Job 1:1-22; 1 Corinthians 14:1-9; Psalms 37:21-29; Proverbs 12:26
OT: “Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:20-21 CSB)
Job was described as a man of complete integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil. God had nothing against Job, but Satan did. The name Satan means adversary and he is called the accuser because he opposes all that is Godly and does that by accusing man to God and God to man. Job was extremely blessed by God because of his integrity and fear of the Lord. However, Satan accused Job of only being faithful to God for his blessing. By saying that, Satan accused God of not being worthy of worship… of being someone that had to bribe people into faithfulness. In order to prove out Job’s faithfulness and God’s worthiness, God allowed Satan to put Job’s faith and integrity on trial through suffering. In one day, Job lost all of his wealth and all of his children. At hearing the terrible news, Job tore his robe and shaved off his beard in immense grief. What happened next was amazing. Satan said that as soon as Job’s possessions were taken away, Job would curse God. Job proved Satan wrong. Instead of cursing God, Job humbled himself, fell to the ground and blessed God in worship. Whether Job abounded in prosperity or was abased in poverty, God was worthy of worship and Job blessed His name.
NT: “Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. For the person who speaks in a tongue is not speaking to people but to God, since no one understands him; he speaks mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the person who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and consolation. The person who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. I wish all of you spoke in tongues, but even more that you prophesied. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets so that the church may be built up.” (1 Corinthians 14:1-5 CSB)
Paul’s charge to the Corinthian church was that they pursue love and desire spiritual gifts… and the spiritual gift that they should especially desire was the gift of prophesy. Many people misunderstand what prophesy is. They either think that prophesy is strictly foretelling future events, or that prophecy is heavy handed and harsh chastisement. More than anything, prophecy is speaking forth a message from the heart of God the Father or the Son in order to strengthen (edify), encourage (exhort) or console (comfort) His people. Apparently, the people in the Corinthian church were all about speaking in tongues. Perhaps they felt that speaking in tongues made them seem more spiritual. Paul encouraged the gift of tongues, for that gift on its own was effective at self edification – which is good and needed. But in the context of a gathering, prophecy was much more desirable, for prophecy could be understood by all and was effective at building up all. Soon after Job’s horrible loss, some of his friends came to “prophesy” to him. Through their words, they tried to convince Job that everything was his fault and that he needed to humble himself and repent from his horrible sins. Their words were not from the heart of God, and their words did not edify, encourage or comfort Job. Instead they discouraged Job and drove him to frustration. Prophecy is not about tearing people down. Prophecy is about building people up and stirring them forward with words that are from God by His Spirit.
Psalms: “A person’s steps are established by the Lord, and he takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord supports him with his hand. I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread. He is always generous, always lending, and his children are a blessing.” (Psalms 37:23-26 CSB)
These words from King David are true and encouraging. The veracity of these words are proven out in the story of Job. Job was a man whose steps were established by the Lord. Though God allowed Job to go through immense suffering, Job was not completely overwhelmed, nor was he abandoned. The truth of these words were proven out in David’s life as God led him through numerous times of hardship and suffering. These words have also been proven out in my life as well. In my 50 years of life, though I have been through some challenging and lean times – as I have allowed God to establish my steps, I have never been abandoned, God has provided for my every need, and my children have grown up to be a blessing to all. Let these words from David be words of prophecy to you… words from the heart of the Father and the Son to build you up, encourage you on, and comfort you as you trust completely in the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, Your word says that the power of life and death are in the tongue. My words can either curse or bless – they can either tear down or build up – they can either condemn or encourage – they can either be harsh or bring comfort. Regardless of where I may be in life or what challenges I may be going through, by Your Spirit, may my words be words of prophecy… may my words be spoken from Your heart, stir up faith and bring life to all who hear. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.