Summary: Good and godly counsel are imperative when suffering through the pains and difficulties of life!
Date Written: January 9, 2010
Date Preached: January 10, 2010
Where Preached: Oak Park (AM)
Sermon Series: A Series on Job
Sermon Title: How To Question Suffering!
Sermon Text: Job 2:11-13 [HCSB]
11 When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. 12 When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.
In our passage of Scripture this morning we move forward a little in the saga of Job. Last week we dealt with Job’s wife criticizing his faith and trust in God and she ‘dared’ him to just curse God because of his situation and go ahead and die. Job remained faithful and did not sin!
Today we find Job’s friends coming to see him in his troubles. I can almost imagine that these friends, who lived in different areas got the message that Job was having a tough time and they immediately decided to go see Job and attempt to cheer him up and help him in his difficulty.
We pick up the story when these men reach Job’s house and see him for the first time during this very difficult time. They see Job and are horrified at what they see and Scripture tells us that they barely can recognize him. Job was covered with sores from head to toe, he had been grieving for days, and sitting on an ash heap… I can imagine he was dirty and swollen from his sores. He was a mess!
Now this particular part of the story makes reference to those of us who know someone who is going through a difficult time. We may be doing well, but our friend or family member or loved one is hurting and it seems as if life is being unfair to them… Many times when that happens we strike out at God… many times we question why this has to happen… we come to our friends or family members in pain and we try our best to help them with encouragement and love!
However, the friends of Job, although they were hurting for him, began a line of questioning that seems to go against what we may think it should have been. They begin to go on the offensive AGAINST Job because they are sure that Job has sinned in some way to bring God’s punishment against him.
Job is adamant that he is innocent, but the friends do not take no for an answer and begin to question Job on the veracity of his character. His ‘friends’ begin to give him some advice… and that is what I want to speak with you about this morning…6 questions we should ask to Job’s friends about their advice to him.
These are also 6 questions we should ask of ANYone who is giving advice, we need to ask:
1) Is it biblical?
2) is it factual?
3) is it necessary?
4) is it teachable?
5) does it recognize the fallibility of human counsel?
6) are you giving it IN LOVE?
I once heard a story about the dean of a Bible college who was in a board meeting and an angel visited the meeting. The angel told the dean of the college that he had been living right and serving God and that God was going to grant him one of 3 things: 1) Unsurpassed wisdom; 2) Infinite wealth or 3) limitless beauty.
The dean thought about it and said to the board members, I want to ask you for some advice… what should I choose he asked them! Thinking of Solomon, almost to a person they all said he should choose the unsurpassed wisdom! The dean agreed and told the angel that he would take the wisdom. BAM! The angel said… you are now the wisest man on the planet…
The board members looked at the dean and they were all waiting for him to ‘say’ something wise, but he just sat there with his head in his hands, shaking his head! One of the board members spoke up and said, ‘we are all waiting to hear some wisdom, share it with us!”
With all his new found wisdom, the dean raised up and looked at the board members and shaking his head he said, “I should have taken the money!” When evaluating human counsel or human advice to a friend or a loved one we need to ask first… Is this counsel or advice biblical? Does it reflect the core principles of Scripture as we know them?