Over the last month or so I have been following a 90 day reading plan where you read through the entire Bible in 90 days. Believe me there is A LOT of reading each day but I love it. It’s keeping me in the word and the Lord has been building me up and showing me things and revealing things I have not noticed before. I’ve read through the Bible before cover to cover a couple of times but it has never failed when I do it again that the Lord shows me something new.
This time as I was reading through the book of Job I was noticing Job’s friends and their responses to his situation. At first his three closest friends came to Job in order (I believe) to encourage him. They started sharing with him what he had done for the Lord and then all of a sudden they start questioning him. They question his faith and whether or not he did some sin in secret. Job would respond and tell them that the Lord knew him and knew he was righteous and had not sinned. But his friends refused to believe him they believed this stuff could only be happening to him because Job must have sinned somewhere in his life. Yet the Lord called him righteous and said that “he was a man of complete integrity” (Job 1:8 NLT). His friends were convinced that he must of done something to bring about these terrible events on his life.
Of course as we read Job from the beginning we know why this stuff came. He was being tested. The Lord, allowed him to be tested to prove a point to Satan the Accuser. However, throughout this entire testing season of Job’s life he never once turned away from God. He continued to love God. He did question him just like many of us today whenever a bad thing happens to us. But he loved him and God knew Job’s heart. His friends, however, did not. They can not see a man from the inside or know his thoughts and motives. They assumed that Job had secretly sinned in order to bring about this time of testing.
The Lord, reminded me that many times our Christian brothers and sisters (and even ourselves), who have the best of intentions, do the same thing to one another. They say all the right things at first but then they believe that they know why these things happen. They think that their friend has committed some sin in order for these things to happen. They believe they know better than the person they are trying to “help” because certainly, they must have done something wrong for this stuff to come upon them. In fact they go from encouraging their friend in their time of trouble to accusing them of doing something wrong in secret. Even when the friend tells them, “I am innocent I have done no wrong,” they still do not believe them.
Job’s friends went from his encourager to his accuser and they shouldn’t have. In just reading what is written about Job, he never gave them a reason to doubt his word. He never once gave them a reason to believe he would not do what is right before the Lord. But, because they, in their own mind, couldn’t come up with any other reason why all this stuff could be happening to their friend they assumed and then blatantly accused him of sinning.
Friends, we must be very careful when we deal with friends going through a trial. We should NEVER assume to know what is going on in their hearts. Only God knows the hearts of man. Let us not become our friends accuser. Let us always be their encourager.
I am not saying that sin doesn’t cause consequences because we all know they do. What I am saying is that bad things happen to good people all the time. Sometimes it is because they have opened the door to sin in their lives and they are reaping the consequences of those actions/decisions. But there are also times when bad things happen and we don’t know why. However, the difference is how we respond when those things happen and that is what I believe the entire book of Job is really about. When trouble comes do we turn away from our Creator or do we go to him even with our questions and our frustrations? When trouble comes to our friends do we accuse them of sinning or do we encourage them to continue looking to God for the answers to the why?
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