Jump Start # 2209
Job 2:9 “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!”
Our verse today are the sad words of Job’s wife. In the story and the context, she is the first one to speak to Job. Her words come before the three friends arrive. Her words are shocking. Rather than, “hang in there Job, I know you’ll get through this,” she said “die.” It’s over for her. Her faith was gone. Her house had collapsed upon the sand of which it was built. She saw no future. In her mind it was time for one more funeral, her husband’s.
Mrs. Job responded in the very way that Satan had hoped Job would. Job didn’t. But through her eyes we learn a powerful lesson about the innocent by-standers who are caught up in the wave of what happens to us.
First, the suffering of the innocent by-stander. We often do not think about this. I think of several couples right now, near and dear to me, who have a spouse that is on the brink of passing into the next world. Tons of prayers and outpouring are going to the one suffering, but there is the families of these people. They suffer as well. Satan’s attacks were targeted for Job, but Mrs. Job suffered as well. A man losing his job at work, impacts the entire family. A preacher who is the object of scorn by some spiritual bullies in the church will not be the only one who suffers that evening in his home. Sitting around a hospital room, watching every shallow breath is hard and heartbreaking for the family. They suffer as well.
Second, the suffering that innocent by-standers experience when one makes wrong spiritual choices. Here is a man who no longer can endure sound doctrine. He doesn’t like that kind of preaching. He declares that he is heading to a mega church which focuses upon fun, feelings and there is no accountability. You can miss as much as you want and no one will say anything. The message is watered down and the Bible is not really known nor studied. Many in the audience do not even bring Bibles. The kids love the exciting activities and you can drink coffee in church without any guilt. Man, it’s great. But his choice hurts and ruins his kids spiritual life. They grow up not knowing the will of God. They grow up picking and choosing what they will believe and thinking that the details really do not matter. Sin is not talked about. Hell is never mentioned. And, the cutting edge of ‘what’s happening now,’ is comedy, drama and eardrum busting rock ‘n roll. What a blast! The hidden theme in all of this is belief that church is about us, it ought to be amazingly fun and God loves us so much that He just doesn’t care. Poor kids will grow up and probably not see any need to even attend the mega-fun-church. It’s not life changing. It’s not built upon conviction. It does not follow the Bible closely at all. You can say what you want. You can drink all you want. Nothing said. Nothing wrong. The kids will think, why even go. And, they probably won’t. All of this came from a dad who decided he was fed up with Bible teaching. A couple of generations later, and his descendants will know nothing at all about the word of God nor the Lord. Innocent by-standers. They suffer.
Third, the opposite of this is the powerful benefits that the innocent by-standers receive when a mom and dad decide to commit themselves to the Lord. Here is a couple and they learn the Gospel truth about the Lord. Their hearts are changed by the word of God. They obey Christ and become very active in the kingdom. They grow. They attend all the time. They are careful what the choices they make. Their children grow up with godliness. Prayers are as common as mashed potatoes at mealtime. The parents make careful choices about what shows to watch. They help their children surround themselves with godly friends. The kids grow, knowing the Bible stories inside and out. They take notes during sermons. They see the great people at church. They grow learning to be careful of what they say and they grow learning to be a servant of others. Their hearts bend toward the Gospel way. In time, they too, become Christians. As they date, purity and righteous go with them. They find godly people to marry. They continue on with these splendid righteous traditions in their own home. Following this family tree, you’ll see a deacon here and there. You may find one who is preaching. You may even find one who serves as a shepherd. All of this came about from a righteous couple who chose to walk with the Lord. The innocent by-standers were influenced by their example and through them others have followed. Modesty, kindness, generosity, compassion, forgiveness and grace define these people. They stand apart from others because of these godly choices.
I think about these contrasts and the impressions that these choices leave upon others. In one home, a baby innocently sticks up his middle finger. He knows nothing. The parents laugh and laugh about that and post pictures on Facebook. They think it’s so cute. When this child is just a little older, his dad will give him a taste of beer. He cringes at the awful taste and the parents just laugh and laugh as they kick the door wide open for ungodliness, sinful choices and a life without God.
But down the street, is another home. In this home, at a very young age, the child is taught to bow his head and say a prayer. At first, no one is sure what he says, but they all clearly hear the distinct “Amen.” He is praised for that. He is taught to not interrupt. He is taught to pick up his toys. His spirit is pulled toward goodness. He thinks of sharing and helping others. He is learning quickly the Gospel way.
Innocent by-standers. They see us at work. They see us in the family. They see our choices. They hear our words. They notice what we talk about. They see what is important to us. Those of the world find little in common with people of faith. They don’t understand why get up and “go to church” on Sunday, when you could go to the lake. They don’t party like the world. However, there is a sense of purpose, calm and confidence about them.
Innocent by-standers. Our choices often impact them. I’m not real sure how “innocent” Mrs. Job really was. She may have been part of Satan’s plans. Lose support at home and maybe Job would cave in as well. He didn’t. Nor, did he tell Mrs. Job to hit the road. Righteous people don’t do those things.
All around you today are people who will be influenced, impacted and effected by the choices you make. “I can do whatever I want to do,” is only spoken by a fool who never realizes that what he does helps or hurts others.
There is always someone like a Mrs. Job who sees what is going on in your life.