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)
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.