DEATH COMES SOON TO ALL
“A young, D.L. Moody was called upon suddenly to preach a funeral sermon. He searched in vain through all 4 Gospels trying to find one of Jesus' funeral sermons. What he found instead was that Christ broke up every funeral He ever attended. Death could not exist where he was. When the dead heard his voice they sprang to life. As people stood outside Lazarus' tomb, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life." In this section we see that Job addresses the helplessness (pending death) and hopelessness (our rebellion and sinfulness) of mankind before God. Job reveals here is that our lives are amazingly brief and filled with problems and pain. This section of Scripture we see the heart of Job as he expresses his disgust for sin and the question of the afterlife. Job feels deeply about the misery of his morality and the results of sin (v1:v6)
“Man is born of woman is few of days and full of trouble” (v1)
“Man” being a reference to mankind is born into this world by a sinful woman. Through sin, has sown the seeds of our own afflictions, sown to the flesh, and of the flesh has reaped corruption. “Trouble” means “being born in sin; sin and trouble go together, where there is sin there is trouble.” What Job is saying is that everyone is born to sin and a corrupt nature. So everyone experiences trouble, not just the wicked in sin, but everyone! What Job speaks of here is a biblical truth of “original sin”
What is original sin? To answer this we need to go back to the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis. Where we read “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:15-17. The rebellion to this command happens shortly after and this rebellious act of sin has caused the ripple effect to curse all of us! Their rebellion became our rebellion, because our hearts are rebellious by nature and this is our natural disposition.
Paul Washer put it this way “In accordance with His own purpose and good pleasure, God created Adam and Eve and commanded them not to eat of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Obedience to the command would lead to continued life, both of joyful fellowship with God and of dominion over creation. Disobedience to the command would lead to spiritual and physical death and the accompanying problems. Adam and Eve were tempted and disobeyed the command. Because of their disobedience, their fellowship with God was broken and they fell from their original state of righteousness and holiness. These devastating consequences of Adam’s disobedience were not limited to him, but resulted in the fall of the entire human race.”
What Paul Washer is saying is “Adam’s guilt has been imputed, or credited to all his descendants, us.” And that mankind in now born into trouble, bearing Adam’s fallen nature which is hostile towards a holy God. We are all born into sin, every last one us; there are none who are good. No not one. But people will say “I’m a good person though!” Jonathan Edwards said it best this way “If we are born innocent and good, why aren’t there at least some people who have continued in this state and remained sinless? The fact that everybody sins needs some explanation. The best explanation is that we are sinners by nature. Someone might argue that the reason all people sin is because society is sinful, and thus society renders it impossible for anybody to keep themselves entirely pure. But that only pushes the question back one step. How did society get sinful in the first place? If people are born morally good, then how did it come about that they congregated into societies that influence all people to sin?”
See! The image of God in man has been seriously defaced, or disfigured, and that moral corruption has polluted the entire person. Everything men do is contaminated by their own moral corruption. Isaiah 64:6 says “We have all become like one who is unclean (unclean like a leper I’m contagious and better keep your distance), and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Job recognized that original sin is a condition, not something we do.
What this means is… through Adam, our hearts and minds by nature are no longer pure, but have become defiled and shameful. We know this to be true by what Adam and Eve did when they realize they are no longer were pure and holy. Genesis 3:6-11 we read “ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself. He said, "Who told you that you were naked?"
We see throughout Scripture that this doctrine is explained numerous times; so that we don’t forget who we were, before the gospel. For example:
Scripture says that we are by nature sinners and that we are born sinners. David said “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5
The Scripture says that by nature we are children of disobedience and wrath. Paul penned these words “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:1-3
Scripture speaks of mankind as unrighteous from infancy. Prov 22:15 “Folly (foolishness, the love of mischief) is bound (rooted, to conspire) up in the heart of a child…...” In Genesis 8:21 we read “for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth.”
What Job laments here is a something that everyone us need to understand and embrace. Job recognizes his own depravity amoung the world and so should we. (v4) Remember what Habakkuk said “His eyes are to pure to look on evil.” Hab 1:13. So who can stand? No one! Apart from God’s mercy and grace though the gospel. It’s for this reason why Christ came to deliver us from the wrath and condemnation we deserve from a holy and transcendent God. This is why Job says in (v4) “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one? Job is absolutely right! Because the only ways to bring something that is completely unclean and declare it clean is through the finished work of Christ. As Paul said “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:4-10
This is beautiful news for the believer and something this lost world needs to hear. And something we need to preach to ourselves daily. Job understands his beginnings and his future end. (v2) Man is like a flower his early days are marked by color and life in his youth he is firm and manly but then he wilts and withers; gravity eventually wins out and pulls him back in to the soil from which he rose. Men and women are like shadows early in the morning when the sun first rises, they cast a long, bold shadow but as the sun rises, the shadow shrinks and when the cloud hides the sun, the shadow disappears. And though life is brief, there is not one moment of it that God isn’t watching closely.
