Today’s Bible Reading: Job 20-22:30; 2 Corinthians 1:1-11; Psalm 40:11-17; Proverbs 22:2-4
One thing I often run into when discussing my faith with other people is their claim that my beliefs insult them. This is the same claim that Zophar makes in Job 20:3. The fact of the matter is that if someone is insulted or offended it is because they choose to be insulted or offended. I have no control over anyone’s emotions. I can’t make anyone mad or sad. I can’t make anyone happy. Nor can anyone make me those things.
Sadly we live in a society where people don’t take ownership of their emotions. With children it is understandable. But we have a large majority of adults in our country who continue to live like they are children and who refuse to take responsibility for themselves. Even more sad, we have a government that sides with these immature people. Our legislature and judicial system (with the encouragement of the President) are passing and upholding laws making it illegal to speak, or even think, something that offends another person. A society that approaches life this way cannot endure.
In Zophar’s first speech he spoke of “tradition” and supposed knowledge and he does the same thing today (Job 20:4). Notice that Zophar never proves his claims. He just speaks as if what he is saying is true. When I was an atheist I approached spiritual arguments the same way. I had no proof of what I was saying. I just said what sounded good to me. I blindly claimed evolution was true, assuming there was evidence for it. I pointed to all the evil on the earth as proof God did not exist, when, in fact, one has nothing to do with the other.
In response to Zophar’s claim that the wicked always experience trouble and have their life shortened – a claim he made without supporting evidence – Job points out that this is not true (Job 21:7-18). Many people who do not believe in God prosper, some prosper very much. Just look at all the entertainers in our society who make millions of dollars a year. Yet the vast majority of them do not believe in God, many openly challenging the idea that God exists and ridiculing those who believe in Him.
The truth is that wealth or poverty is not indicative of someone’s relationship with God (Job 21:22-26). We would think that God would bless those who love Him and would not bless those who don’t. But that is not how life works. My pastor just taught on the book of Job a few weeks ago and summed it up this way: “Life isn’t fair”. And God never said it would be.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3 Paul references God as our comforter. The Greek word used here is paraklesis. In other parts of the New Testament the Holy Spirit is called our paraklesis (John 14:16, 15:26) as is Jesus (1 John 2:1; Hebrews 2:18, Luke 2:25). Here is another instance where the Bible tells us that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one in the same.
God comforts us so we can comfort others, just as He did with Paul (2 Corinthians 1:4-7). When God comforts us we become closer to Him. When we become closer to Him we learn more about Him and are more able to teach others about Him. These people can then find comfort in Him as well.
One thing all of us can do is pray. No matter where we are or what is going on in our life we can pray for other people. Prayer is a help to others and brings glory to God (2 Corinthians 1:11).
Its important to keep the right perspective in life, as David did. In Psalm 40:17 David recognizes that he is poor and needy. And because of this, he asked God to keep thinking about him. When we cease to recognize how needy we are we forget about God. We think we don’t need Him, just like a young child or teenager may think they don’t need their parents. But they do. And so do we.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post