The Right Thing to Say – the Best Way to Say It

“I will answer you and your friends with you.”
Job 35:4

In a previous devotion, Repentance, we heard about John the Baptist and his words, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2).

John was the “forerunner” of Jesus Christ. In other words, he was the one who was prophesied in the Old Testament who would prepare the way for the Messiah.

John’s last recorded public words were, “He (meaning Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). John is saying that he must now leave the limelight, that his mission is accomplished.

John was soon after imprisoned by Herod the tetrarch. He languishes in Herod’s dungeon for about year when he receives word of what Jesus has been doing.

He sends some of his own disciples to ask Jesus if he is, indeed, the Messiah that he prepared the way for.

During John’s ministry, his message was God’s message. But that didn’t mean that John himself was perfect or anything less or more than human.

He still had his doubts. He must have known that he wouldn’t leave Herod’s dungeon alive and that his death was fast approaching.

Jesus reassures John that all is well. That John’s message and ministry did exactly what they were supposed to do.

Once again, God used an imperfect human to convey his perfect message to his perfect effect!

Elihu serves much the same function as John the Baptist. He’s preparing Job and his friends for when God will show up to speak to Job.

Elihu’s message is intended to turn Job to God so that Job is ready to hear God and receive what he says. This will happen very soon.

But Elihu is still just an imperfect human. His overall message will have God’s effect of getting Job to focus on God. But Elihu also conveys the message in a less-than-perfect way at times.

Elihu berates Job for a lack of faith in God when what is more likely happening is that Job is crying out in grief and sorrow to God.

Elihu – in his youth and level of maturity – misses the fact that Job is a beaten-down man. It is almost as if Elihu is saying, “Buck up, man! It isn’t that bad! Get over it! Don’t cry out to God in complaint and anger! Just trust in God and his goodness!”

This isn’t a wrong thing to say, just a less than proper way to say it. Elihu probably could have found a more comforting way to say to Job, “Trust in God! He is good! He will come through for you!”

As a man, especially, I need to learn this lesson. When my wife or sons are upset, I want to jump in and make it all better as fast as I can. I will say comforting words to them, hug them, help them.

But if they are still sad or hurting or despairing when I felt that they should have gotten over it, I get frustrated and I tend to be like Elihu and overreact.

Or I can be like John the Baptist and question whether what I had said and done did any good.

Thankfully, God is so much more powerful and wise than I. He gave me the words, yes. But when I botch up the delivery of the message, he is still able to bring out his own desired result.

That’s our encouragement today, to continue to follow God’s leading in our own lives to speak to and help others. Don’t get discourage if you overreact or get frustrated. Keep telling God’s message and let God take care of how that message affects people.

God has given you the right thing to say – in his Word. Always be learning the best way to say the right thing to say.

©2017 True Men Ministries


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