Some Things Never Change

Bible Book: Job  33 : 12-30
Subject: Change; Weariness; Suffering; Salvation; Peace, Jesus, Unchanging
Introduction

We live in a world that is constantly changing. Did you know that the land beneath your feet is actually moving? According to the Smithsonian magazine, scientists are studying what they call "crustal plates" that are emerging at the location of ridges deep within the oceans. We now know that when these plates slide over each other the sudden release of accumulated stress and energy is the cause of earthquakes. Yes, there is a constant imperceptible change going on below us at this very moment.

The "shifting" of earth is not limited to land masses and ocean depths, it is also taking place in every area of our lives. The songwriter summed it up in these words:

"Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day,

Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see,

O Thou who changest not, abide with me!" (Henry Francis Lyte, 1847)

Indeed, everything but God is changing moment by moment. We are changing daily in our bodies, and a brief look in the mirror reminds us of this truth. Technology is changing rapidly. Today’s new computer is outdated tomorrow - literally this is true! Nations are changing. The Iron Curtain has fallen in Berlin and Russia has moved toward a market economy, but now only 20 years later the Russians are moving toward a re-takeover of some European and Asian areas of the world. Even China is experimenting with quasi-capitalism. Egypt overthrew their dictatorial leader only to overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood leader in favor of a military leader. One can hardly keep up with the international changes that are occurring worldwide.

Our own nation is changing as well. I’m afraid most of the changes are not good. The moral atmosphere in America has changed so rapidly that one is hard pressed to grasp it. We champion what once was banned and despise that which once was honored. A recent report in the news revealed that barely 84,000,000 non-government employees are working to provide some type of financial government benefit to more than 116,000,00 citizens. That means that there are more people drawing benefits than are working in non-government jobs. Bob Dylan sang it long ago, but it applies today: “The Times, They Are A-Changing!”

Amidst all the changes that are occurring to us personally, nationally and historically around us there are some things that never change. That is what I want us to see today.

I want you to turn with me to Job 33:12-30. Job is a fascinating book for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Job is considered the oldest Book of the Bible. From this very ancient Bible Book, we learn that there are Some Things That Never Change.

We enter the Book of Job when a young man named Elihu is addressing the suffering of Job. Job has lost all his family to death, with the exception of his wife. He has lost his animals, his land, and his health. He is miserable and has been complaining that God has been unfair to him. Job claimed to be a righteous man and undeserving of the suffering he was enduring.

Job 33:12-30:

(12) "Look, in this you are not righteous.

I will answer you,

For God is greater than man.

(13) Why do you contend with Him?

For He does not give an accounting of any of His words.

(14) For God may speak in one way, or in another,

Yet man does not perceive it.

(15) In a dream, in a vision of the night,

When deep sleep falls upon men,

While slumbering on their beds,

(16) Then He opens the ears of men,

And seals their instruction.

(17) In order to turn man from his deed,

And conceal pride from man,

(18) He keeps back his soul from the Pit,

And his life from perishing by the sword.

(19) Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,

And with strong pain in many of his bones,

(20) So that his life abhors bread,

And his soul succulent food.

(21) His flesh wastes away from sight,

And his bones stick out which once were not seen.

(22) Yes, his soul draws near the Pit,

And his life to the executioners.

(23) “If there is a messenger for him,

A mediator, one among a thousand,

To show man His uprightness,

(24) Then He is gracious to him, and says,

‘Deliver him from going down to the Pit;

I have found a ransom’;

(25) His flesh shall be young like a child’s,

He shall return to the days of his youth.

(26) He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,

He shall see His face with joy,

For He restores to man His righteousness.

(27) Then he looks at men and says,

‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right,

And it did not profit me.’

(28) He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit,

And his life shall see the light.

(29) Behold, God works all these things,

Twice, in fact, three times with a man,

(30) To bring back his soul from the Pit,

That he may be enlightened with the light of life."

Without doubt, Elihu did not fully understand the things he said and he likely meant them in a way that is different from how we see them today, however, he stated great truth because He was inspired to do so. Note that Elihu spoke of a “ransom” for the sin of Job and for the sin of man in general. That ransom, my friend, is the Son of God. In verse 28 Elihu stated, “He will redeem his soul from going down to the pit…” Indeed, that is exactly what Jesus came to do and is doing in the lives of people all over the world.

