March 16, 2009 Ration

Job 31:26-28

“If I have looked at the sun when it shone or the moon going in splendor, and my heart became secretly enticed, and my hand threw a kiss from my mouth, that too would have been an iniquity calling for judgment, for I would have denied God above.”

If I have beheld the hardest swingin’ band, the most distinguished film, the grandest painting, the most excellent story and graceful dance, the views of the wild, the breathtaking heights, the treacherous depths, the marvelous treasures of life and land, and my heart became secretly enticed such that my hand threw a kiss as if they were, are, their own source and end, then I too would have denied God above – an iniquity calling for judgment. And in my days, I know that I have.

The iniquity is in the denial. All these things, these pleasures, are the works of the hand of God. You and I are the work of the hand of God. Our favorite artists are the work of the hand of God. Let us not become secretly enticed to believe otherwise and follow through with silly, erroneous accolades, ascribing to the creature the praise due the Creator (Romans 1). All of heaven will cry “Foul!” to such misplaced human affections as they recall, even give testimony to, the unmatched exercise of God in creation (Job 38:7).

Beholding the glory of the created, indeed, enjoying the glory of the created is not the problem. It is, in fact, our charge: “…stop and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14b). The error begins when we yield to the secret enticement to ascribe the praise and affection due God to what He has made.

This does not mean that there are no praises to give to the creatures. Paul praises and commends people all the time in his letters for their work, for their faithfulness (Romans 16). John rejoices with Gaius in his work with the brothers (III John). But these are not the kinds of praise that deny God above. These are the kinds of praise that enjoy and point to God as His works are enjoyed and affirmed.

So artists, what praises do we give? Are they shaped by secret enticements to deny God, or are they the expressions of our enjoyment of the Lord’s great work? The glories of the created are intended for our enjoyment, that is, an enjoyment that culminates in our enjoyment of God (Genesis 2:9, Ecclesiastes 2:24-25, I Timothy 6:17).

How do we receive praise? As a creature who was formed? Herod forgot his creaturely place and accepted the praises of the crowds who claimed he spoke with “The voice of a god and not of a man!’ His iniquity was judged and worms were summoned.

The denial of God, whether by ignorance or willful intent, as the glory of what He has made glorious is, in essence, rebellion. So then, as not to put ourselves in need of judgment, we would do well to work from this premise as we observe all that is amazing: “…all things were created through [Christ] and for [Christ]…and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). Let’s resolve to start here.

Artists, consider God above in what you enjoy, and do not deny Him. He will give you understanding to better enjoy all that He has made splendorous.

Jason Harms


© 2009 The Gaius Project