Our study of the book of Job thus far has revealed a heated argument taking place between Job and his three friends, Bildad, Eliphaz and Shunem.

At this point, one would be tempted to ask the following question: If both sides are arguing so heatedly, if both sides are presenting only half-truths, then why does God, in the end, condone Job and condemn his friends? ("...the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, 'My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.'" Job 42:7,8 NKJV)

Is God playing favorites here?

As we move into our study of Job 23 and 24, Job's official response to the second phase of debate from Eliphaz the Tenemite, we begin to see the answer to this question.

You see, Job's responses to the other debaters has, up until this point, been defensive and aggressive in nature. But here we begin to see a subtle shift, a new pattern emerging, one that does not directly dispute Eliphaz.

Consider these statements from Job, as recorded in Job 23:

1. "If only I knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling!...I would find out what He would answer me, and consider what He would say." (vs 3,5).

Job isn't just presenting angry rebuttals here, as his friends are doing, he is beginning to realize that he needs to seek God for the answers to these things he cannot understand! He is humbling himself before the Lord!

2. "There an upright man could present his case before Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge." (vs 7).

Here Job acknowledges God's justice.

3. "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold." (vs 10).

Job recognizes that God isn't just angry with Him. Instead, he realizes he is being tested!

4. "That is why I am terrified before Him; When I think of all this, I fear Him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me." (vs. 15-16)

Job has come to terms with an all-important Truth: The Fear of the Lord!

Friends, none of us is perfect in God's eyes. Only when we put on Jesus' robe of righteousness does God see us without our innate faults. Getting answers from God, however, isn't about sticking to our life-long beliefs. It's about humbly acknowledging God's justice. It's about coming to terms with the fear of the Lord, and humbly accepting the fact that God is testing us!

This attitude of humble acceptance is the lesson Job has to teach us today. We are all faced with trials of many kinds. How we respond to them will determine whether or not we "passed" the test. If we adapt the attitude of Job's friends, never even considering the fact that perhaps we may not be 100% right, we will not "pass" the test. Instead, let's adapt Job"s attitude of humility. Let's seek God's justice. Let's acknowledge His sovereignty. Let's humbly appeal to the almighty God of justice. Only then will God's response to those who oppose us be: "...you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant (insert your own name) has."

Oh, and what kind of an impact did Job's rebuttal have on his worthy opponents?

First of all, only one of the three original debaters even responds after this! Bildad is the only one of the original three who even dares open his mouth, and this, for only a brief 6 verses!

And the tone of Bildad's rebuttal?

Gone are the accusatory barbs and pointed insinuations. Bildad simply begins his refutation by acknowledging God's supremacy! Oh, he goes on to plant a couple of subtle hits, but nothing as direct and biting as his previous arguments..."How then can man be righteous before God?...If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is a maggot...?" (Job 25:4-6 NKJV)

Friends, not only is a humble attitude acceptable in God's sight, it also goes a long way toward dulling the barbed intimations of the enemy!

And this is the lesson we can learn from Job today. A humble attitude is righteous in God's eyes, and it helps to calm the fierce tides of quarrels. It's a win/win situation! Why not try it the next time you find yourself in an argument?

In His love,

Lyn

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.

(To access the rest of the "Managing Argument" mini-series, please click here.)