EXCUSES CONDEMN GOD

SERMON BY CHARLES FINNEY

"Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" Job 40:8.

 

Although in the main, Job had spoken correctly of God, yet in his great anguish and perturbation under his sore trials, he had said some things which were hasty and abusive. For these the Lord rebuked him. This rebuke is contained in our context:

 

"Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said--Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.

Then Job answered the Lord, and said--Behold I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea twice, but I will proceed no further.

Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,--Gird up thy loins now like a man; I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?"--Job 40:1-8

 

It is not, however, my object to discuss the original purpose and connection of these words, but rather to consider their present application to the case of sinners. In pursuing this object, I shall

 

I. SHOW THAT EVERY EXCUSE FOR SIN CONDEMNS GOD.

II. CONSIDER SOME OF THESE EXCUSES IN DETAIL.

III. SHOW THAT EXCUSE FOR SIN ADDS INSULT TO INJURY.

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ON BECOMING ACQUAINTED WITH GOD

SERMON BY CHARLES FINNEY

"Acquaint now thyself with him and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee." --Job 22:21.

 

The speaker here addresses Job and exhorts him to become acquainted with God. The text therefore naturally leads us to enquire,

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEING ACQUAINTED WITH GOD.

II. WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS ON WHICH WE MAY BECOME THUS ACQUAINTED.

III. WHAT ARE ITS CONSEQUENCES.

 

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Clouds That Rescue

He loads the clouds with moisture; …At his direction they swirl around over the face of the earth to do whatever he commands them. Job 37:11-12 (NIV)

The soaking August heat along coastal China surpasses the sauna. I was there in l994 as a Christian teacher of English. Our eleven-member team taught at a summer institute for young Chinese teachers connected to China's oil industry. The school we taught at was not air-conditioned. The fifth, and top floor in the school was the warmest. Today it was my turn to deliver a lecture on North American History in the auditorium on this floor. No one had thought to open the windows before several hundred of us filed in. The temperature and humidity outside were in the nineties, Fahrenheit and percent respectively. The stifling air inside topped one hundred degrees F. Sweat trickled off every part of me. My head throbbed with over-heated blood. If this is what fainting felt like, I was close. "Please Lord," I silently prayed, "Cool this room down. I cannot think to teach!" The intense heat continued to roast us as we waited for the school bell to ring. Within a few minutes, though, a cool breeze began to blow through the recently opened windows. The sudden draft brought exquisite relief as each gust evaporated our sweat. Then a cloud covering came over the school. I began to give a lucid history lecture as my body temperature lowered from the unexpected wind and shade. As the bell rang again, we moved out and down to cooler floors. The breeze stopped and the shading clouds disappeared; no matter. The sweltering school day was over. Everyone headed back to cooler lodgings. Never will I forget the mighty hand of the Lord directing the weather this day on our behalf!

Jesus, thank you for being ruler over all weather. The wind, the lightning, and the thunder praise you. So do we. Amen.

By By Merilee (Washington, USA)

ON BECOMING ACQUAINTED WITH GOD

SERMON BY CHARLES FINNEY

"Acquaint now thyself with him and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee." --Job 22:21.

 

The speaker here addresses Job and exhorts him to become acquainted with God. The text therefore naturally leads us to enquire,

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEING ACQUAINTED WITH GOD.

II. WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS ON WHICH WE MAY BECOME THUS ACQUAINTED.

III. WHAT ARE ITS CONSEQUENCES.

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Invisible Confidence

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.” Job 1:21 (NRSV)
 
To secure a ship at a pier or in shallow waters sailors rely on anchors. The concept is simple enough — attached by a chain to the ship, the anchor drops into the water and “hooks” itself into the bottom. This done, the ship is secure and will not drift. Yet since you can’t see it underwater, how do you know it’s in place? How do you know the ship is secure? You know because the anchor chain is visibly taunt and securely attached, even underwater. Then the ship holds firmly and that makes for confidence.
 
Despite his sudden and unexpected struggles, Job affirmed his confidence in God when he cried out. His anchor of faith was fixed firmly in the Lord, and though the causes of his problems were not visible, he knew he was secure and immovable. Despite what had happened, he trusted the Lord implicitly.
 
We will probably never experience all that Job did, but we can also have the same confidence in the same God because our faith is secure in him. As the hymn writer put it: “When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil.”

Father, Show me daily how to keep my anchor of faith secure. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Silence is Golden

Then they (Job's friends) sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. Job 2:13 (NIV)

I had met my Swiss husband on the mission field, and knew in theory that Switzerland would be a tremendous adjustment – after all, it wasn't the first time I'd packed up and moved abroad. But when I left the mission field, I was burnt out and wounded; I was "dumped in the deep end" of learning both High German and Swiss German simultaneously, of adjusting to a new culture, of having no friendship circle, of entering a new (State) church culture, and of the pressure of expectations on me from that church to "double my husband's strength" in his ministry there. Plus I was planning a wedding and the things that come with marriage. Needless to say, depression soon followed, lasting three years.  

Throughout the depression I knew that God was faithful, though every time I prayed I felt like I was hitting a brick wall. I discovered firsthand that the best reply in such situations is not advice, no matter how true it may be: "Read your Bible more", "Pray more", "Praise more", "Repent", "Forgive", and all the other things you and I have probably said to others at some point. They are true and intrinsically right, but there are times when the only appropriate answer is silence. Before Job's friends went and opened their big mouths, graduating from good advice to judgement and self-righteousness over time, their best reply was their initial response: they sat on the ground with Job for seven days and nights in silence; feeling with their friend, coming alongside him. Proverbs 17v25 and 18v2 should caution us against speaking before we understand our friend's situation, and 25v11 shows us what words aptly spoken can become!

Lord, help me to understand others and come alongside them in compassion before I speak advice; teach me your responses and tender care in such times. Let your love guide my tongue. Amen.