"If Only You Would Shut Up"

The following is the devotional message from Bartlett Woods Church of Christ on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. More or less - I may have ad libbed just a bit here and there.

Recently, I was reading the book of Job. And I came across an interesting verse that I hadn’t really noticed before.

You know the story of Job – how he was greatly blessed, how God said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Satan said, “He is only faithful to you because you have blessed him so richly.” So God allows Satan to take away all of Job’s blessings. Satan then says, “He is only faithful to you because he still has his health.” And God allows Satan to inflict Job with boils all over his body.

Then Job’s three friends – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – come and try to console him. But they end up saying to him, “You must have done something really bad for God to curse you in this way.” And they go back and forth with Job proclaiming his innocence, while his friends still try to convince him of his guilt.  Job’s friends say, “God only punishes those who do wrong.” And Job says, “I have done my best to do everything God wants me to do.”

Job eventually gets rather exasperated with all of this, knowing he is innocent before God. And that brings us to the verse that I found, Job 13:5. I was reading in the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which is a rather new translation. And in this version, Job says in verse 5, “If only you would shut up and let that be your wisdom!”

This probably first caught my eye because of the six year old in me that said, “Oooh, the Bible said ‘shut up!’ You aren’t supposed to say ‘shut up!’”

But then, the more I thought about it, I realized that what Job was saying was that so many times people go on and on talking about things that they don’t really know about. Things that they don’t really understand. When sometimes it would be better if they – or we – would just stop talking instead.

Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips.” Or as Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Of course, the main point of the book of Job is that God is in control. There are things going on that we do not understand. But even though we do not understand them, God is still in control.

Sometimes, when we don’t really understand something, perhaps it is best if we don’t go on and on trying to explain it. Sometimes, it is more wise just to be quiet instead.

I don’t understand why God loves us so. I don’t understand why he sent his only son into the world. John 3:16-17 says, “For God loved h the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

I don’t understand why God would choose to send Jesus here to save the world instead of condemn it. I don’t understand why God would love us so much that he would sacrifice his only sinless son to take away the sins of all the sinful people in the world, including us. But God does love us that much. And he wants to save us.

Follow Burnsland on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest updates.