Chad Cowan • Pastor of Care Ministries
From Pride to Praise
Author Donald McCullough asserts in his book, The Trivialization of God, that “It may well be that the worst sin of the church at the end of the twentieth century has been the trivialization of God.” It can become very easy to approach our God with a yawn of familiarity, so this week, we’ll walk with Job and see how God moves a man from pride to praise.
MONDAY: Lose Pride
In his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis speaks of pride this way: “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” I would also argue, that you don’t really see yourself either. Although Job had endured blistering attacks from three friends and a score of tragedies, he has not yet dealt with an internal issue of pride. Against Job’s efforts to justify himself before God, Elihu asserts that unless men cry out to God because He’s their Maker, and not just because they’re in trouble, then God will not answer. Before Job can hear from God, he must deal with his own self-righteousness and acknowledge God’s ways are above his.
God’s way is always the right way.
TUESDAY: Gain Humility
It has been defined as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.” With the whirlwind over his shoulder, Elihu makes a final charge in verse 24 to Job: Therefore people fear Him, for He does not regard all the wise in heart. Before Job can hear from God, he needs a heart that is ready to listen, a humble heart. In order to do this, Job must do away with his pride (or thinking of himself as wise in heart). Fearing God involves recognizing God’s supremacy and man’s inferiority because of his finiteness. Once again, Elihu put his finger on Job’s problem—pride before God.
When we think we’re wise, it’s a good indication that we are not! Instead, let’s just confess our foolishness and humbly approach God.
WEDNESDAY: Be Silent
Notice, what does Job say between 37:24 and 38:1? Up to this point, Job has had plenty to say. At the end of each speech of his first three friends, Job has always had a response. He has spoken about the injustice that he has experienced, and he has spoken of God’s ‘blind-eye’ to sin. What is his response now? Silence. I love what Francis Bacon says about silence: “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.” In other words, for the brain to be working, the mouth needs to stop. At this point, Job has plenty to think about. Finally, in Elihu, he received a good word. As Elihu finishes his last speech, no doubt Job can see the whirlwind approaching. His response of silence is appropriate.
Let’s make it a point to work our mind harder than we do our mouth.
THURSDAY: Acquire Awe
No matter what I may be struggling with, or how discouraged I may feel, there’s one thing that always seems to offer me some relief: a walk under the stars. There’s something about gazing up at the night sky that makes my shoulders drop. I think it’s because it puts God and me into some perspective. To know that the God who made all the stars and galaxies is the One who is overseeing the events of mankind fills me with a sense of peace. To know that it was from His mind where all of those stars and galaxies sprang gives me a sense of awe. As God asks Job question after question, I believe that Job’s awe of God only deepens and deepens. Take a look around–every insect, animal, leaf and landscape is from the very creative mind of God.
Are you feeling bored at church? Take a moment and meditate on the creative mind of God!
FRIDAY: Radiate Praise
When Neil Armstrong looked back at the Earth from the Moon in July 1969 he said, “I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” As the whirlwind dissipates, I believe that Job felt much the same way. As he stood at the foot of a massive funnel cloud, from which the voice of God was speaking to him, he finally has his eureka moment. In chapter 42 we now see a changed man; instead of self defense, all that Job offers is praise and repentance. As you and I stand in worship, having been put in right standing before God by the blood of Christ, let’s do the same. Let’s praise God, who has spoken to us through the sacrifice of His own Son, and offer Him our praise and repentance.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below!