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DEALING WITH LIFE’S WORST-CASE SCENARIOS
Intro: There is an interesting book on the market that tells people how to deal with life’s worst-case scenarios. The name of this book is The Worst-Case Scenario Handbook. It might be something that you would want to look into for yourself. Here are just a few of the chapters contained in this book.
• How to escape from quicksand
• How to hot-wire a car
• How to fend off a shark
• How to escape from a bear
• How to escape from a mountain lion
• How to survive a poisonous snake attack
• How to escape from killer bees
• How to wrestle free from an alligator
• How to deal with a charging bull
• How to land a plane
• How to survive if your parachute fails to open
• How to survive an earthquake
• How to survive when adrift at sea
• How to perform a tracheotomy
• How to take a punch
• How to win a sword fight
• How to jump from a moving car
Now, it is possible that you will never face any of the scenarios I have mentioned. But, it is possible that you could find yourself in the same place that Job found himself. In his mind, the worst thing that could happen had happened. He lets us know that even when life was good and things we going his way, he was always afraid that this very thing would take place. What job faced in his life was his worst-case scenario. What job endured was horrible, but what he learned was priceless. I want us to join Job this morning for a look at some of the lessons that can be learned from his experience. What he learned will help you and me when we face the difficult days of life.
Let’s face it, we all have a worst-case scenario in our minds. That thing that we think would be worse than anything else in life. Sometimes, those very things happen to people. At the very least, there will be times when the bottom will fall out of your life and you will enter the valley of affliction. When this happens, you need to know what to expect and how to react. The book of Job teaches us how to Deal With Life’s Worst-Case Scenarios. You see, there will be scenarios that we will face that will not be covered in the handbook I mentioned, but they are covered exhaustively in the book I hold in my hand this morning. I want to share some of that information with you this morning. So, let’s take a brief journey through Job this morning as we think together about the thought “Dealing With Life’s Worst-Case Scenarios”.
I. THE CHARACTER OF JOB’S LIFE
A. He Lived A Godly Life - (1:1; 1:8; 1:5; 1:20-22; 2:3, 10)
B. He Lived A Good Life - (1:2-3)
C. He Lived A Graced Life - (1:9-11; 2;4-5)
(Note: A life lived for the Lord is thing of beauty! When a person dedicates their life to the Lord, it brings them into a position to experience His grace and blessings in a profound and wonderful way. There is nothing in this world that can compare to a life lived in and for the will of God!
A life lived for Him is a life not wasted, but it is a life of value. It is a life that God can take and use to demonstrate His grace to a dying world, Eph. 2:10; Matt. 5:16. It is a life that He can hold up before Satan, as He did with Job, and say, “Look what I can do through grace!”
The godly life is a precious thing! It points the way to Heaven. It show the world that there is a better path upon which to walk. It sets the example for the young. It is a life well lived!)
(Ill. Dr. M. R. DeHaan used a helpful illustration to communicate the value of holiness. A bar of steel worth $5 can yield any of the following: If made into horseshoes it will be worth $10. Manufacture needles, and the value becomes $350. Use it to create delicate springs for expensive watches and it will yield $250,000. We are like the $5 bar of steel. Our commitment to holiness will determine whether we become Christians of minimal, moderate, or significant spiritual influence. Imagine the value of a godly life in our world today!)
(Note: How would you say your life stacks up against Job’s? Friends, it is possible, and it is the will of God, for every person in this room to live a godly, good and graced life! Are you doing just that?)
