Tag Archive: job


In chapter 18 Bildad joins Eliphaz in attacking Job’s character.  They throw sticks; calling him wicked and deserved of his suffering.  Job retaliates tossing stones; telling them they are terrible comforters, terrible friends.

Job’s friends become defensive and angry.  Feelings are hurt adding more fuel to an already smoldering pile of rock and wood.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”
Ooooh, I remember saying that phrase.

Even now it brings back memories of times when my feelings were hurt because of what somebody said, and to get back at them I would scream that phrase.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: …strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy… I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”   Galatians 5:19-21

The heat of my anger would boil up beginning at my toes running swiftly to my belly then neck and like a bottle shaken I would explode without warning, hurling insults and trying to find words that cut and crush.

Words hurt.  They stick much longer than a bruise and I’m afraid I’m queen of hurting people with my words…especially my family.

As a kid I threw stick and stone words haphazardly hoping they would hit their target.  It was usually back at the mean kid who told me I was fat or ugly.  They said something that cut and I wanted to cut them back, but it’s hard to hurt someone you don’t really know.

Friends and family are much easier targets.  We know the most about them and what makes them tick; their dreams, their desires, what they love, what they treasure…we know what will hurt them to the core and use it as ammunition.

As an adult; as a wife and mom, I am more able to reign in my toss.  I am able to, more subtly, spear those sticks and force those stones in with more precision.

Instead of hurling erratic insults, I catapult blame and guilt with amazing accuracy directly at the heart.  I lash out when I’m not being heard or when I feel unappreciated.  I want them to hurt the way I’m hurting.  I want to get back at them and so I throw sticks and stones at the people I love the most in this world!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”   Galatians 5:22-23

I have often said that I am not a fruit bearing tree.  I don’t display the beautiful fruit that I see in people around me.  I have thrown so many sticks and stones that my harvest is damaged.

I praise God that He’s not done with me yet.  He has placed amazing women in my life who do portray the fruit of the Spirit.  They exude the kindness, patience and gentleness that I lack, providing a beautiful picture of how a Godly wife, mother and friend is supposed to act.  I praise God for each of those precious gems in my life and for the example He has set before me to learn from.

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”   Galatians 5:24-26

How’s your harvest?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”   John 15:5

 

 

Ladieeeees aaaaand gentlemen!

Welcome to the main event; the Suffering Weight Boxing championships!

In the red corner weighing 142 pounds, previously wealthy land and livestock owner and former father of ten.  The current Suffering Weight Boxing Champion, from right here in the land of Uz, please welcome Joooooooooooob!

His opponent in the blue corner weighting 143 pounds, one of three pitiful friends of Job.  The chief “comforter” from Teman, please welcome Eliphaaaaaaaaz!

Are you ready to rumblllllllllllllle?

Ding.
Ding.
Ding.

Chapter 15.  Round 2.

Eliphaz starts in again with his accusations, echoing the accusations he brought to the ring in chapter 4.  He didn’t bring any new moves or new punches.  He was a friend coming to Job armed with gloves of blame and mistrust.

Job returns the blows of condemnation from Eliphaz with strikes of emotion and anger.  Calling his friends, and rightly so, “worthless physicians” [Job 13:4] and “miserable comforters.” [Job 16:2]

I can relate to Job’s friends.  I am a miserable comforter.

A dear friend of mine has been recently diagnosed with an aggressive, stage 2 possibly stage 3, form of breast cancer.

When I heard of her diagnosis, I froze.

I longed to go to her but failed.  I wanted to support her but collapsed.  I desired to encourage her but gave up.  I ached to be there for her but fell short.  I had no words and couldn’t process the news, so I didn’t.

I didn’t go to her.  I didn’t cry with her.  I didn’t comfort her.

I didn’t.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… if it is encouraging, let him encourage…”   Romans 12:4-6, 8 (niv)

I, like Job’s friends, just shook my head.

Job’s friends, typical guys, wanted to fix things.  They offered suggestions and accusations when all Job wanted was support, encouragement, a strong shoulder and an open ear.

“But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief.”   Job 16:5 (nlt)

Sometimes there aren’t words.

I don’t have the words to comfort my friend, because I have never been in her shoes.  I don’t know what she’s going through so I can’t possibly tell her so, but I can sit quietly, wrap her in silence and learn from her.

Sometimes we aren’t supposed to fix things.

I can’t give my friend the medicine she needs or take the pain from her, but I can offer my time, my hugs, my tears, my prayers and my love.

“A friend loves at all times…”   Proverbs 17:17

What kind of friend are you?

