Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Job 17-19
James chapter 3 teaches us that words can help or they can hurt. Job makes it very clear what impact his friend’s words have had on him. “I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest? I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you. But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should assuage your grief.” Job says that if the roles were reversed that he would have said things to help assuage their grief. Job makes a plea for the necessity of encouragement! What Job needed was someone to help bear the burden. He did not need a judge! We learned in counseling training to ask lots of questions, but do not make accusations. I have heard it said, “Questions prick the conscience, but accusations harden the will.” People have no idea the impact of their words. Teenagers have committed suicide following being bullied by other teens: those who would allow their mouths to run unchecked. Unfortunately, loose tongues have ruined marriages and destroyed families. Chapter 17 reveals that Job just wants God to kill him and remove the agony and suffering of his spirit. It is important to note that Job never considered suicide or arranging for someone else to kill him. He merely is asking God to take his life. Job did have tremendous respect for God and his majestic position of authority. He outlines why his spirit is crushed in 17:3-12. (1) My friends will not take up defending me in vs. 3-5. (2) People look at me as if I am guilty and talk under their breath in vs. 6. (3) His body was wasting away and lacked the strength it once had in vs. 7. (4) His friends had believed the foolishness of their own accusations in vs. 10. (5) All of his life’s plans and dreams had been shattered in vs. 11. (6) In verse 12 his friends kept telling him in time he will see just how sinful he has been. It is interesting to note that in the middle of his pity party, Job does acknowledge that truth will come out. (vs. 8-9) He declares that upright men will see his innocence and the hypocrisy of his friend’s accusations, and righteous men will acknowledge and hold to the fact of his clean hands. However, even these facts did not encourage him enough to want to live. In chapter 18, Bildad basically responds, “how dare you make us out to be the bad guys!” He again rebukes Job for just lashing out in anger against them when they are just trying to reveal the truth. I am reminded of James 4:12 where God commands us as Christians to not speak evil of one another, because when we do, we have set ourselves up as a judge and not an obedient student of the Word of God. May we be reminded of just how much damage the tongue can do.
• Lord, please help me to keep my tongue in check to your word. May I live Spirit-controlled and use my words to help.
• Lord, help me to always allow you to be enough. Friends, family, conveniences, accomplishments are wonderful encouragements, but may I always find my fulfillment and contentment in you.
• Lord, you have been very gracious to me in giving me true godly friends who, unlike the friends of Job, have encouraged me during grief and sorrow. Help me to always be that kind of friend.