I’ve been hanging out in Job lately. Poor man, right? I mean, his whole world gets taken from him, and as if that’s not enough, then his friends all start falsely judging him and his relationship with the Lord. Misperceiving his heart. Telling him things about his motives that aren’t true. And telling him things about his life and God’s motives in his life that are patently false.
Have you ever been there?
When those you long to support you all instead judge you?
If so, I am sorry. It’s painful. And it’s lonely. And I am sorry for your suffering.
As if that weren’t hard enough, what can make it even more difficult is when – like Job’s friends – they are united in their judgment. When they have camaraderie in their perceptions. It can create a feeling of legitimacy and validity. It can strengthen their resolve in the ‘correctness’ of the judgments.
And it leaves Job – or you – out to dry.
We’ve talked about the danger of this mindset:
If one person calls you a horse, buck it off.
If three people call you a horse, buy a saddle.
Yes, it’s a cute phrase… but does it pass through the grid of Scripture? That’s what matters! Our blog on it covers some helpful territory, yet as I’ve been hanging out in Job, the Lord has, for me, brought the clearest example of the danger of that mindset.
Job was, after all, called all kinds of things by – how many? – three people. (And in the end, ultimately four.) They have chapters and chapters and chapters of perceptions, judgments, and arguments about him and his relationship with the Lord. So are they right? Is Job a ‘horse’?
This is what the Lord God says:
“There is no one on earth like [Job]; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” ~ Job 1:8
The Lord God says Job is blameless and upright. The Lord God says Job fears God and shuns evil.
So the (so called?) friends’ seeming unity of thought does not strengthen their argument. Instead, it actually weakens them. Or perhaps it’s more poignant than that: It deceives them.
And in their deceived mindset, what do they do? Share them with Job and add to his distress. In other words, they in effect help add to his calamity.
That was Satan’s job.
What does God think of the three friends? The Lord says,
“I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” ~ Job 42:7
The Lord God is angry with them. Oh yikes. My eyes well up with tears as I read that. Those are words I sure don’t want to hear from my Lord!
Job actually was right. And they are wrong. The Lord God calls their characterizations “folly.” And He repeats his assessment in the next verse:
“You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” ~ Job 42:8
My heart sinks.
What should Job’s friends have done? Instead of presenting their characterizations, what are we to do with arguments and perceptions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God?
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish them. Dethrone them. Put an end to them. Remember the cross imagery? We remove them. In a powerful, intentional, offensive, vanquishing way, we destroy them.
Such a powerful reminder from Job and his (so called?) friends.
Lord, help us not to be people of “folly.” Help us to demolish every argument and perception that sets itself up against your knowledge. Help us to be friends of care, not judgment. And help us to speak of you and your people what is right and pure.