Thursday, April 07, 2011

Lessons from Job and his Friends

Reading Job can be confusing, and depressing... but there is much that can be gleaned.

The first lesson I learned from Job's friend's years ago was: "Shut Up!"
There are times where that is really the best thing! They got it right for a week while they sat there and were silent supports for Job. Unfortunately, they opened their mouths!

But since they did we may as well learn some more!

They taught us that though we may think we can judge a situation, we should be wary. They attacked Job with their words, slandered him saying he must be in sin because God would not allow such things to happen if he were not deserving of it.
This reminds me of the idea that some people argue: God must either not be loving, or not exist because of the evil in the world. God allows stuff in our lives. Yes, sometimes our sin gets us into a bad spot, but sometimes it is someone else's sin that causes us to suffer.
We all have free will, so that means some will choose evil, whether in action or inaction. Those who choose evil are the ones who are guilty of being unloving. God allows us to walk through those adversities to come out the other side stronger and purer. And walks with us!
Is there hunger in the world? Yes. So what are we doing about it?
Do we look after the orphan and widow? Do we plead the cause of the oppressed?
Does not God expect us to act? Pray, definitely, and ACT!

I have heard trite answers to others difficulties. "Read your Bible." "You must be in sin. If you weren't things wouldn't be going so badly." Yes, there are times where we can point to a causative in someone's life (the speck vs the plank?!?) and say, "Maybe you outta work on that and this will get better." But, really, if there is not a very obvious, spelled out in scripture issue, we should be careful! Remember we will give account for "every careless word!" (Yikes!)

It is vitally important to read your Bible and to pray. I don't want to down play that in the least, but as the answer to difficult issues... well, I don't think it is being very helpful. I think this approach would be better prefaced with, "I really don't know how to help you..." as otherwise it seems to be more of an accusation against a person... "Well, if you'd just read your Bible this would be fine!" God will allow us hardships that won't make sense on this side of them... and some not this side of heaven; so reading your Bible probably isn't going to make a hardship go away if it isn't a clearly sin issue.

From Job himself we learn that God may consider us blameless and upright though He knows we have much to learn still! Job was questioned "like a man" by God, and learned how little he really knew. But God himself calls him blameless and upright twice at the beginning of the book, and in the end Job is to offer the sacrifices for his friend's. SO hey... you aren't perfect either!!! Don't sweat it, God sees those in Christ through His Son and sees the progress you are making. Just keep moving nearer and nearer, day by day.

These are really the newest additions to my lessons, and unrefined... food for your thought. :)
Be Blessed!

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