“Yackety Yack… don’t talk back” (words of a song that many of you may not remember) kept running through my head as I started today’s read. Job continues his reply to his 3 friends and is still going strong.
Chapter 29 – I counted 49 occurrences of the words “I, ME, and MY”… 49!!! That’s a whole lotta me, me, me goin on. Job’s weakness in this chapter definitely points to pride or else he is dangerously close to it. Nothing is EVER “all about us”. The “Life Application Bible” points out that pride is sin and sin separates us from God by making us think we’re better than we really are. (OUCH!!) I used to quote a phrase from my years as a counselor that said “DENIAL is NOT a river in Egypt”. BUT.. if we are in denial, we are so busy blaming someone else, making excuses, or rolling off a speech as eloquent as Job’s of all we have done that we simply have NO clue we are in denial and oh boy… does pride really have a wide door to walk in and sit down in our lives then. (NOT that I can relate or anything 🙂 ). The other point with Job’s possible pride just shows once again that Job was not sinless. Remember God said he was blameless and upright and feared HIM (Job 1:1)… NOT that Job was sinless. Possibly God was allowing this, so Job would mature in the area of pride. Does it make sense that God was refining Job through this process?
Chapter 30 – From Chapter 29 we gather that Job may have been a judge in his day. Now in chapter 30 he is being mocked by youth. People detested him. They spat in his face. HOW SAD is this!! ?? And, once again he “crys out to God” in verse 20. In the previous bible study I was in, someone researched how long Job actually suffered and found that it was A YEAR!!! YIKES!!!
Chapter 31 — Job makes some great points in this chapter. In verses 1-12 he lists sins he had NOT committed in his heart (sexual immorality, lying). In verses 13-23 he lists things he DID so as NOT to commit SIN against his neighbors (justice to his servants, given to the poor, shared his food, helped the widows, helped children in need, gave clothing to those in need, helped others stay warm, never raised his hand to the fatherless). Then in verses 24-34 he lists things he did so he did NOT sin against God (not put his trust in gold or silver or other idols, acknowledged God as his security, not rejoiced because of his great wealth, not put the sun and the moon higher than God, not tried to hide his sin from God). This chapter is great in showing us how to live a life for God in how we treat others and in obeying God.
Let’s take a look at Job’s three friends, one last time (PHEW!! 🙂 ). They each represent inadequate sources we (who me???!!! ….. ummmmmm….. yes) might rely to get our “spiritual” “religious” or “biblical” information. Here are the areas where we might fall prey to:
- Experience — (ELIPHAZ): You determine TRUTH by your senses, feelings, and emotions. Eliphaz thought wisdom came from his experiences in life. He based his advice to Job on his confident firsthand knowledge. Therefore based on HIS experience his paradigm was that experience (his wisdom) = having God completely figured out. You may think “I have personally observed how God works and have him figured out.”
- Intellect — (ZOPHAR aka the “ZO-MAN”): You determine TRUTH by your ability to REASON what is right or wrong, good or bad, and wise or unwise. We use intellect to be logical. “Zo-MAN” felt that wisdom came only from being wise which came ONLY from HIS reasoning.. NO OTHER source. God blessed each of us with a brain and with the ability of free will, to choose. Yet, sometimes our need to figure things out can be our worst enemy. You may think only the wise know what God is like “but there are not many of us.”
- Tradition – (BILDAD aka BilBAD): Here I go with another song…. TRAAAADITION…. TRADITION…. !! Oye.. vey!! We ALL have our traditions don’t we? It doesn’t matter what denomination you came from or currently you are, what race you are, what sex you are … TRADITION is a dangerous authority. WE structure our beliefs based on the beliefs we have inherited. Obviously if it worked for our parents or our mentors then it is good enough for us, right??? WRONG!!! Tradition is a GREAT way to escape responsibility for KNOWING THE WORD OF GOD. Like BilBAD you may quote from others (not from the scriptures), say things you learned, and lean totally on your “inherited” tradition because that is where your wisdom comes from.
Each item above is not a bad thing. God has blessed us with each of these. God gives us the ability to think, process things, and gain knowledge. Our experiences help mold us more and more into Christ’s image. Tradition is a special gift in our families and with friends. Plus it often creates wonderful memories. However, where we get in trouble is when ONE of these becomes our AUTHORITY and/or SOURCE of WISDOM. When the area becomes the entire basis of what we believe, why we believe it, and how we live out what we believe, we are in a danger zone. Let it serve as a warning to GET IN THE WORD.
NOW, JOB’S SOURCE OF WISDOM WAS GOD, which makes him such a powerful example for us. The first step toward wisdom is the fear of the Lord. God reveals his wisdom to those who humbly trust him.
I’d love to hear if anything stood out to you today! Or, if you have a favorite scripture in regards to wisdom or pride.
Sharing HIS love