Summary: How Job dealt with criticism
“Job: Responding to Criticism”
Intro: As we have read through the books of Job this past week, we have seen one thing for certain: Job faced a lot of criticism. The book of Job teaches us many lessons: the faithfulness of God, the battle of the spiritual realm, the nature of suffering, and also the certainty of criticism. If you want to be assured of criticism, get into the ministry: you’ll surely face criticism. Whenever there are two people, you can be sure there are probably three ways of looking at any situation.
Job was a good man, who tried to do right, and who faced great loss. Why? Because God was making a point to Satan about the faithfulness of Job. But Job was never told that. All Job knew was that he faced great criticism, and that by his three close friends.
Read 2:11-13 - When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No-one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
Job’s three friends came to offer comfort. Yet, what they ended up doing was to accuse Job of sinfulness. As we read through the book, we see their allegations of sinfulness of Job’s part increasing.
Read Job 22:5-21 Job was faced with open rebuke for sinfulness.
I. How do we respond to criticism?
-Realize your critics will not always speak truth - in 42:7 [After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.] God affirms that Job’s friend did not speak that which was right. Often when we are criticized we need to realize that all criticisms made against us will not be true.
-Realize friends may criticize you - These were three good friends who had sacrificed greatly to come and be with Job. Yet, their advice was not right. They did not speak with godly wisdom.
-Realize critics may have a good heart and motives but speak untruth - Job’s three friends were concerned about him, and they wanted to see his wealth restored, but they firmly believed that they were right in accusing Job of sinfulness. They leveled accusations against Job, but they never gave proof of Job’s sinfulness.
-Some criticism claims to come from God - yet not everyone claiming to speak for God really does.
God’s will is never contrary to his word. [Some divorce because God brought them together.]
God’s word must always be our primary guide. We can be mistaken when we think we are interpreting dreams and signs.
**GPC - cotton farmer - preached Christ - failure - heaven - “Go Plow Cotton”
Job 4:12-19 - Eliphaz claims to have a message from God. We know from chapter 42 he didn’t speak for God, but he claims he did. "A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it. Amid disquieting dreams in the night, when deep sleep falls on men, fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake. A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end. It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: `Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error, how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth!
-Satan attacks when you’re down. We find Job sitting on an ash heap scraping his sores. Along come three friends who rebuke him for sinfulness. Along comes his wife, who is supposed to care, and tells him to curse God and die. His brothers and sisters are nowhere to be found.
Deal with criticism on a rational level, don’t respond emotionally - As Job responds to his critics, he looks for valid rational arguments. Job 31:4-8 - Does he not see my ways and count my every step? "If I have walked in falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit-- let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless-- if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted.