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…my lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies. NLT
This statement was by Job in Chapter 27 verse 4 in the book of Job. The 18th book of the Bible was named after its main human character. Whenever I hear the name Job, the phrase, “terrible suffering” comes to my mind immediately. But in Hebrew, his name actually means “hated” or “persecuted”, which is even worse than what I thought.
In incongruous way, the first verses in Job describe him as a man who is perfect and upright, God –fearing and eschewing evil. He is also blessed with sons and daughters, great wealth and household – making Him the greatest man in the east. He is so conscious about not offending God that he even offers burnt offerings for his children each time after their feasting. Now, how could a man with that standing be called hated and persecuted?
The rest of the first chapter chronicles a deal between satan and God about testing Job’s faith. Eventually, God allowed satan to take away everything from Job and give him a sore boil. His children died and his wife even turned against the God of Job. His friends also who came to supposedly comfort him have instead misjudged him and treated him wrongly in his distress (which is another topic at a later time). Job’s suffering must be too great, and I haven’t known of another man similar to what he has gone through.
What took my interest in my reading of Job is one of his responses despite his experience: that his lips will not speak wickedness, and his tongue will utter no deceit. The friends of Job, who came to sympathize, suspected him to have sinned or that he may not have done good enough, resulting to the afflictions that he is suffering from. I would agree that the last thing a person needs when in too much trouble is a false allegation or misjudgment from a friend, and In the case of Job, it was.
Sometimes, when we are in a similar situation, it is most likely that we defend ourselves. We protect our pride and reputation either when the judgment is wrong or right. It is man’s nature to keep a good disposition and would do anything, at least, to prove that a negative result is not because of his own actions. So, we talk back, with maybe an even worse response. However, in the case of Job, he didn’t. Job knew that he hadn’t done anything wrong. Job 1:1 stated that he was upright. What is more, he acknowledged God as the source of his life, though he might have felt bad and sad for a time for having been denied with justice; and he didn’t waver in his faith but submitted to God’s sovereignty (Job 27 1-6).
I have been through a lot of provocation in the past. I was hired to be one of the trainers in a government program two years ago, and until now, they haven’t given me yet my wages for whatever reason. And also for many times, the bureaucracy has been delaying what I should have at the supposed time. There’s really no one that I blame but the clear factors affecting the delayed delivery of services and salaries was the system of administration that is so complex and I also think is often unnecessary. I am human, and I feel like I am at the brink of snapping or maybe retaliating against the bureaucrats. But, God led me into reading Job. He wants to tell me something. We may not necessarily suffer as a result of a sin but because God’s program for our life is in progress. It doesn’t matter how long it will last but how long will I last and continue to trust. And as a result of that trust – I mustn’t say, do or even think what I’m horribly thinking. Instead, I must constantly commune with God.
We go through several difficult circumstances in our lives. People may judge us quick, or the other way around. We may be called liars, disobedient, thief, pretender, arrogant, sarcastic – and we might just be reaping what we sow. But let us understand, that it’s usually difficult to stand against such arguments, with our own wits. In the end, what others say doesn’t really matter – because it’ll always be between us and God. Our standing before Him is what matters most and it’s our fellowship with Him that He seeks. As it was revealed, painful experiences happen not to torment and make us to stumble or break. Its purpose is to help us keep our faith in God and believe that He has made us stronger than we thought, because He wants us to have that hundred-fold blessing that is waiting in the end.