No, I'm not talking to my readers. I'm talking to myself. I am in the process of reading Job. I am between Bible studies and when I am between Bible studies, I work on continuing to read through the Bible.
To be honest, I haven't been looking forward to Job. It's not a very cheerful book, and quite frankly, I find it difficult to understand. It seems like nothing so much as the story of a shooting match between God and Satan, almost like Satan goaded God into action.
Part of the problem is that I have never lived in the times of kings, nor is the culture I'm surrounded in very conducive to the old idea of a king's champion. The culture I live in basically is very individualistic - look out for yourself and your family. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that all that happened to Job was to prove to Satan (and maybe Job himself) how faithful he was to God- no matter what. That seems rather unfair to me - here, since you are so faithful, I'll take everything away from you to prove how faithful you are. I know it was a huge compliment to Job, but I can't help thinking, please don't compliment me that way.
The thing I have noticed so far in Job is that, for a man suffering as much he is, Job sure does talk a lot. He goes on several chapters at a time, and he speaks very eloquently in verses and metaphors. Honestly, if all my children had been killed, all my wealth destroyed and I was covered in boils, I'm not sure I could articulate a sentence, nevermind string together several chapters worth of verse.
And his friends - man, with friends like those who needs enemies? I suppose you can hardly blame them. Nobody had that much calamity unless they were very wicked, at least that was the theory. It was sort of the golden rule of the day - do what you are supposed to and be blessed; be wicked and watch out. (come to think of it, we sort of have that mindset too, don't we?)
The first few days, they just sat with Job, suffered with him in silence. But then, apparently, they couldn't keep quiet anymore and they began to speak. And speak and speak and speak. What happened to conversation? These are a series of monologues, each more self-important and self-righteous than the last.
Elihu, the youngest of the bunch, held his tongue until the end, but when he got going - whew- 6 chapters and 157 verses worth of telling Job what he thinks. I think a good lesson to learn from Job is to shut up and listen already.
I know, I tend to want to jump in and give solutions or information to fix a problem. A lot of times, when someone is hurting, they don't need me to fix it for them or to tell them what they are or are not doing right. They just want someone to listen, to hug them, to pray with them. It's a good lesson to relearn - the more we talk, the more chances we have of putting our foot in it.
As Proverbs 18:28 says, "Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent."
May I not be a fool and learn to just shut up and listen for a change!
~ Blessings, Bronte