do all the things he did to Job. While Job is going through all the pain and humiliation, God stays silent, keeps his distance and refuses to answer Job when he cries out for help.

Some critics will say God is cruel. Look around; see all the evil God allows to happen. The reader of Job could say the same thing. If God isn’t cruel, then He definitely is different than the God we learned about when we were little kids.

We are left with two conclusions:

1. We weren’t given the complete and correct understanding about God or,
2. We don’t really understand the story of Job. The picture we were given in Sunday school was incomplete.

I would suggest the second conclusion to be the right conclusion. Paul wrote a brief but very pointed statement regarding our Lord and God in Romans:

Romans 11:33 Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods!

I want you all to think about this statement a minute, what does this mean and what affect does it have on our daily lives? In relationship to Job, does this mean that God stopped being good? Does this mean that God is not loving and merciful?

God is still all these things. Yet when we study Job, we learn that God is much more than these characteristics. He goes beyond what we can comprehend. In fact, in addition to all the things we know God to be, he is also incomprehensible. He is deep. His ways are beyond our understanding; he seems mysterious and inexplicable at times. The longer we think about this and the events in Job, the more we realize that there is more about God that we were never taught. We are forced to discover new depths. Ina word, God is inscrutable.

What does this statement mean: There will be times when you will try to unscrew the inscrutable. You cannot do it.

I think an inscrutable event is something like the events on 9/11. We all saw the planes, over and over crash into the World Trade Center Towers. Even to this day after so many years, I still can’t imagine what that was like to be in the planes or being the people trapped in the buildings. What is even harder for me to comprehend is the hatred the terrorists had for us to do something like that. How do you deal with or stop someone who doesn’t care for their own physical life to go out and fly a plane into a building or strap on a bomb and willfully walk out and blow themselves up. For weeks and months after 9/11, even to this day, we still try to make sense of what happened that day and why.

But we so want to do that, understand why these types of things happen. It frustrates us when we can’t know or understand. The same is with God. There are things God does or events that God allows that fall within the category of inscrutable. We prefer things fathomable, or scrutable. We want the whole story. But it is impossible when dealing with the living and reigning God. And why is that?

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

What is the basic fact about God versus man found in this verse? What was the first lie all about in the Garden? What lie do many people believe today? There is a neat comment stated in Psalms 139. It goes like this:

Psalms 139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

One of the reasons why I enjoy the science of astronomy is it stretches my mind beyond what I can truly comprehend. The stars and the night sky are so amazing. I can’t help but imagine how large God is to have made the universe and everything in it.

If we could travel at the speed of light, a person would arrive at the moon in 1⅓ seconds. At that same speed, it will take us 4 years to travel to our nearest star, Vega.

When we compare the size of the earth to the size of the sun, we could fit 1 million earths inside our sun. Yet, when comparing our sun to all the other stars in the universe, our sun is categorized as a yellow dwarf. The two largest objects in the heavens that we can see are known as red supergiants. Antares, found in Scorpius is over 1,000 light years away and 700 times the diameter of our own Sun, 15 times more massive, and 10,000 times brighter. Betelgeuse, found in Orion is over 425 light years away, 600 times the diameter of our sun but 60,000 times brighter.

To me, these statistics are way beyond my comprehension and understanding but their presence is real even though I can’t get my mind around their facts. God created all these objects just by speaking them into existence. But here is what make me wonder more than anything, God can be known by a single individual in tender personal experience while at the same time remaining infinitely aloof from the curious eyes of reason.

This is where Job is. He cannot explain the unexplainable. Job’s friends try in vain to put in human terms and understanding the reasoning of God. Job didn’t buy it even though he couldn’t give a reason as to why all this happened to him. If we get just one bit of information from our study of Job, here is what I want you to remember, we do not fully understand God’s ways. We can’t explain the inexplicable. So let’s not try to unscrew the inscrutable. If Job’s friends had acknowledged that fact, they would have been much more comforting to him.

True or False: God doesn’t have a “wonderful plan” for everybody’s life; at least not here on this earth.

