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Job 1:6-22 MY DUTY WHILE IN MY VALLEY

Intro: It has been said that Job lost everything during his time of affliction. It is true that he lost his family, his finances, his fitness and his friends, yet through it all, he never lost his faith or his relationship with the Lord. When the bottom fell out of Job's life, he still maintained his confidence in the Lord. In doing so, he demonstrates to us what our duty is to God while we pass through the valleys of life.

Everyone in this room goes through difficult times. In fact, there has never been a human life that was free from burdens and cares. This shouldn't surprise us because the Bible tells us that things are going to be this way, Job 14:1; 5:7; John 16:33. Augustine put it this way, "God only had one Son on this earth without sin, but none without suffering."

When these times come upon us, we can react in one of two ways. We can either move toward God, or we can move away from Him. I have seen trials produce both reactions in the people to whom I have ministered over the years. Joseph Lincoln caught this attitude when he said, "Trouble affects folk differently. Trouble are like hot weather, it sours milk, but it sweetens apples." It is my conviction that trials come to help us grow in the Lord, Rom. 8:28; Eccl. 3:10. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that we are expected to carry out certain duties while we are in the valley. What I mean is that our times in the valley are not times to be passive, but they are times to be pro-active. God has certain expectations when it comes to our attitudes and behaviors while in the valleys of life.

For this message, I would like to draw from the experience of Job. I would like to show you that Job performed certain duties while in his valley that stand as a testimony to you and me. I believe that what Job did is what we are supposed to do. As we look into this passage, let me share with you the experience of Job, and in doing so I would like to speak for a while on the thought: My Duty While In My Valley.

I. 1:20 THERE MUST BE A DEVOTION TO GOD

A. Ill. All that Job lost! Many of us would have reacted in anger and frustration. Many would have turned on he Lord and cursed His name. Not Job! His response was go before the Lord in worship. (Ill. He shaved his head and rent his clothes. Both of these acts were signs that Job was in mourning and that he was devastated, but the fact that he worshiped proved that he was not broken,)

B. We ought to ask ourselves what it would take to make us turn on God. When Job considered this, his response is recorded in Job 13:15. Job says that even if the Lord takes his life, he will still trust in the Lord. What about you?

C. We need to remember that the pearl, which is so prized and valued, is the product of suffering. There would be no pearls were it not for pain. So it is in the Kingdom of God. God's brightest stars are those who have endured the most suffering. When trouble comes, be like the vine clinging to the tree. If the wind blows one way, you will be sheltered from its force. If it blows the other way, it will only serve to press you closer to the Lord. In other words, Never quit!

(Ill. What we really need to do is to stop and consider all that Jesus suffered for us and great price that was paid for our redemption. When these things are kept in the forefront of the mind, then it is impossible to quit on the Lord, Isa. 51:1.)

I. There Must Be Devotion To God

II. 1:21-22 THERE MUST BE A DEPENDENCE UPON GOD

A. When Job opened his mouth, it was not to complain or to whine. When He spoke, it was to praise the Lord and to declare his continued dependence upon the power and will of God.

B. When we are traveling through the valley, it would do us well to remember a few truths that are easily forgotten by us Baptist folk. Allow me to refresh your memories this evening.

1. God's ways are not our ways, so we will never figure Him out - Isa. 55:8-9.

2. We can produce nothing through self-effort, so we must trust Him for everything - John 15:5; Matt. 6:33. (Ill. This doesn't mean that we are to sit down and do nothing. It does mean that we are to seek the Lord's will then actively pursue it until the Lord gives us something else to do.

3. We can accomplish nothing through worry - Phil. 4:6-7 (Ill. Mark Twain "I am an old man and have known many troubles, but most of them never happened.") Too often we beg trouble by worrying about things we simply cannot change. Trust is the only option we have, and it is the only option that will work!

4. Every trial, no matter how bad it is, is a good thing for you - Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:18. God is merely molding you in His image.

(Ill. One day a preacher, who had lost his entire family in a fire, was walking through his city, discouraged, depressed and defeated. He was trying for understand God's purpose in allowing him to suffer so great a loss. As he walked, he passed a construction site where a great cathedral was being built. He watched as a stone cutter chiseled a small triangle out of stone. Curios, the preacher asked him what he was doing. The stone cutter stopped his work and pointed to a spot near the top of the towering structure and said, "Sir, do you see that tiny opening at the top of the cathedral?" "Yes", replied the preacher. "Well", said the stone cutter, "I am cutting out this piece down here so that it will fit in up there." In an instant, the preacher realized that this was what God was doing in his won life. He received peace and was able to return to his ministry with a renewed trust in and zeal for the Lord.)

