How To Find the Best Advice
Day: 8 | Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty
Today’s Reading: Job 8
Job 8:5-6 (NIV) “But if you will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state.”
Have you ever received unsolicited advice from a friend or family member? Did their comments and suggestions create more questions and conflict, instead of encouragement and real solutions?
In Job 8, it is Bildad's turn to respond to Job's comments, but his words seem far from gentle and consoling. This friend had much to say, however his comments leaned towards an accusing tone that lacked true empathy and patience. Bildad began by saying, “ How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind” (Job 8:1). Ouch. I guess Bildad wasn't a fan of soft introductions.
He added abrasion to Job's shattered heart, suggesting Job's ten children must have sinned against God and that's why they received a penalty of death. (Job 8:4) How hard this must have been for a loving father to hear, especially since Job intentionally made a regular custom of sacrificing burnt offerings for each of his children, just in case they “ sinned and cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1:5).
Because of all the personal devastation that happened, Bildad assumed Job must have sinned like his children. He pushed his uninvited point further by giving Job advice on how he could get back on good terms with God:
“But if you [Job] will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state” (Job 8:5-6).
As we read those words of advice from Bildad, doesn't it seem like Job had already done what is being suggested? Job was seeking and pleading to God with all the gut-honesty he could muster – desperately asking the "whys" and "how comes" from an anguished spirit and bitter soul. (Job 7:11)
Job already was a man of integrity, considered "upright and blameless" by God (Job 1:8) and yet here he remained in great agony – suffering physically, mentally and emotionally.
Life wasn't making any sense and the real answers were still far from Job's reach. Hard questions and harsh comments hung in the air like a lingering odor, and although Job's friends were giving a whole lot of advice, they didn't have the right answers … and neither did Job.
If we want to be guaranteed the best advice one hundred percent of the time, we must go to God's Word to find it. It is there that we receive clear instructions from the Lord who knows all things and wants the very best for us. Our friends and family members may have good intentions, but they are limited in knowledge, and so are we.
When we receive advice from others – no matter how good it sounds or seems right to us – let’s make sure we take it straight to God and see if it lines up with His Word. If it doesn't, our best response should be thanks, but no thanks.
Friend, the Lord knows you better than anyone else and there is so much He wants to share with you. He made sure His thoughts were divinely written down and carefully protected for thousands of years, so that you could receive His best instructions, truths and promises for whatever situation you're facing.
If you are suffering, He offers words of comfort.
If you are worried and afraid, He offers words of peace.
If you are confused, He offers words of guidance.
If you are discouraged and ready to give up, He offers words of everlasting hope.
If you have a question – He has the answer. If you have a need – He has the solution.
It's true that God places us in families and within circles of friends who can support and encourage us during every season of life. Getting advice and help from them can sometimes be super beneficial. But let's make sure that before we reach out to anyone, we reach to Him first.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your divine Word that provides everlasting truth and real answers to my many questions. Give me the desire to spend more time reading my Bible and seeking You, instead of looking to others for advice and answers. If problems arise today, instruct me on how to handle them. If others try to persuade me in the wrong direction, guide me back to Your truth. In Jesus' name, amen.
Bildad's final comments to Job in Job 8 hold a ray of hope in what was undoubtedly a darkened... Read More
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