“But all of them are sure they know God’s will. I am the only man who does not know it.”
-Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943)
The beginning of this chapter comes as a relief to me. I am weary of Job taking the unnecessary abuse being heaped on him by his ‘friends’. Finally he calls them out and answers their stabs with a well placed jab of his own. “Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.” A contemporary rendering reads like this, “I'm sure you speak for all the experts, and when you die there'll be no one left to tell us how to live” (The Message). Job goes on to say, “I’m not stupid, you know. I’m aware of the things you’re trying to tell me” (v.3).
As wonderful as it is to hear Job finally taking up for himself, the terrible truth is that arguing with people who are convinced they know it all is often a fruitless and frustrating endeavor. It reminds me of this old wag, “Wrestling with a pig is pointless. It only gets you dirty and it irritates the pig.”
It’s hard to believe that some people are simply beyond reason, but, sadly, it is true. You’ve met them and walked away wanting to pull out all of your hair as well as a few handfuls of theirs! What are we to do when we find ourselves in the company of geniuses? Thankfully, as always, God’s word offers us counsel.
Paul’s instructions to Timothy on this very matter read like this, “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (1I Timothy 2:24-26). So far Job has been pretty kind and reasonably gentle. How about you?
Today’s Application: There are people whom you will violently disagree with today. Rather than be violent with them, exercise the gentleness of God in speaking the truth to them. The day of violence will come. Just remember, that day belongs to the Lord.