Dr. Jim Vineyard was for many years the pastor of Windsor Hills Baptist Church and founder of Oklahoma Baptist College. He graduated to glory in October of 2017.
“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. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord. And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:1-22) “So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 2:7-10)
There are so many lessons to be learned from the Bible, and a great number can be learned from the book of Job, relative to the sufferings and trials that man sometimes has to go through. The book of Job proves that the painful riddle of human life is capable of a blessed solution. The book of Job proves that our God can be loved for His Own Sake, just for who He is. The book of Job proves that the sufferings of the righteous are not always due to their own sin. Sometimes it is, but sometimes that is just not the case. The book of Job proves the inequalities of this life are to be redressed in the life we have coming. Justice will be done sometime, somehow, somewhere. Thank God for that.
Now I believe the key verse to the book of Job is Job 13:15. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” When Job said there, “. . .but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” The devil wants to discourage us from maintaining our ways before God. The devil wants to get us to quit reading the Bible, quit praying, quit being faithful to church, quit going soulwinning, quit witnessing to people. The devil wants to get us to quit tithing, quit giving our faith promise missions commitment so that sinners somewhere else around the world can be saved. He wants to get us to not maintain our ways before Him. He’ll use despair. He’ll use discouragement. He’ll use depression. He’ll use sorrow. He’ll use unhappiness. He’ll use hurt feelings. He’ll use anything he possibly can to get us to stop doing what we’re supposed to be doing all the time, consistently, day in and day out, without fail. We should maintain our ways before God, and the devil will do everything in his power to stop us from maintaining that consistent Christian life, and trusting God no matter what happens.
Look if you would at Job 23:10. This is the key thought to the book of Job -- confidence in God. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) God wants us to keep our confidence in Him. The devil will try to get us to lose confidence in God. The devil will try to get us to lose confidence in God’s plan. He wants us to doubt that God really cares for us. He wants us to start thinking, “God must not love me or this wouldn’t be happening to me.” The devil tries to get us to lose confidence in God’s people. He’ll get us to look at people and expect perfection out of them, and you’re not going to find perfection in any people.
Look at Job 27:2. “As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.” (Job 27:2-4) You ought to underline that right there. Remember what I tell you so much of the time? Draw yourself a circle and put a little dot in the middle of it. That’s you. You just take care of everything inside the circle and don’t worry about all the stuff that’s outside the circle. When you do that, you’ll be careful about what these lips say. When you’re not doing that, you’re liable to say anything.
“God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.” (Job 27:5) It’s amazing to me what I learn in my life time that Christian people are doing. I find Christian people today doing things that lost people would not think of doing in 1950 when I was a ten year old boy growing up in the panhandle of Texas. Why? We’ve lost our integrity. “My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.” (Job 27:6) Job was a godly man. He had made some wise resolutions about what he would do and say in the face of every circumstance. We ought to consider his example and follow his example of integrity.
Christian friend, let me ask you today. What do you do when your world caves in? Do you allow yourself to get discouraged and defeated? Do you allow yourself to get depressed? Do you allow yourself to get down in the mouth? When everything goes wrong, when it looks like you might lose it all, what will your attitude be like, and your actions and your words?
Look over to Isaiah. There is a precious verse over here. “Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Isaiah 51:11) You memorize that verse and keep that verse before you and the devil won’t be able to discourage you like he does. Discouragement is a tool that the devil will really work us over with it, if we allow him to. He’ll get you depressed. He’ll get you despairing. He’ll get your soul in misery and agony. You’ll be so unhappy that you won’t want to go on, it will be easy for the devil to get you to turn aside. Sometime or another your world is going to cave in on you. It’s going to happen. What are you going to do when that happens? I’ve got five things for you today in this message.
#1 The Bible tells us that our faith will be tried.
Don’t you believe for one moment that men and women of the Bible did not have their faith sorely tested and tried. I mention him a lot, but his name bares repetition. You take Joseph. Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers to a band of Ishmeelites, who carried him over into Egypt and in turn sold him to the household of Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife cast an adulterous eye on old, good looking Joseph. Potiphar’s wife attempted to get Joseph to be immoral with her. Joseph refused and in his refusal is an example for all of God’s people. He said, “. . .how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Potiphar’s wife then lied about him because he had rejected her advances. Joseph wound up in prison for standing for right. Did Joseph allow the devil to discourage him? No, my friend, Joseph did not. I believe Joseph knew that our faith will be tried.
