Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Let the Wise Give Counsel (Job 26)

“How have you saved the arm that has no strength?” (Job 26:2).

Bildad smugly thought he had silenced Job with his eloquent counsel on the power and majesty of God. But, in the first four verses of chapter 26, Job chides Bildad for his inability to advise properly. When Bildad should have comforted Job with reminders of God’s mercy, he instead upbraids him with declarations of God’s power. Matthew Henry explains that it takes a wise and thoughtful minister to know how to counsel. “To one that was humbled, and broken, and grieved in spirit, as Job was, Bildad ought to have preached of the grace and mercy of God, rather than of His greatness and majesty, to have laid before him the consolations rather than the terrors of the Almighty. Ghrist knows how to speak what is proper for the weary (Isa. 50:4), and His ministers should learn rightly to divide the word of truth, and not make those sad whom God would not have made sad, as Bildad did; and therefore Job asks him, ‘Whose spirit came from thee?’ that is, ‘What troubled soul would ever be revived, and relieved, and brought to itself, by such discourses as these?’ Thus are we often disappointed in our expectations from our friends who should comfort us, but the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, never mistakes in His operations nor misses of His end.”

Do not misunderstand Henry to say that there is not a time to call people to account, to proclaim the judgments of God in light of tragedy. But it takes much wisdom to know when, how, and to whom such proclamations should be made. To comfort when there is no comfort, to cry peace, as the Israelites did, when there is no peace, is unwise. But to bring terror to those whom God would comfort is just as harmful and foolish.

Job accuses Bildad of being an unwise counselor by his calling down fire and brimstone when he should have washed Job’s wounds with the oils of consolation. Job did not appreciate being lectured on a topic of which he was quite aware. So Job takes the opportunity to declare his thoughts on God’s power. He concludes his eloquent proclamation by reminding Bildad that no matter how much God might reveal Himself in the magnificent display of creation, man still understands little of His glory; therefore, one should remain humble when he declares the power of God to others.

Do you think before you give advice? Do you take into consideration the person you are advising? Is he or she an unbeliever or a believer? Do you think about what is the proper advice or the right time to give it? Before you give counsel, stop and consider all the many factors that go into being a wise advisor.