The Voice in the Whirlwind

Series: Affliction in Verse

Sermon by David Strain on May 20, 2018

Job 38-41

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Now let me invite you please to take your Bibles in hand and to turn back to the book of Job. We’re going to read all of chapter 38 together and the first two verses of chapter 40. The difference between a gentle wind and a category 5 tornado it the difference between at least the potential of relief on a hot day and the destruction of your home in a single hour. So far in the book of Job, the discussion has been about God’s dealings with Job in his dreadful trials and his interactions with four interlocuters, four conversation partners – Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and as we saw last time, Elihu. And they’ve been, for the most part, you might say like a summer breeze. Sometimes welcome and refreshing in the things that they have shown us, often promising more relief, actually, than they really deliver, however.

But in this penultimate section of the book, all of that is about to change. Now the whirlwind has begun to blow. This is no longer a discussion, you see, about God; now, suddenly, God Himself begins to speak. And Job has at least something of an answer. You will remember that Job has been longing for this moment. He has been lamenting and complaining that God would not face him. Job has demanded a reckoning with the Lord. He’s cried out for a face to face meeting to settle his dispute with God. God, he feels, has been unjust in the suffering that has befallen him. And now he has it. Right? God has come to him and is confronting him. As we’ll see, however, it proves to be much, much more than Job bargained for.

There are actually two speeches from God in this penultimate section of the book. The first, in chapter 38 all the way through chapter 40 verse 2. And the second, beginning in verse 6 of chapter 40 and running through the end of chapter 41. Job replies to the Lord briefly in the first few verses of chapter 40 and again in chapter 42. Tonight, we’re going to focus on God’s Word to Job. And then, for various reasons, we will be taking a break and we will return to deal with that last section of the book of Job later in the summer.

But tonight, we want to think about God’s Word to Job. And I want you to think with me about four things in particular that Job has to learn about God; four truths about God with which he has not yet fully come to terms. Four things to see. First, we’ll think about the faithfulness of God. Then, the wisdom of God. Then, the justice of God. And then, the power of God. These are all on display. There’s more we could say, a great deal more about God’s Word to Job in these chapters, but these four things will hold our attention for the time being. The faithfulness of God, the wisdom of God, the justice of God, and the power of God.

Before we consider them together and read God’s Word, let’s bow our heads once again as we pray.

O Lord, You know our limitations, the limits of our understanding. You know our liabilities, our proneness to sin, to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. You know the limits and liabilities both of the preacher and of the hearer. And so, as we bow before You remembering both our creatureliness and our sinfulness, we cry out to You to rend the heavens and to come down and to grant to us the illumination, that light that by Your Spirit You give to Your people that we may behold in Your Word the truth as it is in Jesus, to the comfort of our hearts and the glory of Your name. So grant to us that light, we pray for Jesus’ sake, amen.

Job chapter 38 at verse 1. This is the Word of Almighty God:

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

 

‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.

 

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know? Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

 

Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

 

Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? It is changed like clay under the seal, and its features stand out like a garment. From the wicked, their light is withheld, and their uplifted arm is broken.

 

Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.

 

Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!

 

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? What is the way to the place where the light is distributed, or where the east wind is scattered upon the earth?

 

Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass?

Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven? The waters become hard like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

 

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth?

 

Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together?

 

Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help and wander about for lack of food?’”

And then chapter 40 at verse 1:

“And the Lord said to Job:

 

Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.’”

Amen, and we praise God for His holy, inerrant Word.

It’s a staple of cop shows. You’ll have seen this moment on cop shows on TV. At some point, the hero is set-up, he’s wrongfully accused, and all the evidence seems to indicate his guilt. And when he’s questioned, he can offer nothing in his own defense except for that classic moment when he pleads with his partner and he says, “I can’t explain, but you know me and you know I didn’t do this!” And of course, the rest of the episode is about the hero's eventual vindication. His basic plea, "You know me, you know my character, you know what's true." That plea, while hardly satisfactory for a jury in a courtroom was all that his partner needs to hear to be reminded that he can be trusted.

Job, remember, has accused God of wrongfully afflicting him. And now, at last, God steps forth to set the record straight. And He does not concede to Job the position of judge or jury. That’s the role Job has sort of assumed for himself and God does not concede that role to Job. He does not subject Himself to scrutiny or provide a final and ultimately complete answer for Job’s questions and dilemma. Instead, He simply says to Job, “You know Me and you know My character. Whatever the evidence you think you have against Me says, remember who I am and in light of who I am, Job, you really ought to know better.”

The Faithfulness of God

And that comes out very clearly if you think with me about the first theme that I want us to notice together in these chapters – the faithfulness of God. The faithfulness of God. Look, first of all, at chapter 38 beginning in verse 1. “The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said…” Or, chapter 40 verse 6, you see the same phrase again, “The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said…” Now just notice carefully the personal name of God used there in our text indicated by the word, “the LORD” in all caps. The last time the personal name of God was used in the book of Job was at the very beginning in the first few chapters, so it sort of brackets and bookends the whole book. When we were given, you remember, back at the beginning, a window into the heavenly courtroom and we heard this dialogue between God and Satan. Now, however, as God turns to address Job directly, we meet Him once again described by His personal name.

The Covenant Name

And that means that the use of the divine name here is incredibly significant. We ought not to skip too quickly past it. Today, of course, names generally mean very little. At best, we choose our children’s names, perhaps, based on a family member for whom they are named or perhaps even simply because we like the sound of the name. But as you probably know, in the Hebrew Bible and in Hebrew culture, names were intended to summarize and to reveal something of the character and the nature of the person named. God’s name is His covenant name. It was the name by which He revealed His unchanging faithfulness to His promises and to His people. You remember in Exodus chapter 3 when God met Moses in the burning bush and He declared to him His name, to reassure Moses in the crisis moment of His people’s great need that the God of their fathers had not forgotten them. In Exodus 34 at verse 6 when Moses cries out, “Lord, let me see Your glory!” God’s name was proclaimed to him, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness.” That’s what the name, “the LORD,” entails – compassion, grace, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

And so when we read here the personal, covenantal name of God in our passage, let’s not zip past it too quickly. It brackets the book, the bookends the whole book of Job, and it’s here to tell us something vital about God that Job has largely overlooked. If you look back for a moment back to chapter 23, you’ll see a little summary of Job’s problem, his desperate problem. Chapter 23, beginning in verse 2. Here’s Job’s stance. “Today, my complaint is bitter. My hand is heavy on account of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him,” speaking of God, “that I might come even to his seat. I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me. Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No! He would pay attention to me. There an upright man could argue with him and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.” So there’s Job’s point of view. He wants to summon God into the dock and cross-examine Him. And yet somewhere in the midst of it all, there is at least still a glimmer of faith and hope, that if he might have an audience with God, he might be reconciled to Him at last.

Well now God finally comes to Job to confront him. And we are being reminded here that while He comes and speaks out of the whirlwind, in all its terrible, dramatic, terrifying power and force, that’s been Job’s experience of God; that’s how Job has perceived Him dealing with him all along. It’s been a catastrophe. It’s been a category 5, blowing through his home and through his life. God comes and speaks to him out of the whirlwinds, and yet we’re being reminded who it is that speaks, even in that moment of extraordinary confrontation, who it is that speaks, who it is that has been dealing with Job all along in all his trials and in all his sufferings. It is the Lord of covenant love who speaks. Listen to Derek Thomas. “Whatever else may be true, God wants us who read this book to be aware that He has not abandoned Job, nor will He, nor can He. And why not? Because He has been bound by a covenant which He has made.” That’s what’s implied in the use of God’s name.

Do Not Lose Sight

We’re being reminded here not to do the one thing that being immersed in suffering tends to lead us to do most readily. We’re being reminded not to lose sight of the faithfulness of God when we don’t get it, when it’s not clear, when we don’t see what possible purpose God could have in our trials. Do not forget He is still, always still “the LORD, the LORD, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love,” covenant love, toward all His people. You may not know how to make sense of things, but you do know Him. And God wants Job and He wants us to come to the place where we’re able to say, “Though I do not know how to make sense of things, I know You, and that is enough.” When the whirlwind strikes, and it will sometime in every Christian life, when the whirlwind strikes, remember the Lord is the one who speaks from its midst. And only those who know the faithful character of God can submit to and endure the storm. The faithfulness of God. Have you lost sight of the faithfulness of God, His covenant love, His resolute, unwavering, commitment to His people? Have you allowed the drama and the darkness of the storm to obscure His character? We’re being called back again to remember who He is, what He is like, to remember His covenant faithfulness.

