Job 22:21-22 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart.
As came out yesterday, the problem with Job’s friends was not that what they said was wrong so much as that it wasn’t submitted to God before it was said, and then spoken in love. Eliphaz’s remarks in this chapter are true enough, but they are spoken down to Job, when it is clear that Eliphaz himself didn’t have an intimate relationship with his Creator. “Conventional religion” is entirely prone to becoming a matter of slogans and prescribed steps, when God desires our hearts so that He may express His heart to those around us through us. That said, His heart isn’t weak in the least, and at times He can be a rather strict parent, so we must not confuse His grace for permission to do whatever we like. The Book of Job as a whole is an exposition of Jesus’ statement that “In this world you will have trouble,” (John 16:33) as I brought up two days ago. We aren’t to let the troubles of living in a fallen world distract us from the reality that God is our Creator, and He loves us.
I have been convinced of God’s love for as long as I can remember, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always walked in obedience to Him. I had the huge advantage of living with parents who lived out their faith on virtually every level. They weren’t perfect any more than I am, but their commitment was complete, and I was greatly blessed by that. However, there were things I could “get away with” in living with them, and I tried to “get away with” things in relation to God as well. That doesn’t work! As Paul said very clearly, “Each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) Jesus went so far as to say we are accountable for every word we speak! (Matthew 12:36) Being definitely a man of words myself, that hits close to home! I need to be very careful that my words aren’t speaking down to my hearers, but rather lifting them up, even when they are words of correction. I’m giving a final examination to one of my classes this morning. Such things are definitely a type of formalized accountability. Even now I can predict with a high degree of accuracy which students will do well and which not, not so much for their performance in class as their attitude. The subject is Medical English, which will be important to them as medical professionals whether they like that fact or not. I too have things I have to deal with that are important whether I’m happy with that fact or not! I am to deal with my students with compassion, but still grade their tests fairly, knowing that’s how God deals with me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I hadn’t expected it! Thank You for knowing what I need to hear when, and for speaking to me so faithfully. May I apply and live out all that You say to me, and not deceive myself (James 1:22) but act as Your agent for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!