Derek continues in his lessons he has learned from the book of Job, pointing out that God’s priorities are different from ours. God is pleased with His faithful servants and as we seek Him revelation will come to us. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. He is for you, not against you, and has great things for you as you walk in faith with Him.
Unless you say, “God, I just don’t want any more to do with you and your plan,” He will be relentless in pursuing His plan for your life. This is an amazing thing about the story of Job, God had a special plan for Job and, listen, His plan necessitated the sacrifice of all Job’s livestock, some of his servants and all ten of his children. For what purpose? That God might get His way in the life of Job. That’s a staggering thought, isn’t it? God, if you can say it, sacrificed Job’s ten children for the sake of getting what He wanted in Job. In other words, in a sense, God will stop at nothing to get the result He wants in your life. As I said, you can stop Him but you’re very foolish if you do. But you cannot tell God how to deal with you. He’s absolutely sovereign, He doesn’t let anybody tell Him how to do it. He doesn’t need to, He knows how to do it.
The next thing I have to say, I’ve only got four more things so hang in there, God’s priorities are different from ours. All right? So God is dealing with you, you think this is important, God says, “No, on the contrary, that is important.” Let me just point out two areas, God puts the spiritual above the physical and the eternal above the temporal. So God will never sacrifice anything eternal for the sake of something temporal. He always works with eternity in view. And only when you get into eternity will you be able to look back and see what God did. You cannot see it all now, you have to walk by faith, walk in trust.
The next thing I want to say is God is proud of His faithful servants. God can be proud of you. I use the phrase cautiously because, in a sense God, is not guilty of pride. God is very excited about the people who do His will. I just want you to see what he said to Satan in Job 1:8 when Satan came with the angels:
“The Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is no one like him here on earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and eschews evil?”
God was so pleased with Job that He pointed him out to Satan and said, “Satan, you haven’t succeeded with him, he’s following me.” And you know what Satan said, “Well, you just take what He has and see what will happen.”
In chapter 2, verse 3, the second time Satan appeared:
“The Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast integrity although you incited me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
I wonder how many of us here tonight, God might be pointing to you or to me or to one of us, saying, “Satan, have you considered that one? They’re faithful. They’ve been through a hard time, they’ve never given up, they’ve never denied me, they’ve remained faithful to their first commitment.” There must be some here tonight like that. I don’t know who they are, I don’t know if I’m one of them. But, it’s exciting, isn’t it?
Let’s consider for a moment just two more things, our high destiny in Christ. It’s staggering, it’s absolutely unbelievable what God has planned for us. In Ephesians 2, beginning at verse 4:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loves us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together [resurrected us] and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus...”
The New English Bible says enthroned us. Bear in mind we’ve been made alive, we’ve been resurrected, we’ve been enthroned. And all that’s in the past, not in the future.
With what purpose? Verse 7:
“...that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
That’s a staggering thought. God says, “These sinners who were rebels, unclean, lost, I’m going to save them, sanctify them, raise them up. And for all eternity they’re going to be the demonstration to the whole universe of my grace.” No wonder we go through some tests if that’s our destination.
You see, God used everything to reveal Himself. God is a self revealing God. Many things in creation reveal God in different ways but when God wanted to reveal His grace He had to choose sinners. I don’t know whether this fits in with your theology but we had to sin in order that God might reveal His grace. If you don’t like that statement you’ve got every right to take exception to it. Nevertheless, it so happens that God has chosen to reveal the unique aspect of His character, which is His grace, through redeemed sinners. And through all eternity all the angels are going to gaze at us in awe and admiration and say, “Look what God did with them.”
Then Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
What blessed me is the Greek word for workmanship is poiema which gives us the English word poem. We are God’s created masterpiece. And as I’ve said many times, the amazing thing is He went to the scrap heap for His materials just to prove what He could do as the creator.
And then it says in Ephesians 3:8:
“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints...”
Do you notice how Paul goes down all the time? He says once he’s the least of all saints, now he says he’s less than the least of all saints. The further he goes the lower he comes.
“...that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ...”
This again is staggering. God had a secret plan that He didn’t unveil till you and I came on the scene. All previous ages didn’t know it.
Now what is the purpose of this plan? Ephesians 3:10:
“...to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.”
The word manifold is a Greek word which means many sided. We are to be the demonstration of the many sided wisdom of God to all the heavenly beings. And each one of us is going to demonstrate a different aspect of God’s wisdom. That’s your destiny. Hang in there and don’t give up because if you give up you’ll regret it. I’m not saying it will be easy. In fact, I’m saying it won’t be easy but it will be worth it. That’s my belief.
Now, one final personal response to the story of Job and it goes a little bit beyond what I’ve been saying. In 2 Peter 1:20 Peter says:
“No prophesy of scripture is of any private interpretation.”
The word private means individual. You cannot provide your own interpretation of scripture. There’s only one authorized interpreter, who’s that? The Holy Spirit, that’s right. And so we can have our little theories and make our little Bible studies but unless it’s the Holy Spirit that inspires and reveals it will accomplish nothing.
See, the longer I’m in the ministry the more I see that we only know God’s truth by revelation. You can read the Bible, you can know the Bible by heart but you don’t see anything till God reveals it.
One thing I’ll tell you, to receive revelation takes time. You have to be prepared to wait before God, to meditate on the scriptures. Not to rush, not to give God ten minutes and say, “That’s it, God, if you haven’t spoken by the end of ten minutes I have to go.” It’s not easy for some of you because you’ve got busy schedules but bear in mind revelation takes time.
I think I’m going to read those conclusions very rapidly without dwelling on any of them.
Number one, we can never understand all God’s dealings.
Number two, God never surrenders His sovereignty, He’s never subject to a set of religious rules.
Number three, God deals with us all as individuals.
Number four, it’s foolish to compare ourselves with others.
Number five, God has a special, unique purpose for every life.
Number six, God is relentless in pursuing His purpose.
Number seven, God’s priorities are different from ours. He puts the spiritual above the physical and the eternal above the temporal.
Number eight, God is proud of His righteous servants.
Number nine, we have a high destiny, we’re going to be the demonstration of God’s grace to all the universe through all ages.
And number ten, the only authorized interpreter of the scriptures is the Holy Spirit. The scripture is the piano, the Holy Spirit is the pianist. If we want melody we have to let the pianist play, otherwise we’ve just got an instrument.