Friday, July 12 2024

Bible Reading for: June 7

Job 17-20

In the midst of life, its ups and downs, it’s easy to feel all alone. Each of us needs to remember at all times, as Job did so long ago, my Redeemer lives.

I’ve written over the past few posts about the inappropriate attempts by Job’s friends to lecture Job on what they assume are his wicked ways. They came with false assumptions and a critical attitude that put Job on the defensive. I wrote that we needed to put away judgment and confrontation in such situations, and open our ears and hearts in order that we might, in love, point a hurting person toward the healing of God.

Let’s consider today a proper approach for others in the same situation as Job. I must admit I wouldn’t have responded any differently than Job to an attack by those I counted as my friends when I was at my lowest. Those friends would become ready targets for the hurt and anger brewing in my heart. If, like Job, I knew they were wrong in their assessment of my sin, I would be indignant and would stand up and defend myself; I know myself well enough to know that. Here is something we must keep in mind; if someone who opposes you is wrong, it does not automatically follow that you are right. Job’s friends were wrong about the reason for God allowing trouble to cross Job’s path, but that doesn’t mean that God did not have a reason.

Just as the words and actions of Job’s friends were hurting rather than helping, Job’s response was hurting himself and his friends. While it may feel good to emotionally release hurt and anger toward those that wrongly accuse us, such a defense rarely produces joy and healing in the accused or the accuser. If my friends were to treat me as Job’s had done, I know that they would be doing it out of a misguided desire to help me. I also know that nothing could be gained by debating them; I would only destroy friendships and feel worse than when I started.

The correct response is more likely silence. In such a situation, it might be better to take in their words, thank them for their concern and show them, politely, to the door. Even from those who are misguided in their words can come insight worth considering. I realize that it is a bit much to ask someone who has been as utterly devastated as Job to be the more mature player in this drama, but I’m afraid that is often how the real world plays out. Often times those that wish to help us are not really up to the task; they don’t have what we need. There is no need to make a bad situation worse by debating those that wish to help but are misguided.

I think we need to understand something here. Satan is using Job’s friends in his attempt to break him down. Remember Satan’s purpose in this entire affair has been to agitate Job enough that he would make some egregious offense against God. When we are in difficulty, we must not succumb to the subtle influences of the world’s Liar and Chief. We must not allow the Accuser to whisper through the tongues of our friends, and by so doing bring us to ruin. When our friends are mistaken, don’t fight; show them love and the door.

I don’t find Job and his response to his troubles analogous to the Lost; I view him as analogous to the Saints. Job was a fine witness to the value of right relationship with God. Satan didn’t care for that. He wanted Job brought low; he wanted to negate that witness. If you have the Holy Spirit living in you, Satan wants to negate your witness as well. He wants to go before the throne and accuse you before God. He wants your witness to be stifled in your heart and mouth. He will throw everything he has at you to cause you to stumble and fall. When he does, and you should expect it, will you blame God? How will you respond?

Shifting gears, I found some of Job’s words in today’s reading fascinating. Did you notice that he knows there is to be a resurrection?

19:25-27 ESV
“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!”

He knows that his Redeemer lives! He knows that after he is dead he will see, with his own eyes, God, his Redeemer, Jesus Christ! Wow! Every book in the Bible points to Jesus and the book of Job is no different. There is the hope for Job and the whole of humanity. As Satan accuses you before the throne of God, Jesus, the lover of your soul, turns to God and says, “Father, I paid his fine, he is with me, his sins are gone.” At that moment, Satan is silenced; he can say no more.

Brother, no matter our troubles, we must remember that, having accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will overcome all tribulation. We have no need to defend ourselves. We have the best lawyer in the history of the world; a lawyer who pre-paid our fine. Don’t defend, don’t accuse, just love.

Vivere Victorem! (Live Victorious!)

Your brother and servant in Christ,
Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Reading Plans
Chronological Order: Proverbs 10-12
Old Testament Only: 2 Kings 17:6–18:37
New Testament Only: John 11:28–44

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