Open my mind and my heart now, Gracious Lord, so that Your Word can refresh me and equip me today.
Read JOB 6:1-30
 Then Job replied:  “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales!  It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas- no wonder my words have been impetuous.  The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me.  Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass, or an ox bellow when it has fodder?  Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the sap of the mallow?  I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill.  “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for,  that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life!  Then I would still have this consolation- my joy in unrelenting pain- that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.  “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?  Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze?  Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?  “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.  But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow  when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow,  but that stop flowing in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels.  Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go off into the wasteland and perish.  The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.  They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed.  Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid.  Have I ever said, ‘Give something on my behalf, pay a ransom for me from your wealth,  deliver me from the hand of the enemy, rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless’?  “Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.  How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove?  Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat my desperate words as wind?  You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend.  “But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face?  Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.  Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice? Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat challenge and rebuke does Job give here?
What would be the reaction if a “Job”—someone clearly suffering from a serious disease or someone who was an outcast—came to your church or mine? No doubt he would be a challenge to us. He would certainly test our understanding of the word “fellowship.” I know I use that word glibly sometimes. Christian fellowship means sharing Christ with one another, including people like Job.
Poor Job is now at his wits’ end (1-7). He is on the verge of cursing God—and he pleads with God to let him die before this happens (8-10). His desire is to honor his Maker to the end. He is crying out for his friends to support him. Instead of help, Job received cold criticism. He was told to pull himself together (11-13). What he really needs is water in his desert (15-21). He needs someone to empathize, to feel with and for him. Regardless of how your friends treat you, there is someone who is able to do this for you (Heb. 4:16). You can count on him.
Is there someone whom you find hard to accept or help? Ask Jesus to show you his way to do that.
Good Lord, may I be a friend to all who need a friend. May I offer a welcome to all people in Your name.
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