"Words to Speak On Behalf of the God
Who Made the Cloudy Day"
by Steve Klein
Text: Job 36:2 "Bear
with me a little and I will show you,
That there are yet words to speak on God's behalf."
Intro: What do you think of clouds? Are they beautiful? Are they terrifying? Do they spark your imagination? Are they majestic or common? Are they powerful or just vapor? Are they good for us (rain, shield from sun)? Or, do they harm us (thunder, tornadoes, floods)? We really don't know clouds, do we? The song Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell echoes this thought&ldots;.
Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles
in the air
and feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at cloud that way.
But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.
I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow it's cloud illusions I recall.
I really don't know clouds at all.
Now, what do you think of the God who made the clouds? The One who made the sunny day and the cloudy day? The wise man instructs us in Ecclesiastes 7:14, "In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, So that man can find out nothing that will come after him."
I. God sent clouds and sun into the life of a man named Job.
A. God had richly blessed Job (Job 1:1-3).
B. Then, He allowed the Devil to take away Job's wealth and children in a series of catastrophes. Job realized that God had given and God had taken away. Job 1:21-22 states, "And he said: 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.' In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong"
C. Then God allowed Satan to destroy Job's health. When Job's wife saw, she told him to "curse God and die." "But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips." Job 2:10
D. Near the end of the book of Job, Elihu reveals to us that trying to understand what God is doing in the lives of men is like trying to understand the clouds. We really don't understand the purposes of the clouds nor of God, Job 36:2, 26-33;
II. The God Who is in the clouds, Job 37:1-13. We do not understand "both sides" but we do know (according to Job 37:13) that God allows these things for correction, for His land, or for mercy .
1. Through difficulties God may teach us, Hebrews 12:5-11
2. "No man is more ignorant than the one who is never in adversity; the greatest affliction of life is never to be afflicted."
3. Robert Browning Hamilton wrote, "I walked a mile with pleasure, She chatted along the way, But left me none the wiser, For all she had to say. I walked a mile with sorrow, And not a word said she, But oh the things I learned from her, When sorrow walked with me."
4. Such lessons may not be "correcting" us in the sense of punishment for wrong, but simply instructing us in the right.
a. Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, Hebrews 5:8.
b. "Expecting the world to always treat us fairly because we are good people is like expecting a bull not to charge because we're vegetarians."
B. His Land
1. We must look at clouds from different perspectives -- The same cloud that rained out your picnic provided the farmers crops with needed moisture.
2. Even so, the storms of life may that we endure, may be for the good of many others. Sickness provides employment for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. Broken down cars are helpful to auto mechanics, body shop workers, and new car manufacturers and salesmen.
3. Obstacles and hindrances can work to produce opportunities and achievement. In southern Alabama is the town of Enterprise, in Coffee County. There they have erected a monument to an insect, honoring the Mexican boll weevil. In 1895 the boll weevil began to destroy the major crop of the county, cotton. In desperation to survive the farmers had to diversify, and by 1919 the county's peanut crop was many times what cotton had been at its height. In that year of prosperity a fountain and monument were built. The inscription reads: "In profound appreciation of the boll weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama." Out of a time of struggle and crisis had come new growth and success. Out of adversity had come blessing.
C. Mercy -- Giving men good even when they are undeserving.
1. A distinguished botanist, being exiled from his native land, obtained employment as an under-gardener in the service of a nobleman. While he was in this situation, his master received a valuable plant, the nature and habits of which were unknown to him. It was given to the gardener to be taken care of, and he, fancying it to be a tropical plant, put it into the hothouse (for it was winter), and dealt with it as with the others under the glass. But it began to decay. When the strange under-gardener asked permission to examine it, as soon as he looked at it, he said: "This is an Arctic plant, you are killing it by the tropical heat into which you have introduced it." So, he took it outside, and exposed it to the frost, and, to the dismay of the upper-gardener, heaped pieces of ice around the flowerpot; but the result vindicated his wisdom, for straightway it began to recover, and was soon as strong as ever. Now, such a plant is the Christian's spiritual life in this world. It is not earthly difficulty that is dangerous to it, but ease. Put it into a hothouse; separate it from the wintry blasts of worldly hostility; surround it with luxury; hedge it in from every opposition, and you take the surest means of killing it." -- W. M. Taylor
2. The reality is that we do not know what is good for us, but God does! You may think you see farthest in the daytime, but you don't . At midnight you see the stars. You would be dreadfully short-sighted if you had to live always in daylight.
3. God gives His children the strength to handle anything, Philippians 4:12-13 "I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
4. HE is God of the mountains and the valleys (1 Kings 20:23-28)
Conclusion: Our God is beyond our understanding. We can see that His power is Great, and we should rest assured that every use of it is just (Job 37:23).
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