Summary: This message is included in a series of 4 messages from the book of Job.
“WHO ARE YOU GOING TO LISTEN TO?” Job 8:1-7
INTRO – Ever gotten to the place in your life where you wonder, “Does my life really matter? What does it all really mean? All this energy and effort in studying, working, serving – is it really necessary? Is it making a difference?”
We’ll all find ourselves in this place at some point in our lives. We’ll all be asking these questions in some form or fashion. We’ll all ask WHY or at least be tempted to ask WHY. We know we’re living a good life, trying to do the right things, working hard to be a good citizen, a good church member, a good parent, a good student, a good Christian. And yet, we still have bad things come into our lives, and we want to know WHY. In my own life, I think about these things:
- Why did my mother get cancer?
- Why did my best friend and his wife lose their baby to SIDS?
- Why did a well-loved, faithful pastor I know run over and kill a little girl who ran out into the street?
- Why is another well-known pastor’s son addicted to drugs?
- Why did a godly elderly woman who was the most faithful member of her church get hit and killed by a car while riding her bike?
When those times come to our lives – and like we discussed last week, they ARE going to come – we’ll always have those well-meaning, well-intentioned but ill-informed people who want to give you advice, wanted or unwanted. Definition of advice – “opinion about what could or should be done about a situation or problem.” That’s exactly what some folks feel is their mission in life – to give you THEIR opinion about what’s going on in YOUR life, whether you want it or not. And that’s exactly what happened to Job when his 3 friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, showed up.
Look at Job 2:11-13 – Give these guys a little bit of a break here at first. They ought to be commended for some of the things they did. They did come to Job when they heard about the tragedies he had suffered. In his time of need, his 3 friends came to him with sensitive and sympathetic hearts, at least at first.
v. 13b – “No one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” They came to him, wept for and with him, and sat quietly w/ him as he grieved the loss of his children, his livelihood, and his health. If only they had continued to sit quietly w/ Job!
Most of the time, this is all a person who is suffering and grief-stricken needs from you. Your presence is all they need most of the time. They certainly don’t need sermons or opinions; they just need a friend, a shoulder to lean on or cry on, a hand to hold on to. Shaggy told Scooby in Scooby Doo Movie – “Friends don’t quit!”
All of these men in Job’s life, and Job himself, adhered to a strict cause-and-effect law of blessing and cursing.:
- God ALWAYS blessed good people.
- God ALWAYS cursed bad people.
- Good people were never supposed to suffer.
- Bad people were the only ones who suffered.
The 3 friends felt like it was their job to help Job admit to whatever sin in his life was causing his great suffering. Truth is that they said some good things. There was some truth in their advice and counsel to Job. There are consequences to sin that cause suffering in our lives and in the lives of others. But this was not the case w/ Job. Their advice did not apply to Job.
Conventional wisdom is not always right. We can’t always make sense of some things that happen. We can’t always explain the reasons for our suffering, and certainly can’t explain it in someone else’s life. We can’t always make everything add up just right in a neat little package. The story does not always end w/ “And they lived happily ever after.”
When you are battling confusion in the midst of your suffering, or when life just doesn’t seem to make sense and you need some direction, who are you going to listen to?
I. Are you going to listen to those who make judgments w/out all the facts? This is what Eliphaz did – ch. 4-5.
- El’s attitude was insulting and derogatory – “Will you be patient and let me say a word? For who could keep from speaking?” (4:2).
- His attitude undermined and ridiculed Job – “Does your reverence for God give you no confidence? Shouldn’t you believe that G will care for those who are upright? (4:6).