For some lives (like Job’s) His plan is a life of pain. For others, heartbreak and brokenness. Some will experience injustice and hatred and be destroyed. Some will cry out for healing when the answer comes back as “No”. The Bible includes lives of people who do not get well, who do not get quickly over their problems, who do not easily overcome accidents or illnesses. Many of God’s heroes failed and some failed and by the grace of God, eventually succeeded. For many who read the scriptures, their question is why? But God many times doesn’t tell us why.

The third friend of Job’s is Bildad. Like the other two friends, he two believes Job sinned to cause his present suffering. Job 25 gives us the beginning of Bildad’s final attempt to convince Job that he somehow sinned and that he needs to do something about it. I want you to put yourself in Job’s spot, suffering, full of sores, lost everything and listening to Bildad.

Job 25:1-6 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: “Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. Can his forces be numbered? Upon whom does his light not rise? How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is but a maggot— a son of man, who is only a worm!”

Is what Bildad said to Job true? What is wrong with these words? The facts are correct but the words offer no comfort or encouragement. What good is a lecture when the person listening is suffering?

In short, Bildad is calling God all light and Job all darkness and that is why he is suffering. His concluding analogies using words like maggot and worm speak for themselves. There is a very good lesson we all can learn from this example.

What is the lesson? No matter what happened, when dealing with someone who is suffering or in great need, even if the results are a result of their mistakes, putting them down never helps. Look at the examples of Jesus when he was confronted by those in great need or who were suffering; what did Jesus do?

Job’s Strong Reaction:

Job 26:2 “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble!

After listening to 3 rounds each from his three friends telling him that somehow he sinned, Job gets to the point that he really doesn’t care anymore what his friends tell him. Verse 2 is surrounded by sarcasm. Someone read the rest of this passage from verses 3-4.

Job 26:3-4 What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed! Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

What is interesting about these verses, in the Hebrew, the pronouns are all singular meaning Job’s response is directed only to Bildad. By this time in the dialog between Job and his friends, Job has little tact left. His response gets right to the point. Bildad had been brutal and deserved the “get tough” response from Job. Job had been in constant pain and he no longer was interested in theory or what sounded good to men, the truth was all that mattered and Bildad was going to get a healthy dose of it.

Job’s reaction is something unlike anything Bildad or his friends ever heard before. Job does not know why all this has happened to him but Job has a personal relationship unlike anything his friends have ever experienced. Job pronounces one important principle that he absolutely believed, God is in control of every bit of suffering he had experienced. Job doesn’t understand all of it but he knows God has it under control. There are times when we need to quit trying to understand and just follow God. Job was in one of those spots. His friends wants to make sense of everything, Job just wanted to survive and leave the reason why to God.

What is in the word “WHY”? Think about all the times you use it? Can someone give me the definition of the word “WHY”? When is the use of the word “WHY” good? When is the use of the word “WHY” bad?

“Why” seeks reasoning. But what happens to WHY when there is no reason or the real reason is beyond our understanding? When does reasoning pass from wanting to know the truth of something to rebellion?

There are times in life when reasoning has no answers, or at least, no answers that will satisfy our questions. Sometimes man is so small that he can’t even understand the deep questions to ask to get the truth he seeks. Job realized this but he was satisfied in the knowledge that God knows all the answers and God also knows all the questions. For Job, that was enough.

Job 26:5-13 “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them. Death is naked before God; Destruction lies uncovered. He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent.

It is as if Job were saying, Bildad, our God is in charge of all that. He has all of it under his control. Then to finish his thoughts, he says the following:

Job 26:14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Imagine this, of everything we know about God, all that we have from scripture, all that we know from the experiences we have with God, all of this are only the fringes of the totality of God. That is hard to imagine, it goes way beyond my capacity to reason who God is.

At night I like to sit and look up into the heavens and just imagine how large the universe actually is. In the present night sky, looking south along the eclipse sits Leo. Right behind Leo is a faint constellation called Coma Berenices (Berenices Hair). Actually the nickname is the “celestial hair”. To find it you first look for the Big Dipper and it is the light of starts between the handle of the Big Dipper and the tail of Leo. What is fascinating about Coma Berenices is what is found there. Thousands of galaxies clustered together. Many of them are much larger than our own, the Milky Way. The unimaginable expanse of our universe is so large we can’t even begin to comprehend it and yet, our God set it all into motion. But what is more unfathomable is his desire to have a relationship with you and me.

Psalm 8:4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?