 

Job is mad at his friends in chapter 12 and chapter 13 because of their advice and accusations, but Job still gives glory to God, even though he’s not feeling very worshipful.  Job, by just pleading his case to his friends, acknowledges God’s creation and power;

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.”   Job 12:7-8

“If he tears down, none can rebuild…
With him are strength and sound wisdom…
He pours contempt on princes and loosens the belt of the strong.
He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light.
He makes nations great, and he destroys them…”
Job 12:14, 16, 21-23

I have found that I love taking pictures.  I realized this when I was training for my 1/2 marathon last year.

Haunted Hustle 1/2 Marathon

Yes shocker, I ran a 1/2 marathon.  Ran the whole thing too!!  And yes, I dressed up as wonder woman.

Don’t even think about it.

But what I found as I trained, running outside usually before dawn, was the amazing majesty and beauty that surrounds us.  Especially when the first rays of light pours its radiance out upon the dark rolling hills and jagged corners.

Amazing.

I always had my phone with me on those early morning runs, losing myself in the music, but as God revealed His glory to me through His light peeking over the horizon, I began to capture those moments through the, albeit limited, lens on my phone.

I began to look forward to spending time with Him in His creation and looking for Him at other times as well and discovered how much He reveals Himself to us through it!  I even started another blog where I only post photos and scripture revealing God’s astounding creation: Omniscience

God is an amazing artist and everywhere you look you can see His handiwork.  The Bible even says that God will not be ignored — creation screams His name, even if  no, especially when we won’t.

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”   Romans 1:20 (esv)

“‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.'”   Luke 19:40 (niv)

Job doesn’t understand his suffering and he knows he has done nothing to “deserve” it as his friends have suggested.  Still, because he is aware of God’s presence around him, he is able to remain faithful in the Lord.  He questions, but still has hope and knows he will be vindicated. [Job 13:15-18]

Are you feeling like God has left you alone and empty?
Even in this struggle you’re going through, in these hard times you’re facing… God is with you.
His magnificence surrounds you!

Just take a look around!

Related articles/sites

I have now gone through the first 9 chapters of Job and even though Job has complained and rightly so in my mind, poor guy…and a couple friends gave advice in truth no less, but it still didn’t apply to Job’s situation, I have found it so interesting that at the time of Job’s life, most likely the people of that time didn’t have any sort of Scriptural writings.

I’m not sure any of God’s writings had been penned yet and even if they had, between the modes of transportation, shortage of Xerox® copiers and material available to write on… I’m totally envisioning honkin’ slabs of clay here [cue: Charlton Heston]… the likelihood of Job and his friends reading any piece of it would have been immensely slim.

So what Job and his friends had to go on in life were their experiences and the stories their families shared about God.  It is amazing to me that the truths they knew of God and especially the devotion Job had for God, all without a book of reference; something tangible to refer to, a source of comfort, inspiration and guidance like we have.

In chapter 8 another of Job’s friends Bildad joins the already-finger-pointing Eliphaz, putting in his two-cents about why this suffering has fallen upon Job.  And although he says pretty much the same thing as Eliphaz, there is a bluntness about the way he says it that is offensive.

Bildad is all business.  There’s no beating around the bush.  His view is right, there’s no other way around it, there is no wiggle room, it is what it is, that’s that.

Bildad’s experience;

People get what they deserve.

“If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression.”   Job 8:4

God answers prayer when we’re good.

“if you are pure and upright, surely then he will rouse himself for you and restore your rightful habitation.”   Job 8:6

Bad things happen when we don’t fully trust God.

“Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish.”   Job 8:14

The Job chapter hadn’t been written yet.  The things we know about God and Satan for that matter through the sufferings of Job haven’t been revealed to them yet.  The story is not finished, God has not spoken.

Bildad was right and what he says about God and righteous living was true, but it’s incomplete and it’s not his fault; he doesn’t have the whole story, he can’t see the whole picture.  He assumes that all he and his friends have experienced and all they know is all there is.

Therein lies the problem.  We so often do the same thing.  When we’re in the middle of a test or a trial, we are unable to see the truth or seek comfort in God’s promises because we are too close.  Our focus is on ourselves, our experiences, our own understanding.

We need someone who can see the big picture.  Someone who can guide us, share a similar story or encourage us with words of comfort and give us the strength to go on.

Thankfully, we have that.

Are you struggling?

Does life seem unbearable and unfair?

Are you getting through each day but not truly living?

God has a plan for your life and wants more for you!  Open His Word.  Talk to a Pastor.  Find someone who can show you in His Word the life God has for you.

“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   John 10:10

“A bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”
-Charles Spurgeon

I have grown up with collectors; my maternal grandmother – stamps, my paternal grandmother – postcards, my father – coins.  I have watched as they sift and caress each treasure, studying each detail and holding it up to the light for a better view, a deeper knowledge, a hidden detail.

