Daily Devotional

The Lord's Purpose Prevails

by Simon Whitton

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
21 and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job 1:20-22 (NIV)

Job enjoyed wealth and success in his spiritual, family and business life.  But then he received the news that he'd lost everything that was precious to him.  His response was to credit God with all he had achieved and everything he'd lost, and he worshipped God.

Job's friends and too many of us get hung up on success.  It's too easy to think that making right decisions results in success, and poor choices result in failure. Or that success is a result of pleasing God.  Yet when these tragedies happened to Job he was 'blameless and upright'!

These errors in thinking can subtly influence our relationship with God.  We may find ourselves wanting success as the Lord's seal of approval on our lives. Or we may even want to bring our success before God like an offering.  We may bring the work of our hands like Cain, our good works as evidence of our righteousness; but the Lord prefers a blood sacrifice like Abel's, an offering made by faith with humility.

We need to see that success in life is determined by the Lord and not by us, and success is not an indication of our righteousness.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Matthew 5:45b (NIV)

The world thinks the outcome mostly depends on you, your effort, your skill; but it is God that controls blessing.  He is in control of our steps, and success or failure.  As Christians we struggle to believe this.  We think we play a much larger part than the scriptures say we do:

A man's steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand his own way?

Proverbs 20:24 (NIV)

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

We need to be released from the task-master of success.  Instead, we should live our lives to please God and leave the results in His hands.  Then, like Job, whatever comes our way, we should believe in the Lord's sovereignty, find contentment and worship Him.

You can offer praise to God whether you are riding a huge wave of success, or whether your life has just come crashing down around you.  God's love for you is the same, He is still in control.

Spend some time praying and thank God that your steps and life are determined by Him.  Pray that you will be released from chasing success, and that you would find contentment.  Praise Him that it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

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