God Wants Us to Recognise Our Nothingness
by Zac Poonen
In Job, Chapters 38-41, notice the completely different way in which
God spoke to Job compared to the way the four preachers, (who claimed
to represent Him) spoke. God did not once accuse Job of having sinned
in secret or tell him that he was being punished for his sins, etc.,
etc., and Job was convicted immediately and repented!! What a lesson
we can all learn from that, on how to speak to people and how to
preach! Gods ways are not our ways. Many preachers try to convict
people by telling them about sins that they imagine those others have
committed. Nothing results from such an approach, except that the
preachers themselves increase their guilt before God for speaking with
the spirit of the Accuser. God, in His great mercy and compassion
however, speaks to man in quite another way - and the man is so
thoroughly convicted of his sins that he says, O God, I am corrupt,
I am nothing. I repent. Please forgive me. God leads people to
repentance by His kindness (Rom. 2:4).
Three basic questions that God was asking Job (in these chapters) were:
1. If you cant understand these wonders in creation, how can you
understand spiritual realities?
2. If I control all My creation, do you think that I couldnt control
the lightning that struck your sheep, or the Sabeans and Chaldeans who
killed your servants, or the storm that struck your childrens
3. If you cant stand in front of a crocodile that I created, how can
you stand before Me? (41:9-11).
God showed Job His sovereign power and control over all of creation.
That was all that needed to be said. And Job was humbled. Hours of
direct attack by the four preachers accomplished nothing. The indirect
approach by God accomplished everything in a few minutes. Faith in the
sovereign control of God over all of His creation is what will bring
rest to our hearts too, when we face problems, afflictions and enemies.
The Lord asked Job, Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
(Job.40:2). Job, who had a quick reply for every argument thus far is
now silenced. He now says, Lord, I am nothing and I have nothing to say.
I will not speak any more.
This first book of inspired Scripture teaches us that God wants us to
recognize our nothingness so that he can be everything in our lives.
Then our lives will fulfil His purpose and be a blessing to multitudes.
Before God can use someone, He has to reduce him to nothing.
Paul said, What is Paul and what is Apollos? I planted, Apollos watered,
but God was causing the growth. So neither the one who plants
nor the one who waters is anything. (1Cor.3:5,6).In other words, the
one who does evangelism is nothing and the one who does Bible teaching
is also nothing. God alone is everything and so He alone deserves all
the glory. That was the secret of Pauls life - he was a zero even at
the end of his life.
There are preachers who are eager to grab the credit for souls saved
somewhere. There are pastors who complain saying, That pastor stole
my sheep from my church. etc., etc. Why do these Christian workers
speak like this? Because they havent become zeros as yet. When they
say, my church, which church are they talking about? We know of the
church of Jesus Christ. But which is their church? Everybody must
certainly be taken away from their church and planted in the church
of Jesus Christ!! And their church must be destroyed.
What a long time it took Job to come to the place where he could
acknowledge that he was insignificant and decide never to justify
himself any more. Thereafter, for the rest of his life, Job must have
been a man who was quick to hear and slow to speak (Jas.1:19).
The long speech that he gave in six chapters (Chapters 26 to 31) is the
longest self-justification found in the entire Bible. It stinks of self-righteousness
all the way through. But Job could not smell his pride himself.
Now at last this self-righteous man had become zero. As a result of
whose preaching? Was it through the man who spoke of visions and
dreams? Was it through the man who held the traditions of the fathers
as sacred? Was it through the self-appointed prophet? Or was it
through the man who was so correct in what he said? None of these four
preachers could help him. It was God Who helped Job to come to this
place. He was the Fifth Preacher. And He is the One Whom we should
imitate. Be imitators of God (Eph.5:1). What a wonderful thing
Gods brief message did to Job, which the other preachers could not do
with all their long and repeated sermons. What was the reason for
this? The answer is: God loved Job. The four preachers did not. When
we love people from our heart, God will give us the right words to
give them. When we dont love them, we will only criticise them and
accuse them and we wont be able to bless them. Let us learn then to
love the people we serve, and God will always give us the words to
speak to them.
A prophet of God must have Gods word in his heart and Gods people on
his heart. Then God will give him prophetic messages for them.
While the other four preachers tried to convict Job of his sin, God
sought to make Job a worshipper. And God succeeded. This is what we
need to show an unbelieving generation - that our God is the Almighty
and Sovereign Ruler of this universe. We are not to be intimidated by
the threats of our opponents for not a hair of our heads can be
touched by anyone without our Sovereign, Heavenly Fathers permission.
Let us learn to act with compassion, instead of always being ready to
criticise. Let us never pass judgment when we do not know the true facts.
Even when we think we know the facts, let us acknowledge that
there may be other facts that we still dont know. So let us always
humble ourselves and say, Lord, I am nothing. Ill put my hand over
my mouth and keep quiet.
Job also said, Lord, I had heard about You before, but now I have
seen You (Job.42:5). There is a vast difference between hearing about
God and knowing Him personally. When John saw Jesus on the isle of
Patmos, he fell down and worshipped Him. Job fell down and worshipped
God too. Job also repented radically of his accusing God and took
back every word he had spoken (42:6), and God forgave him immediately
as we see very soon thereafter.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon