OceanSide church of Christ
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WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
Reasons #3 and #4
Victor M. Eskew
A. Two definitions:
1. Pride: a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority
2. Humility: a modest opinion or estimate of one’s importance, rank, merit, etc.
B. These two words are often found together in the Biblical text. One of these is condemned. The other is praised.
1. Proverbs 29:23
A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.
2. James 4:6
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
C. Which of these two things does man struggle with? Pride? Or, humility?
2. Why? Because we often forget who we are, or, because we are deceived by our talents, wisdom, position, or riches.
I. WE SUFFER TO DEEPEN OUR HUMILITY BEFORE GOD
A. Job went from being a man of fame in the east (Job 1:3) to a man who was not recognized by his friends (Job 2:12). He went from one who spoke 21 chapters to a man silenced before God (Job 42:3).
B. Job’s afflictions humbled him before God.
C. What our pain and adversity does to us.
1. Reminds us that we are not the center of the universe.
2. Points out our insufficiency.
3. Make us look at our vulnerability.
4. Allows us to see our mortality.
5. Forces us to depend on others.
6. Throws us on our back so that we must look up to God.
D. Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:28-37)
1. Pride (Dan. 4:28-30)
2. Pain (Dan. 4:31-33)
3. Praise (Dan. 4:34-37)
Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
E. “Humility is an accurate assessment of oneself and of God. It is only through setbacks, suffering, and sorrows that we really understand who we are, who we aren’t, and even more importantly, who He really is. This sense of deepened humility is one of the greatest benefits of afflictions (21 Reasons, Earley, 41).
II. WE SUFFER TO PRODUCE GREATER INTIMACY WITH GOD
A. The book of Job begins by showing that Job had a relationship with God (Job 1:1).
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
1. What kind of relationship was this?
a. Did he only know about God?
b. Had he really “met” God?
2. Maybe our relationship with God is somewhat “mental” and superficial.
B. At the close of the book, Job’s relationship with God has deepened (Job 42:5).
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
1. God is drawn to those who stay faithful to Him in their suffering (Ps. 34:18).
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite heart.
a. God came to Hagar when she was cast out (Gen. 16:7; 21:17).
b. God came to Elijah when he fled to the cave in spiritual depression (I Kings 19:9).
c. God came to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:25).
d. To the disciples, Jesus came walking on the waves in the middle of the storm (Mark 6:48-51).
1. “I longed for rescue; He gave me relationship. I wanted deliverance; He gave me companionship in the ruins” (Sheila Walsh as quoted by Earley in 21 Reasons, 48).
2. Pioneer to the west in the mid-1800s. “I had known what it as to believe in God, but now he came so near that I no longer simply believed in Him but knew His presence there…that calm strength, that certainty of One near and all-sufficient, hushed and cheered” (21 Reasons, Earley, 48-49).
3. Hebrews 13:5-6
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
A. Thus far, we have seen that bad things that happen to us can do four things:
1. Win an unseen victory
2. Broaden our perspective of God
3. Broaden our perspective of self (humility)
4. Deepen our relationship with God
B. Knowing these things helps us to more willfully board that train of suffering once our ticket has been punched.