READING: Job 11-13
Have you ever given advice to others, only to find out later that you completely misread the situation? That what you thought was clearly the case was not the case at all? That what you assumed God was doing wasn’t even close to reality? Sometimes we talk before we seek to understand what’s going on, and our words are simply wrong — and often discouraging.
That’s what Job’s friends did. They figured it all out. Job must have been in deep sin, and that’s why he was suffering as he was. Nothing else would make sense. So, their answer was to call Job to repentance: “if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear” (Job 11:14-15). Job’s response, though, was equally clear: “You, however, smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you! If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom” (Job 13:4-5).
Nothing they said ministered to Job. They had no solution for his dilemma, no advice to bring healing. Their words only frustrated Job, who was prepared to defend himself before God. It would have been better for them to be silent than to offer advice that did not fit the situation.
As I read Job’s words to his friends, I’m reminded that there is wisdom in seeking God before speaking into somebody else’s situation. Before we give advice, it’s right to seek the One to whom “belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his” (Job 12:13). Even a quick, simple prayer before giving advice is better than advising in our own power. Indeed, if you haven’t sought God’s wisdom, it might be best to be silent until you do.
- If someone asks advice from you today, pray before you speak.
- Choose a hymn or chorus that exalts God for His wisdom and/or power, and sing His praises all day.
PRAYER: “God, forgive me for the times I’ve granted advice before seeking You. Change me to seek You first.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Job 14-16