Summary: When thing are good God is to be praised and when things aren’t so good, God is to be praised. This sermon deals with the realities of "Circumstantial Worship".
Circumstantial Living Leads to Circumstantial Worship
by Pastor Shannon 10/25/2006
Living Springs Church
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…”
Job, having suffered incredible loss and enduring terrible circumstances declares that He will continue to trust God!
In the first Chapter of this book we find Job loses everything.
1. His oxen and donkeys are stolen away from him.
2. All his sheep are dead.
3. All his camels are stolen.
4. All his children are dead.
Verse 20 gives the key for this lesson.
“Then Job arose, and rent his mantle and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshipped.”
As I think of this verse and the actions of Job I wonder, how many would respond in such a manner? To get the news that you just lost everything, not some, not part but everything. You get this news and you set your heart to worship?
Isn’t the first reaction and reaction of anger? Don’t you shake your fist at heaven and declare an answer for this apparent abandonment of God? Don’t you ask the question of why? Why me? Why my children? Why my livestock? Why all of it at once?
Can you sense the grief, the confusion, the uncertainty that Job must be going through? Even in the mix of these powerful emotions, Job finds better comfort in worship than questions.
He finds a greater desire to worship than to understand. I think this is because job understood the difference in circumstantial living and true praise.
True praise is not offered to God just because things are going as planned and I couldn’t be happier with the results. True praise is lifting my heart to God in praise when things aren’t going as planned and I couldn’t be more confused or more hurt.
This is the lesson of Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust him…”
I wonder how many of us would express the same thoughts given the same circumstances.
Or for us do we live circumstantially to offer circumstantial praise?
Here’s my point. Job had no circumstantial reasons for which he should praise God or even trust God. There is no evidence that God is working on Job’s behalf. It is as if God is on extended vacation. It appears that God is totally disconnected from Job at this point in his life. Could God really be nearby and allow all of his animals to be stolen and killed? Could God really be a involved in Job’s life and allow all of his children to die? I mean if God were there, wouldn’t he have done something to stop all of this?
I’m afraid that many would not do as Job did. They wouldn’t first seek to praise God given the circumstances but would rather begin to bombard heaven with a verbal assault of questions and accusations. Of course this is what the devil was counting on Job to do.
Satan speaking to God in verse 11 of the first chapter says, “But put forth thine hand now and touch all that he has and he will curse thee to thy face.”
You see, Satan had all confidence that Job was a circumstantial worshipper. Satan’s argument to God was that you’ve pampered this guy. You’ve allowed everything he does to prosper. You’ve increased his house, you put a hedge about him, and you’ve placed him in this protective bubble. Remove the blessing of your hand and he’ll curse you to your face!
Well there is only one reason Job would do such a thing; if he was a circumstantial worshipper.
A circumstantial worshipper gives praise to God bases solely on how good their circumstances are at any given point in their life. If I’m happy with my circumstances, I have no problem praising you. If I like my current set of circumstances I’ll lift my voice to the heavens with shouts of adoration! But let those circumstances change for the worse and the worship ends.
We tag our prayers with words like this, “God if you do this for me, I’ll give you all the praise. If you do this for my family, you’ll be worthy of every bit of praise.”
Well, what if He doesn’t? Does that mean God is no longer worthy of our life’s praise? Does it mean that God is somehow reduced in power and sovereignty?
No! It means we are circumstantial worshippers! We worship based on circumstance. If I like it, you’ll like the praise I give to you God. If I don’t like it, you get nothing. Learning how to praise God through any circumstance strengthens our relationship with God. Because we don’t automatically assume that this negative thing in my life is God’s punishment on me for something instead it is God’s means of strengthening me.