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God Finally Speaks

Jul 07, 2024 | John Talcott

God Finally Speaks

One of the things that I love about teaching from the Bible is that it is a record of men and women throughout history who have had encounters with the living God. And so, within the sixty-six books, the 1,189 chapters, and 31,102 verses, we find stories of people meeting God, walking with God, and doing life with God. And as we explore the Scriptures, we too discover the many unique ways that God interacts with us, and so we want to be prepared and attentive, leaning in and listening, expecting to hear from God.

In fact, right now, someone somewhere is having an encounter with God for the first time. In the same way, someone else is encountering God for the hundredth time and that is exciting because you never know when he’s going to show up, where he is going to lead you, but we need to be prepared. Because God is always reaching out to us, helping us, speaking, loving, caring, and interceding for us. The Bible says,

“God does this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

In other words, God is always drawing us to himself, giving us fresh encounters with himself, and leading us back into a relationship with himself.

We see this all through Scripture as he is walking with Adam in the garden, speaking to Moses from a burning bush, or leading the children of Israel through the wilderness. The Bible tells us,

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light…” (Exodus 13:21).

And so, God loves you and wants a relationship with you, to walk with you through life, and to dwell with you.

Therefore, you are pleasing to God when you pray, trusting that he hears you, and walking according to his will. He loves it when you read your Bible and let him speak into your life, because he is a speaking God. From the very beginning of time God has been speaking. In the beginning he said,

“Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).

And in the past God spoke through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days the Bible says,

“He has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:2).

And so, God doesn’t love you because you pray and read your Bible, he loves you because he is love, it’s his nature to love.

But when we are still before God, coming to him in faith, praying and reading our Bibles, we are posturing ourselves, positioning ourselves to hear from him and that pleases him. And so, we want to have ears to hear what God has said in the past through the prophets, we want to hear what he said through his Son Jesus, but even more so, we want to hear what he is saying to us today. Because as disciples, followers of Jesus, he is our teacher, our good Shepherd, and he said in John chapter one,

“The sheep listen to his voice” (John 1:3).

And so, are you listening to his voice today, are you posturing yourself in that place where you are able to be still and listen. He wants us to hear him and follow him because we know his voice.

I want to illustrate this for you this morning from the book of Job. We are going to pick up this story towards the end of the book; and so before we read the passage I want to give you the context. Otherwise, it will be like walking into a movie theater two hours late and only getting to see the last 15 minutes of the movie. And so, I want to try to summarize the first 37 chapters of the book of Job before he has his first encounter with God.

The book opens telling us that Job lived in the land of Uz, Southeast of the Dead Sea, and that not only was he blameless and upright, fearing God and shunning evil, but that he was a very wealthy man, he was a prominent man,

“He was the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:3).

But within a matter of verses, this righteous man, lost his children, lost his wealth, and lost his health all because he became the target of a scheme of Satan. In his anguish his wife gave him no support, his friends condemned him, and in addition to all of that, God was silent and seemed to be ignoring Job.

In spite of great affliction, Job maintained his integrity towards God, at least for a short period of time, before he began to confront the Lord about the injustice of his situation. He says in chapter 9, verse 23,

“When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent” (Job 9:23).

And many of us have found ourselves identify with Job and questioning God when we experience great affliction; but we must keep in mind that the book of Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible. And so, because he lived before Moses, he didn’t have a Bible, he didn’t have a pastor to offer spiritual guidance, and he didn’t even have the Holy Spirit to strengthen him and lead him into the truth. And so, it is understandable that he would question God as he is lamenting and crying out in misery because he was limited in his spiritual understanding of the things of God.

However, all of that is about to change, because finally God speaks, and he answers Job out of the storm. In other words, as Job is sitting there suffering and enduring his own personal storm, suddenly the skies darken, there is a heavy rain and a blowing wind, and God speaks out of a violent storm.

“He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:1-3).

Now, this is interesting, because whether God himself was in the storm, or if he used the storm to get Job’s attention, whatever the reason he spoke to him when he wasn’t expecting it.

Certainly, each of us have had our own experience, but God will often speak to us when we are least expecting it. Sometimes he speaks to us in the shower, or while we are walking down the road, or as we are driving in the car, but God speaks to us at many times and in various ways (Hebrews 1:1).

I am reminded of how God spoke to the prophet Elijah, but it was entirely opposite of the way that he spoke to Job. In first Kings, chapter 19, the Lord said to Elijah,

“Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by” (1 Kings 19:11).

Suddenly, a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks. After the wind there was an earthquake, and after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire. But the Bible says,

“After the fire came a gentle whisper... a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:12-13).

I would imagine that with as many people are sitting here, each one of you has a different story of how God has spoken to you in the past. Maybe he spoke to you in the midst of a storm, a health crisis, a financial or relational disaster. Maybe it wasn’t something so powerful, but he spoke to you with the gentle whisper. And whatever it was, no matter how he spoke to you, one thing I know is that God whispers on the mountaintop just like he shouts in the valley.

Maybe some of you can relate to Job, because the voice of God you heard was just a whisper. In fact, Job said,

“How faint the whisper we hear of him" (Job 26:14).

