Weaving lousy counsel out of perfectly good truth
Last updated 7/17/2008 at Noon
If you are looking for some scripture to get you out of your devotional rut, take a fresh look at the book of Job. I recently was reading again this amazing story of a guy who was doing everything right in life and yet lost it all anyway.
In the story, Job has three friends who come to be with him and counsel him in the midst of his pain. As I read their words, two things struck me about their musings.
First, it struck me how theologically profound many of their words were.
“God gives rain on the earth, and sends water on the fields, so that He sets
on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.”
For chapters on end these three friends articulate truths with tremendous clarity about the majesty, justice, and grace of the Almighty…the need for confession, the promise of forgiveness, and blessing upon the humble.
But the second thing that struck me was how fundamentally wrong they all were at the end of the day. At the conclusion, God commands these three to offer a sacrifice for forgiveness for the things they have said.
“…because you have not spoken of Me what is right.”
The punch line of the story is that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – the three best friends that a hurting guy ever had—were all dead wrong. In many ways they were doctrinally accurate but they all were guilty of weaving lousy counsel out of perfectly good truth. They said things that by themselves rang true, but when you put them all together they didn’t represent God’s heart at all.
It made me wonder how many times we might be guilty of the same. We take proof texts from the Bible or spiritual truths that standing alone sound undeniably good, but then we fashion them together in ways that don’t represent what God is about.
I don’t suppose that any of us who hold to the Bible are immune from the temptation. When there is a point to make or a conviction to express, we can find ways to weave a lie out of undeniable truth.
It challenged me again to let God’s Word speak for itself with clarity and power – and not just in the words, the verses, or the sound bites, but in the whole. I was struck again with the need to submit ourselves under this wild and wonderful tapestry of revelation that expresses the fullness of the Father’s heart, not merely in the parts but even more in the whole.