Sermon Quotes: "The Lament of Job"

“Job 3 is a very important chapter for contemporary Christianity. There is a version of Christianity around that is shallow, trite, superficial, ‘happy clappy’. It is a kind of Christianity that, as has been said, ‘would have had Jesus singing a chorus at the grave of Lazarus.’ We have all met it-easy triumphalism. We sing of God in one song that ‘in his presence our problems disappear,’ in another that ‘my love just keeps on growing.’ Neither was true for Job in chapter 3, and yet he was a real and blameless believer. The despair of Job 3 is the authentic experience of a man affirmed by at the start (1:8;2:3) and affirmed by God at the end (42:7). We need to remember that. It is very surprising, for Job 3 is a dark chapter. So we go with Job into his dark lament.” Christopher Ash

“Job is not arguing a point; he is trying to understand his experience. He is also trying to retain his lost friendship with God. Scholars who find his volcanic outburst in the dialogue utterly different from the tranquility in the prologue overlook the fact that nowhere does Job bewail the loses of chapter 1 or the illness of chapter 2. In this he is utterly consistent. His concern from the beginning to the end is God; not his wealth or health, but his life with God. It is because he seems to have lost God that he is in such torment.” Francis Anderson

“Now we are taken inside Job’s heart and made to feel his anguish. The cause of his pain is not so much his loss or bereavement, his illness or his wife’s tempting words. It is much more the absence and silence of God which troubles him now. He cannot understand what has happened-what God has allowed to happen.” David Atkinson

“A true Christian may be taken by God through times of deep and dark despair. This may happen to a man or woman who is affirmed by God as a believer before the darkness, who remains a believer in the darkness, and who will finally be indicated by God as a believer after the darkness. He or she may be taken through this darkness even though he or she has not fallen into sin or backslidden from faith in Jesus Christ. This is a very important truth.” Christopher Ash

“In the darkness we have a choice that is not really there in better times. We can choose to serve God just because he is God. In the darkest moments we feel we are getting absolutely nothing out of God or out of our relationship to him. But what if then-when it does not seem to be paying or benefitting you at all-you continue to obey, pray to, and seek God, as well as continue to do your duties of love to others? If we do that-we are finally learning to love God for himself, and not for his benefits. And when the darkness lifts or lessens, we will find that our dependence on other things besides God for our happiness has shrunk, and that we have a new strength and contentment in God himself. We’ll find a new fortitude, unflappability, poise, and peace in the face of difficulty.” Tim Keller

“If you ask, ‘Why is this or that happening?’ no light may come, for ‘the secret things belong to the Lord our God (Deu 29:29); but if you ask, ‘How am I to serve and glorify God here and now, where I am?’ there will always be an answer.” J.I. Packer