by Pastor Lee Hemen
February 18, 2008
Job, like many of us, did not understand fully why the Lord would bring trials his way. He demands a straight forward answer to his dilemma: “Don’t just condemn me! Point out my sin.” (Job 10:2, CEV)
I just got back from a Missions Conference in Mill Valley, CA at GGBTS (Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary). A lot of it was about contextualizing the gospel to the community around us wherever that may be, whether here in the USA or around the world. It is nothing new even though many in the emergent church think so. The danger is, however, how far do I go in contextualization? How far do I make the gospel message something it is not?
If you tried to contextualize Job’s sin or the answer for his sin or the condition of his pain, you would be in danger of either dismissing it as his friends did, condemning him as his friends did, or being sarcastic with him as his wife was! They all “contextualized” Job’s suffering and made it their own. They had the answer: Stop sinning, stop gripping, stop living, give up and die!
Americans are famous for making the Biblical message or the gospel their own. Christianity has become a Westernized religion with a Western context. Even those in the emergent church are guilty of this. They bash you with images, music, or “spirituality” that has nothing to do with the biblical message, that are more involved with their own feelings, and brand it as “spiritual.” They would have told Job, “I feel your pain, let me sit with you in it so I can experience it with you.” There is no help found there.
There might have been some who would have wanted to put salve on Job’s wounds, but Job did not need salve. He did not need a “friend” to help him through his troubles. Job did not need to contextualize his suffering for your spirituality. He needed God to not condemn him and to point out his sin so that he would confess it, return to where God wanted him to be, and be whole again in the grace of the Lord! And that is what the world needs: An answer from God! It has been what it has needed since the time of Adam. It is what Jesus brought about through His death, burial, and resurrection. It is redemption.
Job needs an answer not contextualization to his statement: “I will say to God, Do not condemn me; make me know why You contend with me.” (MKJV) Point out my sin so I can return to You, the Living God.
Perhaps today you suffer in some area as well and like Job you simply need an answer from God. God has one for you just as He did for Job. When Job was finally ready to listen, God gave him the answer he needed. Today, spend time asking God for that answer. He will give it. He will because He desires to. WARNING! Job said, “Make me know why.” God will answer be prepared for it.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.