The Wisdom of God

Then secondly, we are given a lesson here in the wisdom of God. The faithfulness of God and also the wisdom of God. Job, remember, has demanded a tribunal. He wants God in the dock, to prosecute his case against God. He wants God to face cross-examination at his hand. What becomes quickly apparent to Job when God does, at last, come to him in our passage, is that God isn't the one who is going to face interrogation or cross-examination. Is He? God will not step into the stand to be examined and scrutinized by Job. No, it's the other way around actually. Look at chapter 38 verse 2. "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me." The same phrase occurs again in chapter 40 verse 7. "Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you will make it known to me." "Job, you will step into the dock and I will cross-examine you." 

Creator-Creature Distinction

Job appears to have forgotten actually a vitally important distinction that’s fundamental to all sound, Biblical thinking. It is the Creator-creature distinction. Get this wrong and everything else in your Christian life and in your theology will be skewed and distorted. Job has overlooked the fact that we are the work of God’s hands. God is the Lord and there is no other. Job and his desire for justice and vindication has demanded that God give an account of Himself to Job, forgetting actually that we are the ones who must give an account to Him.

God in the Dock

My wife and I once had the opportunity to share the Gospel with an old friend who seemed initially very interested in the Christian Gospel. Her conscience was being pricked. We could sense that she was being stirred and moved. She was seeing her need of a Savior. She found the Gospel compelling. Then, she went off on vacation and she came back and her interest had died away entirely. And it had just gone completely cold. And when we began to probe a little and to ask what’s happened, her reason for rejecting the Gospel was that upon reflection, she had decided she could not believe in a God with so narrow and restrictive a sexual ethic. She found that the Christian vision of morality was intolerably narrow and such a God is not one she had any desire to follow.

You see what she’s done? She has put God in the dock and sat as judge and jury upon Him and dismissed Him as an irrelevance or as a tyrant. Job’s error is as common in our day as it is in every age. We like to remake God in our own image, to reconfigure our ideas of Him to fit our preferences. We want to make God meet our criteria and answer to our norms, to make Him fit our lives comfortably. And we demand that He meet our standards of what is reasonable and right. We want God to step into the dock and face our cross-examination to determine if He meets the standards we’ve set up for Him.

Lesson in Humility

But God is about to teach Job, and He's about to teach us, a vital lesson in humility. He tells Job here what Paul teaches his detractors in Romans chapter 9 at verse 19 and following. Against the total sovereignty of God in salvation, Paul's opponents have said, "Well, if God is sovereign, why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?" You remember Paul's reply. It is the mirror of God's response to Job. "Indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed, will the created thing say to Him who formed it, to the Creator, ‘Why have You made me like this?' Does not the potter have power over the clay from the same lump, to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?'" You've forgotten the Creator-creature distinction. You're not equals and you're not superior to the God who made you. You are the clay and He is the potter. You are the formed thing, the created thing, the creature. He is the Creator. Remember your place. "Who are you, O man, to reply against God?" There are things you will not understand about Him, about His ways, and about His work, and you do not have the right to demand that He explain Himself to you. It becomes the creature not to stand in accusation against the Creator, but rather to bow in submission to the wise ordering of the Lord.

Tour of Creation

And in chapters 38 and 39, God gives an extraordinary resume of His perfect wisdom and asks Job if he can match it. We are taken on a tour of creation, aren't we, in chapter 38 beginning in verse 4 through verse 21. Look there for a moment. God asks Job about the earth. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determines its measurements? Surely you know," He says. In chapter 38 verse 22 and following, He asks him about the heavens. "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow? Have you seen the storehouses of the hail which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? What is the way to the place where the light is distributed or the east wind is scattered upon the earth? Whose cleft a channel for the torrents of rain, for a way for the thunderbolt to bring rain on a land where no man is to satisfy the waste and desolate land and to make the ground sprout with grass?" Or verse 31, "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?”

And in verses 39 all the way through chapter 39 verse 30, He asks Job about the animal kingdom. Look at chapter 39 verse 1. “Did you know the time when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does?” Or chapter 39 verse 19, “Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane?” Verse 26, “Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads its wings toward the south?” “God,” said John Calvin, “is want in a measure to lisp in speaking to us as nurses commonly do with infants.” God stoops down and talks in baby talk that we might begin to understand something of who He is, accommodating Himself to our limits and our creaturely capacity. God is here taking Job and taking us on a tour of His creation and He’s saying, “Look at that! Did you see that? Do you see what I made? How about that storm! Did you see that storm? Look at the thunder. Listen to the thunder. Look at the lightning bolts. What about the snow on the mountains? What about that funny looking creature? Whoever would have come up with such a thing? How about the way light works? Do you understand the complexities of the world that I have made? With My word, I spoke and it came to be!”