Grandma Shaben and I would sit for hours looking through her different stamps.  We would put them into piles separating them by color, value or design: ships, horses and birds to kings, queens and presidents.  But when we used a light and magnifying glass, something seen every day and took for granted became elaborate and beautiful.

Grandma Matts had a scrapbook that she pasted every postcard, invitation and ticket she ever received into.  I loved that scrapbook mostly because of the amazing treasures it held, including Gram’s handwriting, but also because when held up to the light, hidden images were revealed within each gem.  It was exciting to see what the next treasure secretly held; postcards and baby shower invitations that when held up to the light they sparkled, revealing something new!

My Dad loves coins and he has shown me how unique coins can be; how much we can learn from them and how rare and special it is when one is found with a mint error that so often can not be seen at a casual glance.  The coin has to be magnified and illuminated to truly see it’s worth.

There are differing ideas as to who wrote the book of Job and when exactly it was written…which I am not a debater and am not interested in starting one here.  However, what I do want to point out is that it seems Job was one of the first books of the Bible written.  It predates many of the wonderful old flannel graph stories we grew up with in Sunday school, and certainly Job was not around at the time of Jesus.

I am in chapter 9 of Job and I have seen Job’s countless confusion and questioning as to why He has been allowed such suffering.  He has lived a good life, followed God well and yet has endured such loss and pain he doesn’t understand it.

So here’s my question.  What did Job have to compare his suffering to?  Where did his friends gather their knowledge and teaching from?

Life.

They had only the stories passed down from generations before and the experiences they lived through.  They didn’t have a book full of examples of people with incredible faith, were terrible liars, had amazing courage, lost their tempers, gained astonishing strength and raised naughty children to learn from.

They weren’t able to use a magnifying glass.  They weren’t able to run their decision through with a fine-toothed comb.  They didn’t have a light to reveal their choices.

We do.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12

When a light is turned on, yucky things scamper, monsters disappear and fears vanish, but also truth is revealed.  We can’t hide in the light.  When God’s goodness illuminates our desires and choices, we can’t help but notice the flaws and errors.

Life Application Study Bible Commentary:
Jesus Christ is the Creator of life, and his life brings light to mankind.  In his light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior).  When we follow Jesus, the true Light, we can avoid walking blindly and falling into sin.  He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live.  He removes the darkness of sin from our lives.
Have you allowed the light of Christ to shine into your life?  Let Christ guide your life, and you’ll never need to stumble in darkness.

What is God trying to reveal to you?

I’m in Job chapter 7 and the king of complaining continues…

I can say what I want. [Job 7:11]

Life sucks. [Job 7:16]

What did I do to you? [Job 7:20]

Give me a break! [Job 7:21]

My Bible’s commentary says:

“Although Job had lived a blameless life, he was beginning to doubt the value of living in such a way.  By doing this, he was coming dangerously close to suggesting that God didn’t care about him and was not being fair.”

Is it a sin to say “it’s not fair”?

I understand that we are not to curse God or blaspheme God,

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”   Exodus 20:7

blas·phe·my    noun    \ˈblas-fə-mē\

Definition:
1 a : the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God
   b : the act of claiming the attributes of deity
2 : irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable

but is questioning Him or saying “it’s not fair” cursing Him?

That depends on our heart.

Yes, God wants us to share our heart with Him; our concerns, dreams, struggles, desires, needs and worries…

“casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”   1 Peter 5:7

but we must have the right attitude,

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”   1 Peter 5:6

and be willing ultimately to follow His plan no matter the consequence.

“…Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”   Luke 22:42b

God is not a magic genie that we can call on whenever we want something.  He doesn’t just show up to fulfill our every whim.

Job lived a righteous life and it seems he deserved the right to blame or turn His back on God.  But Job knew God; he learned God’s truths and promises, appreciated what God had given and trusted Him when He took it away.

But Job was not perfect; he questioned, he didn’t understand and he complained.

Makes him a bit more human, doesn’t it?

Be careful from where your complaints stem.  God wants us to share our hearts with him, but make sure it’s a heart of obedience not obstinance.

 

Job is sort of a drama queen.

What I mean by that is for someone who is doing all the right things because God is quite pleased with him [Job 1:8, Job 2:3], and when he loses his cattle, his children, is covered with boils and his wife tells him to “curse God and die,” [Job 2:9]

She actually says that!  Boy, I would not want to answer to God for saying that!  Whew.

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne… And the dead were judged …according to what they had done.”   Revelation 20:12

But I digress, back to Job.  When all of this happens in his life, Job curses his birth.  He rants about how he wishes he wasn’t born, he curses the day his mother got pregnant and wishes he would have been stillborn. [Job 3]

That gets old.  Listening to someone complain about how they wish they wouldn’t have been born, that they wish God would just crush them.

