Way back in chapter 30, verse 20, of this long book of Job we hear Job say, “I cry
out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.”
Eight long chapters before the words before us this morning, Job was asking his
questions and it seemed to him God wasn’t answering. God just stood there silently
and looked at Job. And then in chapter 31 Job lamented, “Oh, that I had someone
to hear me! I sign now my defense---let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put
his indictment in writing.” (31:35)
The Q and A thing wasn’t working so far as Job was concerned. Job was questioning
God; God wasn’t answering him.
God had his idea about this all too. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm.
He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace
yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”
“So, you think you are so smart?” our God says when we figure the Q is about us and
the A is about him. That is not so. It is the reverse that is true. God asks the
questions. We need to give the answers.
GOD’S Q; OUR A
1. What about my resolves?
2. What about my requirements?
3. What about my restraints?
1. What about my resolves?
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. That
is our God questioning us about his resolves. Do we get them? Do we understand
them? Do we accept them?
The words tell us that our God doesn’t ask us for advice when he does things. He
just does them because he wills and knows to do them. He resolves it. No where
does God come and ask us if we think his way is a good idea or not. In fact, the
Prophet Isaiah reminds us all that the Lord promises, “For my thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher
than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
The words of God’s question, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand” don’t allow us the luxury of being included in God’s
initial planning…or his subsequent planning for that matter. The question on our
parts that whines, “Why did you do it that way, Lord?” is an invalid question. That
was Job’s question all through his book. Finally, the Father taps his toe impatiently
and brings everyone up short with his question, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s
foundation? Tell me, if you understand.”
God resolved to create the world…just like he created it. He resolved to create
you too. Just like he created you, with just that mix of intelligence and height
and physical and emotional makeup. He resolved to put you where he put you. He
resolved to give you your husband or your wife, your children or your lack of children.
He resolved that your house should be your house and your salary your salary. He
resolved that you should have certain strengths and certain weaknesses. He didn’t
resolve that you should be sinful but in a sinful world he did allow you to have
weaknesses of eyesight or hearing or constitution. It was his business and his resolve.
It really isn’t for you to question any of this. He didn’t ask---and doesn’t ask---your
Aren’t you glad? Aren’t you glad God can be God and you don’t have to be? You wouldn’t
do a good job of it. Would you think you could have improved on his creation? Other
than perhaps thinking you could make it cooler these days when “Hotter than the Fourth
of July” is taking on a new meaning, do you really suppose you could do it better?
Remember, it is God who resolves. He is master of the Q. He owns the Q.
So on this 5th of July to everyone living in the United States and the whole world,
this Lord God of everything has some Qs ready for you and everyone else. It is even
a special thing that he asks you because he has resolved to love you already before
this world even came into being. “What do you think of my Son Jesus?” this eternally
loving God questions you. And a great A from you would be to say, “He’s my Savior.
He’s the only one who saves me from myself and from circumstances and from a rightful
eternity in hell. That’s my answer to the question the Father asks.” And listen
to some more questions this God of ours surely asks us: “Isn’t Jesus great?” “Don’t
you love my Son, Jesus?” “Don’t you appreciate hearing what it is he has done for
you and what I am promising you through him?” “Isn’t my grace amazing? The song
says it that way, do you?”
2. What about my requirements?
And what about God’s requirements? They are here in the questions he asks Job. What
about the requirements? “Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched
a measuring line across it?”
God made the specifications. He says that the body wasn’t meant for sexual immorality.
That is one thing he specified. When the body is used for sexual immorality, as
it often is these days, then bad things happen. It is possible to misuse the body
God has given you. When medical science tells you about cholesterol and high blood
pressure and heart disease and the benefits of exercise and not eating tons of fat,
nor pounds of sugar, it is agreeing with God’s specifications. The human mind on
worry and stress and coveting goes quickly bad. Life gets poisoned. There are passages
the Lord gives to specify specifications. Cast anxiety and care on him…don’t covet
things not yours…be content with your wages and your circumstances.
God made the dimensions. He determined how things were going to be…he still does.
He determined how it was we are saved. He determined to send his Son. John 3:16
was a recipe, a spec book. Look at Jesus. Know Jesus. Believe Jesus. Be saved
by Jesus. Spend eternity with Jesus. And these are specifications that our Father
follows. To the nth degree. He binds himself by his specifications to love us.
As long as seedtime and harvest remain, as long as summer and winter and cold and
heat…he will not send another Flood. That was his promise and specification. To
all who believe on him he gives power to become the children of God. The one who
is baptized and believes will be saved. He puts our sins as far as the east is from
the west. Do you hear the dimensions there? He tells us about the four dimensions
of his love…”how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know
this love that surpasses knowledge---that you may be filled to the measure of all
the fullness of God.” You can’t help but hear the dimensions there…spoken by the
God who laid the foundations of the world and who then asks if you were there?
So on this 5th day of July, what about God’s requirements and specifications and
dimensions? It is God’s Q. What about his commandments? And Americans at this
time of their independence celebration should not think they are independent of their
God or his ways. To the one who thinks he is free from God’s dimensions in his life
the proper A is what Martin Luther puts as the conclusion to the commandments. “God
promises to bless all who love him and keep his commandments.”
3. What about my restraints?
And finally, God’s Q is: “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from
the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when
I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far
you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt?’”
There was a time when God raised up judges in the Old Testament, a wild and wooly
time, when everyone did what they did and didn’t care. The Bible says about that
time, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” No restraints. And in that
same lawless spirit the bumper sticker for today says, “Keep your laws off my body.”
And people find God’s commandments galling. The commandments are there to curb
and to check and to restrain the gross outbreaks of sins. The surf of sin is still
crashing at our shores. That is for sure. Listen to it. See it.
Is there any stopping evil these days? Is there any stopping what we see happening
all around us in the decay and destruction of good things and right things and honorable
things? That is a Q. Really, it isn’t our Q. It is God’s. He wants us to remember
when we consider evil, “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from
the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness?” Who
can stop the tsunami? A: God can. And God will.
Know that there is a God in heaven who asks his questions still. There is a God
in heaven who still restrains the sea…and sin. If it weren’t so we would have all
perished. But it is so and we step into his presence this morning grateful and thankful
that it is so. He has sent his holy angels to protect us. He has put the devil
on a leash, the devil who still walks to and fro in the earth as he did in Job’s
day. But God has him on a short tether. He has told him in our lives…”this far
and no farther.” He counteracts the devil’s awful power and intent with his Word
and his Lord’s Supper and his Baptism.
And with his Son Jesus. He is the champion for us all. He defeats all the evil.
It is behind him and following his leadership that we see how it is. He is the
King of kings and Lord of lords.
Who is this King of glory? That is God’s Q in Psalm 24. The A. is “The Lord strong
and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” And then God asks his Q again. “Who is
he, this King of glory?” And we give our A again. “The Lord Almighty---he is the
King of glory.”
Jesus is the King of Glory. He is our King. That forever is our answer. Amen.