DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Is There Goodness Left In Life?
 

Is there a good end to all that is wrong in the world?

1. Have Faith In God Despite Bad Events.

Job 1:1-5
1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.
2 He had seven sons and three daughters,
3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
4 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom.


VERSE: There was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.
1)

We can have faith in God's goodness despite our circumstances.

As we see calamity and suffering in the book of Job, we must remember that we live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior is not always punished.

When we see a notorious criminal prospering or an innocent child in pain, we say, "That's wrong." And it is. Sin has twisted justice and made our world unpredictable and ugly.

The book of Job shows a good man suffering for no apparent fault of his own.

Sadly, our world is like that. But Job's story does not end in despair.

Through Job's life we can see that faith in God is justified even when our situations look hopeless. Faith based on rewards or prosperity is hollow.

To be unshakable, faith must be built on the confidence that God's ultimate purpose will come to pass.

Genesis 50:18-21
18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God?
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
21 So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children." And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.


VERSE: As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people. (Genesis 50:20)

In spite of evil, God is working out his good purposes.

When Joseph became a slave, Jacob thought he was dead and wept in despair.(Genesis 37:30).

Genesis 37:30
He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?"

But eventually God's plan allowed Jacob to regain not only his son, but his grandchildren as well. Circumstances are never so bad that they are beyond God's help.

Jacob regained his son. Job got a new family
10-17).

Job 42:10-17
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.
11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
12 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.
13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters.
14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.
15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.
17 And so he died, old and full of years.


Mary regained her brother Lazarus (John 11).

We need never despair, because we belong to a loving God.

We never know what good he will bring out of a seemingly hopeless situation.

In Joseph's life, God brought good from the brothers' evil deed, Potiphar's wife's false accusation, the cupbearer's neglect, and seven years of famine.

Joseph's experiences taught him that God brings good from evil for those who trust him.

Do you trust God enough to wait patiently for him to bring good out of bad situations?

You can trust him because, as Joseph learned, God can overrule people's evil intentions to bring about his intended results.

2. God Is Not Smaller Than Your Problems

John 11:1-5, 9-16
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.
3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light.
10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."
12 His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better."
13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,
15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."


VERSE: When Jesus heard about it he said, "Lazarus's sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God. I, the Son of God, will receive glory from this."
4)

God's ability to do good is not limited by our understanding.

As their brother grew very sick, Mary and Martha turned to Jesus for help.

They believed in his ability to help because they had seen his miracles.

We too know of Jesus' miracles, both from Scripture and through changed lives we have seen.

When we need extraordinary help, Jesus offers extraordinary resources.

We should not hesitate to ask him for assistance.

Any trial a believer faces can ultimately bring glory to God, because God can bring good out of any bad situation (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

When trouble comes, do you grumble, complain, and blame God, or do you see your problems as opportunities to honor him?

Romans 8:28-31
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?


VERSE: We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)

God is involved in all realms of life to bring about his good ends.

God works in "everything"-not just isolated incidents-for our good.

This does not mean that all that happens to us is good.

Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good.

Note that God is not working to make us happy, but to fulfill his purpose.

Note also that this promise is not for everybody.

It can be claimed only by those who love God and are fitting into God's plans.

Those who are "called" are those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ.

Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set on life.

They trust in God, not life's treasures; they look to their security in heaven, not on earth; they learn to accept, not resent, pain and persecution because God is with them.