Saturday, November 20, 2004

How the Mighty Have Fallen: Job 4:3-5

"Behold you have admonished many, And you have strengthened weak hands. Your words have helped the tottering to stand, and you have strengthened feeble knees. But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; It touches you, and you are dismayed." You can almost hear Eliphaz's contempt for Job's suffering, and to some degree, his pleasure at Job's demise. When someone who seems to have it all together falls, we sometimes think, "see, they are not so great after all." In their fall, we can be tempted to judge ourselves better then they are. After all, we are the one still standing. We feel better about ourselves; that some how they are not as great as we once thought and that we are not as inferior as we may have once feared. We may even begin to believe that their calamity is God's exoneration on us and our ways. King Solomon reminds us that, "he who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished." (Proverbs 17:5) Instead, we should remind ourselves that, except for the grace of God, their calamity could have fallen on us.

Eliphaz's comments also show us that he did not understand that God has created us to need each other. Growing spiritually does not mean that someday we arrive at a state where we no longer need the help and support of others. Job, an upright and just man, was able to help, strengthen, and encourage others. But that didn't mean that Job would never need the help, strengthening, and encouragement of others as well. We are all able to give love and support to others, and at times, we all need to receive the same from other as well.

When Paul (and company) were sharing the Gospel in Asia, he talks about the pressures and burdens they were under. Paul records that, "we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life." (2 Corinthians 1:8) Paul, the great apostle; Paul, who's writings bring hope and encouragement to many; this Paul was is the pits of despair. We all have times where we need other people. For Paul, this help came in the arriving of Titus from Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:6).

What Job needed was hope and encouragement. Unfortunately, he was judged for not being strong enough; for not "pulling himself up from his boot straps". "If Job would just do what he told others to do..." We need to be people who are quick to help and slow to judge. We need to be very willing to give grace and comfort to others because, some day, we will need it from them in return.

David Robison

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