II. THE CALAMITIES OF JOB’S LIFE
A. His Calamities Touched His Fortune - (1:14-17)
B. His Calamities Touched His Family - (1:18-19; 2:9)
C. His Calamities Touched His Fitness - (2:1-8)
(Note: Job lived a good and godly life, still calamity came. His was a life blessed and graced by God, but still trouble stalked his life. Our text suggests that even during the good times of life, Job lived in anticipation of his worst-case scenario becoming a reality. Evidently, our friend Job was a worry wart! Ill. Thank God, most of the times our worries are ill-founded! However, there are times when life will bring with it a worst-case scenario. Such is the case in the following story. “A young boy was driving a hayrack down the road when the wagon fell over in front of a farmer's house. The farmer came out, saw the young boy crying, and said, "Son, don't worry about this, we can fix it. Right now dinner's ready. Why don't you come in and eat with us and then I'll help you put the hay back on the rack." The boy said, "No, I can't. My father is going to be very angry with me." The farmer said, "Now don't worry, just come in and have some lunch and you'll feel better." The boy said, "I'm just afraid my father is going to be very angry with me." The farmer and the young boy went inside and had dinner. Afterwards, as they walked outside to the hayrack, the farmer said, "Now, son, don't you feel better after that great meal?" The boy said, "Yes but I just know that my father will be very angry with me." The farmer said, "Nonsense. Where is your father anyway?" The boy said, "He's under that wagon.")
(Note: It would do us good to remember this morning that a good life in not a hedge against trouble! Being godly does not guarantee that we will be free from calamity! We seem to have the idea that when we live right, we are entitled to blessings. This is just not the case! Some of God’s most precious saints have endured the greatest of afflictions! Ill. Paul - 2 Cor. 11:23-28; Daniel - Dan. 6; The Hebrew Three - Dan. 3; David and all the trials of his life! Even the Lord Jesus was called “a man of sorrows.”, Isa. 53:3. Why should we feel that we are to be exempted from the difficulties of life? Remember what the Bible says about the matter, Job 14:1; Job 5:7; John 16:33.)
(Note: regardless of what you expect life to bring along, there is never a place in your life for worry! Worry and needless cares shows a profound lack of faith in the ability of God. In fact, worry is a colossal waste of time! Mark Twain said, “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” )
III. THE CLASSROOM OF JOB’S LIFE
A. He Learned Lessons About The Person Of God - Chapters 38-41
B. He Learned Lessons About The Purposes Of God - Chapters 3-37; 42:1-5
C. He Learned Lessons About The Power Of God - Chapters 38-41; 42:10-12
(Note: While God Himself testified about the godly, good and graced life of Job, God knew there were areas of Job’s life that needed attention. Therefore, to work on these areas, God sent Job to the classroom of affliction. There, this man learned lessons that are not easily forgotten! He learned lessons that most of us need to learn as well. Allow me to share a few of them with you.
1. He learned that no area of life is safe from difficulty or disruption. The lesson in this is that our affections should be set a little higher than this world. Before his trials, Job was in love with God, but he was also in love with his stuff. During his trials, he learned the valuable lesson that God alone should be the object of our love and affection, Matt. 6:19-21. What has your attention and affection this morning?
2. He learned that God’s purpose in trial is not to break us, but to grow us. He does not want to punish us, but to perfect us! Often, the best lessons in life are learned in the furnace of affliction. (Ill. The disciples in the storm, Mark 6; The Three Hebrews in the furnace, Dan. 3; Daniel in the lion’s den, Dan. 6, etc.) None of these would have ever learned what God could do until they were put in a place where they needed Him to do it!
3. He learned that God’s purposes and plans for our lives are often beyond our comprehension, Isa. 55:8-9. What God does and why He does it are things better left with Him! Seeking to understand the reasons and motives of the Lord for what He does and allows in our lives is like trying to understand how electricity works. Our minds have a hard time grasping it, but still we can enjoy it, if we just accept it by faith!
4. He learned that God is absolutely sovereign in all of life - Nothing happens to you or me without His permission, Remember, God’s goal in every situation in life is your good and His glory, Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17. He is in control of every turn of life’s road, Psa. 37:23. Note: when you have God in you leading you, God will always gravitate toward God!
5. He learned that in the end, all things worked out right - The Bible is clear when it tells us that “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.”, Rom. 8:18. In the end, all of life’s up and downs will be perfectly blended into just what God intended for us in the first place. (Ill. A trip to the paint store. When you want a particular, the person will take all kinds of colors you don’t want to give you what you need. God does the same for us!)
