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Calling the Kettle Black

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2023 12:00 am

Calling the Kettle Black

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 29, 2023 12:00 am

Speaking the truth is important, but speaking the truth in love is most important. Criticism should always be given to help the other person, not harm them. Job's friend Bildad didn't get that. Not only did he offer bad advice to his suffering companion, but he did it in the most unloving way possible.

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To someone who is desperately trying to figure out why God doesn't seem to be listening, this kind of advice can be devastating. This is the kind of teaching that led to the monastic orders. This is the kind of teaching that leads to asceticism, self-inflicting wounds, penance, purgatory, a thousand other errors. You've got to get your act together before God will ever notice you.

Before you can ever walk with Christ, you've got to be perfect. Speaking the truth is important, but so is speaking the truth in love. There's a time for discussing difficult issues in another person's life, but never forget that criticism should always be given to help the other person, not harm them.

And it must be true. Job's friend Bildad didn't get that. He offered Job bad advice, and he offered that advice in an unloving way. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey evaluates Bildad's advice to Job because it reflects what some people still think and do today.

Stay with us for a message called Calling the Kettle Black. More than likely, you have been given people in your life who have also demonstrated something of the perseverance of Job. Maybe they are living biographies of this truth, living biographies of trust in God, and they have marked you. They have impacted your life.

And maybe you can think of one or two people, maybe it's a family member, an extended family member, someone you work with or someone that you knew in the past. You need to think deeply about the things their lives can teach. Consider the way they smile even and the reasons that they trust God.

Learn. Evidently, God wants us to learn from the lives of other believers as we have been learning from the life of Job. In my last year at Dallas Seminary, a new chaplain was appointed. He talked about a positive, winsome spirit. He made everybody on campus seem like we needed a shot of adrenaline and a big dose of laughter.

His name is Bill Bryan and he's still serving as a chaplain and has been there now for 20-some years. I remember how he loved when I was a student to lead us in singing in Chafer Chapel and his trumpet was usually nearby and he'd often pull it up and play it as we sang. He was just so filled with enthusiasm. I can remember his big laugh and his jovial spirit. You never got a foot or two from Bill Bryan without getting a big handshake and a positive word. I had been invited to go back there to preach to the students and faculty at Chafer Chapel and I'm looking forward to being on the platform from that perspective following the leadership of Bill Bryan who leads us and I'm going to enjoy it.

In fact, I'm going to enjoy it a lot more because I know I don't have a Greek test or a theology test to pass the next hour. I was surprised to learn this about him though. I was reading Chuck Swindoll's commentary on Job and Swindoll of course many of you know is the president or the chancellor now at Dallas Seminary serving together with Bill Bryan and they had a conversation not too long ago where Bill shared a little bit of his past which was surprising to Chuck and he put it in his commentary.

Let me just read a couple of paragraphs from that. Bill's story went back to when his dad's depression took him through a dark emotional tunnel. Back in those days any kind of emotional or mental struggle was rarely brought out in the open and there was very little known to do for people who suffered in this way.

Bill said that he remembered going week after week to the medical arts building in Springfield, Missouri where they would take the elevator to the sixth floor. He would sit and wait with his mother in the hallway while his father went through counseling sessions with the medical personnel. As a little boy he didn't understand what was happening in fact he was only four at the time but he does remember that his dad was troubled and his dad's spirit was bleak and barren. On one occasion Bill recalls his father being escorted out of the doctor's office and asked to stay with little Bill while the mother was asked to step into the private office where the physicians had gathered. Since his father's depression was growing worse they were making plans to admit him to what was then called an insane asylum. Unfortunately however every word that those physicians said could be heard through those paper thin walls out into the hallway where his father and little Bill sat. In fact one of the doctors made the rather unfortunate unkind comment that I doubt this man will ever get out. Bill said I still remember my mother walking out with several doctors and as they did my dad picking me up holding me close and saying I love you son.

He then put me down on the floor turned and ran jumping through the sixth story window as the glass shattered and fell to his death. Those are the last lingering memories Bill had of his father. From that time on this window continued Bill was primarily cared for by his grandparents and his aunt as his mother tried to recover from this terrible tragedy. All of us who know this joyful servant of God would never expect a man like Chaplain Bryan to have emerged from such a sad and sorrowful beginning.

