Archive for December 20th, 2008

Job 4

Job chapter 4 contains the words of Eliphaz from Teman, one of the three amigos that showed up to encourage Job in his plight.  I think we can learn a bit from the way he engages Job here.  First it is important to realize that he is still around.  We learned earlier that they had been there seven days just sitting with Job.  We are a little further down the road and he is still there.  But he hadn’t said a word yet.  He was with Job and observed the situation and put himself in the  middle of life with him before ever opening his mouth to say word one.  Sometimes we tend to jump to the open mouth and insert foot mode without ever even attempting to really understand what is going on in another person’s life.  We have to get in their shoes a bit before we should tell them what we think.  Check out what Eliphaz says: “Would you mind if I said something to you? Under the circumstances it’s hard to keep quiet.”  He asks permission to speak before just blasting out his opinion.  I am reminded of some of the tv shows where military people are involved and the question asked seems to be ‘permission to speak freely, sir?’.  We should not assume that just because we breath and are in the presence of another human that they want to hear our opinion, particularly when we are going to tell them what we think of their situation and how they should live.  Eliphaz gets that right.

 

But just as importantly is the fact that he couldn’t just sit there and continue to watch Job struggle.  He was unable to sit idly and let things continue.  He was compelled to get involved.  How often do we see things in our friends lives that need to be dealt with and just decide to watch them quietly muddle along?  We have good feedback on corrections to their course, words of encouragement for their ears, or just an understanding word that we have been there and experienced the same, yet we chose to let them go it alone.  That is not God’s plan for relationships.  Eliphaz says “You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit. Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse”.   He reminds Job that living life together is the plan and it is his turn to receive help rather than be giving it.  Sometimes I struggle with the receiving part….I am quick to give it but slow to receive.  We need to speak truth no matter which end of things we are on.  Eliphaz shares what God has revealed to him in a way that applies to Job’s situation.  He probably hasn’t done this before with Job as Job has been the guy who has always helped others.  But this time it is Job who needs to be focused on God’s truth and Eliphaz reminds him by saying “shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now? Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope? Think”!  He had to get a bit in Job’s face to make things compute, but he shares truth and works to refocus Job on the reality of who he is and who God is.  That is often where we start to fall apart – when we get completely absorbed on self and forget that God has it all in the palm of His hands and is absolutely in complete control.  Read this chapter a few times and see how God wants you to engage with your friends.  I know it is not by sitting quietly on the sidelines forever…..

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