What is our legacy? Why does it seem like all the horrible stuff in the world succeeds when so little good does? I think if anyone has a right to question this, it’s Job, but he’s far from the only one. With Job’s earthly legacy stripped away, it’s no surprise that he thinks about his eternal one. While Job tries to speak of the differences between eternal and earthly legacies, Eliphaz questions Job’s earthly life. Isn’t that the way of the accuser, though? While we try to focus on the eternal, he is constantly reminding us of our life on earth. We have to remember that whatever life we have lived, we have more than one life, and while this life is important, it’s not the only one that matters. Whatever prosperity we build up in this life is nothing if we don’t have anything built up in eternity. However, we can’t build anything of lasting value if we don’t build it with Jesus.
Why do the wicked still live, become old, and become mighty in power? Their children and descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear; and the rod of God is not on them. His bull breeds and does not fail; his cow calves and does not miscarry. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children skip about. They lift up their voices and sing to the tambourine and the lyre and rejoice to the sound of the flute. They fully enjoy their days in prosperity and so go down to Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead) in a [peaceful] moment. Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us, for we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways. Who [and what] is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what would we gain if we plead with Him?’Job 21:7-15 amp
No matter our religious background or beliefs, it seems the world-over asks the question, “Why do bad people prosper and good people don’t?”
Job is asking that same question and my first response to it is, Because God is merciful.
God won’t sit back and simply watch as the people go about their own way, though. He calls out to them again and again and again, a constant and consistent plea until they take their final breath. He gives them chance after chance to actually do something that is eternal with their lives.
Then we reach verse 16 in Job’s speech. Most translations state it along the lines of, But their prosperity is not in their own hand. However, the Complete Jewish Bible states it a little differently.
Isn’t their prosperity already theirs? The plans of the wicked are far from me.Job 21:16 CJB
The “prosperity” they experience on earth is all they will ever have. What they have in this life, in this moment, is the only thing they will have. They will not be able to take any of it with them and once they have passed from this life, they will have nothing.
They have nothing of eternal value, nothing that will last beyond the temporary. Even their legacy will eventually fade.
They question why they need God, but the don’t see that every truly good thing they have comes from God.
Why is God good to them when they have denied Him? Because though they deny Him, He still loves them.
I think of Peter denying Jesus. Not only did Jesus warn Peter, He watched as Peter did it. (Luke 22:31-34;54-61) Before Peter returned to Him, Jesus brought prosperity into Peter’s life. (John 21:2-7)
It is the same way with those who deny Jesus today. God still loves them, still acts in mercy and loving-kindness toward them, He still brings true Good into their lives as He calls out to them, hoping they’ll see past the temporary to the eternal things that matter. And by things I mean Him.
A Lasting Legacy.
One person dies in excellent health, completely secure and at ease…Yet another person dies with a bitter soul, having never tasted prosperity. But they both lie in the dust, and worms cover them.Job 21:23-26 CSB
The rich, the poor, the sinful and the righteous, all die. The only thing that separates them is what they have stored up int he life beyond this earthly one. Our life on this earth matters but really only so far as it relates to the eternal one.
I feel Job when he says, “The plans of the wicked are far from me.”
I don’t understand the desire to live only for this life. I love my life here on earth, for the most part. I have experienced a lot of good and I have experienced a whole lot of bad. I am no stranger to pain or prosperity. But this life isn’t the only one I want.
As much as I try not to think about it, I will die one day, and I don’t want all that I’ve built up to pass away with me. I want a legacy that lasts with true value and the only way to do that is with God.
Nothing I do or you do will matter unless we do it with Jesus.
An Eternal Lens
Can a man be of any use to God? Can even a wise man be of use to Him? Does it delight the Almighty if you are righteous? Does He profit if you perfect your behavior?Job 22:2-3 CSB
Is man so wise that he can instruct God? What could our wisdom offer God that He doesn’t already know? If we attempt to fix ourselves without help from God, what glory does it bring Him?
