JOB 8:3-7: “Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression. If you would earnestly seek God And make your supplication to the Almighty, If you were pure and upright, Surely now He would awake for you, And prosper your rightful dwelling place. Though your beginning was small, Yet your latter end would increase abundantly.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: What do swords, guns, politics, and religion have in common? They all can either kill or protect. They all can either save or condemn. The difference is not found in their existence. The difference is in their use.
Let’s take guns for our first example. I personally do not like guns. I have had one gun in my over 60 years of life. It is a Red Ryder BB Gun and it hangs in my office. I was given this as a gift. My mother would never let me have one as a child. My grandmother killed that dream. She said – “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”
Yet, even though I do not like guns, I do not think that guns within themselves are evil. You put a gun in the hands of a criminal and it becomes an instrument of evil. Yet, that same gun in the hands of a police officer becomes an instrument of protection and safety. There is nothing inherently wrong with a gun. The one who holds the gun determines whether it will be used for good or for evil. (And, please – don’t immediately dismiss this point because of the very small percentage of bad police officers who have acted as criminals.)
Now, let’s look at politics and religion. Politics and religion can either help to set a person free so that they can pursue their God-given dreams and destiny, unfettered and with every opportunity afforded by the grace of God. However, politics and religion can also bind a person with rules, regulations, guilt, and personal limitations that rob a person of their dignity and their freedom. There is nothing inherently wrong with politics or religion. The one who holds them determines their outcome.
Finally, let’s look at the sword. When I speak of the sword I am referring to the words that we speak. Our words will either bring life or death to an individual. They will either be words that point them to God in mercy and truth, or they will be words that condemn and judge. Truth is like a sword. Those who hold it in their hands hold the power of life and death. We can speak the truth and cut someone off at the knees. Or, we can speak the truth and point them to the cross of redemption and the gift of eternal life.
As I read the Book of Job anew I am reminded of these things. Job was in a great trial of physical and emotional suffering. The Scriptures were clear – Job did not sin with the things that he said. Enter his three friends. They could only think in one dimension. It was the dimension of cause and effect. Job was sick and suffering – therefore Job had outwardly sinned. So, how did they deal with this situation?
They yielded the sword – unto death!
Most all of what Job’s three friends said was true. In fact, they quoted Scripture. They offered the common platitudes of their day. If you sin – you will be judged. If you confess – you will be restored. Therefore, they proclaimed that Job continued to suffer because he had sinned and had not confessed. Listen to the air of superiority and judgment in Bildad’s voice as he speaks to Job.
- “Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression. If you would earnestly seek God And make your supplication to the Almighty, If you were pure and upright, Surely now He would awake for you, And prosper your rightful dwelling place. Though your beginning was small, Yet your latter end would increase abundantly.”
Everything he said to Job had truth in it. Yet, he missed the mark because he wielded the sword of truth without love or compassion. Bildad did not listen to Job, nor did he listen to the Holy Spirit in his counsel. Bildad simply picked up the sword of truth and began to swing it at Job without mercy or discernment. Ultimately, at the end of the book of Job, his three miserable comforters are rebuked by the Lord. The book of Job speaks volumes to us in these trying times!
It is important to speak the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. If we do not proclaim the truth of God’s Word and the life of Jesus, we fail to offer the world the hope that it needs. Yet, we must learn how to wield the sword of the Lord with love and compassion. Our hearts must first be broken for sinners. We must learn to weep for them on our knees. Then, when we pick up the sword of truth – mercy and compassion will be evident to all.
This does not mean we will not be judged by the world for our testimony. Jesus was ultimately crucified on a cross for His testimony of the truth. Yet, Jesus always spoke the truth in love. His motive was always the salvation and restoration of the person He spoke to. Jesus never wielded the sword of God’s truth in order to condemn and destroy. His sword of truth was wielded to set men free!
- “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 NKJV
There is one more important point to make. Jesus always walked in intimate fellowship with the Father. He only spoke that which the Father spoke to Him. He did not simply quote Scripture. Jesus spoke words of life and truth as He was anointed and led by the Holy Spirit of God. It was this Spirit-filled life that marked Jesus’ ministry of truth! We need to follow in His steps.
- “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Luke 4:18-19 NKJV
Lord, in this day of turmoil, brokenness, and sorrow, let me speak words of life and truth. Put a guard over my lips and keep me from presumptuous sins. Help me to be led by Your Spirit. Give me a heart for the broken, the lost, the weary, the confused. May I look to You before I wield the sword of truth. Let Your Word, through my lips, bring life to all who hear.
In Jesus Name!