Jun 20, 2015

Job Part 4 - Devotion and sermon questions

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin.

Old Testament Reading: Job 8 [ESV]
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: 2“How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a great wind? 3Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert the right? 4If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression. 5If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy, 6if you are pure and upright, surely then He will rouse Himself for youand restore your rightful habitation.
 7And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great. 8For inquire, please, of bygone ages,and consider what the fathers have searched out. 9For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow. 10Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding? 11“Can papyrus grow where there is no marsh? Can reeds flourish where there is no water? 12While yet in flower and not cut down, they wither before any other plant. 13Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish. 14His confidence is severed, and his trust is a spider's web. 15He leans against his house, but it does not stand; he lays hold of it, but it does not endure. 16He is a lush plant before the sun, and his shoots spread over his garden. 17His roots entwine the stone heap; he looks upon a house of stones. 18If he is destroyed from his place, then it will deny him, saying, ‘I have never seen you.’ 19Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the soil others will spring. 20“Behold, God will not reject a blameless man, nor take the hand of evildoers. 21He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting. 22Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the tent of the wicked will be no more.”

Devotion: “How not to be a good counselor”
Job is looking for some counseling and comfort from his friend after all his suffering caused by Satan. Bildad, though, takes the offensive and in essence calls Job a “blowhard” (v2) and tells him his children “had it coming” (v4) among other things. Bildad’s argument is that sin produces suffering and those who suffer must have sinned against God. We know that all of us are sinners but it does not mean that an individual’s suffering is a direct consequence of sin. When we are suffering some personal trial we need to take comfort in the fact that Jesus has atoned already for our sins. It would be good to find a fellow Christian and talk about it, maybe even be on the lookout for someone we know who needs comfort. Job knew in his heart that all his suffering was not a direct cause of his sinfulness but he can’t square this with his friends. Bildad’s speech has a negative lesson about human nature in general and none of the qualities of a good counselor. He heard Job’s words with his ears but his heart heard nothing.  We can take a lesson from this and be better listeners and counselors.  In the middle of life’s trials we need the constant reassurance of God’s love for us—remember He has a plan, we need to be patient and trusting by placing ourselves in God’s hands.

Pray: Lord, help me listen with my heart. Amen

Blessings,
Joe

1.  Knowing yourself: Do you know a “blowhard”? [Unfortunately sometimes there’s a little bit of that in most of us.] Those folks need comfort too sometimes. How can you hear with your heart to cut through some of the “wind” in your ears and hear what is troubling them? How can you be a better listener in general?
2.  Scripture: Compare the assertion in verse 20, “God will not reject a blameless man” as a precursor to the crowds mocking Jesus in Matthew 27:43. Why do you think Bildad assumed that Job had abandoned God and God abandoned Job?
3. Application:  I think this chapter shows that we need to be open minded and stay open to new answers, unlike Bildad. Can you think of one or two personal examples as goals for being a better Christian? A better counselor?