I would agree. I cannot imagine how joy and contentment and trust could be the distinguishing characteristics in a man's spirit who encountered such suffering. We learn from this man that it is possible. Frankly the more I learn about Job's suffering and the more I study the words of Job's counselors the more amazed I am at the tenacity and endurance of Job. The more amazed I am that Job did not run away. The fact that he stayed on top of that remember he is experiencing the hush of heaven that is God is not speaking.

There is no encouraging word from heaven. No wonder James summarized this this man's testimony by writing you have all heard about the endurance of Job. Everybody knows about it and now 2,000 years later we still know about the endurance the perseverance the tenacity of Job. James 5 11 like that group of insensitive and tactless doctors whose words brought a hopelessness and despair we have watched as Job is in the examining room and one doctor after another is giving him their diagnosis. Dr. Eliphaz you remember was first and we watched him leave Job bruised and beaten. His words hinted you remember at Job's secret sins and he suggested that Job repent and bring his cause to God.

The second doctor is now ready with his prognosis. If you thought Eliphaz the elephant was a crushing blow to the spirit of Job you are going to be shocked by Bildad the brutal is the only way I can think of referring to him. Let's pick our study up at Chapter 8 verse 1. Then Bildad the Shooite answered. Here's this opening line. How long will you say these things and the words of your mouth be a mighty wind? That's an encouraging start isn't it? Moffat translates it.

You are using wild and whirling winds. See as Job was responding to Eliphaz Bildad was growing upset and angry and self-righteous waiting for Job to stop long enough for him to strike back. And Eliphaz had begun with some bit of tact.

Hadn't he? If you go back you remember in Chapter 4 I believe it is that he starts out by saying you know if a man would venture to say a word to you would you become angry with him? That was a rather tactful way of saying I'd like to say something and I hope you don't get mad at me.

Not Bildad. He really doesn't care. And so he immediately asks Job two rather blunt questions.

The first one could be paraphrased why why don't you stop running off at the mouth? The second question that could be paraphrased to say Job when are you going to stop running down God? Notice verse 3. Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? If your sons sinned against him then he delivered them into the power of their transgression. Does God pervert justice?

The Hebrew word for pervert could be translated distort or twist. Job you've got to stop distorting the character of God. You've got to stop perverting and twisting who God really is. I mean God is always fair. God is always just and somebody has obviously sinned around here for God to do this.

Look at the brutality of his counsel to a man who's in the midst of grieving the loss of his children. Go back to verse 4 again if your son sinned against him then he delivered them into the power of their transgression. In other words Bildad said look if Eliphaz is wrong and your children didn't die because you sinned well then what does that leave? That leaves they died because they sin.

That's what it leaves. And you remember this was the great concern of Job. In Job chapter 1 we see Job sacrificing for the possibility that his children might have sinned as they gathered for a birthday party in one of their homes and so he's gone out and he's sacrificed as the patriarchs did for their families so that if there was something that was unclean maybe a crass word something off color that he would cover for them with his sacrifice.

It was his great concern that his sons and daughters walked with God. Bildad comes along and implies none of your sacrifices Job did any good. You didn't satisfy God with your burnt offerings on their behalf. Evidently they are such great sinners they have been handed over to the power of their transgressions. That's what he says. Sorry Job.

It didn't work. This is the heartbreak of any godly parent that their children will walk away from God and face severe consequences because of their sin. And maybe every parent would feel at that moment there was something I could have done maybe something I should have done and they are tormented with doubt and care.

Every committed praying concerned parent is crushed at the thought that maybe what they did wasn't good enough. And that's how it all gets distorted in their mind. It's amazing to me following his opening lines that Job does not get up and run off a cliff. Bildad says Job you cannot pervert the justice of God. Somebody is paying for an awful lot of sin. And in that brief statement Bildad effectively consigns Job's children to perdition. They died in sin. They died because of sin.

Too bad. And then he goes further even further in his arrogance to speak for God. Now he's going to speak for God because he evidently knows God so well. Look at verse 5.

If you would seek God and implore the compassion of the Almighty if you are pure and upright well surely now he would rouse himself for you and restore your righteous estate. Job I know everything there is to know about God and if you follow my advice I know what God will do. You just follow my counsel. You could divide by the way Bildad's counsel in Chapter 8 easily into four different sections. In the first section here Bildad effectively says let me tell you who God is. Verses 1 to 7.

