October 23 – Today’s Readings – Job 34-36 and Psalms 113
I thought Eilhu was doing fairly well in the last section, but in these three chapters he shows a serious lack of wisdom and understanding by insisting Job has sinned – – and that his sin is the cause of all his troubles. In Elihu’s defence, he is trying to protect God’s reputation and is taking offence with Job’s bitter attitude.Here too we must be reminded that people in anguish or pain can at times say things they will regret later. It is my hope that we are “big enough” to simply ignore some of the words spoken by people in great distress. I have heard for example that during childbirth, a wife (not my wife of course) may say things to her husband that she would never utter under normal circumstances. Would the husband, at that moment, tell his wife to repent of her foolish speech?? Only if he had a death wish!
I remember, as a young man, I lived with a few other guys in a rented house. Whenever they were grumpy or otherwise negative I would advise them to “go pray for a while”. This worked so well that us guys adopted “praying for a while” as a great way to keep our souls in check – I still use this same technique on my unruly soul. A few months later, I married Linda and – after the honeymoon – Linda woke up one Saturday morning “in a mood”. I tried to be a very patient husband, but after a bit I decided it was time to tell my young wife to “go pray for a while”. You can only imagine how that went over. The moral of this little story is that its not our job to be constantly correcting each other, thinking that The Holy spirit somehow needs our help. As my Belgian-born mother always told me “let your tongue roll around three times in your mouth before you speak – (that sounds better in French). When you are in a long and difficult trial period, it is very easy to get discouraged. Most of the great heroes in Scripture learned endurance through things they suffered. Imagine what Noah suffered as he was building God’s ark – think of the longsuffering of Abraham as he was a wandering stranger in a foreign land – consider Joseph and his many years of suffering – how about Daniel, living out his life as a captive and persecuted Jew in a foreign land. The Scripture says of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:7-8)
All of these “greats” knew what it was to suffer, but Job suffered the added weight of the condemnation of his friends. This is what makes the account of Job so amazing to read. Though he couldn’t feel God and even though he suffered more than I can imagine, God saw him through and Job hung on to integrity.
1. Tell of an occasion [no names] when someone with a great Christian heart and attitude made a “not-so-great” comment in time of suffering.
2. How did the Holy Spirit use the situation to make your friend grow in the faith?