For OUR Glory or for HIS Glory?

For OUR Glory
or 
For HIS Glory?
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
January 14th, 2018
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Due to an Icy Parking lot our church services were canceled and there is no audio of today's message.  Please read the following blog for a message on this week's reading.

For OUR Glory or for HIS Glory?
Normally, I would begin by taking a few minutes to go over our reading and what it teaches us about the history of our faith.  That is sort of the “physical” point of view of the scripture.  It is the technical details of what happened and why they are important to us.

But as you know, we also want to look at our reading from a spiritual point of view as well.  And today, instead of going over both, I’ll leave the physical details up to you, and I’ll just connect the spiritual message for us.

Our reading for this week finished up the story of Job, then it took us to the tower of Babel and it finished up with the call of Abraham and the covenant God made with him.  And oddly enough there is a spiritual theme running through all of these stories.  And that theme is: It’s all about God and Not about us.

Job
Let’s start with Job. Last week we were introduced to the story of Job and we learned that God had taken down His hedge of protection and had given Satan permission to mess with Job.  And I think that one of the hardest things for us to get our heads around is how Job was obedient and even favored by God and then through absolutely no fault of his own, God takes down his hedge of protection and Satan takes everything he has. And there is nothing in this world that Job could have or should have done to prevent it.  So, Job is kind of left standing there thinking, what did I do wrong? The thing is, Job didn’t do anything wrong.  He didn’t do anything to deserve what happened to him.

And so, what happens is that Job begins to start thinking… I’m a good guy. I don’t deserve this. I go to church. I tithe. I help the homeless. I sacrifice all the time…and I don’t do drugs, heck I don’t even drink…I am a good person!

And while all of these things may be true, the problem is that Job is becoming self-righteous.  Here is what it says in

Job 32:1-3
So these three men quit answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite from the family of Ram became angry. He was angry at Job because he had justified himself rather than God.

Suddenly, Job had made this all about him.  So, the question is, have you ever questioned God like this?  Have you ever starting thinking.. God this isn’t fair, I am a good person, I don’t deserve this?
Chances are you have.  We probably all have at some point in our life.  But read what God’s response was to Job.  By the way… I don’t know if there was a “tone” in God’s voice when He answered Job in this scripture, but I imagine there was.  And I also imagine there are times when God uses a “tone” with us and tell us the same thing that He tells Job here.

Job 38:1-7
Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind. He said:
2 Who is this who obscures my counsel with ignorant words? 3 Get ready to answer me like a man; when I question you, you will inform me. 4 Where were you when I established the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 What supports its foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

So God, very quickly put Job in his place and reminded Job that it is not all about him, instead it is all about God.

Tower of Babel
We see this theme continued in the story of the Tower of Babel.  Most of you are probably at least a little familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel.  Basically, the people of the City of Babel, decided to build an incredible structure to the heavens, and God looked down, and saw what they were doing, and said, if they continue to work together like this, there is nothing they will not be able to do.  So, he separates them, and confuses their languages.

Scripture says in Genesis 11:9
Therefore it is called Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them throughout the earth.

So, this little short story in scripture explains of lot for us.  It explains why there are different languages. And it also explains how people ended up across seas on different continents.  But the question is, why did God decide to do this?

The reason is not because they were working together and building a great structure.  In fact, I believe this is how we were created to live and what it will look like in Heaven.  I believe we will all be working together in perfect harmony to accomplish amazing things, all for the glory of God.  So where did it all go wrong here?

Once again, we see that the people of Babel were not building great structures for the glory of God, but instead were building them for their own glory.  In other words, they made it all about them and not about God.  Look in Genesis 11:4 Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let us make a name for ourselves;,

The question we must ask ourselves is, is what we do for our Glory or is it for God’s glory?  Are we trying to get that bonus or that raise, for our own glorification?  Are we trying to win an award so people will see how good we are…or even so that we feel better about ourselves?  Or are we doing these things for God’s glory.

As Christians, it should be our goal every day to focus on bringing glory to God and not to ourselves in everything we do.  When we accept glory for ourselves, then we are effectively stealing glory away from God.  He is due all glory for all good things. Remember we can do nothing without him.
So, in both of the of Job and the story of the Tower of Babel, people had made it all about themselves and not about God.  And the end result was God’s wrath and anger.

Abraham's Call
Now, let’s contrast this to the Story of Abraham’s call and Covenant.

God called Abraham to leave his family, and go to a land that he would be told about.  And this would have been a pretty big deal because what we would have expected Abraham to do would have been to stay with his ancestors and build life on the empire and riches that his family had already established.  But this is not what God called Abraham to do.  God called Abraham to leave his family.

And the curious thing about Abraham’s call is that he is called and given a direction, but is not given a destination.

Genesis 12:1 Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

This means that Abraham didn’t wait to see if he approved of where God was sending him before he went.  He didn’t ask God, where are you sending me, and what I will do?  He didn’t take the time to consider if what God was offering was better than where he already had.  Instead he was more concerned about being obedient to God, than making sure what God called him to do, was okay with him.

In other words, it was all about God and not about Abraham.  This is in direct contrast to Job and the people of Babel.

Ultimately our question here is, have you ever felt God might be calling you in a direction but secretly thought, I’ll do it but only if I think it’s okay.  I’ll do it, only if I know that it is going to end well.  Or I’ll do it, but only if it fits my lifestyle.  Maybe we ask the questions…What does it get me? Will it cost me money? Will it hurt my reputation? In these cases we aren’t saying yes to God until we know the destination because we are making it all about us.

As Christians, we need to say yes to God, whether or not we know the destination or whether or not we approve of what the job is or feel the job is beneath us. We need to say yes because God called me to do that, instead of saying no I can’t do that, somebody else can… or that’s something the kids should do… that’s a job for the janitor… that’s for the pastor or the associate pastor or the worship leader or the deacons to do..  I’m not doing that, it is beneath me.

When God calls us… big or small, glorious or in humbleness, clean or dirty, seen or unseen, important or seemingly unimportant, we don’t need to ask the destination so we can approve it and then decide… we just need to go.

Abraham went when God called and he did not go for his own glory, but he went in simple obedience.  And the result was that God established a great covenant with Abraham.

Genesis 17:2
“I will set up my covenant between me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.”

Now once again, we can read this two ways.  The first way, glorifies Abraham and the second glorifies God.  What I mean is that we can either read this as God said He would bless ABRAHAM and make ABRAHAM into a great nation, or we can read GOD said HE would bless Abraham and HE would make Abraham into a great nation.

Did you see the difference?  One placed emphasis on Abraham and one placed emphasis on God.  We should always do our best to give glory to God and not take it for ourselves.   When we do, we may find ourselves blessed, and when we don’t we may find ourselves facing God’s anger.

Are you making this all about YOU are you letting it be all about GOD?  
Is what you are doing for YOUR glory or for the glory of GOD?


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