Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 47
     Job 13
     Luke 1:1-38
     I Corinthians 1
''...though He slay me yet will I trust Him...'' (Job 13:15b); ''for with God nothing will be impossible." (Luke1:37)
            It is our tendency to respond to criticism by trying to please our critics to get them off our back. This leads to becoming people pleasers rather than God pleasers.  Ultimately we must seek to please God, not man.
            Job's critics, Zophar, Bildad and Eliphaz are not the holy Trinity. God is! So Job was saying here he wants to argue his ways before God and not man. He believes God will vindicate him. In this passage Job tells his critics ''though He slay me, still I will trust Him''. What a statement of faith in God and confidence there is life after death.  Rather than arguing with his friends, Job desires to be vindicated by God alone.
            George Whitefield often said, ''The Judgment Seat of Christ will bear me out''. If you please God it doesn't matter whom you displease, and if you displease God it doesn't matter whom you please. This is basically what Job is saying; ''I am not going to be defeated by your criticism of me, and I will be vindicated by God in Heaven''.
            The story is told of a young violinist, a child prodigy who was playing for the first time in Carnegie Hall. A large crowd cheered and applauded for this young musical genius who came back again and again to the stage as the audience shouted ''bravo, bravo''.  But he left the stage with a very downcast look. His startled manager asked, ''why are you so downcast?'' This is the greatest night of your life. ''As the audience continued to cheer, the young violinist pulled the curtain back to point to one man in the audience who was not cheering. He said, ''Do you see that man who is not cheering''? The manager said, ''yes, but he is the only one. Why is that so important?'' The violinist replied, ''You don't understand, that man seated on the front row is a master violinist and is my teacher. He taught me to play the violin and if he is not pleased, then I am not pleased."
            That must be our attitude. We must please God, not the crowd.  Even if the world is cheering you, please God.  Even if others are criticizing you, please God. Ultimately that alone is important. Are you pleasing God today?
            Bolivia was one of the most prosperous countries economically in Latin America. Now, however, with the crops in suppression and the vigorous efforts against the drug trade, the nation finds itself economically depressed.  The approximately 10 million people there suffer greatly. There is, however, a growing spiritual hunger, especially in the Bolivian army. The manufacturing of cocaine has become the major economic activity of many Bolivians. Poor roads and distance from market make alternative crops far less viable. The greatest need in Bolivia is for believers to take a stand for the Gospel and against the drug industry.  This will require spiritual awakening and should be our prayer today.
''I fear not the tyranny of man, neither yet what the devil can invent against me.''
John Knox