I was speaking with a friend yesterday, and she was talking about her frustrations as she was reading the book of Job, and how she felt so frustrated at Job’s friend.
Job did not curse until the physical affliction hit him. He lost everything, but even in that grief he did not agonize. But once the pain and exhaustion came, he wished he had never been born.
I can relate to this so much. When I am in pain or sick, I feel so anxious and scared. I just want it to stop!
And when Job was down and insecure, his friend was no help. Instead of pointing out to Job all that was right in his relationship, he accused him of hiding a deep, dark secret. I hope when my friends are weak, I offer them clarity and truth, not accusations.
Job wasn’t in sin. He needed encouragement, not judgment. We should point each other to truth, but if we cant see an actual sin in someone’s life, we shouldn’t assume there is one simply because they got cancer, experienced an extreme loss, etc.
Wow, powerful, isn’t it? Makes me feel sick for Job! The scary thing is that Job’s response was to wish for death.
“Oh, that I might have my request,
That God would grant me the thing that I long for!
That it would please God to crush me,
That He would loose His hand and cut me off!” (Job 6:8-9)
How often do the words or actions of people drive their friends to the brink of suicide? Moses had this same reaction (Numbers 11:15), and so did Elijah (1 Kings 19:4)!
Job was just longing for some kindness and understanding.
“To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend,
Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14).
Yes, even if he had “forsaken the fear of the Almighty,” the first response should still have been gentleness!
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness… Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Messiah” (Galatians 6:1-2).
Without kindness, Job’s response was to just feel overwhelmed and undermined.
“How forceful are right words!
But what does your arguing prove?
Do you intend to rebuke my words,
And the speeches of a desperate one, which are as wind?
Yes, you overwhelm the fatherless,
And you undermine your friend” (Job 6:25-27).
How crazy is it that Yeshua talked about the same topic in today’s reading?!
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).
But I saw something else today. Did you notice how Yeshua “taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes”? We were just discussing authority yesterday!
YHVH is a righteous judge!
“But YHVH shall endure forever;
He has prepared His throne for judgment.
He shall judge the world in righteousness,
And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.
“YHVH also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble.
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, YHVH, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:7-10).
Righteousness (Strong’s #6664) is defined much differently than I expected. It is “steadfastness; the following of the established path or course of action; to follow a traveled path to prevent from getting lost.”
And that’s just what Job’s friend Eliphaz’s problem was. He was lost! He had no idea what was actually going on in the spiritual realm, and like us, he certainly couldn’t see inside Job’s heart to discern motives or know what had happened in every moment of Job’s life.
Eliphaz was speaking words of truth, because sometimes bad things do happen when we sin. Sin brings bad consequences!
But not all bad things happen because of sin.
And only YHVH can see the hearts of man and make those “steadfast” judgments. He is the only one who can see the entire path of someone’s life, with every detail that affects it.
That’s why He is our only sure refuge. That’s why we can depend on Him to someday bring judgment to the poor, the oppressed, and those in trouble. Like Job, we might have to wait awhile, but the day of true justice is coming. We can put our trust in Him!
Until then, we might be wise to show some kindness. That doesn’t mean we can’t see the fruit coming from people’s lives, but rather than jump to conclusions, we should probably go to our brothers and sisters gently and encourage them to do right and maybe do a lot of listening and bearing of burdens.
Whew. Hard topics.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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To Study Further:
- What should we do when a friend is building her foundation on sinking sand? (See Matthew 7:24-27.) What warning signs will we see? (See Matthew 7:21-23 also.) Based on everything else we’ve talked about today (especially Matthew 7:1-5), what could we do about this?