Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 – September 14 – What Does God Get Out of It?

Study from God’s Word Job, Chapters 22 – 24 … Passage for Reflection: Job 22: 2 – 3 … NIV 2 "Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise man benefit him? 3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless?

My Journal for Today: How clueless could Job’s critic, Eliphaz, be? Later in the same chapter (i.e., Job 22: 21), Eliphaz, making the assumption that God would not allow all this bad stuff to occur in Job’s life if Job were righteous, declares, “Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you.”

You know there are a number of religious teachers these days, many becoming very popular, who believe and teach that God would not allow bad stuff to be visited upon good people. But just like Eliphaz, these fools are trying to read into God a quality of judgment and oversight which is certainly not biblical. And I wonder at times when I read or hear of these “prosperity gospel” advocates or “word of faith” teachers, … do they just not read their Bible? Do they ignore the book of Job as I’m studying now? Do they not know that God allowed some “thorn” to be visited upon the Apostle Paul, even after Paul had prayed and prayed for it to be removed? If these prosperity advocates just read that true story [see 2nd Cor. 12: 7-11], they’d see that God did that so that Paul could be humble to receive God’s grace. God recognizes when we need tough stuff in our lives; and He wants the best for His kids.

I don’t think it takes a great intellect, if one reads/studies our Bible, to come to the assumption that God has some tough lessons in store for man to learn and that God wants to fellowship with mankind, … yes, even His disobedient children. Much of the Old Testament is a litany of stories about God’s children rebelling against our Lord and God being incredibly patient in His attempt to allow man to repent and turn things around. So, what does God get out of the deal, with His children being the way we are? And though it can seem pretty lame at times, really the only assumption that we can make to answer that question is that God gets a kick out of seeing man humble himself and choose, in faith, to be the child of God He created.

So, when I can – and do – CHOOSE to be obedient to God’s way and His will from His word, I truly believe that God smiles and the angels who serve Him rejoice. A human counterpart for this has to be, as Dr. Smith alludes today in his devotional, the phenomena of people choosing to have kids, knowing on the front end all the nastiness they are going to have to endure. Why would any couple choose to become parents when we know ahead of time all the emotional agony our kids are going to put us through? We do it because there’s something in bred into us which also seeks to see them become whom they were intended to be – no matter what shape that might take.

Don’t you parents smile when your kids attend to your parental wishes and you can see them growing into some form of goodness or greatness? When your kid finally says, “Yes, sir” to an adult without being told to do so, don’t you smile with joy? Of course you do – or you might even smile when you see someone else’s kid do that?

Well, don’t you think God smiles all the more when He sees us “get it” and spontaneously, in faith, do life His way rather than our own? Of course He does; and I believe God was smiling bigtime when Job kept standing up to his three foolish “friends,” who were spouting out half-truths and outright lies to the Lord’s suffering servant. And I think God smiles when you or I stand up and be counted, speaking out in our world against fools like those “prosperity gospel advocates,” who just don’t get it and are trying to spread lies about God to us in our culture.

So when you hear some television teacher, like Joel Osteen or Oprah Winfrey, spouting their goodness gospel, and trying to get people to believe malarkey like that taught to Job by Eliphaz, know that God will smile if, like Job, you stand up and tell them to “go and take a hike!”

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I stand with Your word as my plumb of truth. And I know You smile. Amen

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