I want you to see three things that have not changed in thousands of years. In fact, these three factors have always been the same and will be till our heavenly existence begins. Only Jesus can make sense of these realities.

I. The Human Problems That Never Change

A. The Sin Problem

Look at the nature of people during the days of Job. They were filled with pride, as we see verse 17. People in that day were bent on wrongdoing. The idea presented in this here is that God has a desire to “turn” the sinner from his evil ways.

I used to go fishing with a man in a church I pastored some years ago. We would take the same route home from the lake each time we fished. This man was an ice cream lover, and of course all of you know my devotion to the various flavors of the frozen lactose concoction. As we approached the ice cream shop the man I was with would act as though the steering wheel on his car was out of his control. He would slowly pull into the parking lot of the ice cream shop while saying, “O no, I can’t stop the car, it is out of control. I don’t want to stop here but the car is pulling in anyway. O well, we might as well get some ice cream since my car loves this place so much.”

Sadly, we are a lot like that in our sin habits. We like to claim that some unseen force is turning us toward sin when in reality we are simply sinful in our selves. The steering wheel is in our own hands. We are directing our lives into the path of sin. Only God can help us with this human dilemma. This age-old problem has never changed.

One method of hiding our faults from public view is to change the standards to make it appear we've done nothing amiss. An army sharpshooter visited a small town and was amazed to find on trees, walls, fences, and barns with many bull's-eyes on them, all of which had bullet holes in the exact center of each target. Inquiring about this, the sharpshooter was introduced to the remarkable marksman. "I've never seen anything like it," said the army man. "It's incredible! How do you do it?" The rifleman replied, "Easy as pie, I shoot first and draw the circles afterward."

No matter how much we try to change the target to fit our poor attempt at living up to the right standard, God’s Book is the true standard does not change. The sin problem is not going away. It was here thousands of years ago, and it is still here today. Our only hope is to discover God’s solution to the sin problem. In a moment we will address this issue.

B. The Suffering Problem

On February 11, 1947, Glenn Chambers boarded a plane bound for Quito, Ecuador to begin a Christian ministry in broadcasting. In one horrible moment, the plane crashed into a mountain and Glenn Chambers, missionary, was dead before he could labor for the Lord in Ecuador for the first day. Later it was learned that before leaving the Miami airport, Chambers had hastily written his mother a letter and mailed it to her. He had no stationery with him, so he found a piece of paper that was part of an advertisement. On the page was one word. He wrote around the word and stuffed it into an envelope and mailed it. After Chambers death, his mother received the note. There on the page, staring her in the face was the one large word around which he had written his final note home. The word was “WHY”.

That is the question everyone asks. Why? Why must we suffer? The truth is, sin has brought about suffering in human life. Of course, we all think that we are too good to suffer. Surely I don’t deserve to suffer any earthly woes. I deserve to be perfectly happy and totally healthy. Wrong! Sin brought suffering into our world, and because of that suffering has been passed down to all generations.

The dilemma, however, is greater than simply having to accept suffering as a part of life. The real question is, why do good people have to suffer? Why does suffering occur in the lives of people who are doing all they can to live for God? That was Job’s question. Even though Job was not perfect, he was far above the average person in his day-to-day morality and decency. Why would he have to suffer?

This question is an ongoing one that no one can adequately answer. Complete answers are not available. There are some things I am going to share with you today, but you can be sure this question will remain as long as life on earth continues in its present form.

Job had his trials.

Joseph had his well.

Moses had his wilderness

David had his Saul.

Elijah had his Jezebel.

Jonah had his great fish.

Daniel had his lion’s den.

The three Hebrew children had the fiery furnace.

John had his isle of Patmos.

Paul had his thorn.

Even our Lord had His cross!

You will have your part in suffering as well.