(Ill. In the blackest night, God is working out His plan for your life. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way, "When it is dark enough, men can see the stars." If it takes your walking through a deep, dark valley for you to grow in the Lord, then in the long run it will be worth all the pain and suffering you are called upon to endure.)

C. You can depend on God. He will never fail you nor forsake you, Heb. 13:5. He will come through for you.(Ill. Many Baptist folk live by this motto, "Why trust when you can worry?" Yet, the Bible teaches a far different approach. The Bible asks, "Why worry when you can trust?")

I. There Must Be A Devotion To God

II. There Must Be A Dependence Upon God

III. 2:8-10 THERE MUST BE A DILIGENCE BEFORE GOD

A. While it is true that men are to trust in the Lord for everything, we are still expected to do all we can. Notice that 2:8 finds Job sitting in the ash pile scrapping his sores with a piece of broken pottery. He can't do much, but even in his valley, he is doing all that he can, 1 Cor. 15:58. Never allow your problems and trials to cause you to quit on God. Be diligent in your walk with the Lord and He will surely bless and use you for His glory!

(Ill. A salesman got lost on a side road, so he stopped to ask directions from a ragged and bare-foot man sitting in front of his dilapidated house. After receiving the information he needed, the salesman asked, "How is your cotton coming on?" "Ain't got none," replied the farmer. The traveler continued, "Did you plant any?" To this the man responded, "Nope, afraid of boll weevils." The visitor persisted, "How is your corn doing?" "Didn't plant none. Afraid there wasn't goin' to be any rain." Undaunted, the stranger made still another query, "How are your potatoes?" Again the reply came, "Ain't got none; scared o'potato bugs," Somewhat puzzled, the salesman made one final inquiry, "Really, what did you plant?" The answer was, "Nothin', I just played it safe." Sounds like a lot of Christians doesn't it? Too afraid of what might happen to make anything happen."

B. Notice that Job used a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself. Contained in this image is a very great blessing from the Lord. The lesson is this, those who have been broken can be used by the Lord to help others who are being broken. When you have been through the valley, you know how to help others who are coming along behind you. Remember, when you are in the valley to learn all the lessons which God wants to teach you. Then, when you come out the valley, you will be able to help other. Ill. Psa. 84:6)

I. There Must Be A Devotion To God

II. There Must Be A Dependence Upon God

III. There Must Be A Diligence Before God

IV. 2:10 THERE MUST BE A DECLARATION ABOUT GOD

A. Throughout his ordeal, Job never badmouthed God. He never stopped praising the Lord, even during the darkest hours of his trial. This great faith is on view in 1:21 and 2:10.

B. We would do well to remember that one of the surest ways out of the valley is to exalt the name of the Lord. The saint who learns to praise the Lord even when in the midst of trials and difficulties is a saint who probably isn't aware of the valley! People who focus on their problems are people who have many problems. However, people who focus on the Lord are people walk through their valleys with grace. These people have problems, but their focus is on the Lord and not the valley!

C. Please note that the devil's intentions were to get Job to turn against God, 1:11; 2:5. He squeezed Job expecting to get some old sour, mean and hateful reaction. Yet, every time he applied pressure to Job's life he only produced sweetness and praise to the Lord. Folk, when the devil squeezes us he expects to get lemon juice. He expects us to badmouth the Lord, bellyache, cry, complain, whine and talk about how bad things are. He expects to get the old "Oh woe is me!" attitude. If we could just learn that when the devil puts the squeeze on us, that instead of giving him what he is looking for, we just praised the Lord, pretty soon he would stop squeezing us. Nothing will change your circumstances faster than changing your attitude about your circumstances. If we really believed the Bible, we would shout when hard times came around, because we would know that God is about to do something big in our lives!

Conc: Are things rough around your place right now? Are you in one of life's deep, dark valleys? If so, then I trust you know what to do. You need to bring that need and that burden to Jesus and let Him take care of it. But please, let Him take care of your attitude concerning it as well. Lost friend, you have nowhere to turn in tough times. You need to come to Jesus and receive Him into your life. There is no better time to do that than right now. Whatever the need, will you come to the Lord and let Him have it? He cares and He will fix it, and you, if you will let Him, 1 Pet. 5:7.

Sermon By Alan Carr

 




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