Monday, January 24, 2005

Console me with your silence: Job 21

Job is not impressed, or comforted, by the words of his friends. As far as Job is concerned, it would be better if they just kept silent. At least then, he could imagine that they were sharing his grief and empathizing with his pain. "Listen carefully to my speech, and let this be your way of consolation. Bear with me that I may speak; then after I have spoken, you may mock." (Job 21:2-3) Specifically, Job has the following things to say to his friends:
  1. "As for me, is my complaint to man?" (Job 21:4) Job reminds his friends that his complaint is with God and not them. Why then do they feel compelled to respond and defend themselves. Job is struggling with God, yet his friends are the ones getting offended and indignant at Jobs words. What Job is going through has nothing to do with them, its between him and God. When we try to kelp people, it helps not to inject ourselves into the middle of their problems. After all, its not all about us.
  2. "And why should I not be impatient?" (Job 21:4) Job's friends had become so centered around their offence at Job not agreeing with them, that they have lost sight of the tremendous pain and suffering that Job was going through. They needed to stop and take a step backward. They needed to get their eyes off themselves and conceder what Job was going through. They needed to focus on trying to help comfort and console Job in his pain rather than on trying to prove to Job that they were right.
  3. "Behold, I know your thoughts, and the plans by which you would wrong me." (Job 21:27) Job charges his friends that, instead of looking at the evidence and then coming up with a verdict, they first judged Job as having sinned and then looked for evidence to prove their judgment. Job sees his friends as using their arguments to merely prove their judgments. They judged Job to be wrong, and now they are simply trying to prove their "case".
  4. "How then will you vainly comfort me, for your answers remain full of falsehood?" (Job 21:34) People need truth, not our opinions. People need something sure, something they can hold on to. They need the truth of God's word. God's word never fails. All else is empty hope.
David Robison

1 comment:

  1. Yes, there is an old Jewish notion (from the Old Testament I believe) that says not to put a stumbling block before the blind.

    This has been interpretted to mean that if you attempt to help someone before they are ready for help they can basically trip all over you and end up in a worse mess than they were in to start out with.

    I have found this to be very, very true.

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