Book of Job Series: Chapters 4-7
Welcome to week three of the Job Series! If you didn’t have the opportunity to read last week’s post, I would recommend you go back and read it. I refer to different points from previous posts from time to time, so it will make more sense if you have read the previous one. Like I said last week, everything that I have published is what I felt God was teaching me through the text. Since I am an imperfect human, there are likely mistakes, so I encourage you to weigh everything I have written with Scripture, which, unlike me, is infallible. I pray this will encourage you to read more of God's Word and see more of His character :)
1. Not All Truth Is True at the Time
Now hear me out, God’s Word is always true and will always be true. But sometimes, well-intentioned people use God’s Word out of context, whether it is because they are trying to make you feel better or if it is for their benefit. Or maybe they genuinely don’t understand the whole context of what is written. Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, does exactly this. He doesn’t know the context of why Job is being punished yet accuses him of sinning. Doing this when someone hasn’t done anything wrong can be just as harmful as encouraging someone in their sin by taking Scripture out of context. While it is true that God punishes sin, that is not always the reason we suffer. We suffer because of the fall of man and live in an imperfect world.
2. If We Think We Hear from God, We Must Compare It to His Written Word
Eliphaz says a spirit spoke to him in the night about how we as humans are not to question God’s motives. Who are we to question a perfect God, the God who created us!? On the surface, what Eliphaz says is true: “‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker? If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth!” Job 4:17-19
So, even though all of this is true, his interpretation of it is not accurate. He added in his own opinions and revealed how shallow his understanding of Job’s suffering was. And it is thought of some scholars that this spirit may not have even been from God. But whether or not the spirit was from God, if how we interpret something God is speaking to us does not line up with Scripture, we are either not understanding what God is speaking, or it is not of God. We must not limit God based on our understanding and perspective of Him and His Word because we only have a small piece of the puzzle.
3. It Is Sometimes Better to Keep Quiet Than to Speak
When our friends are going through a difficult time, what we say can sometimes help to comfort them. But other times, they may just need a shoulder to cry on, a friend to listen to them in their suffering. Our words can do more harm than good, I would say, most of the time. So, we should be wise about when we speak up to give our two cents and weigh it with Scripture. And we should also be sure to understand the full situation, not just take things at surface level.
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:27-28
4. Do Not Speak or Act When Doing So Out of Strong Emotion
““If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas— no wonder my words have been impetuous.” Job 6:2-3
When we are going through a period of extreme grief, anger, or even happiness it can cause us to make decisions (words or actions) based on those feelings instead of using logic. Those decisions can cause hurt to the people we love, we may make an expensive purchase that we couldn’t afford, etc. When we act from a place of emotion, or when we “follow our heart,” it leads to destruction. We are actually told that our hearts are evil and will lead us astray. ““The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
So, when we are filled with emotion, it is best to stay silent for a while, pray to the Lord and ask for His wise counsel, and go to someone we can trust (mentor, accountability partner, etc.) before making any big decisions. Of course, I’m not talking about your everyday decision, but the more time we spend with God, the more like Him we will become. And through that, we will learn how to speak to others, treat others, and make wise decisions on our own. Well, with God, but you understand what I mean.
5. When We Are Weak, Then We Are Strong
“’What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?’” Job 6:11-13
Job has a really good point here. He doesn’t have strength, he isn’t like a stone, his flesh isn’t bronze, and he doesn’t have the power to help himself. In this moment of the book, if we didn’t know the ending, we might question how he will come through this. But God. That’s a phrase I use a lot. We wouldn’t have hope if it weren’t for God, we wouldn’t have strength if it weren’t for God, and we wouldn’t have life if it weren’t for God. Even through our suffering, we can trust that God is just and He is good. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
It is actually through our weakness that God shines. When a circumstance is seemingly impossible, yet we somehow get through it, it is only because of God. “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’” Mark 10:27
6. Our Lives Are but A Breath
“Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again.” Job 7:7
I know Job was referring to his suffering and he was lamenting in the verse, but I think we can take a couple of things from it. No matter how long we live on this earth, it is but a breath compared to eternity. And what we do here matters so much. We have such a short time here, what are we going to do with it? Are we going to waste it or live it to glorify God?
The second thing I take from this is the lack of hope Job has. He hasn’t seen God fulfill many of the promises He made like we have. But that should be an encouragement to us. We have seen the many things that God has been faithful in, so we have a hope that we will spend eternity with Him, and that Jesus is coming back to fulfill His Word!
“'Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.'” John 14:1-3