Unwise judges

Job 1:8 “And 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, who fears God and turns away from evil?’” 

Job 4:1,7-9 “Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said . . . ‘Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.  By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.’” 

How very careful we should be in our judgments of other people.  How easily we can make assumptions about the character of a person with incomplete knowledge.  How carefully we should check our thoughts and our speech either to others in our life or about others in our life as we view their lives.  The Bible gives us some very good examples.   

One is the case of Job.  In God’s eyes, i.e., in the eyes of the only one in the universe with perfect vision and Who can see the heart, Job was like no one else on earth at the time he lived.  He was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.  But then overwhelming suffering entered Job’s life.  He endured trials that shook him to his core, and he despaired of life – grief stricken, overwhelmed, struck down.  So along comes his “friend” Eliphaz.  Here was one who thought he knew more than he really did. As he commiserated with his fallen friend, he voiced his opinion that Job was obviously suffering as a result of some wrong he had done.  And though sometimes that is the case, in this instance, it was not.  Eliphaz put himself on a different and higher plane than Job.  Thankfully, for our benefit, he spoke what he thought, for with his words we can see the thoughts of a fool.   

But then think of those who judged Christ.  Perfect, sinless, holy, pure – yet judged by the religious “know-it-alls” as demonic, and eventually condemned by them to death on a cross.  People jumped on with mocks and jeers, while the Savior suffered in agony and died.   

How careful we must be as we make judgments of others, especially others who may be in the depths of despair.  Surely Christians are to be joyful. Surely Christians shouldn’t have a care in the world. Surely if they really believe the words of the Bible, they should never be down, depressed, overwhelmed.  Isn’t that how we can think?  And what if that Christian is us, personally? What if we are going through a dark time with troubles washing over us in waves?  When our joy is sapped and despair creeps in, how easy it is to judge ourselves the way Eliphaz judged Job. But is that judgment correct?  Are we the all-knowing judge or is it the One who sees our heart?   

You see, God knows us better than we know ourselves. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).” For you see “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD (eventually) delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). So if you know a believer that is suffering, if you know one who right now is down, may God help us to pray for them rather than judge them, as God, in His providence, allows things in their lives that neither they, nor we, may understand, but which He will work out for His purposes in the end.  

Listen to the Apostle Paul as he recounts his own struggles: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).  So, if Paul was once in such a place, so too can our Christian friends and so can we.  And if you are in such a place right now – hang on and trust, for “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31) though now, for a little while, perhaps, you must wait. 

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