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Why Be Good?

Why Be Good
November 11, 2018

Scripture: Job 35

I.You are good not to get God’s love and blessing.

A. The young man Elihu continues to speak as a prophet of God to Job in Job 35. And in verse 3 he states the question that Job has been asking about why he should be good. In his earlier speeches Job has implied this question. See Job 9:22 and 10:3. Job had lived a righteous life. But even though he was righteous God’s response to his righteousness was to allow terrible pain and suffering. Job must have wondered, “Where is the blessing I expected for my good behavior? Where’s the prosperity of the prosperity gospel? All I’ve gotten is suffering. So why be good?”

B. Elihu gave Job a stinging rebuke with his prophetic words. Elihu says in vs. 5: “Look at the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than you.” He is telling Job, “Think about how much higher God is than you. Nothing you do, whether good (vs. 7) or bad (vs. 6), either helps or hurts God. Your actions really only impact other people. They don’t touch the great, transcendent God.” No matter how good you are, you never put God in your debt. God doesn’t need anything from you. Nor does God owe you anything.

C. The book of Job is like every other book in the Bible: it is a book that is consumed with God. It’s a book about God’s sovereignty, God’s justice, God’s goodness, and it is even a book about God’s love. Since the entire book then is obsessed with God, the book of Job is really a book about worship. Why then be good? We are good as a response of worship to the God of the Gospel.

II. You are good because of faith in God.

A.The second half of Job chapter 35 deals with a different question than why be good. The question in the second half of the chapter is “Why doesn’t God answer prayer?” Verse 9 describes people who pray because of their suffering. But God does not always answer their prayers (vs. 12). Why? The answer that Elihu gives to Job is found in vs. 10-11. Many people who are suffering don’t really pray in their suffering. They just cry out in anguish. But they don’t come to God with faith in prayer.

B. God will not answer a prayer that comes from an unbelieving heart (vs. 13). And lately in his season of suffering, Elihu says, Job has been speaking like an unbeliever. In Job chapter 34 Job has been saying that God is not good. God is not just. Job is confused why God is not answering his prayer for justice and for an end to his suffering (vs. 14). Elihu says, “your prayer is not really a prayer of faith in a good and just God.” So, “Job opens his mouth in empty talk” (vs. 16).

C. It is faith in God that makes us good, not trying to earn God’s favor with our good deeds. God wanted Job’s faith as expressed in prayer. And God wants our faith as well. We see this in the description of the Gospel in Romans 1:16-17: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Application:
We are good not to earn God’s love and blessings. We do good by faith in the God of the Gospel.

Sources:
The book of Job
Commentaries on Job by Francis Andersen and Christopher Ash

 

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