I have friends who are Christians; they make good choices, go to church and raise their children to love the Lord.  But when the going gets tough they bail.  They blame God and curse the day they were born.  They whine and cry about how hard things are and that it’s just not fair.

But what is fair?

Should a robber be pardoned because the punishment is to pay with their time for what they’ve taken?  Should murderers receive amnesty because the punishment for their crimes is death?

No, of course not.  They deserve the punishment because they did the crime.

I have a friend who lived a life of terrible abuse.  He suffered both physically and mentally, enduring terrible pain and shameful ridicule.  His body revealed the physical torment he endured and people still talk about the heartache and loneliness he experienced.

I can’t imagine living his life or feeling the hate he experienced.  The struggle he lived was intense and unimaginable.  I know he wished he didn’t have to live it, wished his life was different and even asked God to take it away… but God didn’t.

My friend died.

Was it fair?  By our standards no, but God had a plan.  God knew that my friend had to endure this hardship in his life to be an example to others and for God’s ultimate plan for good.

My friend lived a perfect life and died because I deserved it, not him.

Are the struggles we experience fair?  In our minds, no.  But was it fair for Jesus to experience the heartache and pain He lived through?

And He did it willingly.

He did it for you.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”   1 John 4:10

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   John 3:16

I’m reading slowly through the book of Job.  I have read the Bible all the way through a couple times now in my life [insert happy dance here]

but I have never done an in-depth study of Job.

I’ve always liked Job.

He puts things into perspective when I think I’m having a bad day.  I mean, the poor guy!  All within six verses, a matter of exactly 27 seconds of reading, announcements that come within a period of what could be only minutes of each other; he loses his livelihood and his family.  [Job 1:14-19]

In chapter two, Job is plagued with “loathsome sores” and the one person who is supposed to stand by his side “in sickness and in health” turns against him.  [Job 2:7-9]

Then there are Job’s friends…
Eliphaz the Temanite
Bildad the Shuhite
Zophar the Naamathite

Now I’m only in chapter six so I have only started reading in-depth the counsel of Job’s friends, more specifically Eliphaz who tries to offer words of help and encouragement by suggesting the reason he thinks Job is suffering.

But from what I’ve read so far, Eliphaz is only doing what we all do for our own friends.  We offer our best guess.  Our assumption of what might be happening.  We try to give our best counsel based on things we have experienced ourselves and what might apply to our friend.

I hear all the time how Job’s friends steer him wrong; they are insensitive and give horrible counsel.  Perhaps there will be much more to learn as I continue my study through Job, but as of right now they seem human to me.  They just seem like good guys coming to comfort and help their friend.

What kind of friend are you?

Please take a few minutes to take my friendship survey!  The results will help me see what qualities we find most important in a good friend and how many of us consider ourselves friend savvy.

Click here to take the survey!

Thank you so much for your help!!

 

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts.  And we are never, ever the same.”  -Anonymous

How are you at being a good friend?

I miss the mark more often than not.

A good friend is patient and kind.  She doesn’t get jealous, snotty or rude.  She lets us go first even when it isn’t our turn and doesn’t get angry when we do.  She is always honest with us, dreams with us and walks the long road with us.  She comes when we struggle, weeps with us and encourages us when we are down.  She lends her ear and her shoulder to help bear our burden and sorrow.  Her love never ends.

So often Job’s friends get a bad wrap, and rightly so; they give him bad advice, question his integrity, and accuse him wrongly.  Like us, our friends are not perfect; we all make bad choices, say the wrong things or jump to conclusions.  [Job 4-25]

But we can learn from Job’s friends in how they respond when they hear of their friend’s suffering;

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came… to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept… And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”   Job 2:11-13

They came.

They wept.

They sat.

What kind of friend are you?

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”   1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”   Job 1:21

Job shook me this morning.

How do I respond when ‘bad’ things happen in my life?

Do I say “Why me?”

Do I complain?

I need to take a lesson from Job.  If I think I’m struggling in my life, I certainly have not struggled as Job has.

I have not had the heartache as Job has.  I get a “No. Thanks anyway,” response back from an article I sent to a magazine and I question God.  Job lost all ten of his children in one fell swoop!  [Job 1:18]

I have not had the physical pain as Job has.  I get a hangnail and I whine.  Job had painful boils from head to toe and scraped them off with a potsherd for relief!  [Job 2:7-8]

Job had incredibly difficult struggles and yet He trusted God’s plan.  He accepted his trials and understood them as something God had every right to give.

“… Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”   Job 2:10

I need to stop being so drama queen.

Comparatively, my life has been quite easy.  My struggles, minor.

I need a new…  perspective.

What are you struggling with?

Don’t look at it with your own eyes…you’re too close, your feelings too real.  Look at your situation through God’s eyes…

God gave us amazing examples in His Word.

Maybe you just need a new… Job.

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