And now is proof that I know what I'm talking about Job. Secondly listen to what our forefathers believed. That's verses 8 through 10. Look at verse 8.

Please inquire of past generations. Consider the things searched out by the fathers. Look at verse 10. Will they not teach you and tell you and bring forth words from their minds. Bildad is implying if you line all the forefathers up Job get them all out here. All of their testimony will be unanimous that the righteous do not suffer and God only punishes pagans.

They will all agree. Besides Job look at verse 9 and simply paraphrase we were only born yesterday and we don't know anything and life is too short to ever figure out anything anyway. So you need to go back and get all of the collective insight of the forefathers because we're young even though they're older men. Life is so short we can't learn enough to prepare for life.

And again there's a kernel of truth in there. It is true isn't it that about the time you get experience in doing what you want to do you no longer are able to do it anymore. By the time you're not a parent guess what? They're graduated and married and now they're on their own and now you have the experience to be a fairly decent parent. Now you wait to be a grandparent don't you?

So now you can spoil those kids and make up for all your mistakes. I read this quote sometime ago, experience is the comb we receive after we've lost our hair. I don't appreciate that quote but it's probably true. It's a great analogy isn't it? Someone wrote, experience is what it takes to recognize a mistake the next time you make it.

It's good isn't it? Another wrote, the problem with learning by experience though is that it charges so much for tuition. Job you think you know something about God and life, suffering, trouble? You don't know anything.

You think you're unique? It's old man, it's old stuff. Just go back in the past and bring out the fathers and the forefathers before them. They know this kind of judgment is the result of sin. Let me tell you who God is.

Listen to what your forefathers believed. You want more evidence? Third section, look at what nature teaches. In verse 11 he begins to lay out three different illustrations. He writes, can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the rushes grow up without water?

Obviously the answer to these rhetorical rather arrogant questions are no and of course everybody knows that. Without water it withers, verse 12. Job, he implies you're the stalk of papyrus.

You don't have any water feeding your roots. You've forgotten God. God the water's gone, you're just drying up, verse 13. If we thought Eliphaz was an elephant, build that as a brontosaurus with his crushing words flattening the spirit of Job further than we could ever imagine. Frankly, it's amazing to me that Job does not get up and run away. He has accused Job of being a windbag but you know what? Build that as the one who is full of hot air isn't he? How deflating, how hypocritical, how arrogant but blind hypocrisy.

Fourthly, Job, think of what lies ahead. Verse 20, lo, God will not reject a man of integrity nor will he support the evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting. Trust me Job, you do what I say and you'll be laughing again in no time. How utterly insensitive is this arrogant man? Laughter is the furthest thing from Job's mind. He is not missing his smile. In fact, he is probably convinced that he will never smile again. It's a wonder to me that Job didn't get up and run. For those of you who want to analyze this man's false counsel, there are several I'll refer to them as Bildad's blunders.

Two or three of them. First, Bildad's arrogance led him to an unkind approach. So self-assured, so self-confident. He never really listened to Job and he approached him with unkindness. Secondly, Bildad's lack of pity caused a severe lack of perspective.

Third, Bildad's self-assured counsel eclipsed gracious correction. Now with that quickly said, I want to spend the remainder of our time analyzing several of his sayings to Job to learn further. You see, like Eliphaz, some of what Bildad said was true. It was right, kernels of truth, but leading to great despair and hopelessness because he didn't tell the whole thing, the whole truth, the whole story. They're like soundbites. They sounded good, but they led to hopelessness. Let me give you two or three of them.

We'll analyze them together. Here's one of Bildad's false soundbites. Life is too short to grow wise. In verse nine, Bildad proposed, life is short, though that's true.

It's true it is short, isn't it? Then he goes on, you don't have enough time to get wisdom on your own, especially at a young age. You got to go back and you got to get all your wisdom from the past.

And that's false. And that leads to hopelessness and despair. Solomon, an otherwise man from the east inspired by God's true wisdom, counseled us with these words. Listen, my son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, the Lord will give you wisdom. Wisdom will enter your heart, not when you're 80, when you're 18, not when you're 50, when you're 15. You love the commandments of God and you pursue wisdom and you can have it.

