“Physicians of No Value”

Graphic image of doctors and nurses in operating room

Imagine going to a medical facility, and after multiple doctors and nurses stare at you and ask a lot of general, unrelated questions, they immediately come to a conclusion about what your ailment must be. They have taken no tests, and never made any specific diagnosis of your body, externally or internally. No inquiry was made about your past to help them better determine the cause or nature of your ailment. Not one overall evaluation of your symptoms was ever completed. In other words—they do not really know much at all about what is wrong with you! They applied their personal judgment, based primarily on what little they have seen of you, and then prescribed treatment for a condition that may or may not be your actual problem.  In addition, they insisted that you follow their plan, in spite of your defense concerning your situation, since they are sure that they are more knowledgeable about this than you are.

This scenario resembles, in essence, what happened to Job (rhymes with “robe”) in the Bible. Job was trying to be as righteous before God as he could be. But when sudden calamity struck his life, his friends gathered around him and condemned him, saying that it must have happened because of sin in his life. But Jesus said, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven [by God]” (Luke 6:37). Are we quick to declare someone else guilty for wrongs they may or may not have committed, instead of taking a careful look at our own sins?

As children of God, we can be just as guilty as Job’s friends when we pronounce condemnation on another. The book of Job serves as a good example for the follower of Christ to study with all sincerity.

One situation in this book we should take particular note of is the way Job’s ‘friends’ counseled him. They were fully convinced that Job had to have done something wrong to cause the suffering and downfall that he was experiencing. They believed that there was some kind of sin in his life that he refused to admit or let go of. Their form of ‘help and compassion’ were an added burden for Job more than a benefit. The Bible says, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). What authority did these friends of Job have to judge him, when the very Son of God would not even do so? No matter what defense Job gave in response to their accusations, they would counter it with their self-righteous advice. Job did not yet know that God was behind his adversity, but he still strongly believed that he had not brought in on himself by sin.

Artwork of Job and his wife with his friends pointing in accusation

By the time we reach the thirteenth chapter, we realize that Job had finally had enough of their counsel. What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God” (Job 13:2-3). Job tells them here that they are not superior to him, for he certainly knows as much about himself, if not more, than they do. He would rather take this matter up directly with God. Then he stated that they are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value” (Job 13:4).  He declared that they would be considered wiser if they did not say anything at all! We should pay attention to Job’s statement here, because, too often, we are guilty of doing the same thing. God never called us to condemn one another. He has reserved the carrying out of judgment for Himself, not us.

Most people find it easier to point out what they consider wrong in someone else’s life, instead of reflecting on what may be wrong in their own life.

Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye [give out], it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the [speck or splinter] that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the [speck or splinter] out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:1-4). The situation was even worse in Job’s case, because these friends were set on the idea that Job had sinned—even though they knew nothing of his true standing with God.

These ‘friends’ of Job thought they had him all figured out, while they themselves were guilty of being self-righteous.

It should be obvious that there is a bigger picture in the lives of all men that others will never see totally. We should study more of Job’s life and learn from how he responded, how his friends responded, and how God intervened in the whole matter. Instead of being “physicians of no value” in our attempts to help those we meet who are suffering like Job, let’s lift them up to God in prayer. He knows how to handle their situation better than any counsel we could offer. And let’s pray that our friends will do the same for us!

 

[Image credits:OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay; William Blake [Public domain]]

Are You Traveling On or Giving Up?

hikers on small clearing of hill

There was a man in the Old Testament named Job (rhymes with globe) who was in right standing in God’s eyes. Yet he went through suffering and an extremely great loss to the point that he wished he was never born. Even his wife said to curse God and end his life! Several of his friends, hearing of his losses and the anguish he was going through, came to the place where he resided. Rather than giving encouragement and support, they chided and ‘counseled’ him in what they believed were his erroneous ways. Each one felt that, obviously, he must have sinned and needed to repent of his wrongful actions. They were convinced that God was punishing him and that there was no possibility that He would work in any other manner.

Their ‘help’ was really just condemnation after condemnation.

Not one openly sought God first about Job’s condition; they firmly believed they were right and he was wrong. None ever considered that God ordained all of this and was behind it all, even Job himself—until sometime later when God made it known.

Yet, through it all, Job did not sin against God. He did not follow his wife’s advice. He lost his wealth, family, and health. This struggle brought him down to the very core of his being. But in the end, he knew and trusted in God in a manner like no one else around him. God works this way in all who truly want to follow Him. As we travel the path He has laid for us, we often find it to be a real struggle. There are rough places and narrow stretches. We are accused and blamed though we have done nothing wrong. It is not easy like others said it would be.

But, in spite of it all, as we follow God’s word and draw closer to Him, we continue to find many areas of our life become better than they were before we knew Him.

The word ‘travel’ has the same origin as ‘travail’—meaning to torment, labor, or journey. While we are not necessarily tortured, we do toil, labor, and struggle on a journey—but this one has eternal rewards. And, unlike traveling (or travailing) in this current world’s system, which leads only to physical exhaustion and death, we are on our way to a heavenly place which has no pain, struggle, toil, or travail.

We, like Job, are in a continual refinement process, not so much to prepare us for our heavenly destination, as for the present age that we live in.

We could equate our travail with the actions of a vaccine. It introduces a small amount of a disease into us so our body builds up immunity, or a means to cope with greater amounts of the same or a similar malady in the future. Similarly, God leads us into situations to bring us where we will turn to Him for deliverance. As a result, when similar problems come our way, we know how to handle them victoriously, just as Jesus did when the storm came upon the boat He and His disciples were traveling in.

“Now it came to pass on a certain day, that He went into a ship with His disciples: and He said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed He fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him, and awoke him, saying, Master, Master, we perish. Then He arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And He said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for He commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey Him.” (Luke 8:23-25 emphasis added). Jesus had been tested in another manner sometime prior to this. Having successfully gone through that particular trial, He was now able to rest, knowing His Heavenly Father would bring Him through this one safely also.

Looking back over the centuries, multitudes have traveled on in their journey to their resting place in heaven. Many were beaten, stoned, tortured, burned, ridiculed, imprisoned, maligned, falsely accused, and the list goes on—but they did not compromise or give up in their journey. Their focus remained on their heavenly home, knowing that this life is only temporary and all it contains will not last.

Problems and trials should never keep us from wanting to go forward in our walk with God.

In the beginning, it looked hopeless for Job. Yet he never threw up his arms in desperation and gave up on God (although he may have wanted to concerning his so-called ‘friends’!). The apostle Paul went through all kinds of anguish, but his response was: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10). When trying situations and circumstances come our way, let’s not be downcast, but rather let’s say, in the words of the hymn writer:

My heav’nly home is bright and fair,
I feel like traveling on;
Nor pain nor death can enter there,
I feel like traveling on.

Let others seek a home below,
I feel like traveling on;
Which flames devour, or waves o’erflow,
I feel like traveling on.

The Lord has been so good to me,
I feel like traveling on;
Until that blessed home I see,
I feel like traveling on.