The Smallness of Man

Here’s vital pastoral advice for any suffering Christian. Look at the wonder and the complexity and the beauty and the grandeur and the intricacy and the variety of the created world around you. Get out and get a sense again of how small you are. Have a look at the Pleiades and the belt of Orion and the great bear and remember again that there is a great deal that neither you nor I have even the beginnings of an understanding of. And so when you ask you, “Why me?” question of the Lord and you find yourself shouting, “I don’t understand!” at the heavens, remember the lesson Job was being taught, that all creation ought constantly to teach us – not understanding is part of what it means to be a creature. You don’t know, and maybe you will never know. God doesn’t answer Job’s, “Why me?” questions, does He? Instead, He asks Job a barrage of questions of His own and they all drive home the foolishness of Job and the wisdom of God; the littleness of Job and the vastness of God. When we don’t understand, we do need to keep ahold of the fact that not understanding is part of what it means to be a creature. Of course you don’t understand! You’re not God! God the Lord, He knows. And remembering who we really are, in the world and in the universe that He has made and in relation, especially to Him, is something we easily forget and badly need to hold onto. Because He is the Lord, you can trust Him, even when you do not understand His ways.

Part of Satan’s strategy – you remember back in Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve – it was to suggest that Adam and Eve ought to be like God. You remember? “You will be like God,” he said, “if you’ll only transgress God’s commandments.” They were to reject God’s Lordship, take matters into their own hands, eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And Adam and Eve, when they did it, they were saying in effect, “We reject the right of God to determine what good and evil is and we claim that right for ourselves.” The instinct that wants God to explain Himself in our own private courtroom is another manifestation of that very same impulse where we want to collapse the Creator-creature distinction. We don’t want God to rule over us. We want to be God. We want to be in charge. And if God has any place at all, it is to be nothing more than our cosmic servant who, when trials come and difficulties come our way, we can ring a bell and summon to our aid. Part of the path to peace, actually, in the midst of trials, is to climb down from the throne and to take our place in the dust as mere creatures once again and to enthrone the Lord as the only wise God who stoops down to explain something of His sovereignty and wisdom and power in all His ways in His holy Word and in the things He has made. Not so that we might fully understand Him, but that we might remember He knows and we don’t; we can trust Him because He is God and we are not.

The Justice of God

The faithfulness of God. The wisdom of God. Then, notice quickly the justice of God. Chapter 40 at verse 8. “Will you ever put me in the wrong? Will you ever condemn me that you might be in the right? Have you an arm like God and can you thunder with a voice like his? Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourselves with glory and splendor. Pour out the overflowings of your anger and look on everyone who is proud and abase him; look on everyone who is proud and bring him low. Tread down the wicked where they stand. Hide them all in the dust together. Bind their faces in the world below. Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.” Let that last line sink in for a moment. “If you can do all of that, Job, then I will acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you. Job, if you really do want to be a cosmic judge, understand that is a double-edged sword that cuts both ways. If you can be a cosmic judge, well then surely you can deliver yourself. If you can put Me in the dock and you can take the position of King and Lord, you have no need of a Rescuer. Go ahead, see if you can save yourself.”

You can’t have it both ways, you see. If we want God to be our Rescuer and we want God to be accountable to us, we want God to save us but we also want God to dance to our tune; God is saying to Job, “You can’t have it both ways. If you are truly Judge and King and Lord, well then you don’t need a Rescuer. Let’s see how you get on.” Some of us in this room have wasted many years trying to do exactly that. And the Lord has brought us to the end of ourselves, in great pain and in great trial. It’s been a difficult realization to see how utterly vain and empty and bankrupt the effort has been to be King and God in our own private world and therefore to save ourselves. We’ve come to the realization that it just can’t be done. It just can’t be done. Not only do we need a Rescuer, but we need to bow down to the only God who can rescue us. And so Job is summoned to remember the justice of God. God will be Judge, and because He is Judge, He can be a Savior to those who need Him.

The Power of God

And then finally, notice the power of God. Chapter 40 verses 15 to the end of chapter 41. There are these two mysterious creatures. They have appeared a couple of times in the book of Job, Behemoth and Leviathan. And a great deal of ink has been spilt over the exact identification of these two monsters. The most common approach by evangelicals is to identify them with something like a hippopotamus or a crocodile. Others have pointed out, however, the similarity to the supernatural beasts to the ancient mythology of the pagan nations amongst whom Job lived. And when they appear in Scripture, they’re used usually as metaphors for Satan and his minions. But whether they appear in the book of Job as images of the devil or whether they are real beasts is really beside the point. You see, the two chapters are declaring either way that God is mightier than they. Behemoth and Leviathan are depicted as the most ferocious, the most powerful of God’s creation.