IV. THE CONSUMMATION OF JOB’S LIFE
A. It Was A Time Of Personal Repentance - (42:6) - Job had finally come to realize that he hadn’t been perfectly right, because God hadn’t been in absolute first place.
B. It Was A Time Of Particular Revival - (42:7-10a) - Notice that Job repented and was placed in a right relationship with the Lord before the Lord blessed his life again. He didn’t wait on fairer weather to get right with the Lord! He had a revival in his heart while he was still in the valley! God even used him to pray for his four friends! They had done their best to protect God and His holiness from Job’s complaints, but God told them that they had fallen short too! Only Job could intercede for them!
C. It Was A Time Of Powerful Restoration - (42:10b-17) - God gave Job back double all he has lost. God blessed him in a mighty way!
D. It Was A Time Of Profound Reflection - (42:14) - We are told that Job and his wife had 10 more children. Three of them were daughters. We are told their names, and the names Job gave to these girls revealed the condition of his heart.
1. Jemima - (Day or dove) - This name indicates that God had given Job day in place of his night and peace in place of his turmoil.
2. Kezia - (Fragrance) - Indicating that God had replaced Job’s sorrow with the sweet smell of His grace.
3. Keren-Happuch - (Box of eye-paint) - This word was also used to refer to Moses when he came off the mountain with his face aglow with the glory of God. It refers to glory, or brightness. The idea here is that Job is praising God for the fact that God has replaced his wretchedness with glory!
(Note: There are lessons we can learn from Job’s restoration. In fact, it is these lessons which make the valley’s bearable. Let me share them with you briefly this morning.
1. We should not wait until we are out of the valley and on the mountain before we deal with the sins and problems that are in our lives. After all, their removal might be the object of the valley.
2. We must remember that the valleys of life are merely God’s classroom. He is training saints for greater service. He is preparing you to be used by Him in a greater fashion. This always takes place in the valley.
(Ill. A minister was recovering from a dangerous illness, when one of his friends addressed him thus: "Sir, though God seems to be bringing you up from the gates of death, yet it will be a long time before you will sufficiently retrieve your strength, and regain vigor enough of mind to preach as usual." The good man answered: "You are mistaken, my friend; for this six weeks' illness has taught me more divinity than all my past studies and all my ten years' ministry put together.")
3. When restoration has been achieved, look for a way to praise God for the time you spent in your valley. Thank Him for your Jemima, your Kezia and your Keren-Happuch. Regardless of how dismal and dark the valley, He was always there with you as you traveled through, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20.
4. No matter how bad things become, they will not last forever. Therefore, as you travel through your valley, remember that they exit is always just right ahead! Remember, this did not come to stay, but it merely came to pass.
Conc: Job’s worst-case scenario became a reality! When it did, he ran the usual gamut of human emotion, but God patiently worked in Job’s heart to bring him to the place of restoration and usefulness. Friend, I do not know what you might be facing this morning, but I know that you are in one of three places. You are either in a valley, coming out of a valley or going into a valley. That sentence is true of every person here today. But, something else is true as well. If you have the Lord in your life, He is carefully working out His will in you. He doesn’t allow your pain with joy, but He does it to grow you. Ill. Lamentations 3:31-33, “For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Therefore, in your most difficult of days, you can cast you cares onto Him, 1 Pet. 5:7. (Note: The word “cares” is translated “gift” in the margin of the King James Version. Read that way it changes everything. Your burden is your gift from God! It is sent to grow you and to mature you in Him.) If you know Jesus, you can run to Him for shelter from the adverse winds of life.
If you do not know Him, the worst possible scenario imaginable will come to pass in your life. If you are lost, and you stay that way, you will spend your eternity in Hell. Is that what you want? Come to Jesus and He will save your soul today!
What is the worst-case scenario you can imagine? Jesus has a plan to take care of it. Why not bring it to Him this morning and let Him have it? He is far better able to handle it than you will ever be!