Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Life under God

Our family is reading and discussing With, a book that reflects on our postures in relationship to God. Mostly, it deals with our attempts at manipulating God so we control our surroundings and ward off our fears. We often life:
  • For God: "I'll serve him" (then he'll be nice to me)
  • From God: "I want prosperity / health / wealth / happiness" (he should provide for me)
  • Under God: "I need to appease him because he sets the rules" (don't make God mad)
  • Over God: "Who cares about God?" (he may or may not have set the world into motion, but what does that have to do with me?)
The author suggests living WITH God in deep communion and trust. More on that in another post.

In my 1-year chronological Bible reading, I stumbled across Elihu again. He's Job's "Comforter" and "friend," a punk with all the answers. He admits to listening to his elders and then disses them with:
  • I've heard you and you don't have anything wise to say
  • I've considered deeply and don't have to be old to know what's going on
  • You should listen to my wisdom. I've figured it out
  • No matter what your protests, I'm right
  • Do it my way and you'll succeed
Cheeky. Arrogant. Stupid.

It doesn't matter if parts (or even most) of what Elihu says is true. His attitude stinks. And his approach is totally "Under God" - if we follow the rules, God also has to follow the rules.
  • The wicked get punished. (So hey, if you're suffering, you don't have enough faith, you've got sin in your life, you don't understand your own evil heart, etc.) 
  • The good prosper. (If you're rich, healthy, and have a good reputation, you must be doing something right.)
  • God is unmoved by our plight. (Stop asking him for help, confess your sins, be a better person,  and pull up your own boots to get to work.
What I find fascinating is that God doesn't respond to Elihu at all. If he's got it all figured out, why bother to interact?

On the other hand, God asks the other three "comforters" to bring sacrifices and have Job make them on their behalf. God is willing to restore relationship with them.

Oh Lord, for all of our youthful or immature "right answers," our arrogant suppositions, and our silliness in thinking we have you figured out, we're sorry! Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy! (Benedictine) and Lord have mercy! (Michael Smith and Amy Grant)

Read more:
*By the ordinances of the Lord is your servant warned. Psalm 19:11 (NIV)

*Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1-5 NIV

*No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit. Luke 6:43

Moravian Prayer: King of kings and Lord of lords, our desire is to do your will. Come into our hearts, rescue us from darkness and sin so we may bear good fruit in your name. Amen.

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