When You Are in a Strait-Jacket : Sermons from the Book of Job

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-09-17
  • Publisher: Textstream
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The book contains sixteen sermons from the book of Job. I take something as horrible as Job's condition, and I compare it with something as totally constraining as a straitjacket. The book traces Job through the many seasons of his situation and will help people realize that, while they may indeed have some extremely difficult times, they too can find some hope and solace with God, as did Job.


When You Are In A Strait-Jacket Sermon 1: Asking The Wrong Questions By Rev. Dr. James D. Peters, Jr. "Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?' So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'Does Job fear God for nothing?'" (Job 1:8-9 NKJV) The questions from Satan to God about Job are brutally frank. For clarity, let me read them from one of the modern language versions of the Bible. The Good News Bible, Today's English version translates this passage this way. Satan replied, Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it? You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country. But now suppose you take everything he has. He will curse you to your face!" (Job 1:9-11 GNT) Here at the beginning of the story of Job, we find, in Satan's first encounter with God, some very interesting questions being asked. Unfortunately, they are the wrong questions. To the probing mind of the inquiring student, there is the feeling that there can be no wrong questions. But that is not so in everyday life. There can be wrong, damaging, improper questions. The one asking the question here is Satan himself. He is more than just the spirit of evil, but is the enemy of every person who claims kinship in the family of God. The wrong questions are those which impugn your integrity. Wrong questions insinuate that your motives are not pure. He is saying, Lord, you give Job everything. How do you know that his motives are right? I call this asking the wrong questions. This sermon, as we look deeply into the options and answers when you are in a strait-jacket, delves deeply into the problems, the great dangers and how to break the habit of asking the wrong questions. I have three points. I. Things You Ought To Know About Satan 1. Satan is no dummy, and Satan is shrewd. He is cunning, slick, and conniving. He won't come directly at you as an ugly creature, in a red suit with a long tail. Oh no. If you are looking for an ugly devil you will be fooled. He will sneak into your presence, into your life, into your home, on your job, approaching you on your blind side. He will catch you where you are weak. He has been around a long time and he knows all of the tricks. Satan is smart, and well trained. He can think things out. He determines which weapons to use against you, to how reach you where you are vulnerable. The story is told of Satan being asked to give up some of the weapons in his arsenal. The one which he refused to give up was discouragement. With this, he said, I can tamper with people's faith. With this, I can start trouble in church or in the halls of Congress. With this I can take people to the brink of suicide. 2. Satan has been around. He is a much traveled personification of evil from the foundation of the world. God asked Satan "where have you been?" His answer was, moving to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it. From that, I surmise that his answer was right. In my opinion, he was in the Garden of Eden convincing Eve to eat the apple. I also surmise that he told Abraham not to offer Isaac as a burnt offering to God. He probably interfered with Isaac. He more than likely connived with Jacob, inducing him to deceive his father and to steal his brother's birthright. Don't you think that he got Moses to spend some time looking around to see who was looking, before he killed a man? Here are some more examples. He helped ten of the twelve spies to bring back a false report. He made Elijah afraid and caused him to run from Jezebel. He made Elisha so arrogant that he would not come out of the house after Naaman had come many miles to see him. You see, he has been around throughout history. When Jesus went into the wilderness to fast and pray, Satan was there to taunt him. And, I am sure that when Hitler planned the unfathomable evil which led to the Holocaust and death of more than six million Jews, Satan was there. And when the horrible institution of slavery was allowed in the United States of America, in this new Republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, Satan had to be there. 3. In this scripture text for this sermon, when the bargain was made which put Job in this strait-jacket, it was not Job who asked the wrong questions. Job was not a party to the whole conversation or decision which would affect his life so deeply. It was Satan who asked the wrong questions. Why then do I suggest that human beings have a propensity for asking the wrong questions. You see, Satan has people working for him. When people seem to have the same mindset of Satan, they spend time working like he works. Just like Satan is restless, people working for him get just like him. When you see people who are always roaming, never satisfied, seldom happy, you wonder how they got like that. Well, possibly they got so close to Satan that they became like him. Satan wanted to make light of, run down, and criticize any good which Job accomplished. Satan, like those who follow after him today, believe that you can build yourself up, make yourself look good, by tearing someone else down. Don't you know people like that? Have you ever been like that? Sadly there are people who are so basically evil that they are always discontent and complaining. If you look for the worst in people, you will see only the worst in them. But, if you look for the best in people, that's what you will find.

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