See! There is another doctrine that Job touches on and that is our days are numbered by a God who is sovereign over your complete existence. Job knows the time is fleeting; and the certainty of death is in his future, as it is for us as well. What do I mean by that? (v5-v6) This is the doctrine of “Predestination” and Job is very clear on who is control of mankind’s complete existence. “Predestination” carries the meaning of “determining beforehand,” “ordaining,” “decreeing”, “deciding ahead of time.” There is no escaping this truth, you might fight it, you might not like it, but you must submit to it, because Job is completely right here.
And Scripture affirms this doctrine.
Isaiah penned “I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” Isa 45:12.
Prov 16:4 says “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”
Luke wrote “And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:46-48
Paul wrote “As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.” Rom 9:13-18
But understand “God loves sinners”. We should never get over the stunning reality of this biblical truth even when you might fight this word “Predestination”. Rom 5:8 says “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Predestination means our salvation is eternally grounded in a sovereign, good God; therefore, our sufferings, sorrows, persecutions, and defeats are not an accident. Job knows this and he is telling us to rest in His sovereign arms. Even in the midst of all this chaos and confusion. The doctrine of Predestination should humble us and make us thankful! Not… bitter, fearful, or always indulging for a good debate.
Why did God save me; and not my parents,
my brothers or sisters, my friends, and so on?
Great question! But the only way to answer it is what Paul said “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Eph 1:3-6. It’s all because of His grace and that it pleased God to do so! This very humbling that it puts thanksgiving on my lips because God did it all, I did nothing. Understand! There is not one person who has passed from this life into the next waiting final judgement that is underserving of it. There is not one person going to Hell that goes their because of a misunderstanding. Every single person who is, and will one day reside in Lake of Fire, is there because they love their sin, they love their depravity, and they hate God. Sadly for me! This might include my mother, my father, my two brothers and nephews, my aunts and uncles and friends of the past.
J. I. Packer said “The Bible never describes God rejecting anyone who believes in Him or turning away anyone who is seeking Him (Deuteronomy 4:29). Somehow, in the mystery of God, predestination works hand-in-hand with a person being drawn by God (John 6:44) and believing unto salvation (Romans 1:16). God predestines who will be saved, and we must choose Christ in order to be saved. Both facts are equally true.”
See here is the gospel call to us! God is sovereign, we are naturally depraved, time is fleeting and our days are numbered by God decreed and we have a message of hope that can save people from eternal destruction. This is why we need to speak the gospel to lost people, so they hear the good news that Christ saves us from ourselves, if we turn to Christ and live.
Why is it important that we learn these
Doctrinal truths from Job’s lament?
Because in our natural state we are lost and without hope, but in what Job expresses here, we see there is a hope. A hope for sinners, a hope of restoration. A hope of future things…..even though these truths would seem foreign to Job and his friends, as it pertains to the afterlife. What do I mean? (v7-v22) Job recognizes the doctrine of future things for those who die. Many theologians argue the Jews and the early believes knew nothing about an afterlife. But Job’s colorful lament affirms he did, and understands. Job affirms this truth later when he said “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”
David wrote “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. … And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” Psalm 23:4,6. David also said this after the death of his son “He said, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, 'Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me." 2 Sam 12:22-23
Now! At first it would seem Job’s hope is bleak and that a tree would have a better chance and future than man because a tree can sprout again after it dies. (v7-v9) Job knows that man isn’t like a tree, that though it is cut down and nothing is left but a stump, it can still send forth a new shoot. Job knows that when man dies and lies in the earth, he is like water that's spilled on the ground and is soaked up - you can’t get it back. (v10-v11) But here is where we see the hope that Job hopes for after he dies (12-v17) Job cries out in desperation that God will set Himself a reminder to raise Job from the dead and bring him into a glorious new day of renewal. (v13-v14)
Where else have we seen this desperate plead from a sinner? “And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews." One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Luke 23:34-43. Lord Jesus Rescue me from this death so that I might be restored one day according to your resurrection and Your decrees. I’m lost, wretched, depraved, I deserve Your judgements, my conditions are critical because I am a sinner separated from Your grace. Lord rescue me from this wretched body, before it’s too late.
One preacher said “If God had given me what I demanded—justice—then I would be receiving the wrath my sins deserve this very moment. But he has given me—and millions of others along his unfolding timeline of history—something no human deserves: mercy. And there is nothing we need more.”
Job is reminding us this truth this morning that we are by nature sinners and awaiting death and final judgement. But there is hope…..and this life is not all there is! There is a life to come, beyond this life. The suffering and testing of this life are meant to prepare us for the real life to come. John penned “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Rev 7:16-17
C S Lewis pictured this coming in the closing lines of “The Last Battle” his final book from his Narnia series. He said “And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever in which every chapter is better than the one before.”