Week beginning: 17th July, 2016
By James Crabtree | St Albans
"Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God."Job 32:2 (NKJV)
When lawyers desire to justify themselves
If we reflect honestly on how we spend our days, we are likely to conclude that much time is committed to some form of self - justification.
In the world of litigation, beneath the legal and evidential issues which courts and tribunals resolve, there is, in many cases, likely to be a deeper layer of controversy, reflecting the litigating parties' compulsion to self-justify: "I was in the right and can prove this!"
Within our hearts and minds, we carry around the invisible baggage and burdens of self-justification. Our silent thoughts often tell us: "I do my best, despite daily stresses. My motives are good, even if at times I falter."
Beneath self-justification pride often lurks: that implicit, ever-present affirmation of my own worth and merit.
Job 32:2 provides a rude awakening. Job, ever conscious of his perceived integrity, is charged by Elihu with justifying himself rather than God. By focussing on himself, Job has neglected God's character and elevated his own. Job has exalted himself at God's expense.
After Elihu, Job is confronted by God Himself whose questioning reveals Job's true standing before Him. Job lacks wisdom and knowledge ("Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" 38:2). He is dwarfed by God's eternal power and greatness ("Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" 38:4).
Self-justification reveals an enlarged view of ourselves and an all too small view of the God who alone justifies.
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where pride has led you to self-justify (like the lawyer in Luke 10:29), and seek forgiveness.
2. Give thanks that we have a God who truly justifies us through the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:32-24).