walk-in-my-shoesThursday, February 23, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Job 15-16

One of my joys as Hillsdale’s pastor is hearing the voices of children in our building throughout the year.  I try to visit the hallways of our Christian school at least one or two times a day and, reminiscent of classes when I was young, a teacher will sometimes have a classroom door open and I am able to hear the lesson being taught.

Passing a Pre-K class on Tuesday, the 3-year-olds were sitting at the feet of their teacher, captivated by a Bible lesson on poor Job and wondering, “Why God would let Satan be so mean to Job?”  I doubt I am alone when I express the intimidating thought of explaining to 3-year-olds the Sovereignty of God! [P.S. I have asked the teacher for a tape when she explains the Trinity!]

We continue today’s devotional commentary with Job 15-16 as our scripture reading assignment.jobs-friends

Although they purported to come and comfort him, Job’s friends have served as his prosecutors, judges, and jury…condemning the man though he was already stricken by his losses and wretchedness.  One of Job’s three “friends”, Eliphaz the Temanite, takes up his dispute with Job accusing him of pride (Job 15:5-6) and hypocrisy (15:34-35) and warning Job all he had suffered was a consequence of sin (15:17-35).

Job’s response to Eliphaz is recorded in three pleas in chapters 16-17.  The first plea is for mercy, rather than comfort; Job’s friends were unsympathetic to his plight and their words only added to his misery (16:1-14). Reproving them, Job suggested if his friends had suffered the losses he had their words would be softened with understanding and sympathy (16:4-5).walk-in-my-shoes

There is an old adage that states, “Before you criticize a man, you should walk a mile in his shoes.”  The point of the quote is it is easy to be an unsympathetic, heartless critic until you have borne the pain, sorrows and disappointments of another.  For example, how many are experts at parenting and passing judgment on the perceived failures and heartaches of others, until they have children of their own?  How many are harsh critics, until they have suffered the blows of pain and disappointment?  How easy is it to give little thought to our harsh words, until we fall victim of the same?

Superior to the proverb to “walk in another man’s shoes before criticizing him” is the principle taught by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount:  “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2).judgment

The knowledge we will face the judgment of a just God should incite caution when we judge others.  How much better to heed Paul’s exhortation and, Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16  Be of the same mind one toward another…” (Romans 12:15-16a).

The closing verses of Job 16 are a picture of sorrow and humiliation (16:15-22).  In addition to his plea for mercy, Job pleas for justice and vindication before he dies (16:16-19).

Friend, I have learned to accept that some accusations and personal attacks on my integrity will not be answered until God’s judgment.  Lies, innuendoes, and questions on one’s character is God’s business; indeed, I have known too many professing Christians who are quick judges, unrepentant gossips, and “hit and run” deceivers.

In the words of Job, “my witness [recorded testimony] is in heaven, and my record [Advocate; i.e. Jesus Christ] is on high” (Job 16:19b; 1 John 2:1-2).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith