There were 2 sections of these chapters that stood out to me...
The first was from Job 12:2-5 (NLT)
You people really know everything, don’t you?
And when you die, wisdom will die with you!
Well, I know a few things myself—
and you’re no better than I am.
Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying?
Yet my friends laugh at me,
for I call on God and expect an answer.
I am a just and blameless man,
yet they laugh at me.
People who are at ease mock those in trouble.
They give a push to people who are stumbling.
How often don't we look at our situation compared to others and think we are doing so much better than they are or vice versa thinking we don't have it made like they do? Job really calls them out on this. These men were close friends, close enough that they were willing to sit quietly on the ground with Job for seven days and nights...that's some hardcore friends. And then when they open their mouths they become these holy rollers who "laugh" at Job. I pray that God helps me to find the right words to encourage my friends in their trials and to never look down on them or point out their sins. Lord, help me to give my friends a hand instead of a "push" when they are stumbling.
The second set of verses was from Job 12:20-28
O God, grant me these two things,
and then I will be able to face you.
Remove your heavy hand from me,
and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.
Now summon me, and I will answer!
Or let me speak to you, and you reply.
Tell me, what have I done wrong?
Show me my rebellion and my sin.
Why do you turn away from me?
Why do you treat me as your enemy?
Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind?
Would you chase dry straw?
You write bitter accusations against me
and bring up all the sins of my youth.
You put my feet in stocks.
You examine all my paths.
You trace all my footprints.
I waste away like rotting wood,
like a moth-eaten coat.In this passage, Job is questioning why God is doing this to him? I think that if we are genuinely trying to live a life pleasing to God the first thing we often question when difficulties happen is what sins we have committed to deserve the suffering. This is a very natural response. Our suffering may be a consequence of sin but sin is not the sole reason for suffering. The prosperity gospel teachers will say that behind all suffering is sin. However, there are 3 main problems with that line of thinking...
1) It downplays the teachings in the bible that tell us, as Christians, to expect suffering...1 Peter 4:12-19, Romans 8:22-23, 1 Corinthians 4:13-18.
2) It takes our focus off of God and puts it our eyes on how "well" we are doing on this earth.
3) It changes the idea of salvation (a free gift from God) to a "what do I have to do to earn it" mentality.
It is very clear in chapter 1 when God says, "he is blameless and upright" that Job wasn't suffering because of sin in his life. That doesn't stop Job from questioning himself (which is a true reflection of his love for God) but it also doesn't mean that our sin is the reason for our suffering.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Job 15-17