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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sermon 02172013 Lent 1


May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray!  Almighty and eternal God, during this season of Lent we are reminded that from dust we came and to dust we shall return.  We are given plenty from Your bounteous goodness, enable us to understand that these gifts are from You and like Job enable us to live a nomadic life here on earth, for heaven is our home.  For Your Son Jesus Christ came to die for us and set us free from sin, death and the devil for all of mankind, but especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

As a young child I became enamored with computers at a young age.  Remember these weren’t the days of iPhones, iPads or any other laptop computer, but the days where the computers couldn’t fit in the palm of your hand but only upon the desktops or in large air conditioned rooms at major universities or NASA.  So while cutting my teeth on Atari Computers, TRS-80’s, Commodore 64’s or Coleco Adams, I learned to program computers to play games, print designs and even use them for basic word processing.
One of the games I played that required long hours of typing ‘code’ into the computer and saving it on tape drives was entitled, “Nomad”.  It was a simple game where you were a Nomad on the desert and had to survive the desert heat, the lack of water and even the experience of raiders trying to steal your wealth.  Needless to say it provided hours of fun and taught me a further attention to detail, but also is a connection for us this morning.

In our series of People and Places of Lent we on Wednesday encountered Job and heard how he lost everything because of being placed in the hands of Satan by God since Job was “a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God and turneth away from evil.”  Job lived a life as a nomad, but unlike my playing the computer game, Job became rich doing it in none other than in the Land of Edom.  Hence this morning we will contemplate in our series a Place, the Land of Edom.

Let me draw a picture for you…The Land of Edom is in the most inhospitable part of Israel.  It is at the southernmost end of the Dead Sea.  The Dead Sea like its name implies is a salt sea that cannot sustain life not only because of its salinity, but because it is well below sea level.  As nomads the people of this area descendent from Esau, the brother of Jacob who received the blessing live from day to day mainly as herdsman, nomads and ‘toll gate keepers’ since this was a well-known and well-travelled trade route when headed from the Red Sea to the south and Moab to the East towards Israel or into the land of Syria.
Hence Job and others were in essence ‘gate keepers’ able to keep herds in the highlands and still be nomadic and gain great wealth charging tolls from the rich who were travelling the then ‘interstate highways’ or trade routes like we do today on I-70 that connects East Kansas to Denver and points West.

Thus with the heritage of Esau and gaining the wealth while living in the area, Job clearly amassed in this desert barren area a wealth that was only a gift from God.  But through it all, Job still kept and held God in high regard worshipping Him, fearing Him and clearly turned away from evil.  But why is this important in the case of Job?  For what reason would Job continue to live the nomadic life and do this?  The answer may to some be mysterious, but for us today it is clear if we consider a promise made to the Old Testament people of which Job is considered a patriarch.

The promise is of and for a Savior to come in the future, that would redeem Israel and save them.  The promise of the Savior is for Jesus Christ Whom during this Lenten season we prepare to hear the fulfillment of the story of salvation on the Cross of Calvary. Jesus Christ Who came into this world in a manger, Who may have in fact travelled through the land of Edom while fleeing to Egypt carried by His parents, Who we come and worship and bow down before is the richest gift given for all of mankind and especially for Job who lived and thrived in the Land of Edom.

For the riches Job had when placed in Satan’s hands were clearly taken away.  Jobs goods and family and the only thing which could not be taken away was the promise of the Savior Jesus Christ.  This is the same promise we lay claim to today and hold onto because it is God’s promise to and for each and every one of us today.

The promise heard by Job in the stories passed from generation to generation promised a Savior.  As these stories were attested to in Jobs life, the promise of the greatest gift would not come until the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  In through and by the promise of Jesus coming in this world Job held onto this promise and refused to ‘curse God’.  Job stuck to his guns and even though all of his riches gained in the Land of Edom were taken from him, still would not curse God.

We today Job’s descendants by Water and Word, heirs of the promised Messiah for all of mankind may lose all of our riches, all of our heirs, all of our gifts from God, whether by the lack of crops, dust that blows constantly or the lack of water.  We as well have the greatest opportunity to trust God and not ‘curse God’ because of the lack of a wheat or corn harvest or moisture to quench the soil.

Today we live in a very similar situation in our society where we live in a land of plenty like it was for Job in the Land of Edom, where we earn a living and are considered rich by many cultures.  But since we have heard the Gospel of Salvation offered by Jesus Christ and His death on Calvary this message can inspire us to not ‘curse God’, but thank Him and worship Him just as Job did when he lost family, farm and everything he held dear. 

God has fulfilled His promise in the Savior Jesus Christ and the proof isn’t just here say, but the reality that we receive around the altar of the Lord this morning, Jesus Christ innocent Body and Blood to sustain our faith.  Job didn’t have this meal, but we do and God not only fulfilled the promise of the Savior, but offers us life and salvation for all of mankind, but especially for all of us saints who are nomads in the world today that are gathered here at Emmanuel this morning rich in the gifts of God, but especially of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ for all of us saints here at Emmanuel during Lent.  AMEN.
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