Week Twenty-Three, Day Four
Righteousness isn't a popular word in our culture. Yet righteousness is essential to our happiness because it involves being in right relationship or right standing with God and conforming to his character, fulfilling our responsibilities toward him and others. But righteousness is impossible for us to achieve, no matter how much we might long for it. It comes only as God's gift to us through faith in his Son. When we pray to the Lord Our Righteousness, we are praying to the One who has intervened on our behalf to restore us to his likeness and therefore to fellowship with himself.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6)
PRAYING THE NAME
Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
"Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?". . .
Then Job replied to the LORD . . .
"My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes."
(Job 40:7-8; 42:1, 5-6)
Reflect On: Job 40 and 42
Praise God: For his sovereignty.
Offer Thanks: For God's faithfulness to you.
Confess: Any tendency to accuse God of being unjust.
Ask God: To help you trust him in good times and bad.
The book of Job tells the story of a righteous man suddenly stripped of every earthly blessing—family, possessions, health. His losses came driving toward him in a loud, staccato beat—"Job, your animals have been stolen!" someone shouted.
"All the servants have been murdered!" a man cried.
"Your children are dead!" a messenger screamed.
Job's suffering was immense, beyond imagining. After listening to the "theologically correct" but ultimately flawed advice of friends accusing him of hidden guilt for which he was being punished, Job became so disheartened that he accused God of gross injustice.
At the end of the story, Job received not answers but a vision of God so profound, so dazzling that by comparison he despised himself and repented "in dust and ashes." Then God proceeded to vindicate Job, blessing the latter part of his life more than the former.
To the question, "Why do good people suffer?" the book of Job provides no neat theological answer except to say that God has reasons for allowing the righteous to suffer that we may never understand. Our job is not to treat justice as a mathematical equation that can easily be solved in this world but to trust God to ultimately act with justice and mercy, consistent with his righteousness.
Today, pray for people you know who are suffering. Don't offer them easy answers or advice. But do listen to their complaints. Ask God to vindicate the innocent and comfort the righteous with a sense of his presence.
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.