Lesson 5 -- first quarter 2004
January 4, 2004
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
Living with His glory on the line
How would you like to be responsible for God's glory? How would like to carry the weight of His reputation on your shoulders? In other words, how would you like others to judge God according to you? Actually, you do have that responsibility and weight. Others do judge God according to you! (Whether you like it or not makes no difference.)
Job didn't know it, but how he responded to his adversity (and his prosperity too, for that matter) would be a win or a loss for God Himself!
What will it take to turn you from God?
Prosperity often turns people away from God. They credit their own wisdom and cunning for their prosperity. They become less and less aware of their need of God. Their focus shifts from God and the spiritual to themselves and the material. Solomon knew this, so he presented this petition to God: Give me only what I need, "Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?" (Proverbs 30:8). Before giving them their own land, a land flowing with milk and honey, God warned the Israelites against the anti-God effects of prosperity: "Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes" (Deuteronomy 8:11). Job himself recognized that a wrong view of and attitude toward riches is "an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above." (Job 31:28).
To keep prosperity and material plenty from turning you away from God, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). Since of ourselves we cannot do the things that we should, we need to call on God for His help. In Psalm 119:37 we see David petitioning for God's help in keeping his focus away from the temporal: "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way." When God gives us His life in His way, prosperity will be unable to turn us away from Him.
Well, perhaps prosperity hasn't been a problem to you. Maybe your commitment to God weakens in the face of adversity instead. If so, you have lots of company. Plenty of folks resent God for allowing bad things to happen to them. Others think that the tough times prove God has forgotten them or, worse yet, abandoned them. So they turn from Him.
We must keep this from happening to us! We must reaffirm our commitment to serve God no matter what He seems to do to us. Listen to Job: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him" (Job 13:15). This man, having gone from prosperity to terrible adversity, determined he would not part ways with God over anything. He trusted God's wisdom and His choices; he looked beyond the immediate testing process to the eventual resulting glory. Listen to him again: "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10). When adversity threatens to turn you from God, resist! Remain true to God who identifies Himself as "our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
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