Sunday, March 12, 2006

2/5/06

The School of Preaching Lectures in Karns are fast approaching – March 5-8. The theme this year will be "Jesus the Master Teacher." For more info you may contact the church office at 865-691-7444. Everyone is welcome. You don't have to be a preacher to attend. Monday – Wednesday Sessions start at 8:30 a.m. and continue to noon after which lunch is served at no cost. Sessions resume at 1:30 and conclude with a question and answer forum around 4:30. Evening session begins with congregational singing at 7:00 pm with lesson at 7:30. The evening meeting closes at 9:00. Below is a sermon taken from the book, which will be available at the lectureship. This lecture is at no cost to the hearers.

Trusting God when Dismayed by Darkness Clarence Deloach - E. Tenn. School of Preaching Lectures pp. 32-36

I. Introduction
A. We read Job knowing the end of the story - Job didn’t know what was happening.
1. In chapt. 1 we find a great contest going on between God and Satan.
2. Satan had slandered the character of God and the integrity of his servant Job.
B. There are two kinds of trials (Jas. 1:12-16)
1. James describes one of them as TESTS - as one would try out a vehicle. These are sent of God to perfect and mature us. These cause us to stand (v. 12)
2. Then there is a TEMPTATION to sin. God does not solicit evil. Satan brings misery in one’s life to cause a man to stumble.
3. We may think it strange that a God who loves his children would permit such trials but God knows that each kind of trial has a purpose in our spiritual development. One causes us to stand the other to fall, One brings hope the other misery. As his children we need to know these things so we do not fail the tests which ever one we are under at the time.
4. Job said, “But he knows the way that I take: when He has tried me, I will come forth as gold” (23:10).
C. As we look at the story of Job one thing stands out - Job was in the DARK.
1. He did not know like we do about the charge Satan had made before God (1:6)
2. He did not know he was the subject of conversation - he was in the dark!
3. Picture if you will waking up one morning and heading off to work to discover you have been fired, dejected, you come home to find your house had been broken into and all valuables taken, as you stand there in the cluttered mess a deputy arrives at your door and tells you the horrible
news that all your children were killed in a tragic automobile accident. After which you receive a call from your doctor telling you about some inconsistencies in your blood work.
4. It would make any person wonder, “Why me? What did I do?” That which would make the average person give up on God made Job closer to his God so he could discover the 'Why'.
D. Job wants to hear from God to tell him face-to-face what charges he has against him (10:1-3).
1. We must realize that strong persons can weaken in the faith (2 Cor. 4:8, 9).
2. We must never underestimate the power of strain and pressures which stalk us (Col. 3:2).
3. Even Jobs breach of patience was revealed for our learning - (God never whitewashes his servants).

II. Though Jobs plight was dark, there were others who experience the dark night of the soul.
A. Habakkuk.
1. Here is a prophet who was appalled by the measure God took to correct his people.
2. He knew the wickedness of his people was great but could not understand why God would send a nation more wicked than Judah to chastise her for disobedience. It was a dark night of the soul. It was, as he saw it, a moral problem.
3. But God assured Habakkuk that the ‘just will live by his faith’ and that they must patiently wait for Jehovah’s work to be accomplished.
B. David had bouts of despair and darkness of soul. (Ps. 10:1; 13:1).
1. As he was being hunted by his enemies he asked, “I will say to God my Rock, why have you forgotten me? (Ps. 42:9) and see his tears (42:3).
C. Even Moses became so despondent that he asked God to take his life (Numb. 11:10ff). Elijah wished to die, Jeremiah came to a point of noting his tears as a river. Paul was even ‘despaired for his life’ and John the Baptist while being overcome with depression in jail mused if Jesus was really the Christ.
D. If great Bible characters experienced hopelessness of the soul, this darkness of despair, this blackness of night who are we to think that we are immune of such human emotions in the Christian age?
1. One may read of the great late president Abraham Lincoln having great bouts of depression. Even Winston Churchill, the great English Statesman was often smitten with depression calling it a “black dog that followed him around.” The spiritual reformist Martin Luther became so depressed that he went to his room and would not come out. His wife, Cathy, tried to coax him out, but he refused. She put on a black dress, black veil, and black gloves and went in his room dressed for a funeral. He asked, ‘Cathy who has died?’ She said, “Martin, God is dead.” He was shocked. “Cathy that is blasphemy!” “Yes,” she said “and it is blasphemy for you to be living as though He is dead.” That is what it took to get him up and out and living like God is alive. Afterwards, he wrote the great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”

III. The cries of utter dispair were heard from the lips of the man of patience.
A. Have you found yourself saying something like this:
1. Job 6:2, 3, 11, 21; 7:3, 11.
2. In his perplexity and darkness he wanted answers but he had no one to represent him (9:32, 33)
3. In 23:3, 4 he expressed his longing: Later in the same chapter, he expressed his futility in finding Him (23:8, 9).

IV. Our Darkness can be turned to light because we have a mediator.
A. O. T. is made of three primary things:
1. Unexplained ceremonies.
2. Unsatisfied longings.
3. Unfulfilled prophecies.
B. In the N.T. things are different - we have a mediator.
1. W.T. Hamilton said, “If we know the Who we can understand the What.”
2. The story of Job reminds us that God’s delays are not God’s denials, and God is not merely for us, he will deliver us! We must remember the final outcome of Job's situation (42).
C. I suppose what needs to be asked, is, ‘Can you trust God when submerged in suffering, when forsaken by friends or dismayed by dark despair?’
1. The answer is, “Yes you can!” - If you take Job’s approach of faith and conviction, you may shut the slanderous mouth of your accuser, the Devil.

CONCLUSION
A. Isaiah encourages us once again by saying these words (50:10).
B. Are you walking in darkness? Trust in the Lord. Lean not unto your OWN understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him; and he will lift you up.
C. And as Job said in the ancient days -, “But he knows the way that I take: when He has tried me, I will come forth as gold” (23:10).

D. Let us, as Job, remain true to our integrity. We may say things that we regret but in all his misery he clung to his faith and his God. (Psa. 18:3).

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