Proverbs of ashes

Job 13:7-12
7 Will you speak wickedly for God,
And talk deceitfully for Him?
8 Will you show partiality for Him?
Will you contend for God?
9 Will it be well when He searches you out?
Or can you mock Him as one mocks a man?
10 He will surely rebuke you
If you secretly show partiality.
11 Will not His excellence make you afraid,
And the dread of Him fall upon you?
12 Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes,
Your defenses are defenses of clay.

As much as we talk about knowing God through His Holy Bible, we sometimes forget that the book of Job is full of misinformation about the Lord. While Job’s faith keeps him from misunderstanding God, Job’s friends nonetheless spout all sorts of ill-conceived ideas about who God is and why He does things, and so their arguments need careful scrutiny. Of course, the irony is that many people today believe some of those same ideas – mainly because they rely on OTHER religions to guide their thoughts about Jesus. We could ALL benefit from a close reading of Job.

Perhaps the most dangerous idea found today is the belief that an all-loving God would not condemn “good people.” To be sure, God desires ALL people to come to repentance, but God will not force the issue, because repentance is a choice WE make and not a choice God can make for us. Yes, God has elected many for His kingdom, and those He has elected He enables to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29) – but the choice to choose or reject Christ is still ours. And if we reject Christ, no amount of “goodness” (good works) will get us past the gates, for NO ONE comes to the Father but through Jesus. (John 14:6)

So, to say that an “all-loving” God would not reject anyone is, in the words of Job, a “proverb of ashes.” It is a saying that has no merit in the eyes of God, no matter how often we may repeat it. Believing such a thing will only lead to “ashes” – i.e. death. God’s standards are very high, but simply loving one another isn’t enough. We have to love GOD above all things, and seek to live by His standards first. Yes, those standards may seem harsh in worldly terms, but if we “secretly show partiality” to the ways of the world, that is far worse.

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Like Paul says, we need to put off the trappings and standards of the world and be changed by God’s Holy Spirit, and THEN we will be able to express what is truly God’s will. Do not mock God with worldly ideas of who you think He should be. Instead, embrace His ways, and be transformed.

God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, Savior and Father of us all, I praise You for YOUR goodness today. Through Your mercies we are not condemned by our own actions, and by Your grace we instead have the chance to be saved. I love You and I will trust in You, Lord God, and I will seek Your ways and Your will. Transform me, O Lord, so that I may glorify You only. Amen.

About Glenn Pettit

I am a deacon at The Well of Iowa, and a father and grandfather. Called to teach and to preach, I write fresh messages about the Bible every now and then.
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