CAN WE BENEFIT GOD?
Holy God, you are the Lord of Light. Grant me your light and truth from your Word today, and lead me in the pathway of your will.
Read JOB 22
22 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “Can a man be of benefit to God?
Can even a wise person benefit him?
3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous?
What would he gain if your ways were blameless?
4 “Is it for your piety that he rebukes you
and brings charges against you?
5 Is not your wickedness great?
Are not your sins endless?
6 You demanded security from your relatives for no reason;
you stripped people of their clothing, leaving them naked.
7 You gave no water to the weary
and you withheld food from the hungry,
8 though you were a powerful man, owning land—
an honored man, living on it.
9 And you sent widows away empty-handed
and broke the strength of the fatherless.
10 That is why snares are all around you,
why sudden peril terrifies you,
11 why it is so dark you cannot see,
and why a flood of water covers you.
12 “Is not God in the heights of heaven?
And see how lofty are the highest stars!
13 Yet you say, ‘What does God know?
Does he judge through such darkness?
14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us
as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.’
15 Will you keep to the old path
that the wicked have trod?
16 They were carried off before their time,
their foundations washed away by a flood.
17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone!
What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things,
so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.
19 The righteous see their ruin and rejoice;
the innocent mock them, saying,
20 ‘Surely our foes are destroyed,
and fire devours their wealth.’
21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
If you remove wickedness far from your tent
24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
the choicest silver for you.
26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
and will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways.
29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’
then he will save the downcast.
30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent,
who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of three things you are thankful for. These are gifts from the Lord that he didn’t have to give you. Thank him for his lavish generosity.
Can we benefit God (v 2)? Is there anything we can do or say that makes his existence better in any way?
On the one hand, of course, the answer is a resounding ‘No!’ – as Eliphaz’s sarcastic question implies. God is infinite, all-powerful and completely satisfied in himself. There is nothing he needs, and nothing that we, the works of his hands, can give to him that he does not already own.
Nor can we take anything away from him. He is not diminished by anyone’s rejection of his love. Nor is he depleted by our consumption of his gifts.
Yet this does not mean that he is indifferent to us. He loves us, and although we, like tiny, helpless infants, cannot add any benefit to him, still we can bring him great joy and pleasure. Just as loving parents are delighted when their children give them a crayon self-portrait, a wilted flower, or even a toothless smile, so God is overjoyed with the gifts, however inadequate, we bring to him. The wonderful, mystifying, liberating truth is that our heavenly Father needs nothing from us, but exults in our tiniest acts of devotion and obedience.
Thank him for the marvelous gift of his love and the pleasure that his children bring to him. We come with empty hands, yet he is delighted that we come at all.
Lord, even in the struggles of life, I want to live in such a way to please you. I look to you as only you can enable me to live such a life.
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