C. The Separation Problem

There is a sin problem and a suffering problem, but there is also the unchanging separation problem. The greatest of all human problems is the separation problem. Through death, we are separated from those we love and from the life on earth we have known. Job had experienced this. He family was wiped out, with the exception of his wife, and he had face life without them by his side. What sorrow comes when death visits.

However, far greater than mere human separation is the fact that in death those without Christ are lost and separated from the presence of God forever. It is a problem that makes all other problems pale into insignificance. Many people today are hoping for a way to avoid death. Some are even having their bodies frozen in the hope that future discoveries in medicine and science will enable them to be brought back to life. The Bible states, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.” Death is an appointment we will keep. Science will never fully alleviate death!

Sadly, those who die without Christ face a frightening end. C. S. Lewis tells of hearing a young preacher say in a sermon, "If you will not believe in Jesus Christ, you will suffer grave eschatological ramifications." Later Lewis asked him if he meant that those who choose not to believe in Christ will go to hell. "Precisely," replied the young man. "Then why don't you say that!" exclaimed Lewis. The separation faced in the death of the lost is a separation in hell forever. No alteration in vocabulary can change that fact. No fancy speech can alleviate that truth. No elocution or delicate language can remove what God has clearly said will most certainly occur. I agree with the late C.S. Lewis – let’s just say it in plain terms.

II. The Holy Purposes That Never Change

A. To Speak to Us

God does not want us to live in ignorance or fear and He has chosen to speak to us in order to teach us and to help us know the truth. Job was complaining that God was silent. Elihu denied that God was silent.

When missionary Dan Crawford was trekking through South Africa, a villager inquired, "Are you angry?"

Astonished, Crawford responded, "No, why do you ask?"

"Because you're so silent," came the reply. "In our tribe, if a man is angry, he doesn't speak. That's why we think God is displeased with us. He is so silent."

Crawford responded, "But He isn't silent; He speaks in nature; for we read, 'The heavens declare the glory of God' (Psalm 19:1). He also communicates with us through our conscience; for in Romans 2:15 we read that their conscience also bearing witness. The Lord speaks even more plainly in the Bible; for He says, 'O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord' (Jeremiah 22:29). But best of all, He 'hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son' (Hebrews 1:2). No, God is not Silent!" (Source unknown)

Elihu pointed out that God spoke through three avenues.

1. Spiritually

2. Physically

3. Emotionally

It has been and is God’s purpose to speak to mankind. He is reaching out to us in multiple ways to share a message of hope, love and peace. It is not that He is silent, but that we are not listening! He is speaking to you today. Can you hear Him? He is calling you to His Son for salvation, if you are lost! He is calling you to peace, if you are troubled! He is calling you to devotion, if you are straying! He is calling each of us in a personal way. The problem for us is a spiritual hearing problem.

B. To Save Us

God's holy purpose is to save the lost. It is not God’s desire that you perish. Why will you die? God wants you to live. He has done all He can to ensure that you will live eternally with Him in Heaven.

More than 400 years before Jesus was born, the Greek poet Agathon said, "Even God cannot change the past." Historically speaking, he was right. What has happened cannot be undone. Yet, God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins and through Him He provided a way whereby our sinful past can be erased.

Here is how Donald Grey Barnhouse described what Jesus did for us: "Just as a hole in the ocean floor would let sea water into the volcanic fires, creating force that could blow the world apart, so the Lord Jesus Christ by dying and rising again broke through the past and allowed eternity to pour in, shattering, turning and overturning, changing, and altering things. He took the past of all believers and cleansed it by His blood and transformed life in such a way that the time-rooted life gave way to life eternal." (Source unknown)

The poet said, "I wish there were a land of beginning again." There is! "...the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin"(1 John 1:7

C. To Share with Us

God's holy purpose is to have fellowship with us. This is true only because God has a heart of love and compassion. In those twin blessings, He reaches out to share His nature with us and to eventually share His heavenly home with us - if only we will listen and turn to His Son, Jesus.

The story is told of a little boy who followed the church treasurer every Sunday morning as he carried the offering plates out of the auditorium. Then the boy intently watched the man count the offering and put it in the safe. At first the man ignored him, but after several weeks he finally asked, "Son, why do you follow me around every Sunday?" The boy looked up at the treasurer and said, "The preacher says that the offering is for God, and I want to see you give it to Him!" This little boy did not just want to hear about God, He wanted to see Him!

