Sunday, September 23, 2007

Verse for the week

Though He slay me, I will hope in him; ... (Job 13:15)

With the article on the topic of Refusing on love the truth still fresh on my mind (it is compiled now here), here is a verse we all can meditate on.

Job, as we know from the context, has been afflicted by God with all kinds of sufferings, of which only God and Satan, and the angelic hosts, knew the reason why. As Job struggles with such bitter sufferings, even with the afflictions on his body, he stated this one phrase we all can learn from. Though God may indeed slay Job and destroy him, yet Job is unwavering in his trust and hope in God. Why? Why should that be the case? If God is 'evil' towards you, that he has removed His blessings from you and afflict you, why should you even think about hoping in Him? Humanly speaking, it is already leniant of us to say that we do not 'blame God for this'. Yet to say that we continue to hope in God, isn't that too much to ask? After all, we are very cautious of anyone who betrays us, yet to trust God even though He may bring upon us more calamities?

Perhaps Job is mad, or isn't he? Why should we still hope in God if he disappoints us? Or should we just adopt the attitude of Job's wife, who told her husband to just 'curse God and die' (Job. 2:9). After all, isn't it justifiable for us to do so, since God is the one who broke His promises and annulled the covenant between us, and thus it is His fault, not mine?

Now, of course, such is serious error and is in fact blasphemous. Of course, for us believers who can see the larger view of things, we can say that poor Job wasn't informed that he was going to be used as an experiment to prove his faith in God ad infinitum ad naseum. We can analyze and dissect it to learn the ways whereby God interact with us and the interactions and warfare within the heavenly realms. However, what is it about Job that make him say such a statement?

The reason why Job can make such a statement is because his faith has grown to the extent that he came to treasure God and love God for who He truly is, not for what God can do for Him. In this one statement of his, He disavow all rights and blessings, instead hoping in God because that is where his faith resides. Yes, he did question God, as we can see in his entire complaint against God in most of the book of Job, but he never once doubted God nor charged Him with wrongdoing. And when God questioned him near the end of the book, he immediately repented even of his (legitimate) questioning.

Job's faith in God is one whereby he hopes in God regardless of the circumstances, which is shown in his severe testing by Satan. His faith display the godly quality of truly loving God, which is only available to those who desire God for God's own sake. Such people do not love God because by doing so, they are promised money, longevity, power, or even eternal life. They realize that God is God and He is just in doing to us whatever he pleases.

Therefore, for us modern-day Christians, can we have the same attitude as Job? Are we treasuring Christ because He is worth it and that alone? Or do we, like spoilt brats, whine to God because He never gave us new 'toys' to play with or that He never satisfy our desires? Are we just treasuring Christ because there is benefit to it, even in the gift of eternal life where we treat Christ as our hell insurance policy? O, for God to pour our His Holy Spirit to transform us from our lowly state of being, and make us live for the glory of God alone.

[If a person or people in the movement CANNOT love God and His truth even if there would be no temporal benefit on this earth to it, and no eternal benefit either (ie even if you would still go to hell despite it), but to love God and His truth because He is worthy of it based on the fact that He is God and that alone, then they are 'refusing to love the truth', and thus do not truly love God ...]


Crysen said...

hey, I happened to scan through. I was thinking about that last para and the stuff in the brackets.

While I agree on the loving God for who He is part, I'm wondering if it can really be divorced from loving God for what He's doing for us. For example, if one of the reasons we love God is that He is compassionate, it wouldn't make sense if we didn't love Him for having compassion on us; if He didn't have compassion on us, we'd have no basis on which to love Him for His compassion.

Jesus seems to indicate that we should "come to him that we may have eternal life", "come to me, all you who are weary and I will give you rest", I'm thinking that these all point towards us going to God for our own sakes, rather than simply out of a love of what we know about God's character.

Back to the example of Job, I felt that the reason Job could say what he said was mainly because he has, throughout his life, been seeing the grace and love of God poured out to him in the blessings of riches and many children. It's through these that he was able to become convinced that God is unchangingly loving and compassionate and thus if anything bad happens to him, it's for the "greater good" (God's glory, although this is an assumption on Job's understanding on the greater good), so to speak.

It's hard to make a distinction, but I'm saying that to love the Giver and not the gift means that we also need to love the Giver for having given in the first place.

I wonder if that's what you meant, or if you meant something different. My 2 cents.

ddd said...

Hello Hanmin,

I do hope you would find the time to read through more thoroughly, because then you would find out what I was trying to drive at.

Definitely, it is a tad bit difficult, if not impossible, to separate loving God for who He is as opposed to loving Him because of what He has done for us. The issue is not whether we can separate them, nor whether we should try to, nor even that we should think loving God for what He has done for us is somehow an 'inferior' love. That is not what I was driving at in any shape reformed.

What I am trying to focus on is that we should have the attitude of loving God not only because He is good to us (aka 'Sunshine' Christian), nor because doing so would give us even spiritual benefits (although it certinaly does). In other words, do we love God more than the gifts He gives us?

The reason why I use Job is because this is one occasion whereby God tests the faith of one of His saints, in a particular severe way I may add. Anyone can say they love God when the 'good times' are here, but how many can say that when they are facing troubles, difficulties, sickness and even persecution?

The last paragraph that I have written is meant to be provocative, in a good sense. By the use of hyperbole, an attempt was made to make all readers think. As hyperbole, it is not meant to be taken literally, but to place particular emphasis on the need for a RADICAL love for God far above any of His gifts. I hesistate to reveal this, as revealing it may stop your thinking process =P, but I do hope at least you get the point before you have read this revelation.

Crysen said...

Hey, sorry for the late late reply, I seldom visit.

Well, I think I take your point. I guess coming from a legalistic background - literally beating myself over the head with that particular question of "Do I love God for who He is or what He gives?! Am I a mercenary?!" - I think I worry a little for the other legalists reading that when they've not gotten over the issue yet.

Personally, I only just got out of that particular struggle a couple years ago, so I might be rather more sensitive to this issue than most people

ddd said...

Hello Hanmin,

I think you are seriously in the minority (though of course survey figures would help ascertain whether that is so), but anyway the popularity of the Word-faith and Prosperity Gospel compared to works-centered legalism seems to suggest that most people could REALLY benefit from this piece of mine.