Sermon for 08.13.23 “God rules”

Pentecost 11 (Proper 14), August 13, 2023
Text: Job 38:4–18
Theme: God rules
Other Lessons: Psalm 18:1–6 (7–16); Romans 10:5–17; Matthew 14:22–33

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Old Testament lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 760:1 What God Ordains Is Always Good
What God ordains is always good:
His will is just and holy.
As He directs my life for me,
I follow meek and lowly.
My God indeed
In ev’ry need
Knows well how He will shield me;
To Him, then, I will yield me.


A. The Old Testament lesson from Job, which is our text for this morning,
is in that portion of the book in which God is speaking to Job.
1. Job, as you recall, had been struck with horrendous calamity and had
been experiencing terrible suffering.
a. He had lost everything!
1. The Sabeans (merchants and given to war) took all of his livestock and
slaves and slaughtered them all.
2. The fire of God fell from heaven and killed the sheep and servants.
3. The Chaldeans slaughtered more servants.
4. His sons and daughters were killed by a great windstorm.
b. Job’s response?:
Job 1:20–22 (NASB95)
20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the
ground and worshiped.
21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return
there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of
the LORD.”
22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
2. As a result of what happened, Job has done some complaining and
questioned whether God is always just.
3. In response, God emphasizes His role as Creator and Sustainer of the
world, and that His ways are far above man’s ways and His power far
surpasses man’s power.
B. Our text, then, makes us think of how God rules over the world, and
specifically over the human race.
1. We are led to consider that…
C. God’s Rule in This World Is Total and Good and Affects Both Unbelievers
and Believers.
I. God’s rule is total and good.

a. God has total rule and control of all aspects of his creation. God
reminds Job of this reality.
1. This means that what God plans does indeed take place.
a) Nothing can stop His will from being accomplished.
2. This is because God is almighty.
a) His power exceeds any other power.
b) Our text emphasizes God’s omnipotence.
b. God’s rule is good, because He has infinite, perfect wisdom. God’s
wisdom is far above our wisdom and understanding, a truth which God
highlights for Job.
1. This means that God does not make mistakes.
a) He rules in a holy, just, righteous manner.
2. This means that God does not reign in a unstable or changeable manner.
a) He has a wonderful master plan.
3. This means that God is ruling everything for the welfare of His Church,
as Scripture reveals time and time again.
II. How does the total and good rule of God affect the unbeliever?

