Job 3-4 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: Unthreatened by our questions, He answers those at the heart of our need

The tales I’ve heard about the language mother’s-to-be have used in the throes of delivering their babies could make a grown woman blush, especially in the days before the pain relievers available today.  I think of the dear father coaching his sweet wife along in the process when the pain of an absolute explosion occurring in her abdomen causes her to lash out at the instigator of all this pain.  Obviously, the lack of understanding in his advice was insulting and not welcomed.  Poor guy – he was just trying to help!

Just like these fathers, we may experience something similar when we offer advice after listening to someone’s woes.  That well-intended advice could come back to bite us. Some questions come to mind from our reading today in Job:  In the midst of a struggle and in our telling of it to others, what response are we really expecting from them?  What is our responsibility as a listener? 

@ Job 3
In all the trials that Job faced, he did not take his wife’s advice to curse God, but he did do some cursing.  “At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth.” (1)  So miserable was his existence that he asked that the day of his birth be removed from the calendar. (6)  Job just wanted to die.  Jeremiah expressed similar words in Jeremiah 20:14, “Yet I curse the day I was born! May no one celebrate the day of my birth.  I curse the messenger who told my father, ‘Good news—you have a son!’”  Some struggles in life are so painful that dying just seems easier.

Job began his questioning of why, seven times just in this chapter alone. “Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die…Why is life given to those with no future?” etc. (11-23)  God isn’t really threatened by our questions because He made us and understands our desire to know the answer to our why; but in this testing, God had more important truths for Job to learn.

Job’s friends had come to him and sat in silence which was the custom of the day, but also because grief and anguish leave many of us without words.  However, when Job started to ask his many questions, his friends felt compelled to answer, and answer they did.  As in the mother scenario, Job did not care for their answers.  Perhaps we can learn from Job’s experience that when going through a crisis, we can express our sadness and pain to caring listeners, but for the answers to our difficult questions, we are wise to go to those who may have actual answers, and even more so, we should seek the Lord. 

@ Job 4
Put on the spot, Eliphaz, the most seasoned of Job’s friends, felt obliged to answer, “Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed?  My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.” (7-8)  Because we are privy to the dialogue of Chapter 1, we know that Eliphaz, in all his experience, was just offering his opinion in Job’s case and even had the audacity to say he was speaking on God’s behalf.  His counsel to Job was inaccurate and wasn’t helpful.

In Galatians 6:2, Paul strongly encouraged to “Share each other’s burdens,” and this is one of the many blessings we receive as believers.  Sometimes we feel all we can do is listen to our hurting friend, but so often, that is exactly what is needed.  The most valuable time Job’s friends spent with him was when they sat in silence.  From Eliphaz’s poor counsel, we learn that the best and most helpful advice is based on fact and not on opinion.  Finally, praying with our friend is the one thing we can do that opens the door to God’s supernatural intervention for their need. Whether He uses us or someone else to help our friend, He is the One who knows all the right answers to all the questions and reveals them at just the right moment.

Moving Forward: For those I meet today who may be hurting, I pray that my response is Spirit-led, whether in simply listening or in sharing truths. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 7-11

Job 11-12 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He responds to our trust in Him with deliverance

When the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? started airing on television, I’d watch it whenever I could because I loved the title and enjoyed having my knowledge put to the test.  After all, who doesn’t want to be a millionaire?  As one who has been known to pick up an Encyclopedia book, say H-I, and read it for pure enjoyment, I find discovering what I really know to be entertaining and obviously thousands of others who watch the program do as well.

While watching the program one night, I discovered that I knew the answer to every question up to the $500,000 question without phoning a friend, asking the audience or eliminating half the answers.  Amazing, yet true!  Then, the buzzer rang and the show was continued to the following evening.  I wasn’t home to watch the next program, but I seemed to walk with my head held a little higher.  That is until a few days later when I watched the show again and missed a $1,000 question.  Job was surrounded with friends who thought they had all the answers to life, but none of that knowledge was helpful to poor Job. Sometimes we just don’t know as much as we think we do. 

@ Job 11
“Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job: ‘Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words?  Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking? Should I remain silent while you babble on?  When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?’” (1-3)  Well, the old saying comes to mind, With friends like that, who needs enemies? Evidently, tension had been mounting for Job’s third friend as he listened to the discussions, and he must have felt that someone had to stop the polite discussion and straighten out sinful Job.

Zophar said to this man who had lost all his wealth, all his children and most of his health, “Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve!” (6)  Or, “Here Job, here’s a little salt for your wounds.”   What Zophar knew about Job was based on fallacy, yet he thought he knew everything and judged Job accordingly.  May our hearts always be sensitive to the hurts of others, putting judgment in the hands of God where it belongs.

