Job was a righteous man who loved, worshiped and served God with his life. But, one day God allowed Satan to come after Job with all kinds of trials and tribulations. He lost nearly everything. And, then God allowed Satan to inflict Job’s body with all kinds of sores. But, in all this, Job did not sin against God. He said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”
Then Job’s friends came to comfort him in his grief. At first, they did right. They wept over his suffering, demonstrated sincere sympathy, and they sat with him in silence for seven days, for they saw that his suffering was great. But, after the seven days, Job began to lament his suffering, and even that he had been born. And, Job began to question the justice of it all.
Then Job’s friends began to speak, but not words of comfort, but words of accusation. They accused Job of being unrighteous and of his suffering being a result of sin in his life. Yet, how many times do the righteous suffer greatly while the unrighteous go relatively free from difficulty and suffering? Job’s friends were making a wrong assumption, and were falsely accusing him, and this only added to his grief instead of helping to alleviate his suffering.
Job 19:1-6 NASB
Then Job responded,
“How long will you torment me
And crush me with words?
“These ten times you have insulted me;
You are not ashamed to wrong me.
“Even if I have truly erred,
My error lodges with me.
“If indeed you vaunt yourselves against me
And prove my disgrace to me,
Know then that God has wronged me
And has closed His net around me.
Job then responded to his friends’ false accusations. He questioned them regarding how long they were going to keep on in their insults, inflammatory comments and their wronging of him, which were coming from their pride, all of which were tormenting and crushing him emotionally and mentally.
Yet, it was not because of sin in Job’s life that he was suffering so greatly, but it was the hand of God on Job’s life that was allowing his suffering to take place.
So many people get this idea that Christians should never have to suffer, and that God would never allow or cause suffering to take place in our lives. Yet, scripture teaches the opposite of that. Scripture teaches that we are called to suffer for righteousness’ sake and that God allows or he causes suffering in our lives for our good, that we may share in his holiness and that it might produce in us a harvest of righteousness (See: Heb. 12:3-12; 1 Pet. 4:12-17; Jas. 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; 2 Co. 1:3-11).
Job 19:7-12 NASB
“Behold, I cry, ‘Violence!’ but I get no answer;
I shout for help, but there is no justice.
“He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass,
And He has put darkness on my paths.
“He has stripped my honor from me
And removed the crown from my head.
“He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone;
And He has uprooted my hope like a tree.
“He has also kindled His anger against me
And considered me as His enemy.
“His troops come together,
And build up their way against me
And camp around my tent.
When suffering becomes great, and it is prolonged, and we pray for relief, and relief does not come in the way we had hoped, or in the timing we had hoped, if we focus on our suffering, and we get our eyes off the Lord, we can easily get discouraged. And, it can turn to self-pity, if we are not careful.
Job 19:13-22 NASB
“He has removed my brothers far from me,
And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.
“My relatives have failed,
And my intimate friends have forgotten me.
“Those who live in my house and my maids consider me a stranger.
I am a foreigner in their sight.
“I call to my servant, but he does not answer;
I have to implore him with my mouth.
“My breath is offensive to my wife,
And I am loathsome to my own brothers.
“Even young children despise me;
I rise up and they speak against me.
“All my associates abhor me,
And those I love have turned against me.
“My bone clings to my skin and my flesh,
And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.
“Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
For the hand of God has struck me.
“Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?
I read a book by Chuck Swindoll, which he wrote many years ago, that addresses this issue, I believe. It is called “Dropping Your Guard,” published in 1983. In it he addressed the issue of the church hurting its own wounded.
He said, “Churches need to be less like national shrines and more like local bars . . . less like untouchable cathedrals and more like well-used hospitals, places to bleed in rather than monuments to look at . . . places where you can take your mask off and let your hair down . . . places where you can have your wounds dressed.”
“Do you know what you need? You need a shelter. A place of refuge. A few folks who can help you, listen to you, introduce you, once again, to ‘. . . the Father of mercies, the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction’ (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Christianity may be ‘like a might army,’ but we often handle our troops in a weird way. We’re the only outfit I’ve ever heard of who shoots their wounded.”
And, that is exactly what Job’s friends did to him here, and it is what many Christians do to one another, too. I am not inferring here that we should not speak truth to one who is clearly caught in (drowning in) sin in order to help our brother or sister out of the trap of sin and to freedom in Christ from sin’s addictions. We should, for that is what Jesus did.
What I am talking about here is Christians falsely accusing other Christians of motives or actions that are not theirs, just because of some preconceived notion of their own as to how God works, and thus they end up hurting those who are already wounded, and who are needing help, and who are not needing more abuse piled on top of them.
We need to be so careful that we judge rightly, by the Word of Truth, with the right motives, and the right information, and that we don’t judge others by ourselves, or by worldly thinking, or by human understanding.
It appears to me that many people who oppose “judging” of others’ sins, as clearly defined in scripture, then turn around and judge the ones they accuse of judging, only they judge by human reasoning, for the wrong reasons, and with the wrong information, and thus they end up hurting the already wounded.
I Know That
Job 19:23-29 NASB
“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
“That with an iron stylus and lead
They were engraved in the rock forever!
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
“Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!
“If you say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’
And ‘What pretext for a case against him can we find?’
“Then be afraid of the sword for yourselves,
For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
So that you may know there is judgment.”
Even though Job was going through all this suffering, not only because of all that he had lost, and not only because of all the sores on his body, but also because his friends had added insult to injury by accusing him of wrongdoing falsely, still he had confidence in the sovereignty and providence of God.
He had confidence that one day he would be rescued, that he would be delivered, whether by life or by death. He believed that one day he would be exonerated (vindicated) by God, his Redeemer, too. And, he believed that God would judge his persecutors. And, scripture teaches this truth in other places, too (Is. 35:4; Is. 54:17; Ps. 135:14; 2 Thess. 1:7-9, et al).
So, we can be encouraged by this, as we share the same confidence of Job regarding our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, our Lord God. We may now be going through all kinds of suffering, hardships and persecutions, but one day we will be delivered from them all, if not while we will live on this earth, when our Redeemer returns for us to take us to be with him forever.
This should be our confidence, too, our hope, and what we hold on to when things get really bad or much worse, which they will in this world, that this world is not our final resting place. For those of us who are followers of Christ, and who are being called upon to suffer for Him, we have a home in heaven awaiting us. One day our Lord will remove all this suffering, he will vindicate us, and he will wipe all the tears from our eyes. Amen!
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes…
Sunday, April 29, 2018, 5:00 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words of comfort and encouragement. Amen!