The truth is God doesn’t need us. He never has, but He has always wanted us.
We could never instruct God, only learn from Him. Any true change that lasts comes only by God’s help. We cannot perfect ourselves. Only God can do that. If we try to fix ourselves, we’ll only mess ourselves up further.
Yeah, there’s some good things we could accomplish in our lives, some good we could bring about to improve our life in some way, but what does it give us beyond the temporary? That’s how we have to view things, through the lens of eternity. In comparison with eternity.
What good is our health if our eternal self is sick? What good is our prosperity if it’s a stumbling block before us, a bag over our heads so we don’t see the futility of it all? What is a good reputation with man in this life if our reputation and relationship with God is in shambles?
Does He correct you and take you to court because of your piety? Isn’t your wickedness abundant and aren’t your iniquities endless?Job 22:4-5 CSB
No sin is greater or lesser than any other sin.
The truth is that we are born into sin and anything we do, even good, is tainted by that sin. Therefore one day justice will come for us. The only way to escape the justice of our sin is by the mercy of the Cross.
Come to terms with God and be at peace; in this way good will come to you. Receive instruction from His mouth, and place His sayings in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be renewed…the Almighty will be your gold and your finest silver. Then you will delight in the Almighty and lift up your face to God…When you make a decision, it will be carried out, and light will shine on your ways.Job 22:21-28 CSB
“Come to terms with God…” (CSB) “Acquaint now yourself with Him…”(OJB) “Submit to God…” (AMP)
All of these things speak of the same thing: Humbling ourselves and coming before God, acknowledging that we are wrong, that we have sinned against Him, and seeking reconciliation with Him.
But it’s not only seeking reconciliation with God. It is knowing Him, knowing His Word (both written and spoken) and living by it. Treasuring His Word so that we don’t forget it, letting His word guide us in all ways and decisions.
It is treasuring God above all else, above anything we might gain or even currently have.
When God is our Number One, it’s easier to cast off and leave behind that which has no part of Him, the things that will lead us away from Him even in small ways.
We are not weaker for relying on God in this way. In fact, we find and know true strength by living a life full of God.
I love how the Amplified bible states verse 30:
He will even rescue the one [for whom you intercede] who is not innocent; and he will be rescued through the cleanness of your hands.
Because of our relationship with God, those who don’t know Him will be saved.
We see this when Abraham bartered for Sodom and Gomorrah. He interceded for the people before God and had he bartered with God for one righteous person Sodom and Gomorrah would not have been destroyed. However, Abraham bartered only for ten righteous people, confident that ten could be found. If there had been ten righteous people in those cities, God would not have destroyed them. (Gen. 18:22-33)
When we intercede for people, our prayers become their shield, just as Jesus is ours.
We might not be able to do much for people in the physical, but we can do a lot for them in the spirit. Remembering that is another portion of seeing this life through the eternal lens.
When we take an eternal view, coming to God and being in a right-standing relationship with Him, we see that the prosperity and benefit of bad people is temporary. We become aware that there is more to what’s around us than what we see and know.
We have a chance to help build up something truly meaningful, something that will genuinely change people’s lives and not just be a temporary fix for an eternal issue.
Trying to do something good without God in it, is like trying to put a band-aid on a bullet hole. But being in right-standing with God and building something up with Him, approaching the Cross and letting the blood of Jesus cover us, that isn’t like going to the best physician, it is going to the best Physician and letting Him perform life-saving surgery on us. Then He teaches us how to bring a permanent fix to the eternal issue, not just in our life but in the lives of others.
Our prosperity and legacy don’t have to be temporary, wiped away in eternity. It can be something greater, something that we won’t lose when this life is over. But to do that, we have to stop looking at the temporary and start looking to Jesus.
What Kind of Legacy do You Dream of Leaving?
Let Jesus take that legacy dream and turn it into something far greater and more meaningful.
It may seem like the bad and horrible things are winning today, but all they have is now. We could have eternity.
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