(originally published November 4, 2012)
Today we will be looking at V. 4-7,
"If you're a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don't call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it's something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift."
David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man:
Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off,
whose sins are wiped clean from the slate.
Fortunate the person against
whom the Lord does not keep score."
Growing up my dad taught us to work hard. It paid off because I had my first job at twelve years old! I believe in the value of hard work and I would assume many of you do as well. V. 4 is by no means saying that hard work is a bad thing. The idea behind this verse is that of trust.
Do you trust in works to set you right?
The problem enters when we do just that. We must realize that no matter how hard or how long we work, there is a point when work is not enough. We must acknowledge our own limitations as humans and rely on God.
Paul says there are three things that set us right with God:
- Seeing that the job is too big for us.
- Understanding that only God can do it.
- Trusting God to work.
This is what sets you right with God. By God. Sheer Gift! A gift we cannot earn, but a gift we receive out of grace.
Do you find yourself getting caught up in the ability of your own hands rather than trusting God to do what He says He will do? This happens to be one of my greatest struggles in life. I'm a fixer. For the longest time (and even now if I'm not careful) I believed that if I just worked hard enough, or if I just gave enough, then I could fix any problem. What has been a very recent lesson for me is that I found by doing that, I wasn't fully trusting God with the situation. We have to be careful that we don't misplace our trust. Hard work is a very good thing, but every idol is a good thing we misplaced; we (I) must be careful that we don't take our trust out of the hands of God.
Beginning in V. 6, Paul points to another well-known man of the Old Testament. He looks to King David to support this claim of faith.
David was indeed a man after God's heart, but he also is one known for his mistakes. Even so, in Psalm 32 (where v. 7 is originally found), David is found not guilty before heaven. Paul looks to a man who botched it up (as we all have) and points out his acceptance into heaven. He is pointing to this place of faith which leads to righteousness.
David was found righteous apart from his works because he acknowledged his guilt and cast himself in faith upon the mercy of God. So must we. How fortunate are we that God would wipe our slate clean from sins for no reason other than He chooses to. Because He loves us.
In a few days we will look more at works as we continue in v. 8. I would encourage you to take time for a careful examination of your life.
Do you find yourself getting caught up in the ability of your own hands rather than trusting God to do what He says He will do?
V. 4 says even if you do a good job...
Even IF, it's not enough. It's not a wage earned, but a gift given.