The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Month: March, 2014

Lent Devotional: Job 11

Job 11 (click here)
If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. 14 If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. 15 Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. 16 You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. (Job 11:13-16)

Reflection
Zophar solution to Job’s plight is pretty simple…do right and good things will happen…continue to do wrong and things won’t work out so well. This is the heart of prosperity theology and it is so dangerous for it destroys any relationship of faith that one might share with the Lord.

Prosperity theology treats God like “the great vending machine in the sky.” If you put in the right change you can pick your heavenly “snack.” So…put in the right deeds of prayer, church attendance, Bible reading, and some general “niceness” and then pick your blessings. This removes any semblance of a real relationship, turns everything into something more akin to business transactions.

According to Zophar, Job isn’t using the right currency. He has obviously sinned and is being punished. If he’ll simply swap back to the right money via repentance, he’ll get back anything he wants and all this misery will be forgotten. The irony is that if Job actually pursued this type of action, it would prove Satan’s original point in chapters 1-2, namely, that Job doesn’t really love God, but just God’s gifts and is willing to do anything (even repent when he doesn’t need to) in order to get the gifts back.

Unknowingly, Zophar is helping us look deeper at the heart of Job (both the person and the book). Job is showing us that the real value in a relationship with God is not the blessings, but simply knowing and being known by God himself. Do we treasure God himself? Do we treasure him more than the gifts of possessions, family, and health?

May the only “prosperity” in our Gospel be the infinitely prosperous treasure of knowing God in Christ Jesus!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: Job 9-10

Job 9-10 (click here)
For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. 33 There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. 34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. (Job 9:32-34)

Reflection
No matter how much Job feels that he is innocent and undeserving of the suffering he is experiencing, he knows that arguing such a case before the perfectly righteous, almighty God would be futile. No man can stand before the holy God and argue that he is righteous. Job knows that would never work!

Therefore, he longs for an arbiter…someone who could stand between he and God. Someone who could argue his case for him…someone who could relate to him as a man, but be worthy to stand before God. Such a person could perhaps save Job.

Is there such a person?

From our Christian perspective, we cannot help but think of Jesus. Fully God…able to stand before the Father in perfect righteousness. Fully man…able to identify with us. He is our arbiter…our mediator. He has born our unrighteousness so that we might be righteous before God…saved.

Job (and us) experiences suffering in this life, but God has provided a mediator who ultimately will bring our suffering to an end.  As our arbiter, Jesus has taken all the punishment for our sin so that we can know when we suffer…we are are NOT being punished! Job is NOT being punished and neither are you when you suffer for Christ has taken every ounce of just punishment you ever deserved!  When we suffer, it is mysteriously, providentially working for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…it is working for our good, not our punishment (2 Cor 4:17, Ro 8:28).

Take heart…you have a mediator, an arbiter…the man, Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5)!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Job 8

Job 8 (click here)
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: 2 “How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind? 3 Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert the right? 4 If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression.” (Job 8:1-4)

Reflection
Bildad’s problem is that he is right! God does not pervert justice! The Almighty does not pervert the right! Bildad’s theology is correct…but he makes the grave mistake of assuming that he can see the whole picture of what is going on with Job and that leads him to horribly, wrongly apply his right beliefs!

Bildad cannot imagine a universe beyond what he can see…a world in which God has more information and wisdom than he does. In his mind Job’s suffering must be direct punishment for some sin or that would make God unjust. This leads him to say foolish things to his suffering friend…such as, “Your kids must have sinned and received what they deserved!”

Could a worse thing be said to this bereaved father? All too often, we have correct beliefs that lead us to say foolish things amidst suffering because we believe we have the full picture when we simply do not. We must always remember there is a heavenly perspective that goes beyond us and we cannot possibly know all that God is doing in any given situation.

Before we attempt to advise anyone who is suffering, we would do well to recall Paul’s words in Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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