Power and Might

And nestled right in the description, in the middle of the description of these two creatures, God makes this point. Chapter 40 verses 10 and 11. Look there, please. Chapter 40 verses 10 and 11, "No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? Who has first given to me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine." Whether these are images of the animal world at its most terrifying and untamed or images of Satan in his malice and destructive power, the point is the same. Behemoth and Leviathan are God's creatures. "The devil," as Martin Luther famously said once, "The devil is God's devil." You see, God rules them all, the natural and the supernatural, the principalities and the powers and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. God is the Lord who reigns in sovereign majesty and in absolute power. The apostle Paul picks up on that language that is used in Job at the end of Romans chapter 11. Doesn’t he? Romans 11:33-36, “Who has preceded me that I should repay him? Who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Who has given to him that it should be repaid to him? For of him and through him and to him are all things to whom be the glory forever. Amen.” In Job, that language is used of God’s power over the natural order. In Romans 11, it’s used of God’s sovereignty over the unfolding of His purposes for salvation to the ends of the earth. But either way, the message is clear; it is the same. He is the Lord in sovereign power and in absolute might.

Right Perspective

The message in Romans and in Job is the same. It’s an invitation to get our perspective right, to remember that the Lord is strong and mighty and I am not, and neither are you. The Lord is in control, and you and me, we are not in control. Some of us have a hard time believing that. I have a hard time believing that sometimes. I’m not in control. That’s good news; that’s not bad news, that’s good news. What a mess I would make if I were in charge. Praise the Lord that I am not and He is! We need to learn with the apostle Paul to bow before the sovereign Lord in our trials as well as in our triumphs and to give Him glory. “There is a rule in the kingdom of God,” writes one commentator, “which runs counter to natural law. In order to grow up spiritually, we shall need to grow downwards. To grow up into Christ, we shall need to grow down into lowliness or humility. As Packer put it, ‘Christians grow greater by getting smaller.’” Christians grow greater by getting smaller.

Are you growing greater and greater in your own eyes and smaller and smaller before God? Have you learned that great lesson that Job is being taught by the Lord in these concluding chapters of his book – that God is great and we are not. God is wise and we are foolish. God is mighty and we are weak. He is sovereign. He is Lord. He is the Creator, we are but creatures. And actually, that is great news because it means we don’t have to have it. God’s got it. We don’t have to have it. He’s in control and we can trust Him. What a relief! What a relief! What a burden is taken from our shoulders to make it all make sense, to make it all work, to find all the answers, to be in charge. What a relief!

You remember how the Lord Jesus, as the apostle Paul puts it in Philippians chapter 2, “humbled Himself and made Himself of no reputation and became a servant and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” Remember who it is that takes that mighty action on our behalf. It is the same God that confronts Job here – the God of infinite power and glory. The God of infinite wisdom and sovereignty. The Creator, the Lord, high and lifted up, the train of whose robe fills the temple, before whom the angels veil their faces and their feet and sing in adoration and wonder. It is this God who Himself steps into the depths of suffering in the Lord Jesus Christ and bears our reproach to reconcile us to Himself. Here is God the mighty Lord, exercising His sovereignty to rescue you. You remember what God said to Job. “If you really want to be Judge and King and God, well then you can save yourself. But if you will have Me as I really am and learn to bow before Me, I will be your Rescuer. I will be your Rescuer. You can trust Me.” And He kept His Word in sending His Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus. Look at the cross. Look at Christ. See what He has done and learn to trust Him again, especially in your trials. Learn to trust Him again.

Let’s pray together.

Father, we thank You for the Lord Jesus. What a perfect Savior. We thank You that He is the mighty God, the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, the sovereign, omnipotent King, made a man bearing our sorrows and enduring our curse and securing our redemption. O Lord, we try, we confess, we try to be in charge. We think we can hold You accountable for life working out according to our timetable and according to our plan. Help us, all of us, to remember we’re not meant to be in charge. You’re the sovereign God; we are but the creature. You are the mighty Creator. And actually, though we must relinquish this illusion of control and learn to acknowledge Your true, sovereign control, actually that is such great news because it means that if we are not King and God in our own world, we don’t have to save ourselves. Instead, we can look to the One in whom You’ve provided salvation for us – in the Lord Jesus Christ. So help us please, all of us, to do that, for we ask it in His name. Amen.

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