It seems that it isn’t enough to have lost his health, wealth and family, the devil continues to torment him with the “comforting words” of his “friends.”
As the discussions go back and forth, the friends dip deeply into judgementalism and presumption (see Other Lessons From Job, Part 3), and Job’s retorts become more and more defensive. But the longer this “conversation” takes place, the more Job’s responses begin to take a very dangerous turn towards the ugly monster of — Pride!
Let’s take a look:
“What you know, I also know;
I am not inferior to you.” (Job 13:2 NKJV)
“Who is he who will contend with me?
If now I hold my tongue, I perish.” (Job 13:19 NKJV)
It isn’t that what Job says is inherently wrong. He more than likely does know as much as, if not more than, they do! But just like defensiveness can lead to pride, pride can lead to — accusation!
And Job’s first accusation is aimed directly at his friends: “But you forgers of lies, You are all worthless physicians.” (Job 13:4 NKJV)
Ouch. Not a nice thing to say to someone who is trying to help you! But it gets worse. Job then turns his accusations towards God Himself:
“Why do You hide Your face, And regard me as Your enemy? Will You frighten a leaf driven to and fro? And will You pursue dry stubble? For You write bitter things against me, And make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. You put my feet in the stocks, And watch closely all my paths. You set a limit for the soles of my feet.” (Job 13:24-28 NKJV)
“As water wears away stones, And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man.“ (Job 14:19 NKJV)
How could a man called “righteous” and a man, of whom it is said, “he did not sin against God” become reduce to one who accuses God to His face of being uncaring? Of destroying the hope of man? Of seeing His children as “enemies?” Of writing “bitter things against” him? Of putting his “feet in the stocks” and limiting the “soles” of his “feet?”
Through the avenue of pride! When we begin to justify ourselves, our pride blossoms, blurring our vision to what is truly happening! Job knew God wouldn’t do all of those things, yet in the heat of the moment, the words came out of his mouth.
And then Job challenges God:
“…Withdraw Your hand far from me,
And let not the dread of You make me afraid.
Then call, and I will answer;
Or let me speak, then You respond to me.” (Job 13:21-22 NKJV)
In other words, Job is saying: “Take away Your hand of pain and I will answer you!”
Wow. First of all, we all know it wasn’t God’s hand on Job! It was the hand of the devil!
Nonetheless, Job is giving God an ultimatum: I’ll answer You if You’ll stop hurting me!
But before we begin to point the finger at Job, let’s look to ourselves. Are we any different? I’ve heard it said so many times, “If God would just give me a job, I’d be happy to pay tithe!” Or “If God will heal my child, I’ll start to go to church again.” Or “God doesn’t talk to me when I’m in all of this trouble!”
Friends, we, like Job, have fallen into a trap of deception. We seem to think that God causes our problems! We seem to think that because He isn’t rescuing us from them, that He doesn’t care! How far from the truth have we come!
It is true that God doesn’t rescue us from all of our problems, because it is in the valleys of life that we grow, that we can more fully experience His power, that we can learn to trust in Him. But it’s when we’re in those valleys that He is right there with us, reaching out His hand, offering, not to take away the problems, but to carry us through them!
This is the lesson that Job’s pride and accusation have to teach us, friends. The more we see ourselves as perfect, the less likely we are to be able to see God clearly, and the deeper and deeper into sin it will lead us. And the more we accuse God falsely, the farther He will seem from us.
And Job’s story illustrates this nicely. If you go a few chapters ahead, you find these words: “Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.” (Job 19:7 NIV)
Yet the Bible teaches: “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden his face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Is 59:1-2 NIV)
I would like to submit that the great “sin” that Job committed here, the one that blocked God’s ears, is his sin of pride.
Let’s try to avoid the pitfalls of Job’s sin, and instead, let’s follow the advice found in 2 Chron 7:14-15: “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (NKJV)
It’s all about humility, my friends! Let’s not add to our sin by denying that we have any sin! It will only lead us farther and farther from God. Instead, let’s humble ourselves before Him and seek His face. For then He will reach out His hand of love and hold us up through the bad times!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the rest of this mini-series, please click here.)