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:6-9) Thank God for those precious words in the Holy Bible, that you and I have today. I can remember the trials that came, Mrs. Vineyard’s and mine, when we left the insurance business and our little farm, yonder in northern Indiana to move to Indianapolis to go to Bible college. All of those trials came down the pike right after the death of our little boy, Lauren Matthew. Dear friend, let me tell you today that those were tough times for myself and the bride of my youth.
What did Peter say here? Peter said that though you be tried with fire, those trials might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. When He comes it will be worth it all. You better put it down today -- your faith will be tried. There is not a single, solitary human being, who’s not going to have your faith tried. We won’t all have it tried the same way, but everyone will have your faith tried. What are you going to do when that trial comes down the road and walks up to your porch and knocks on your door?
#2 The Bible tells us that we’re not to worry about life’s difficulties.
Too many of God’s people listen to the devil and worry about things that are outside your control. You worry about things that you have no influence over at all. There’s nothing you can do about some of the things that you worry about.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6) Be careful for nothing means do not worry. Folks, listen to me. We have ladies here that your husband is not doing right. Far too often, one person in a marriage will determine what they’re going to do based on what the other person does. The first person gobbles and the mate says, “Because I married a gobbler, I’m going to gobble also.” Let the turkey gobble, but you go ahead and do what’s right. You ought to be able to understand that. You can’t do wrong because somebody else is going to do wrong. There are men here with wives that haven’t done right. You husbands, you can’t do wrong because your wife is doing wrong. You’ve just got to do what’s right and pray that God will touch his heart or her heart. Some of you have children that aren’t doing right. Don’t do wrong cause your children are doing wrong. No, just go ahead and do right.
When the Bible says there, “Be careful for nothing. . .”, I think it means: #1 Mind your own business. #2 Don’t be judgmental. #3 Don’t be voicing your opinion too quickly. We are so judgmental and we flap our traps and say things we ought not to say. God’s people do that. I don’t know how many times I’ve run my mouth in front of my wife, judgmental, rendered opinions, when I should have kept my mouth shut. Those women have a way of reminding you about that. If somebody is outside your circle, it’s none of your business. There’s no need for you to get judgmental about them. Had you lived like they lived, had you walked in their shoes all of their life, you’d probably be doing the same thing that they’re doing.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God,. . .”, when we have war in our heart, we are going to be wanting to war with everybody. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:7,8) If the devil can get you to worry, then the devil has you going his way. Worrying is sin. God’s people ought not to be committing that sin.
Turn back in your Bible to the book of Ruth and consider the case of Naomi. Her husband took her over into the country of Moab, when famine visited their land. There in Moab land her two sons found Moabitess wives and married them. Then there in Moab land, her husband Elimelech and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, died. Hearing that the Lord had visited her people, in her native land, Naomi and her one daughter in-law, Ruth, came back to Naomi’s native land. “So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” (Ruth 1:19-22)
Look at Ruth 4. Had Naomi spent all her time fussing and fretting and worrying as many Baptists of our day do, the Lord would not have worked in her behalf to put her in the linage of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath borne him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (Ruth 4:13-17) It’s talking about Naomi. Naomi just let God have His will and His way in her life, knowing “. . .that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
#3 The Bible gives us a plan of action for the troubles coming our way.
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.” (Psalm 138:7) Let me remind you of the words of our Lord in that blessed 14th chapter of the Gospel of John, where He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1) In John 14:27 He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Now look at ll Corinthians 4:8. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;. . .” You’re going to have the troubles but you shouldn’t be distressed. “. . .we are perplexed,. . .” and they will perplex you sometimes. “. . .but not in despair;” no need to go into despair because you have a perplexing problem happen to you. “Persecuted, but not forsaken;. . .” Our Lord will never forsake us. “. . .cast down, but not destroyed;” Thank God for the Bible and the plan God has for us.
A pastor and his wife talked to me during the youth conference. “Brother Vineyard, we just don’t know what we’re going to do.” Then they laid their troubles out before me. As they talked, the Lord gave me that verse in Psalm 138:7. “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.” I read that verse to them. I then asked them, “Do you think old Job thought about quitting when he received the messengers and they began to lay all that bad news upon him?” I asked them. “Do you think old Job hung his head in discouragement and said, ‘I just don’t know what I’m going to do?’”
One of my good friends recently told me of a pastor who resigned his church because he couldn’t get his teenage daughter to do right or at least thought he couldn’t. He resigned his church because of his child. What a shame that is. What that daughter needed is some old fashion love and old fashion discipline and the time and attention of her daddy. That’s all I think she needed. Her daddy did not need to resign his church. You listen to me. It’s coming your way. What are you going to do when it comes?
