Suggested Reading: Job 20-21
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Key Verse: Job 21:2
Listen carefully to my speech, and let this be your consolation.
Job’s counsel in the sentence above is excellent advice for us. The contrast between Zophar’s words in chapter 20 and Job’s words in chapter 21 is obvious. To Zophar, “The triumphing of the wicked is short.” To Job, “The wicked live and become old.” In his efforts at grief counselling, Zophar approaches life in a negative way. Job is beginning to be more positive. He’s on his way to healing and restoration.
Job tells us to “listen carefully.” The word “consolation” could also be translated, “comfort.” Most of us are better at speaking than we are at listening. Many of our conversations are just monologues. We wait impatiently for the other person to finish so that we can speak. We often do not really hear what is being said to us. God often had to say, “Hear, O Israel” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Jesus says to the churches, “He that has an ear to hear, let him hear” (Revelatoin 2:7). We need to learn to listen to God, and if we are to be true friends, we must also learn to listen to people. Only when we truly “hear” and understand, should we attempt to give counsel.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
God…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, may I listen with great care to You as I read Your Word each day, and I quietly wait before You, listening for the whisper of that “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13). May I also listen much more carefully to people, particularly before I attempt to give counsel. In the Name of the One who listens to my prayer, the Lord Jesus, Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
Yesterday I read the plea of Job, “How long will you ….. break me in pieces with words?” (Job 19:2). Perhaps the first couplet I ever learned as a child was, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I thought it was true, and it became a defence against bullying. Now I know it’s a false statement. Words can destroy a person. Many suicides are the result of “words.” Crossroads has launched a campaign against suicide, particularly among young people (click here for the latest resource on the topic, a documentary DVD).
This past Sunday at church I met June Craig. She gave me a copy of her book, “Climbing the Stairs of Loss and Grief.” I’ve read it and I recommend it. To read more about her book or to order it, click here. June is a professional counsellor as well as a business person. Her words are excellent counsel. If I were to suffer grievous loss, I would read her book again.
Yours for learning to listen more before we speak,