That's truth applied to life. In chapter eight of Proverbs, wisdom says herself, by me, wisdom says, kings reign. That's old men.

By me, princes rule. That's young men. So you don't have to grow old to grow wise. Paul could tell Timothy with great confidence, Timothy, don't look down on the fact that you're a young man, but be an example in your speech, in your conduct, in your faith, in your love, in your purity. In other words, you can demonstrate wisdom as a young man right now.

You don't have to be old to be wise. Here's another false soundbite from Bildad. Only the perfect can approach God. He challenges Job in verse six to get God's attention by becoming pure first before approaching God.

And to someone who is desperately trying to figure out why God doesn't seem to be listening, this kind of advice can be devastating. It can send them down the path to becoming perfect or better or maybe somebody that God would accept. This is the kind of teaching that led to the monastic orders. This is the kind of teaching that leads to asceticism, self-inflicting wounds, penance, purgatory, a thousand other errors that you got to get your act together before God will ever notice you. Before you can ever walk with Christ, you've got to be perfect. It's false teaching and it leads to despair.

That teaching belongs on the ash heap next to Bildad. You don't pursue perfection in order to get God's attention. The Lord Jesus himself said in Matthew 9 verse 12, the healthy don't need a doctor but the sick.

If you need an appointment with a great physician, the only thing you need to understand is that you're sick, you're needy, sinful and then come on. Here's another from Bildad. The way things were are the way things will always be. In other words, the past dictates the present. Job, you need to get your cues from the past. Verse 8, if it was good enough for them, it's good enough for what?

For us, right? This is the person who says we have always done it this way as if there's a capital crime for ever doing anything for the first time. Let me go one step further. There are some things in your past that you must forget. Paul evidently thought so. In fact, he said, this is my personal testimony. There are things in the past that I've left behind and I'm pressing onward to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Friends, maybe some of you are defeated by the enemy because there are things in your past that you will not forget.

Bildad, you got a little bit of it right, but most of it's wrong. One more, we always get what we deserve. Verse 20, God does not reject the blameless man or strengthen the hands of the evildoers. There's no exception to the rule in Bildad's mind. This man is deeply stuck.

There's cement all around his feet. It's true, there is a principle in the Word of God that you reap what you sow. But listen, there are final and ultimate exceptions and we are they.

Are we not? By the grace of God, we will not get what we deserve. We all deserve hell. We all deserve judgment. We all deserve to be sent far away from God, but he has already drawn us close.

Why? Because we deserve it? No, because Christ has redeemed us and because he redeemed us, we now are exceptions. We receive and this forgiveness because he bore in his body the punishment of our sins bearing on his body, on the tree our sin so that we could live in a righteousness.

1 Peter 2 24. He got what he did not deserve so that we could receive what we do not deserve. And because he was forsaken, we today can be forgiven. You see Bildad doesn't understand grace.

Everything is black and white, it's all rigid and it's in a nicely packaged box. But grace happens to open up an eternity of exceptions and we are some of them today. Even today, Christ for us is the ultimate answer. Let me close by reading something I read recently about a man in Dundee, Scotland in the late eighteen hundreds confined to his bed for forty years. That was awfully easy for me to read.

Did you catch that? Confined to his bed for forty years, having broken his neck in a fall at age fifteen. But his spirit remained unbroken and his cheer, his courage was so inspiring he had a constant stream of visitors and guests. One day as an older man, a visitor came to him in his room and asked him, doesn't Satan ever tempt you to despair and doubt God? After all these years, oh yes, replied this man, he does tempt me. I lie here and I see my old schoolmates driving along in their carriages and Satan whispers if God is so good, why does he keep you here? Why did he permit your neck to be broken? And the guest asked, what do you do when Satan whispers those things to you? I take him to Calvary, he replied, and I show him Christ and I say, you see, he does care for me. Stephen has shown you today that Jesus really does care and I hope you'll keep that in mind even if a person in your life is uncaring toward you. This daily time in God's word is called Wisdom for the Heart. Our teacher, Stephen Davey, is the pastor of the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. The lesson you heard today is called Calling the Kettle Black and it comes from the series, The Hush of Heaven. We'll be continuing through this series for the next couple weeks and I hope you'll be with us for all of it right here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-03 10:50:21 / 2023-04-03 10:59:50 / 9

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