Friday, January 06, 2012

January 6, 2012 … Pity Party Time

Passage of the Day: Reading Plan Reference – Day 6 … Job: Chapters 10 - 13 … Study Scripture Reference: Job, Chapter 10 NIV Go to this link to read/study

Chapter 10 in the NIV

Job, Chapter 10 in the Message Version - linked for your study

My Journal for Today: Today, if you’re reading along with me, it would help for my fellow miners into God’s word to have read through all of the Chapters our reading plan has had me read for today in the Book of Job (i.e., Chapters 10 – 13). However, if you want to shorten your reading, given time constraints, you can just click on the links above and read Chapter 10 in either or both of the NIV and/or Message versions of Scripture.

Last night my wife and I went, as we do weekly, to our church small group meeting where we fellowship with a group of about 8 other fellow church members; and we dig into God’s word. Last night we began to discuss the church’s reading-through-the-Bible plan for 2012; and the subject of Job came up. And one in our group expressed that he just “hated the Book of Job” in the Bible because it made him feel so personally uncomfortable; and several in the group expressed empathy with that feeling.

Well, if one is looking for why Job’s character makes Christians feel uncomfortable, you need look no further in Job’s account than the 10th Chapter. Because this chapter, as much as any other, is a very human mirror of truth; and very few people really like to look into a mirror, especially when one is naked. And Chapter 10 reveals Job, completely naked before His God, … deeply into feelings all of us have felt or maybe are feeling right now; and that would be feelings of self-pity.

In Chapter 10 of Job’s account, he is in one big pity-party. And I’m sure his so-called friends, the ones who had sat with him so caringly earlier in the story but now are railing against Job’s denial of his perceived sinfulness, have helped him feel so down-hearted about his set of painful circumstances. Earlier in the story, we marveled at Job’s faith, with all that had happened to him, as he said something like, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” But now, in Chapter 10, Job has become much more like most of us when we are confronted by horrible circumstances. It’s pity-party time for Job; and I’m sure we can really empathize with what we read into our biblical hero here. And maybe that’s why my friend last night said that Job’s life made him FEEL so bad.

I think we’ve all been where Job is in Chapter 10; and then in Chapter 11, we read of Job’s friend, Zophar, who really gets ticked off at Job; and he just lays poor Job out, accusing Job of having no right to take his complaints to God when Zophar perceives Job to be an obvious sinner, given all the bad stuff which has happened to Job. And Job, in Chapter 12, verses 24/25, acknowledges that God is the only one who can really know the heart of any man well enough to judge; but Job is still in a quandary as to why God has brought all this pain on him. And then in Chapter 13 of our reading for today, I really love how Job, somehow being very perceptive in the face of all of his pain, nails his three friends (see Job 13: 4-5), comparing them to quack doctors who just can’t diagnose any condition accurately; and he just tells them, in essence, to “shut up!”

Well, in all of this, God’s word today has shown me that it’s okay to FEEL bad when we are down-trodden; but we should, like Job, take our feelings vertically to God, rather than listen – exclusively – to the horizontal observations or counsel of other men (or women). Yes, God’s word [for example in Prov. 15: 22] tells us that it’s even wise to get counsel from others; but when we listen EXCLUSIVELY to other men/women, without taking, as did Job, our feelings directly to God, we can be led astray. But by going directly to God and using God’s Spirit-led discernment to analyze or reject the skewed counsel of his so-called “friends,” Job shows us that he did – as we should – keep things in proper perspective, allowing himself to be led by God’s light of truth, rather than mankind’s distorted views about life.

I pray that we all keep our lives, no matter how driven to self-pity we might be, in proper alignment with our vertical relationship with Christ FIRST-AND-FOREMOST. Oh, we may listen to others, especially those we know are astute and wise Christian counselors; but our pleas and pursuits of God’s will and His way should always be our first course of understanding. And praise be to Job, showing us the right way from God’s truth.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, as Your word teaches in Psalm 119: 105, Your truth is my first source of light in the darkness of life. Amen

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