The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: pride

Lent Devotional: Job 41

Job 41 (click here)
Will you play with [Leviathan] as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls? 6 Will traders bargain over him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons or his head with fishing spears? 8 Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! 9 Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him. 10 No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? 11 Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. (Job 41:5-11)

God draws Job’s attention to another fearsome  mysterious creature…Leviathan. This is some type of water animal that Job (nor anyone else with a brain) would ever attempt to tame. The point of all God’s questions is twofold: 1) Job you cannot do this, but 2) I can. Job cannot put Leviathan on a leash like a pet, but God can.

This is why God’s culminating question in verse 10 is, “Who then is he who can stand before me?” If Job cannot remotely overpower Leviathan, and yet Leviathan is like a pet to God… then why does Job have the audacity to think he can square off with the Lord! God is giving Job (and us) a clearer picture of who we are dealing with… for all to often we lose sight of who God is and try to put him on our level.

God makes it clear to Job that they are not on the same level. God is creator and we are creation. We have never given him anything that puts him in our debt. He owes us nothing. He doesn’t owe us good, or love, or blessing, or answers, or explanations, etc. God owns everything, including us, and we owe our entire existence to him!

Yet… God does love… God does bless… God is good. He doesn’t have to be… he just is. God wants us to see that he is the almighty who has freely (not out of obligation), lovingly given us life. He is so powerful that he could crush us like Leviathan, and he has the right to do so… but he doesn’t. No. The omnipotent God promises to use his power in such a way that it is for our ultimate good. Do we trust him? Or do we foolishly try to oppose omnipotence?

We’d have a better chance trying to conquer Leviathan.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.


Lent Devotional: Job 36-37

Job 36-37 (click here)
Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf. 3 I will get my knowledge from afar and ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 4 For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. (Job 36:2-4)

Elihu claims to speak on behalf of God. We all do this from time to time. If we ever try to teach someone anything about God then we are, in a way, claiming to speak on God’s behalf. We have been commissioned to do this very thing! We are ambassadors representatives of the Lord, and we are to proclaim him to the world.

Yet…teaching people about the Lord is a mission that should be approached with humility, holy fear, and much trembling.

James 3:1 warns, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” As someone who regularly teaches and preaches, warnings like this often cause me to lie awake at night, thinking back through everything I’ve taught…searching to see if I can find any error in need of correction.

Elihu has a good goal that we also should seek… he wants to ascribe righteousness to his Maker. He wants to proclaim the glory of God and show his greatness to the world! Our heart should beat with this kind of passion and our lips should proclaim it! Yet, Elihu’s approach is anything but humble…he claims to be perfect in knowledge…a claim that can be made by God alone.

Don’t get me wrong… we should teach truth with conviction and confidence. Uncertainty is not the same thing as humility. The difference in an arrogant or humble approach to teaching the truth about God is found in the source of our confidence. Elihu’s confidence is in himself and his own knowledge. Our confidence needs to be in Christ and his Word.

We humbly, confidently teach people the truth about Christ on the basis of his Word…striving to be as faithful as possible to what he has said about himself.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Letter #8: You’re a Patient, Not a Physician

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for not being too upset by my last letter. I do hope it didn’t sound like I was being “holier than thou” or “attacking” you. Honestly, if I was attacking anyone it was myself.

I so badly want to help you avoid many of the pitfalls I dove head-first into while in seminary…especially the endless void of pride. There is actually one simple truth that really helped me combat pride during my seminarian years…

skeptical-doctorYou’re a patient…not a physician.

Over time, I noticed that I could tell when pride was beginning to swell within my heart because I would put myself in the position of a physician. I would look at the world of Christendom, diagnosing all the ills I saw and proudly proclaiming my miracle prescriptions that I just knew would bring healing!

How pompous I could be?!?! I looked down my nose at local churches and at pastors in the trenches of ministry…and from the safe, lofty heights of academia I would point out their infected theology and diseased practices. All the while, I was so blind that I could not see I was only being part of the problem…not the solution.

I was acting like a physician…yet I was truly a patient.

In other words, I was not seeing myself as part of the body of Christ! I was separate somehow. The body was sick, but not me…I was God’s gift to “fix” the body! Ha!

We are not physicians, Jesus is! He is the great physician! We are part of the body in need of his healing.

The only way I was able to see this was to actually be a part of the body. The Lord convicted me of safely distancing myself from the local church, and I knew I had to plunge in and become a part of it.

Jonathan, I would highly encourage you to be an active member of a local congregation.

Serve within the body…teach within the body if you can! Teaching should humble you and drive you to your knees as you see your own feebleness/inability and your need for Christ’s sufficiency! Teaching should help you see yourself as a patient in need of Jesus’ miraculous healing work!

It becomes very difficult to criticize the church when you see that you are a part of its brokenness.

I’m not saying there is no room for critiquing the church (perhaps I’ll write about that later), but I am saying that the posture from which you critique it transforms when you are a member of the body instead of trying to be a master over and against it.

Don’t be an arrogant seminarian who thinks he is the “Doctor” the church needs. There are enough of those. Swallow that bitter pill of pride and remember you are a part of the church that needs healing…you are broken too.

You’re a patient…not a physician.

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

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