Shut up

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Job 39-42; Proverbs 20:11

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Job 42:8 (NKJV)
Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”

As I read what the 3 friends of Job said, I really don’t find anything wrong with the content. In fact, most if not all of what was said was theologically sound, and said in support of God Himself. Why then did God say that they have “not spoken of Me what is right”? What was the “folly” they committed? I suspect that they committed at least two errors. One is to say what was right in the wrong context. Second is to speak on God’s behalf when God did not require of it. In both cases, they wronged God by wronging their brother. Rather than speak foolishly, they should have just shut up.

As a pastor, I receive many well meaning words from members, and often they claim to speak on God’s behalf. My attitude is to treat all words with respect, and to be open to God’s voice through His people. But there are many times, regretfully, that what was declared were neither true nor edifying. I am especially troubled when such words end up bringing grief and hurt to suffering people, like Job. I pray that those among us who are like Job’s friends will be convicted to practice the discipline of silence.

Lord, may the utterance of my mouth always be acceptable to You, and a blessing to those who receive it.