a. God wants unbelievers (that is “the wicked” in our text) to repent and
be saved.
1. Because God is merciful and patient, at times a wicked man continues on
in his sinful living, and could even prosper.
a) This is one of Job’s many complaints.
2. Put yourself in Job’s place for a moment:
a) Why is it that I, a good and blameless person, is suffering, while the
wicked are having fun, living the good life, and nothing bad ever happens
to them?
3. But the wicked will get away with nothing before the holy, all-seeing,
all-knowing God.
a) According to His timetable, God will send His righteous judgments
against the unbeliever who persists in his rebellion against the Almighty.
b) They will get what is coming to them!
b. Yet even in these judgments there is a distinction, which highlights the
mercy of God.
1. With some unbelievers, God’s righteous action will affect them
negatively in this life and will result in their destruction in the life to
2. With others, however, the judgments will work to shatter their
stubbornness and self-righteousness and make them ready to hear the Gospel,
through which they will be brought to faith and salvation.
c. In all of his dealing with unbelievers, God is acting ultimately for the
good of His Church.
1. Elsewhere in the book of Job, Job says:
Job 12:23 (NASB95)
“He [God] makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the
nations, then leads them away.”
a) After the Israelites conquered Canaan and settled in the land, many
began to practice the idolatry of their pagan neighbors.
b) God let various Gentile nations and peoples conquer and rule over
portions of Israel.
c) These rulers treated the Israelites in a harsh manner.
d) This made the Israelites cry out to the Lord for rescue, in sincere,
proper repentance.
e) God in His grace would then deliver His covenant people and end the rule
of the pagan nation oppressing the Israelites.
2. This is the cycle that happens in the book of Judges (and we must admit,
in our lives as well):
a) The people sin.
b) God judges the people for their unfaithfulness.
1) The Lord allows suffering to take place
2) For the Israelites, suffering at this point was in the form of serving a
foreign king.
c) Crying out to God.
d) Deliverance
1) For the Israelites, that deliverance came in the form of a judge
(Hebrew: yawshah: a savior, in order to bring about victory on behalf of
the people)
3. Fast forward to the time of the Southern Kingdom of Israel, God raised
up the Babylonians and made them powerful so that they could conquer
unfaithful Judah.
a) Many from the Southern Kingdom were taken into exile, but as a result of
this subjugation, there emerged a purified remnant of true believers,
zealous for the Lord.
b) Then, when God ended the power of the Babylonians by means of the Medes
and Persians, this remnant was able to come back to the homeland, to
Palestine, and from that group the Messiah would one day be born.
c) God’s handling of history will often elude our understanding, as it did
Job’s (Job 38:4–18):
1) especially when we suffer, for we live in a fallen world.
2) but we can be certain that He is always guiding it for our ultimate,
eternal good.
III. How does the total and good rule of God affect the believer?
a. God blesses his people richly, with both physical and spiritual
blessings. And God also allows trials, calamities, and sadness to come into
the lives of believers.
1. These afflictions are blessings in disguise.
2. If in all things God is working for the good of His Church, and the
Church is made up of individual believers, He is so working in the lives of
those individuals, including you and me.
b. You might be asking yourself: How can suffering and sadness be for our
1. The Lord can use tribulation to give His children chastening, or
corrective discipline, when they need it.
a) This will have the effect of driving them to the Word and Sacrament,
through which they will be led to confess their wayward behavior,
b) comforted with the Gospel assurance of forgiveness
c) and strengthened to straighten out and do what is God-pleasing.
c. One example of this is seen in the life of David (2 Samuel 11–12).
1. He committed grievous sins and was brought to repentance and spiritual
restoration through the Word of God spoken by the prophet Nathan.
2. Still, he had to endure chastening from the Lord, and this corrective
discipline benefited David so that he grew spiritually (see Psalm 51).
3. David became the golden standard by which later kings in Israel were
d. Another example: Some of the Corinthian Christians were going to the
Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner (1 Cor 11:17–34).
1. What were they doing?
a) Meeting together for worship that was doing more harm than good.
b) Treating the Lord’s Supper as a party.
c) In a state of drunkenness, others going hungry.
d) Living the high life while a fellow brother or sister is hungry and has
e) Not seeing the Lord’s Supper for what it truly is:
1) The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, given and shed for us!
2. They were disciplined by God so that they would repent and not be lost
spiritually and condemned to hell.
3. It can always be said that trials in a believer’s life will work for the
refining of one’s faith, again through the Means of Grace.
a) All believers on earth are constantly in need of refining.
e. Think of the life of Job.
1. The Book of Job emphasizes, at the beginning, that he was a righteous,
godly man.
f. But as the book unfolds, we see some rough edges to his faith.
1. He protests a bit too much of him being innocent of any wrongdoing
2. and gives evidence of being tainted somewhat by a theology of glory, the
belief that a godly life means earthly prosperity.
g. By the end of the book, however, after God has spoken to him, Job has
been properly humbled.
1. He is a wiser man, and he is stronger in the faith.
h. A key message of the Book of Job, though, is that we might not know, at
least at first, the full reason, or all the reasons, why we or other
believers suffer.
1. Job was unaware of the dialogue between God and Satan at the start of
the book, of the contest between the two, and of how God’s purpose
prevailed, with Job standing forth as a trophy of God’s grace.
2. Job’s life continues to present powerful theology to believers today.
i. Perhaps Job learned the full story of his situation at a later point in
his life.
j. Often, however, a child of God will not have the complete answer to the
question “Why?” until he or she enters heaven.
1. Therefore, when you ask “Why?” you can tell yourself:
a) Somehow this suffering has its place in God’s good master plan for this
world’s history, in His wise governing of all things.
b) With that, keep on trusting in the Lord.
2. But if in response to that, the further question should arise in your
heart, “Why should I trust the Lord?” then may you always firmly answer,
a) Because of the cross of Christ!
k. That is God’s clearest revelation of his nature
1. and the undeniable, everlasting proof of His tremendous love for all of
l. Because of the cross and the empty tomb:
1. we can be absolutely certain of our salvation,
2. that God is for us, not against us,
3. and that we can trust His rule.


A. The rule of the almighty, wise God in this world is total and good.
1. It is good and wise in itself,
2. good for the Church,
3. and good for each of us individually, as children of God. Amen.
B. Let us pray:
LSB 760:6 What God Ordains Is Always Good
What God ordains is always good:
This truth remains unshaken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
I shall not be forsaken.
I fear no harm,
For with His arm
He shall embrace and shield me;
So to my God I yield me.
Text: Public domain
C. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
D. In the Name of the Father…Amen.