Job 16:1 Then Job answered and said,
2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.
3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?
4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
The book of Job is an important book to help us to understand how to know the truth and how to determine truth. The first two chapters deal with Job’s life prior to and immediately after Satan’s attempts to destroy him. Satan needed permission from God to be able to touch Job’s possessions and also to touch him personally. Then from chapters 3-37 Job had to deal with three men who claimed to know God, but did not. Job did know God. God tells us that in chapter 1.
Today as well, there are far more people who claim to know God and who have strange theology. They talk of the need for tolerance but they have no tolerance for those who actually speak the truth. Today most religious people would rather follow false teachers than follow the truth. False teachers are directed by the devil. The devil shows us in the book of Job that his goal is to destroy anyone who truly knows the true God. False teachers say things that lost people can agree with. The flesh likes to be fed what the flesh wants. In plain English, the flesh likes to be lied to.
Job battled these false theologians for a while as he was also battling his boils and his despair at losing his family and possessions. He assumed that God was punishing him for something, but he did not know what. He desired to have God show him what the problem was so that he could address it properly before God. In chapter 38 and a few chapters after that, God did speak to Job and He challenged Job with his wrong approach to God. Job needed a good lesson in humility and trust and the good news is that he was willing to be corrected and instructed. Job’s three friends would be rebuked by God and commanded to bring an offering acceptable to God. God demanded that they bring that offering to Job for him to offer to God on their behalf. They were so vile at the time, that God would not accept an offering from their hands. They needed a mediator and God said Job would be that mediator.
It is sad to watch people buy into false theology and stubbornly insist they are right and you are wrong. They cannot back their lies through sound doctrine, but they still insist they are right. We need to be willing to accept God’s Word as truth and we need to be saved in order to do that. Then we need to submit to God’s Word as truth in all situations. Those who are saved need to be faithful students of God’s Word and we need to be willing to be corrected where we have accepted false doctrine. God is gracious and good to His children. He would correct Job, but in doing so, He would not tear him apart. He would show him His power and Job was be prepared to receive God’s truth because he was a true child of God.
As you read these devotionals and as you listen to sound Bible teaching, what is your approach to it. First of all, are you saved? Then, do you listen carefully to what is being taught? Do you examine what is said in the light of God’s Word. God’s Word is the only absolute authority. If you will accept His Word as authority, you will not fight against those who are teaching the truth. You will learn the need to reject false teachers, just as Job did.
In chapter 16 Job began by giving an honest assessment of these three men that claimed to be his friends. Job reminded them that they were not the first, nor would they be the last false teachers. He had run across their kind before. Because he knew the Lord, he knew enough to reject them. He stated very clearly that these men, as well as others that Job had met before, were miserable comforters.
The word translated as “miserable” means “wearing effort”. What they were doing was designed to wear a person down. They tried to nibble here and there to weaken anyone who would stand for the truth. They were following their instructor, the devil. In Genesis 3 Satan poked at the truth and was able to deceive Eve with his lies. Adam knew better but he chose to accept the lies of the devil and of his wife, rather than hold to the sure Word of God.
Job was tired. He was hurting. However, Job trusted in the true God in spite of his confusion and hurt. He was not going to dismiss what he knew was true for the lies of these men.
In verse 3 Job gave them back their own words. They had accused him of vanity. Again we see similar words being used by both sides. How can we know who was vain? Some people want to suggest there is some good in every person. The ecumenical movement is built upon that, except they will not accept any person or group that claims to have the truth. The same is true for those people who suggest there is some good in every person or in every religion.
There is a small city not far from us that has managed to get into the news for the wrong reasons. This town started out as a very conservative town that was made up largely of people of Mennonite origins. There are many types of Mennonites, but in the earlier history of that group, they were fairly conservative. Their founder was Menno Simons. Menno Simons was formerly a Catholic priest who was saved and became a born again Christian. The beliefs he developed after he was saved would put him into the Independent Baptist camp today.
As a born again Christian, Menno Simons was a student of God’s Word. He was not along for the ride. He wanted to know the truth and he studied the truth. He rejected his former Catholic training and developed a theology based on God’s Word. He was a good teacher and people started to listen to what he had to say. He gained quite a following over time. Some of those who followed him wanted him to form a new religious organization. He refused to do that. He encouraged his followers to continue to study God’s Word and build their lives on the truth. Menno Simons did not claim to be infallible. He was on the “narrow way” and God blessed him with the ability to study God’s Word carefully and to teach it carefully as well.
After Menno Simons died, some of his followers decided to carry on his work by calling themselves Mennonites. They thought they were honouring him in so doing. The problem with any religious group is that if it is not continuously built upon God’s Word, it will corrupt and become worthless. That is what has happened to the Mennonites over the years. They have corrupted to the place where it would be difficult to find one that knows true salvation as given in the Word of God.
Back to this small city that began as a Mennonite community. They have recently been in the news because they have welcomed the Muslims into their midst. They have welcomed them, not just as people, but their religious beliefs. They have given them a place to meet and also accepted their religion as having some worth. In a free society, a person is allowed to believe what they want. However, in a God-fearing society, there is only one body of truth and everything else is a lie. This same small city welcomed the Catholics into their community a number of years back. No warning was given with regard to the false teachings of the Catholics. No warning is being given now regarding the false teaching of the Muslims. According to Muslim doctrine, they will work to take over that small city and turn it into a Muslim city.
Job would not embrace false religion in his life. He tolerated these three men. He allowed them to speak their vain words. He also told them several times that they were wrong. He challenged them regarding their arrogance.
In verse 4 he stated that he could invent theologies as they did as well. He was capable of thinking and he could allow his flesh to control him. He could pile words on them if they were in his condition, just as they were doing to him. He could shake his head at them and scold them for not being willing to listen to his vain words.
However, he chose to believe the truth. He chose to live the truth and he chose to help others to see the need to know the truth as well. Lost people need to be shown the truth. They need to repent and be saved. They need to see that God is true and that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour. Saved people need to be instructed as well. They need to be willing to accept the truth and grow in the Lord. They cannot remain as babes. They need to be fed and they need to grow in the Lord.
Truth is critical. Job was not ashamed of the truth, nor should we be. The truth is what makes a person free. The battle for truth will continue until the Lord Jesus Christ comes back and establishes the truth and shuts down all lies. Until then, those who are saved need to contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints. We need to remind the lost of their false doctrine. We need to teach the truth and help the saints to build on truth and to reject lies. We should never be like politicians and try to appease false teachers. Telling someone they are wrong may offend them. It is much better they be offended now and possibly get saved, than to have them blindly go to hell with our endorsement.
Job cared enough for his friends that he wanted them to know the truth. He cared enough about them to seek to help them see that their words were vain. He did not want to hear their words and he did not want them deceiving others either. That is what true love looks like.