#4 The Bible tells us that the devil will try to rob us of our confidence.
The old devil wants you to get to the point where you won’t trust the Lord. He wants you to doubt God and doubt God’s Word. He’ll work on all of us that way, if we just let him. You can’t let him work on you. He’ll eat your lunch, if you hold it out there to him. He’ll just walk up and chew it right there in front of you and smack his lips and enjoy it. The devil wants to defeat you and rob you of your confidence in God.
I had a shoulder surgery. I was sitting there at night in the recliner and trying to sleep. I’d wake up too hot and have to get up and walk around and come back, sit down. I couldn’t go to sleep for a while. The old devil would come and start talking to me and I’d listen to him for a while. Then I’d realize, “You’re listening to the devil.” I’d tell him, “Get out of here. I’m a child of God. Leave me alone.” I started quoting Scripture and singing. I’m not going to let the devil rob me of my confidence. You can’t listen to him for 15 seconds or he’ll work on your confidence. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35,36)
What you and I need to do is just be patient. Trouble is going to come and it’s going to be all night long, when you can’t sleep. You’ll get defeated if you allow the devil to talk to you. “Tomorrow it may just get worse.” So what if it does? God is still on the throne. You and I need to be confident in Him. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6) Whatever our God started in us, if we will but be faithful and allow Him the opportunity, our great, powerful, caring, miracle-working God will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. That’s what the Bible said. We just have to be patient.
What we do sometimes is we spend 15 years getting bad habits, 15 years developing a problem in our lives, and then we want a solution in 15 minutes. We want to be able to drive down to McDonald’s drive-thru window and say, “All right, give me a solution to my problem,” and expect God to do it at the snap of our fingers. If you spent several years getting a bunch of bad habits, it’s going to take a while to overcome them. If you spent several years getting your life in a position where God isn’t blessing you, it’s going to take a while to come out of that hole. We’re not patient. Were we digging holes, we’d all have backhoes. None of us would use a shovel. Sometimes God gives us a spade to dig with and the handle on the spade will break. You’ve just got to keep on digging and keep on working.
I had to dig a hole one time. It was six feet long, six feet deep, and six feet wide, with a teaspoon. That’s a lot of digging. It took almost 40 hours straight to dig that hole. I had to dig that dirt and put it in a steel pot and throw it with a steel pot. You’ve got to be patient. God’s people don’t want to be patient. We want everything immediately.
#5 The Bible tells us not to be weary in well doing.
If you’re doing the best you can and you’re being faithful to God and serving God, then don’t listen to the devil and don’t get down in the mouth. There are a lot of things that you can rejoice about. We sing that song, “Count Your Blessings”, but God’s people don’t count them. They complain. I hear this all the time. People say, “Brother Vineyard, I’m so tired of this”, and they’ll tell me some such problem. Then they’ll say, “I don’t know if I can go on.” That’s not an alternative. You’ve got to go on. Why? There’s somebody watching you. There is somebody that needs you to go on. You have got to keep going on and trust God with it.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9) If we just stay and hang in there and remain faithful, God is going to bless us, and somewhere we’ll get the victory. It’s not maybe, it’s guaranteed. “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24)
You and I need to show forth courage. Why do we need to show forth courage? Because somebody is watching us, somebody is following us. Somebody is looking at us. I don’t always know who’s watching me and who’s following me. If somebody is following me and I get discouraged and stop, what will they do? Now if I get over my discouragement and I take off again, somebody is watching me and following me. I need to remember that. I can’t ever think about quitting. I can’t think about being defeated. I’ve just got to keep going.
Defeat is not my alternative. It’s like being married. Divorce is not an alternative. A little bit of fighting maybe, but no divorce. You’ve just got to keep going. You can’t be weary in well doing. There is some young lady watching you, ladies. There is some young fellow watching you, men. It may be your children or it might be somebody else. You can’t stop. You can’t quit. You can’t waver. You just have to keep going.
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Everything I have is in the Lord. My hope is in Him. My trust is in Him. Everything I’ve got is in Him. My money is in Him. I’m betting on Him. (I’m not betting on anything but that’s just a saying. I don’t gamble.) I’ve laid all my bets on the Lord and He’s not going to let any of us down. The devil is a liar, when he tells you and me all that stuff. The Lord has never let anybody down.
What are you going to do when your world caves in about you? I hope you’ll remember these few reminders from the example of Job, and I hope that you’ll keep trusting in the Lord and keep on going.