Dear friend, be assured that God wants far more to meet with you than you want to meet with Him. He wants to share with you. That is why He walked with Adam in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. God desires to have fellowship with us. Look at verses 26, 28, and 30 in out text today. God works upon us in order to walk with us!

III. The Heavenly Provision That Never Changes

A. The Record That Documents It

God Word declares the One and Only provision. John 14:1-6 reveals that Jesus is the provision and He is the only provision for forgiveness and eternal life. In this “politically correct” generation we are told that we must not speak in terms of exclusivity about our faith. Really? If that is the case, you must throw the Bible completely out. The scriptures clearly state that Jesus is the Word, and that He was with God and not anything that was made was made without Him (John 1:1-3). We could spend a month just reading passages from the Bible that reveal that God only provides one way to heaven. God’s Word is clear!

B. The Ransom That Delivers It

The ransom is provided by Christ alone. I read somewhere about a do-it-yourselfer who went into a hardware store early one morning and asked for a saw. The salesman took a chainsaw from the shelf and commented that it was the newest model, with the latest technology, guaranteed to cut ten cords of wood a day. The customer thought that sounded pretty good, so he bought it on the spot. The next day the customer returned, looking somewhat exhausted. “Something must be wrong with this saw,” he complained, “I worked as hard as I could and only managed to cut three cords of wood. I used to do four with my old-fashioned saw”' Looking confused, the salesman said, “Here, let me try it out back and try it on some wood we keep there.” They went out to the woodpile, the salesman pulled the cord, and as the motor went “Vvroooommmm,” the customer leaped back and exclaimed, “What's that noise!”

The poor woodcutter had been cutting wood without turning on the motor! No wonder he was exhausted. Friend, Jesus has the power to do what we cannot do within ourselves! We must yield to Him completely and trust Him to be our Savior. When you are trying to live for Him, instead of allowing Him to live through you, you might as well be cutting wood with a chainsaw without a motor! You are going to exhaust yourself and get nothing done in the process. I believe that is why many Christians become disenchanted. They are trying to live the Christian life without the infilling power of God’s Spirit. Just as Jesus is the only way to be ransomed from the chains of sin, He is the only way to live the Christian life. We must yield to His power daily!

C. The Redeemed That Declare It

The saved can’t keep quite about Jesus and His unchanging love. We rejoice in it. We love to worship and be with God’s people. We love to tell others what Jesus means to us. The truly ransomed can’t keep it to themselves.

It was the seventh game of the 1962 World Series. The San Francisco Giants had a man on second base, which put him near New York Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson. When the Yanks decided to change pitchers, Richardson, who was a Christian, saw a unique opportunity. While the new pitcher was warming up, he walked over to the man on second and asked him if he knew Jesus as his Savior. When the runner reached the dugout later, he asked teammate Felipe Alou, who was also a Christian, what was going on. "Even in the seventh game of the World Series," he said to Felipe, "you people are still talking about Jesus." That runner couldn't understand what made Christians so eager to talk about Jesus Christ, even in highly unusual situations.

Conclusion

Dear friend, you live in a world that is ever changing. Your body is changing and is on the way toward decay. But, Christ is the unchanging truth, the unchanging love and the unchanging constant in a changing world. His grace and salvation are forever. You can’t stop change in this world, but you can have something that time cannot erode, years cannot reduce, and life cannot take from you – you can have life and that more abundant through Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? Have you received Him? You can trust Him today. He does not want you to perish! Come to Him today. He is calling you. He is calling you to a life that is eternal. Repent of your sin, confess Him as you Savior, and find the one thing in this world that never changes – Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever!

For those of us who have received Him, let’s renew our devotion to Him so that we have the inward power that comes only through yielding to Him. Anyone here today tired? Are you dealing with issues that make you feel like Job? God can renew your strength. He can give you wings like eagles so that you can soar. You can run and not be weary and walk and not faint. He is calling to you, “Come unto me – and I will give you rest!”