Had Job realized that God had a purpose for all the pain and sufferings he went through, his perspective would have been different; he would have been calmer, realizing the fundamental problem that he had as a mere man. On the other hand, had Peter realized that his sifting was divinely orchestrated, his outlook would have been different; his defense of self-confident needed to be broken down so that he would afterwards trust simply in God – who created the Heavens and the Earth. The only vehicle that could drive home the point is the vehicle of pain and sufferings; our bodies seem to understand that better than any other lesson. It is a needful and necessary one when it comes to breaking our false defenses and getting to where the Lord has penned down about us in the volume of the books.
The same can be said of a child of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God knows each and every one of us; He knows our fundamental flaws and therefore He apportions to each person the lessons needed to be learnt so that our souls can be saved permanently. It wasn’t because of what Job did that he suffered this ordeal contrary to popular opinions that we have been taught. Peter didn’t do anything wrong before the ordained sifting; he had a fundamental problem like we all do and only God can apportion the right lesson so that we can learn to depend on Him and not ourselves. The testimony is that, if we knew what God was doing, our outlook and views will drastically change.
God knew His servant had to be taught a lesson in no other way and by no other means than through the ordeal with records that would fill the mind with solemn awe. God can do that even if it means stripping us of all that the heart cleaves to in this world with the objective of helping us to delight in the grace and the mercy of God. We can therefore learn to put our trust in God and not ourselves.
Job’s friends were also ignorant of what God was doing in the life of their friend. To speak after the manner of men today, what they did was enough to make reason totter; their friend had been completely down and out. They were left with no choice but to visit and mourn with their bereaved friend. Although their visit to Job sounds like a good idea, governed by kindly feelings however they were not aware about the grand plan of God. Consequently, their approach would stem from the understanding and awareness of the world system; this is what makes their stop-over a bad one. Their appearance produced a marked change; them being eyewitnesses of his trouble, which affected Job a great deal. Really!
They sat with Job for seven days and seven nights without uttering a single word; there was complete silence between the four men. They sat down with their garments torn and poured dust on their heads as they mourned. It was Job himself that broke the silence cursing the day and the womb that conceived him. His friends must epitomize some particular individuality that engendered the disconcertment. Job was no more in the presence of God where he didn’t say anything against God nor did he sin but now in the presence of his friends.
There was ELIPHAZ the Temanite – He fitted to the class of people who would always evaluate and argue looking at things from their present or past experiences. Nothing does it better than the experiences they have been through; they fail to realize that their experiences isn’t the Word of God. More so, experiences vary from person to person and cannot be the same. What we have seen or been through without equivocation can be real and true, but it will become a complete and total error to form a doctrine based upon individual experiences thinking the character of God is projected from such erroneous presentations.
It is also a mistake to which so many, especially Pastors are disposed or prone to. It is a thin line between truth and error. Most of our Churches today are filled with people’s experiences rather than the Word of God. It is the Word of God that brings the said transformation not human experiences, no matter how real these experiences are. There would be an expansion of this friend of Job in our next write-up.
There was BILDAD, the Shuhite – His presentation was quite in contradistinction from that of Eliphaz in that he never referred once to his experiences (past or present). He pitched his tent from the standpoint of antiquity (ancient times or tradition). He belonged to the class of the old, our fathers. A little deeper than that of Eliphaz because he goes back to what was said and done by people who existed before them. He believed in things like the wisdom of the past will teach the present day person. Bildad will argue that we can be guided by the voice of a number of wise and learned men and women than the little experience we have as the younger generation.
The voice of the learned and the old or tradition should not be confused for the voice and the Word of God. It isn’t the Word of God and therefore can be found to consist of flaws, which might not work for the next man or woman who tries to implement them. The Word of God stands on its own without human injection of permutations. By going the way of traditions (which makes the Word of God of non effect), the Church has veered off the way and we have started to improvise and spin things as though God lives in our bedrooms. All we need today will not come with tradition but the Word of God. Let us not mistake one for the other; the Word of God is the final authority. To go the way of tradition is to go the way of the world and its systems.
Then there was Zophar, the Naamathite – He was of the class of legalisms. This class of people believes there must be an input to get the desired resultant output. These set of people believe that, whatever anyone has today as in the things we call blessings are based on what one did and that nothing just happens. So the followers of this school of thought are tasked with inputs in anyway, form or fashion and when the results don’t align with their expectations, they are quick to judge that they missed one or two required steps. Inadvertently, they become the author and the finisher of their own lives.
Little do they know that they have put God in a box and have resolved within, that there is a particular way at which God acts according to His character. They have become “experts” in knowing how God works things even in accordance to His counsel. Slowly they have left God and His Word into another system, which is a complete contrast to our Lord and Savior.
Job’s friends proved distinctly that they knew nothing about the grace of God and the workings of the Holy Spirit in the life of their friend. They could not act differently from what and who they were. They knew nothing else apart from the character they were embodied with; becoming something else would have meant an uphill task and many more. They could only approach the situation from the position of the human being that they were.
Together these three friends of Job epitomize the three different dimensions from which men try to approach God from. They antagonize and frustrate the Grace of God. They are dimensions we judge ourselves with because what we expect has not turned out the way we want it or our confessions are completely different from what we are seeing and therefore we begin to look for what we have done wrong, try some corrections and expect the best. Frustrations set in and we become disappointed, while some look for something different.
Experiences, Traditions and Legalisms are defective, false and one-sided. They drive you back to SELF, which was the fundamental problem and the reason why he (Job) went through the trials, pain and setback.
You can’t put God in a box! To try and put Him in a box is to antagonize and frustrate His Grace.