Read Job 21
Are You Listening?
For more than four decades, brother V.E. Howard used the power of radio to preach the gospel via the International Gospel Hour. He was well known for directing the listener’s attention to an important point by using this phrase, “Are you listening?”
In the twenty-first chapter of Job, the patriarch begged with his friends to listen to him without jumping to conclusions. They had run ahead of the truth and made assumptions without first examining the facts. Brother Howard wanted his listeners to avoid that habit, as did Job.
Three times before he got into his speech, Job pleaded for his friends’ attention. He said, “Listen carefully to my speech” (Job 21:2). All too often we do not actually listen to what our friends are saying, or why they are saying it. We must give careful attention to words and the motivation for those words.
Job then pleads, “Bear with me that I may speak, and after I have spoken, keep mocking” (Job 21:3). How patient are we with our friends’ struggles? Do we even let them finish telling us what is wrong? Or do we try to get to the end of the story without hearing the details, and mock (whether intentionally or not) their situation or the way they handled it? Let’s practice patience when our friends go through trials and bear with them. Isn’t this how we “fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2)?
Finally, Job says, “Look at me and be astonished; put your hand over your mouth” (Job 21:5). If we are not willing to examine the facts of a situation, we should not comment on it. It is an insult to the person going through a trial to hear ignorant and uninformed opinions that are not based on actual facts but assumptions.
Don’t be like Job’s friends. When those close to you are going through difficult situations in this life, listen to them. Bear with them. Look at them. Avoid prejudgment and mockery. Kindly offer support and love.
“Are you listening?”
[Note: If you are not familiar with the International Gospel Hour, it is a highly recommended resource for sound gospel teaching. Brother Jeff Archey is the current host. Learn more at www.internationalgospelhour.com.]