God Speaking Out of the Storms in our Lives

Today’s first part of the sermon comes from one of my favourite portions of the Bible Job 38-41. Specifically when God confronts Job out of the whirlwind and humbles him. I always enjoy reading these verses aloud when I am camping because it reminds me of the awesome power of God’s creation and the fact it is a gift from Him. The Lord always seems to speak out of storms in the Bible, or clouds, or other weather phenomenon. There is an account of a slave trader in the 1700’s who was on his ship and there was a giant storm, he was at the helm and sure of his eminent death and the death of all those aboard he prayed to “the God to which I had known but not given a concern.” In that moment this young man became a Christian and he actually did survive the storm. He left the slave trade and became an Anglican priest. We all remember John Newton for writing Amazing Grace but I will always remember him for two very famous quotes, the first is “though my memory is fading I remember two things, I am a great sinner and Christ is a great saviour.” And the second, God does not always speak out of storms sometimes he speaks out of a drizzle, drip…drip drip…
Now in this sermon I will be looking at three key ideas, the first is hearing God’s voice in the storm, the second is, recognizing His authority by what He says, and the third is acting on it. Now when the Lord confronted Job there were some extenuating circumstances. Job had lost his children which in ancient Middle Eastern traditions meant the end of your bloodline and the end of your contributions to the world. He had lost his health, and he had lost his financial empire. He had nothing. He had more than nothing because as the song goes no man is poor when he has friends. And Job didn’t even have that. He had friends that came to try and support him at first. But with friends like this who needs enemies. Job’s wife was unsupportive telling him to curse God and die! His friends coming to comfort Job inform him it’s his fault and surely he must have sinned against God. Now the Lord can speak to us through our family and friends by the way of the Holy Spirit but that is not the case here. Job and his friends are talking about the mind of God in the earlier chapters. What I am interested in with this first part is what did Job say just before God confronted him? In fact it is not Job who speaks but his friend Elihu. Job remains silent, passive, and self pitying. I believe that it was possible all the friends are with Job when God speaks but they run off when confronted by the being they had claimed they knew so much about. What is interesting is that God does not go onto introduce Himself but confronts Job to account for his despair. “Who is this that obscures my plans?” He never once acknowledges that He is God or that Job has a problem, He presents a small amount of His power to show Job and make Job’s problem to what it actually is. See friends, when in the storms that come in life God will never introduce Himself and ask you what the problem is He knows. He will declare His majesty and confront you with the harshest truths. And yet it does not even have to be a loud booming voice but the drip drip drip of the Spirit. Dietrich Bonheoffer, the minister and spy against the Nazi’s was asked when he had decided to go against Hitler. His answer was that the Lord kept speaking softly and tugging at his heart over many years. See hearing the Lord out of a storm is not hard; it is hearing Him in the drizzle. In 1st Kings the author writes The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still, small voice.” Brothers and sisters we cannot hear that voice if we never stop talking like Job and his friends.
But now that we have recognized God’s voice how do we really know it is Him? In this day and age people do horrid things in the Name of God or because they claim it was His will; mercy killings, abortions, genocide, all in the name of God. People claim there is no way to know and that God gave no proof of His will. This is rubbish! Whenever we are feeling prompted by the Holy Spirit we should always do two things. The first is lining it up with the Word, if it isn’t in the Book it isn’t from God. And secondly ask other Christians to pray about it and if they confirm it then chances are that this is the Will of God. And the ultimate proof is the result. God will always bless anything that is of His Will and in line with His heart. If what you feel God is saying to you out of a storm or drizzle is about glorifying His presence or authority then you are at least on the right track. Now often times we never stop talking to God because we are afraid of what He will say. And we should fear the Lord with all our heart because everything He says is just a fraction of His truth and power. I remember in university I was at a very blessed Christian reformed church. From my first year of uni to my 5th they had grown from a few families to 1500. And in that church God spoke with authority through many people and because they recognized what He was saying as quite possibly the most important message of their lives they were blessed. See Job didn’t recognize his circumstances as a test, he questioned God and what He said and eventually God had to literally come down and ***** sense into him. If you ever feel God leading you to something other than the Biblical truth, rebuke it because it is like the wisdom of Job’s friends and wife. Tomorrow I will be posting the second part of this message and my final chapter in the Holy Spirit and the Old Testament.

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