Friday, January 28, 2005

Of what use is man to God? Job 22

"Can a vigorous man be of use to God, or a wise man be useful to himself? Is there any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous, or profit if you make your ways perfect?" (Job 22:2-3)
Eliphaz asks the question, "of what use or benefit is man to God?" Eliphaz's view is that man is insignificant to God. Man, at his best, offers little to God and man, at his worst, does little to harm Him. We are just a small part of creation and so far beneath God, that He hardly ever takes notice of us.

The Shakers had a saying that, true beauty was only found in utility. That is why Shaker furniture is plain but very useful. They felt that the beauty of the furniture they produced was demonstrated in its utility. It is from this point of view that Eliphaz ask his question. Eliphaz assumes that, since man has nothing to offer to God, then he must be of little value to Him. The truth is, however, that we are of great value to God. Conceder what Jesus said,
"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?" (Matthew 6:26)
Here, and in many other places, Jesus reminds the disciples of how important they are to the Father. He reminds them of their value before God. What Eliphaz did not understand is that our value to God is not found in our utility but in our relationship with Him. God values, not our usefulness, but our relationship. God is not looking for someone who can help Him get things done, but someone who will be his friend, brother, and child.

When God created Adam and Eve, it was not for the primary purpose of tending the garden, but it was to have fellowship with them. "They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8) While they were given authority to tend the garden, Adam and Eve were created to have fellowship with God. God would often visit them and walk with them in the garden in the "cool of the day." God enjoyed those times of fellowship with them. They were valuable to God because of their fellowship, not their great garden tending skills.

We are not just slaves of God, His for His commanding. But we are His sons and daughters. My children are of great value to me. Not because the do the dishes and mow the lawn (when they're forced to), but because they are mine. I love them, not because they do great things, but because they are my children. No matter what they do or become, they will always be loved and greatly valued by me. Even if they choose wrong, while it may grieve me, it could never decrease my love and value for them. In this same way we are to God. God does not love us for what we do, He loves us because of who we are, His children.

David Robison

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