Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Job 18 (Pt 2)

Job 18:1-4 (ESV)
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
“How long will you hunt for words?
Consider, and then we will speak.
Why are we counted as cattle?
Why are we stupid in your sight?
You who tear yourself in your anger,
shall the earth be forsaken for you,
or the rock be removed out of its place?”

What an interesting response to Job! Job’s friends’ arguments did not satisfy Job. When we have no answers, but think that we are right, our response is often the same as Bildad’s. We attack the one we can’t convince. I’ve been guilty of this far too often in my life. Bildad begins to defend himself. He challenges Job’s commitment to truth, “How long will you hunt for words?” He challenges Job’s view of his friends and defends his own honor, “Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight?” Bildad’s own insecurity feeds this attack. This is no longer about Job. Now it’s personal. Now it is about Bildad.

We’ve watched that in political elections. Neither candidate is convincing in their arguments, so they go on the attack. If you can point out all the faults in the opponent, then maybe people can overlook your own lack of sense. It is easy to see it there. It is more difficult to see it in our own lives. When we try to help people we often come under attack. That is life. That is the way things often work. Rather than faithfully continuing to help without expectations, or acceptance, or gratitude, we begin to criticize. Rather than listening well, or caring unconditionally, we find reasons to distance ourselves. “They are just ungrateful!” “They don’t help themselves. Why should I help them?” “They are being wasteful, unwise, or ungrateful.”

The criticisms may or may not be true. But since when did God love us because we deserved it? Since when did God provide because we were wise, thrifty, and grateful? God’s love is predicated upon his own character, not ours. His grace is grounded in who he is, not who we are. His forgiveness is based on the death of his son, not our goodness. Yet we treat people as though help needs to be deserved. When they don’t receive it well, we attack. When they don’t listen well, we blame. When they don’t respond the way we think they should, we reject.

Bildad started out concerned for Job. Unfortunately, he moved from concern for Job to concern for himself. His own insecurities began to show. He reacted by blaming and defending rather than genuinely caring. If we find our security in Christ, we don’t need to accepted and appreciated. If we find our significance in Christ we don’t need to be valued and respected. We only need to love as God loves. When we find ourselves blaming those to whom we are ministering, we ought to take a moment to ask why it is that we serve in the first place. Odds are, we have become more concerned about ourselves than we are about those we serve. May God forgive us, and change our hearts.

Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Consider the words to this old hymn, May the Mind of Christ my Savior
May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.
Kate B. Wilkinson,

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