Spiritual Director · September 8, 2017

Devote #101

As you read through the book of Job, you read this ongoing conversation between Job and his three friends. And it’s the same from chapters 3-31.

These three friends try as desperately as they can to explain to Job that his loss of life and possessions is all because he has sinned and he should repent.

Job’s rebuttal, that he’s innocent and he wishes God would explain to him why He’s doing this. If I could be honest with you, it’s kind of annoying, especially since I’ve read the book before and know how it ends. I just want to skip the trivial and get to the good stuff.

Then we read this,

“Finally, these three men stopped arguing with Job, because he refused to admit that he was guilty.” —Job 32:1

I want to shout, “Hallelulah!” “Praise the Lord!” “God is good!” Seemingly, we’re all done with listening to everybody’s opinion on what they think God is like and what they think God is doing and why He’s doing it.

But wait… in walks a fourth person – who also has an opinion. We’re told he’s been there from the beginning, but because he was younger than all of them, he remained silent, out of respect for his elders. The problem: he’s going to do what everybody else was doing – give his opinion on God and why he thinks Job is going through all of this. And he’s going to do it for 6 more chapters.

But here’s where it gets interesting. You need to notice a few things. This fourth guy comes out of nowhere. He’s not been mentioned until now, and after he’s done ranting, he won’t be mentioned again. Another thing, whereas Job and his three friends had a dialog, talking to each other, when this guy is finished orating, no one even acknowledges a word he said. Even when God steps into the picture at the end of book, He addresses Job and his three friends, but this fourth guy is forgotten.

Here’s just the truth about all of this debating. This fourth guy’s voice isn’t the voice that Job or his friends needed to hear. The voice all of them needed to hear was God’s voice.

Let me share some truth with you: Many times we enter into a discussion and give our “humble opinion”, but our voice is not the voice our family and friends need to hear… they need to hear God’s voice.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

God can and still does speak through His people, but all too often we want to jump into situations and give our own two cents. People don’t need our opinion… they need a word from God. Our wisdom will always fall short… it will always be lacking. The only One left to speak is the only One Job… his three friends… the fourth guy… and us need to hear. The voice of God! Listen!

Help me speak Your words, not my own. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.