Daily reading assignment: Job 14-16
Reflecting on the temporal nature of this earthly life, Job declared man’s life is “of few days, and full of trouble” (14:1). Like the bloom of a flower that is soon cut down, the bloom and strength of one’s youth fades and we are no more (14:2). Job reminds us that God has numbered the days, months, and years of man (Job 14:5)!
No wonder anxiety and depression are epidemic today!
While our world is dominated by amusements (things that divert our thoughts), reminders life is temporal abound. The sound of a siren racing to an accident; the presence of a roadside cross memorializing the site where a loved one perished; a procession of mourners behind a hearse…all remind us our days are numbered (Psalm 90:12) and our lives are like a vapor (James 4:14).
While we have the privilege of the written words of God’s revelation, death and the resurrection were mysteries to Job. In spite of his limited knowledge, he believed God was merciful and gracious and would remember him in death (14:14-15).
Although they purported to 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, once again takes up his dispute with Job accusing him of pride (Job 15:5-6), hypocrisy (15:34-35) and warning him 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 him; Job’s friends were unsympathetic to his plight and their words only added to his misery (16:1-14). Reproving them, he postulated if they had suffered the sorrows and losses that had befallen him their words would be tempered with sympathy and understanding (16:4-5).
An old adage asserts, “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes.”
It is tempting to be an insensitive, callous critic when we have not borne the pain, sorrow and disappointments of another. For example, I have known some who supposed themselves parenting experts and in their rush to judgment failed to moderate their criticisms; that is…until they grappled with their own teenagers.
It is easy to dole out self-righteous opinions until we suffer pains and disappointments. Christ taught 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).
The knowledge we will face the judgment of a just God should incite caution when we are tempted to judge others. How much better to heed Paul’s exhortation: “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).
Copyright 2020 by Travis D. Smith