Having the Right Attitude Toward Enemies

Have I rejoiced over my enemy’s distress, or become excited when trouble came his way? I have not allowed my mouth to sin by asking for his life with a curse. Job 31:29-30 HCSB

I am ashamed to admit that there have been times when I have rejoiced when bad times have come to someone I have difficulty liking. There is a professional golfer I do not respect due to his arrogant attitude. When I am watching a golf tournament on television and he makes a poor shot or misses a putt on the green, I inwardly rejoice that he has messed up. That certainly is not a good attitude and does not reflect the attitude that Christ has for him. Christ loves everyone, including those who despise and reject Him.

Job declared that he had not had a bad attitude toward his enemy nor rejoiced when troubles had come his way. He even declared that he had not spoken inappropriately toward his enemy or wished bad things to come upon him. God wants us to love our neighbors, even our enemies, and to do good for them instead of hating them and wishing bad for them.
Challenge: We have all had negative feelings for people we do not like or care for. Ask God to help you to have the right attitude and to love your neighbors as yourself. Pray for your enemies and that God will provide a way for you to represent the love of Christ to them. Listen to the song by Brandon Heath titled “Give Me Your Eyes” on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5AkNqLuVgY.

Getting More “Things”

If I placed my confidence in gold or called fine gold my trust, if I have rejoiced because my wealth is great or because my own hand has acquired so much, Job 31:24-25 HCSB

Wikipedia reports that Richie Rich was an animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions that aired on ABC from 1980 to 1984 and again in 1988 as part of the weekend/weekday programming block. It was one of my children’s favorite cartoons and featured a young man that was very wealthy and even had a dog appropriately named Dollar.

We live in a culture that promotes and encourages people to have more “things”. It seems that people are obsessed with having more money and possessions. Our society even encourages us to buy on credit and pay later so we can have all we want now. There is a natural desire to have more of the three “P’s” – power, prestige, and possessions, but they often lead to failure and unhappiness.

Job continued to list and refute the many accusations made against him. He affirmed that placing possessions and wealth before God was a sin and a form of idolatry. Job again affirmed that he had done nothing wrong and insinuated that the wealth and blessing he had was a gift from God and not of his own hand and abilities.

Challenge: As believers we must purge ourselves of the desire to have more power, prestige, and possessions. Evaluate your priorities. Is God a higher priority in your life than having more possessions? Place your trust in God instead of your possessions. Be careful to use the resources God has provided to bless others.

How Are You Treating Others?

If I have refused the wishes of the poor or let the widow’s eyes go blind, if I have eaten my few crumbs alone without letting the fatherless eat any of it. Job 31:16-17 HCSB

I tend to have a soft spot for those who are in need. Just recently, there was a lady with a small child that came to the church asking for help. The electricity had been shut off at her house. She did not need monetary assistance, but instead asked if we had any candles or flashlights she could use to light the house in the dark until she could get the electricity turned back on. I was able to go to the store and purchase some candles and flashlights for her to meet her request. She was very appreciative.

In Job’s time, the widows and fatherless were considered worthy of special charity. People were to help take care of those who could not care for themselves. Job continued to refute the many claims made against him as a cause for his suffering. He claimed that he had not neglected the poor, the widows, or the fatherless. He had not caused them to suffer in any way.

Challenge: God values and loves all people and expects us to do the same. Jesus taught that the first commandment was to “Love God” and the second commandment was to “Love one another”. Our relationship with God is a direct reflection of how we treat others. God has compassion and expects us to have that same compassion for the poor and needy.

Give An Account

If I have dismissed the case of my male or female servants when they made a complaint against me, what could I do when God stands up to judge? How should I answer Him when he calls me to account? Job 31:13-14 HCSB

As church business administrator, it is my responsibility to provide a financial report to the church each month which lists all of the income and all of the expenses incurred during the month. I am required to give a monthly account of how the income has been spent and how the church is doing financially.

In these verses Job explains that he will give an account to God for how he has acted and how he has treated his servants. The Bible teaches and foretells that someday we all will give an account of how we have lived our lives. We will be held responsible for how we have treated others and how we have used the talents and resources God has given to us.

Challenge: Someday you will stand before God and give an account of your life. How have you treated others? Show the love and compassion of Jesus to everyone you encounter.

To Tell the Truth

If I have walked in falsehood or my foot has rushed to deceit, let God weigh me in accurate scales, and He will recognize my integrity. Job 31:5-6 HCSB

I was eating at a restaurant with my wife and her family celebrating Father’s Day with her father. When I got my bill I noticed the waiter had failed to put my soda on the bill. It would have been easy to think, “It’s only a soda,” or “It was his mistake” and not say anything about it. Instead, I called it to the waiter’s attention and his reply was “Happy Father’s Day”. I thanked him for my free drink. It is important that we live a life of integrity even when it comes to something as small as a soda.

Job proclaimed that he had nothing to hide and asked God to examine his life and judge him by God’s standards. Do we live a life of integrity that we could make a similar request of God? People with integrity do not say one thing and then do another. They live a life that is consistent, morally sound, and honest. God is the perfect example of integrity. He never lies, is faithful, never changes, and always keeps His Word.

Challenge: How would you fair if God were to weigh you on His accurate scales to determine your level of integrity? My father always taught me, “You are only as good as your word.” What are you teaching your children by the way you live? Live a life of integrity in everything you do, in both the big and small issues you encounter each day.

Fear the Lord

“The fear of the Lord is this wisdom. And to turn from evil is understanding.” Job 28:15-16 HCSB

When we were visiting the Grand Canyon several years ago, our four children wanted to go to the edge and look at the beauty of God’s creation. Even though there were rails in place to keep people from getting too close to the edge, my wife with her motherly concern quickly warned all of them to stay away from the edge. Having a healthy fear of heights helps keep one from venturing too close to the side and away from harm.

This verse is an echo of a theme that runs through out the Bible. We are to fear God. This is a healthy fear, not a fear regarding what God is going to do because He is all powerful and can strike us down with just one word. Instead it is a guiding fear meaning that we should have respect and reverence for God and His majesty. The fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom.

Challenge: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom. Read Proverbs 1:7-9 and Ecclesiastes 12:13. These verses reflect the importance of fearing God and keeping His commandments.

God is the Author of Wisdom

He considered wisdom and evaluated it. He established it and examined it. Job 28:27 HCSB

I am a detail person and like for things to be in order. Part of my job is administration, so I am always looking at details: Are there any lights that are burned out? Does a room need to be painted? Does the floor need to be cleaned and waxed? Is the contract accurate? Is the bill correct? I want to make wise decisions and make sure all the bases are covered.

God is also concerned about details. From the beginning of time He evaluated wisdom, examined it, and then established it as a trait worthy of pursuit. God is a sovereign God and has all wisdom. He knows what is best in every situation. Sometimes we do not understand His ways because we do not have His wisdom.

Challenge: You can trust God in every situation because He has true wisdom and knows what is best for you. Read Proverbs 8 which addresses wisdom and teaches that wisdom has been established ever since the beginning of time.

How to be Wealthy

Gold cannot be exchanged for it, and silver cannot be weighed out for its price. Wisdom cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. Job 28:15-16 HCSB

The gold of Ophir was considered to be the finest gold available. We read in 1 Kings 9:28 that King Solomon’s ships sailed to Ophir and brought back sixteen tons of gold. We are not sure where Ophir was located, but it may have been along the African coast or near the Red Sea in southern Arabia.

Job made it a point to mention that wisdom was more valuable than the gold of Ophir. His point was that wisdom is more valuable than even the finest gold, silver, or precious stones. When someone gains wisdom, he is wealthy indeed.

Challenge: Seek and search for true wisdom by reading God’s Word. Pursue wisdom and you will become a very wealthy person; wisdom has far more value than anything in all the world.

The Value of Wisdom

No man can know its value, since it cannot be found in the land of the living. Job 28:13 HCSB

My son, Nathan, has an interest in pocket watches and has even developed a website that assists people in finding the value of old pocket watches. He has cleaned and repaired many pocket watches he has purchased. I have two pocket watches; one belonged to my father and the other to my grandfather. It is hard to know their value without someone like my son who has expertise in this area to place a value on them.

Job is referring to the value of having wisdom in this verse. One cannot place a value on wisdom. It is invaluable. Wisdom cannot be found from people here on earth. The ultimate interpretation of life comes from God. Those seeking God’s wisdom should look in the Bible. God is the author of life and has all understanding and wisdom.

Challenge: Know that wisdom is valuable and worthy of being sought. Read your Bible and learn from its words how you can live a life that brings glory to God.

True Wisdom

But where can wisdom be found and where is understanding located? Job 28:12 HCSB

Some people seek wisdom and direction from a variety of mediums: psychics, astrologers, palm readers, tarot cards, or fortune cookies. We all desire to have wisdom and make wise choices. Some seek more traditional methods by seeking advice from experts in the field such as financial and marriage advisors.

Job is responding to the advice of his friends and asking where wisdom could be found. Understanding is another word for wisdom. Finding wisdom requires persistence. Knowledge and understanding are gifts from God but even non-believers may have these same attributes. True wisdom is knowing how to live and only comes from reading God’s Word and applying its principles to our lives.

Challenge: True wisdom does not come from mediums like psychics and astrologers. Read God’s Word to gain true wisdom. Pray that God will give you the wisdom of Solomon.