Saturday, May 11, 2013

Magic and the Prayer of Jabez The New 52 #10

While I was growing up a book was written and an empire spawned off a single verse. That verse was 1st Chronicles 4:10. The verse tells about a man named Jabez who prayed a prayer and God granted it to him. From that one verse nine books and a worship experience were created. The main point of the book was a challenge to pray Jabez's prayer for yourself everyday and watch as God would honor it. It was of course a best seller. Not long after that I remember movements in churches based of 2 Chronicles 7:14, possibly sparked from a certain song. When I got to college I was told about this thing called the "prosperity gospel" that was growing like wildfire in Latin America and lower sociology-economic groups. Along with that was the rise of the "feel good gospel", that preached that God wanted you to be happy, successful, and wealthy. It found its home in mega churches that didn't say the word sin and spoke more about living a good life then following God. The problem of all these thoughts is that they claim to have some sort of power over God. If you pray this special prayer, or do these certain things, then God is obligated to act in a certain way. That's why these thoughts are so popular. It turns Christianity into some sort of magical superstition were we have control over the powers of the universe.

When we buy into this, we forget who God is. I, along with a large number of scholars, believe Job was the first book of the Bible recorded. In it we see God's dealing with a just man. The final chapters of the book are made up of God's reply to Job's questions regarding his circumstances. God never answers Job, instead he reminds Job who He is. He gives Job Himself. God reminds Job that He is the creator and Job is the creation. In response to this Job repents. The first recorded book of the Bible serves to remind us that we don't have some special power over God, and that He doesn't owe us anything. Also, that we can't manipulate Him into doing our will. When we do our dealings with God, we need to remember that we are His and it is not the other way around.