Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him…then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. —Job 11:13,15
Job is being confronted here, not by a friend, but an enemy disguised as a friend. Zophar was angry at Job and makes three stinging accusations. Our verses today summarize the third – that Job is stubborn in refusing to repent of the sin he so obviously committed to bring all this disaster upon himself. It’s part and parcel to what Warren Wiersbe calls a “commercial faith.” He explains,
But if Job wanted…blessings, he had to get them on Zophar’s terms…Zophar is tempting Job to bargain with God so he can get out of his troubles. This is exactly what Satan wanted Job to do! If Job had followed Zophar’s advice, he would have played right into the hands of the enemy.
Have you ever been tempted to bargain with God? I know I have.
Lord, if you would just get me out of this…
Lord, if you would just give me this…
Lord, if you would just help me here….
I’ll do anything you want. I won’t mess up again. I’ll be perfect. Just do this one thing for me, Lord and I’ll never be unfaithful to you again.
It’s not a promise we can keep – the enemy knows it. He wants us to have shaky faith, based only on what God will give to us rather than what Christ has done for us. When we go to church because of what we gain from our relationships in the Lord, we miss the true freedom that comes from living in His unconditional love. When we live for what we can get, there is no release from our past, present or future misdeeds. We focus on the kind of deal we can strike than the true meaning of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
When we endeavor to live God’s way – out of love for God, ourselves and our neighbors – there is only freedom that awaits us. Our past transgressions are removed. Our present issues are being resolved. And our future is full of hope and promise. That’s the kind of faith Job had – confident in God’s reasons for this affliction so he could keep living in the assurance of God’s goodness.
Today is an opportunity to identify if you’ve fallen into the trap of counting on God only when it matters to you. It is a chance to remove the Lets-Make-A-Deal mindset so to receive a fresh perspective, a greater anointing of mercy and salvation. It is a way to be freed from the kind of faith that says, “If only you would do this, God,” so you can embrace the power of a faith that says, “If I have only You, God.”
Ask the Lord for a heart that no longer needs to barter with Him because it is filled with His grace.
Heavenly Father – Too long I’ve spent trying to make you into a god who will do what I want, when I want it. It has gotten me nowhere. I don’t feel free, I don’t feel loved and I don’t feel strong. I don’t want to live that way anymore. I turn back to You, Lord, seeking Your forgiveness. I want to live by the Word that says if I seek You first, I won’t have anything else to worry about. Thank You for another chance to begin again, knowing You will restore me to righteousness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Further Reading: Numbers 23, Matthew 6:33, Ephesians 3:20-21