The Outskirts of His Ways

“Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him!”
Job 26:14

For this Lenten Season (2017), Pastor Tim Kinne and myself are using the Rev. Dr. Reed Lessing’s sermon and Bible study series “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord” for our midweek and Holy Week worship services.

For the fourth midweek Lenten service, I used Pastor Lessing’s “It Is Enough” homily as the basis of my sermon.

It starts with an illustration from a poet laureate.

Billy Collins is a poet laureate who wrote a poem called (detail).

In it is a woman who is looking at a coffee table book. In it are many pictures of landscapes, portraits, and other things that people paint pictures of.

Then she comes upon a page of clouds in the sky. Her eyes rest on the page and then she looks up and says, “This one is my favorite.”

It is only a detail from a much larger painting. It’s one small corner of the sky from a much larger painting about heroes in epic combat. And she doesn’t know that. But she does know that this one detail is beautiful.

In chapter 26, Job describes how vast and beyond our comprehension is God Almighty and our universe. He poetically states that what we can see is just the “outskirts” of God’s ways.

To the north is a landscape so large that we can only take in a small portion.

The earth itself hangs in space without rope or wires!

The horizon is as a circle to our eyes but stretches beyond our sight.

The mountains – the pillars of the earth – are as nothing when they quake.

This planet – and indeed all of the universe – is so vast and complex that it is beyond our understanding other than to admit that God created it all!

And as vast and complex as God and his creation is, what is even harder to comprehend is God’s love for us.

It may sound strange or even contradictory, but God’s love for Job is so vast and complex that he allows all these bad things to happen to Job. God allows it so that Job will know in his heart just how much God loves him and cares for him.

(This is called the “strange” or “alien” work of God and was the basis of two previous devotions: The Strange Work of God and Can You Hear Me?)

That God would love us so much as to send his only begotten Son to humble himself – literally by becoming a human being – to take our sin as his own and make the sacrifice that would forgive all the sin of all people of all time from Adam and Eve to the last person born on earth is incomprehensible!

But it is true, nonetheless. No matter what happens to us, what we go through, what we lose, God loves us and wants us to spend eternity with him in heaven. Jesus is preparing that place even now for us.

And when we get there, it will take an eternity to just begin to see and experience the “outskirts” of the love and vastness of God and our life there!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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