May 2, 2016

Job 22:21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.”

The biggest problem with this passage is that it was spoken by one of Job’s friends, and so is suspect. It isn’t that it’s not generally true, it’s that it’s a truism, a pat answer that doesn’t deal with all the variables. It’s the kind of passage loved by “name it and claim it” people. This passage isn’t wrong, but life isn’t so cut-and-dried. That’s why it’s so important to be submitted to the Holy Spirit any time we read the Bible, to let Him speak into our hearts what God is saying to us, rather than trying to force some desired scenario. That actually is the point of the whole Book of Job: not all suffering is our fault, and things are not necessarily as they seem to human eyes. Humility is an essential component of a genuinely successful life. It is conspicuously absent in many public figures who are generally looked on as successful, but their “success” is an empty shell, and their collapse is inevitable. It is genuinely dangerous when we so adulate them as to make them our leaders, because as the Bible states so clearly, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) The fear of the Lord is inseparable from humility before Him. That is why atheists are ultimately very foolish, regardless of their IQ. (Psalm 53:1) Even many “religious” people are actually ignoring God as they go through their rituals, and so don’t know Him at all. (Matthew 7:21-23)

This is an issue I need to be very careful about. I have countless Scriptures on the tip of my tongue, but if I spout them simply as I see fit, rather than under the direction of the Holy Spirit, they do neither me nor the people who hear me any good. I must not let God’s truth descend into the area of truisms by using it lightly. I have been like Job’s friends more often than I like to admit! I am to speak God’s truth in love, letting the Holy Spirit guide me not only in what to say but how to say it, so that the words that come from my mouth may bring conviction but not condemnation, healing rather than wounding, light and not darkness.

Father, thank You for pointing out my similarity to Job’s friends. It’s painful, but important to remember! Help me be gentle with others because I’m humble before You. May I exhibit Your strength and Your wisdom, not to inflate me but to bring Your good will to pass in the hearts and lives of those around me, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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