It may just be a whisper, but the truth is that God is never silent. It may be difficult to hear his voice when you are in the storm of sorrow, depression, and disaster, but he continues to speak at different times and in different ways. And he doesn’t stand far off, remaining distant, but he draws close to us and from the very beginning he has revealed himself so that his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

And so, even though Job didn’t have the Scriptures, the Jewish traditions, he didn’t have any excuse because God’s invisible qualities have been clearly seen in Creation. But without the Scriptures, he had nothing to base his knowledge of God, and so when God speaks to Job out of the storm, the first thing he mentions in verse two is how Job is speaking without knowledge. He said to him,

"Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge” (Job 38:2)?

In other words, with a gentle reprimand God begins this dialogue with a question because he wants to talk. In fact, over 50 times in the Bible we read about hearing God’s voice and Jesus said,

“The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8:47).

And so, maybe you might say, “Well, how is that? I believe!”

And it’s because faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard from the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

And so, “whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).

And you heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice (Deuteronomy 4:12). And so, the Holy Spirit warns us,

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15).

And so, Job had been making groundless accusations of God, lamenting his situation, when God responded saying that his words were without knowledge. And then he says, “Get yourself together, stand up, get up on your feet, because I’ve got some questions for you.”

And so, the Lord invites him to enter into a dialogue with him, and that is important because every relationship thrives on conversation whether human or divine. And what God was about to say to Job is really a personal introduction to his Creator because he says,

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” (Job 38:4-5).

In other words, since you know so much, “Who came up with the blueprints and measurements for the earth’s foundation? “Tell me, if you understand.”

“On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together, and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:6-7).

Job was confronted with the reality of his smallness, his insignificance, because he wasn’t there, he couldn’t understand it, and so how could he hope to advise God now?

The Lord presents Creation to Job in terms like the construction of a building with a foundation and cornerstone. But he doesn’t stop there, he continues with the illustration of childbirth but again Job was not there in the delivery room when he created the oceans, seas, and lakes. In other words, less than subtly he hints at his sovereignty over all things, he takes him to the birthing room, and he asked him,

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt” (Job 38:8-11).

In other words, if Job couldn’t possibly understand the works of God’s Creation, how could he ever possibly understand the depth of God’s mind and his character to question his motives and intentions?

Now, Job had lost everything, he was lamenting his situation, he cried out to God about the injustice of it all, and he had legitimate questions, but God didn’t even address Job’s suffering and pain. I want you to notice what God did, like Job was a child he redirected him so that Job would recognize his sovereignty and creative power. God’s response was not because he was uncaring, but he was revealing himself because Job had been making groundless accusations about a God that he knows little about.

I am reminded of that Pharisee named Saul who when converted became the great apostle Paul. He could certainly identify with Job because he said of his ignorance of God,

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).

And so, even though God did not directly address Job’s suffering, he was enlightened, and something happened in his heart as a result of hearing from God. Because when we hear God speak to us, we are encountering God himself, and so whether he speaks to us out of the storm, through other people, through Scripture, through a sermon, through prayer or worship, when we hear a word from God, we have encountered the presence of God.

Job was transformed, his mind was renewed, because he had heard from God; and to hear from God is comforting, but his presence is even greater. And so, if we fast-forward a couple chapters to chapter 42, we find Job telling God,

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6).

In other words, Job went from natural revelation, preconceived notions about God, from hearing opinions about God, to having a personal life-changing encounter with God. And so, he repents, he turns away from his ignorance, and he turns towards the living God who has revealed himself.

You see, the presence of God changes your perspective of God as the psalmist said in the Spirit,

“I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people” (Psalms 22:6).

In other words, when we move from hearing about God, to having a personal encounter with God, we are humbled and our lives are never the same. Job said, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” because he had an encounter with the one true God, the living God, Creator of the universe.

My prayer is that each of us, as we leave here today would be people who truly know God, because we have had a personal encounter with his goodness and his loving presence.

And so, my question for you today is this, “Have you heard God speak to you? If you haven’t, have you ever taken the time to be still in his presence? Humbling yourself in total surrender, like Job despising your flesh, and trusting him to deliver you, to bring you out of the birthing room, so that you can say with confidence “I have heard from God, I have had an encounter with the living God, and I have been born again.”

Would you receive this Word today? Receiving Jesus for yourself, because the Bible promises,

“All who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Would you receive this word, receiving Jesus for yourself, because when the word is preached, when the word of Christ is heard, when it gets in your heart and the glory comes in, it will drive out sin, you will be saved, and you will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

I am talking about unleashing the presence of God in your life, receiving the fullness of his glory, so that you are filled with the Holy Spirit; because the Bible says,

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

You see, there is nothing like a word from God when you are suffering. You may have doubts, you may have some questions, and all of a sudden God will speak. And if you have ears to hear, his word will break yokes in your life, it will release you from bondage, because it sets the captives free.

And so, all you need is a word from God, just a word from God; because as the psalmist said,

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalms 73:26).

The presence of the Lord fills us with joy in our time of trouble because he is our comfort in affliction. He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

When you feel like you can’t handle anymore, just lean into him and let his presence and his Word be everything that you need.

Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Ministry Pass, PC Study Bible, Preaching Library, and Sermon Central. Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

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