When my wife and I finished reading the book of Job for our daily devotions one very convicting take away that the Lord brought to our attention was how easily criticism flows out of our mouths to either condemn and pass judgment on others.
When Job’s friends observed Job’s life collapsing right before their eyes they wrongly judged him by thinking that all this calamity was happening to Job because he was guilty of something.
- Eliphaz – Job 4:7 ¶ “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? 8 Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same.
- Bildad – Job 8:3 Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? 4 If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression. 5 If you would earnestly seek God And make your supplication to the Almighty, 6 If you were pure and upright, Surely now He would awake for you, And prosper your rightful dwelling place.
- Zophar – Job 11:7 ¶ “Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? … 10 “If He passes by, imprisons, and gathers to judgment, Then who can hinder Him? 11 For He knows deceitful men; He sees wickedness also. Will He not then consider it?
- Zophar – Job 20:27 The heavens will reveal his iniquity, And the earth will rise up against him. 28 The increase of his house will depart, And his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath. 29 This is the portion from God for a wicked man, The heritage appointed to him by God.”
- Elihu – Job 34:20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they shall not escape, And their hope-loss of life!” … 34:35 ‘Job speaks without knowledge, His words are without wisdom.’ 36 Oh, that Job were tried to the utmost, Because his answers are like those of wicked men! 37 For he adds rebellion to his sin; He claps his hands among us, And multiplies his words against God.“
Although Job’s friends had lots negative things to say about Job, God had this to say about him:
- Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
What a great reminder this book has been to me to be careful how I judge someone. More often than not, what people need from me is not criticism, but sympathy, empathy, genuine concern and care. As Job’s friends, they did not offer him their love, support, and sympathy, but their criticism, their accusations, and their cruelty. And because these men were his “friends” I believe that their words stung Job harder than the loss of his wealth, his children, and his health.
Job 12:4 “I am one mocked by his friends, Who called on God, and He answered him, The just and blameless who is ridiculed.”
Job 16:10 “They gape at me with their mouth, They strike me reproachfully on the cheek, They gather together against me.”
Job 17:1 ¶ “My spirit is broken, My days are extinguished, The grave is ready for me. 2 Are not mockers with me? And does not my eye dwell on their provocation? …. 6 “But He has made me a byword of the people, And I have become one in whose face men spit.
Job 21:3 Bear with me that I may speak, And after I have spoken, keep mocking.
My prayer today is that the Holy Spirit will control my thoughts of others, and the words that I will speak to them.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
If you are the object of someone’s criticism and scorn, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44) And remember, that the only person who’s opinion of us really matters, is the LORD’s. As it is written:
Romans 8:33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.