@ Job 12
“Then Job spoke again:  ‘You people really know everything, don’t you?  And when you die, wisdom will die with you!  Well, I know a few things myself—and you’re no better than I am.  Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?’” (1-3)  I’m not sure how Job had the strength to respond to Zophar and his friends with this pithy counter, but it certainly made me feel better.

Job went on to talk about the magnitude of God’s knowledge and power, “But true wisdom and power are found in God…He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom.” (13,22)  We think, in all our brilliance, that we have discovered the cure for diseases, space travel and our endless inventions, but did He not know it all first?  Do our breakthroughs surprise Him?  No, He is the One who uncovers all the answers for which we are given credit, and it is He who places them in the hearts and minds of men.

All this knowledge spouted by Job’s friends was not impressive to him because he knew that it came from the Source of all knowledge.  Job’s greatest concern was not about what he knew about God.  Job’s greatest concern was about what he did not know about God – why was God punishing him?  As we will learn, deliverance came to Job when he finally turned his focus back to his knowledge of who God was regardless of what God did. Deliverance from the trials we face is certain for us as well when we focus on who we know God to be and put our trust in Him. 

Moving Forward:   Because I know Him to be all wisdom and faithfulness, I will trust Him in all that I may face today, assured of His power to deliver. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 29-33

Job 3-4 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: Unthreatened by our questions, He answers those at the heart of our need

The tales I’ve heard about the language mother’s-to-be have used in the throes of delivering their babies could make a grown woman blush, especially in the days before the pain relievers available today.  I think of the dear father coaching his sweet wife along in the process when the pain of an absolute explosion occurring in her abdomen causes her to lash out at the instigator of all this pain.  Obviously, the lack of understanding in his advice was insulting and not welcomed.  Poor guy – he was just trying to help!

Just like these fathers, we may experience something similar when we offer advice after listening to someone’s woes.  That well-intended advice could come back to bite us. Some questions come to mind from our reading today in Job:  In the midst of a struggle and in our telling of it to others, what response are we really expecting from them?  What is our responsibility as a listener? 

@ Job 3
In all the trials that Job faced, he did not take his wife’s advice to curse God, but he did do some cursing.  “At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth.” (1)  So miserable was his existence that he asked that the day of his birth be removed from the calendar. (6)  Job just wanted to die.  Jeremiah expressed similar words in Jeremiah 20:14, “Yet I curse the day I was born! May no one celebrate the day of my birth.  I curse the messenger who told my father, ‘Good news—you have a son!’”  Some struggles in life are so painful that dying just seems easier.

Job began his questioning of why, seven times just in this chapter alone. “Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die…Why is life given to those with no future?” etc. (11-23)  God isn’t really threatened by our questions because He made us and understands our desire to know the answer to our why; but in this testing, God had more important truths for Job to learn.

Job’s friends had come to him and sat in silence which was the custom of the day, but also because grief and anguish leave many of us without words.  However, when Job started to ask his many questions, his friends felt compelled to answer, and answer they did.  As in the mother scenario, Job did not care for their answers.  Perhaps we can learn from Job’s experience that when going through a crisis, we can express our sadness and pain to caring listeners, but for the answers to our difficult questions, we are wise to go to those who may have actual answers, and even more so, we should seek the Lord. 

@ Job 4
Put on the spot, Eliphaz, the most seasoned of Job’s friends, felt obliged to answer, “Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed?  My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.” (7-8)  Because we are privy to the dialogue of Chapter 1, we know that Eliphaz, in all his experience, was just offering his opinion in Job’s case and even had the audacity to say he was speaking on God’s behalf.  His counsel to Job was inaccurate and wasn’t helpful.

In Galatians 6:2, Paul strongly encouraged to “Share each other’s burdens,” and this is one of the many blessings we receive as believers.  Sometimes we feel all we can do is listen to our hurting friend, but so often, that is exactly what is needed.  The most valuable time Job’s friends spent with him was when they sat in silence.  From Eliphaz’s poor counsel, we learn that the best and most helpful advice is based on fact and not on opinion.  Finally, praying with our friend is the one thing we can do that opens the door to God’s supernatural intervention for their need. Whether He uses us or someone else to help our friend, He is the One who knows all the right answers to all the questions and reveals them at just the right moment.

Moving Forward: For those I meet today who may be hurting, I pray that my response is Spirit-led, whether in simply listening or in sharing truths. 

Tomorrow @ Isaiah 7-11