While cleaning my bedroom the other day, I came across a torn-out pink page of notes I’d taken from a sermon once. I would have forgotten the sermon if I hadn’t found the notes, but seeing them, I remembered it–could picture the chiseled face below gray hair, the glasses, the thoughtful manner of speaking, the southern drawl. The preacher’s name was Ben Martin. The sermon was taken from the book of Job and entitled “The Things I Know.”
Here are the points Ben gave, with my own thoughts added in:
* “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3
I heard recently about a mansion in Florida that was swallowed by a sinkhole–with the owner still inside. I suppose the house was crushed in the swallowing, but when I imagined it, I imagined the house whole underground, with the millionaire wandering through rooms, his oxygen supply leaking fast.
A hopeless situation, to have one’s foundation swallowed.
For those of us who are Christians, we have built our lives on a few bedrock beliefs about who God is and who we are. If our faith is not resting on solid ground, it is in danger of being swallowed by a sinkhole.
Job was a man who lost his riches, his children, and his health in a matter of hours. His friends turned against him with accusations. He reeled with doubt and discouragement and anger towards God–but apparently his foundation was something extraordinary. He gave some statements of things that he knew, things we also must know if we want our foundation of faith to stand firm.
*Job knew God created him. (Job 10:11-12) “Thou [God] hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favor, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.”
*Job knew he was not inferior to those who attacked him. He said to the friends who maligned him, “What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior to you.” (Job 13:2)
My dad says that no one should ever feel that their relationship with God is worth less than that of someone else. All prayers, all hearts are equally valuable and equally heard. We are on an equal level before Him.
On a different aspect of inferiority, I suppose we have all been made to feel at one time or another that our faith is ridiculous and deluded. We are less educated and less intelligent than those who are in a position to know. I like what Mr. Martin had to say about this: “We are not inferior to those who attack us because of our faith. We have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We need not feel inferior to the highest of the high, and we must not feel superior to the lowest of the low. We are beggars who have found bread, and we must bring other beggars to the place where they can find bread.”
* Job knew that man’s judgment has a tendency to err, no matter who they are. He said to his know-it-all friends, “Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me. How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?” (Job 21:27,34)
We must base our beliefs about ourselves and God on the Word, not on men’s faltering facts.
*Job knew he would be justified in spite of past sin. (Job 13:18) “Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.”
*Job knew he would come to death. (Job 30:23) “For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.”
* Job knew that God was sovereign and that everything was in His hands. (Job 42:2) “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.”
Because Job saw God for who he was, he came to Him to repentance. (Job 42:6) “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
*Job knew his present situation was not the end of the story. (Job 19:23-27) “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand in the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”
This is a foundation on which to build a faith.