Chapter 13:1-12 (ESV) - Behold, my eye has seen all this,
my ear has heard and understood it.
What you know, I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
But I would speak to the Almighty,
and I desire to argue my case with God.
As for you, you whitewash with lies;
worthless physicians are you all.
Oh that you would keep silent,
and it would be your wisdom!
Hear now my argument
and listen to the pleadings of my lips.
Will you speak falsely for God
and speak deceitfully for him?
Will you show partiality toward him?
Will you plead the case for God?
Will it be well with you when he searches you out?
Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man?
He will surely rebuke you
if in secret you show partiality.
Will not his majesty terrify you,
and the dread of him fall upon you?
Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;
your defenses are defenses of clay.
Question to consider: What does it mean to show partiality?
After reflecting on the works of God in the world, Job came to the conclusion that though his self-righteous friends may have lived under more comfortable circumstances, it was not because they were superior to him. Job called them worthless physicians, for their advice on restoring his health was based on lies. They whitewashed over their own sins in order to make themselves feel worthy of their fortunate state.
Instead Job suggested that they would be much wiser to have remained silent than to speak deceitfully and falsely for God. One day they would come face to face with God and have to give an account for their words, and that moment would be full of dread as they realized how broken their philosophies were.
It kind of amazes me that there are preachers who still spout these same kinds of lies. They show partiality to the wealthy because they believe that their wealth is a sign of God’s blessing. They teach that God will give us our “best life now” if only we follow the steps provided in their book or sow a seed offering into their ministry. You would think passages like this one would give them pause knowing that their sermons may deceive men but will not deceive God.
At least the friends of Job spoke from ignorance, for they had not been given the full revelation of God like we have. Preachers today have the clear teaching of James, the brother of Jesus, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” (James 2:8-10) In case they don’t know what James meant by partiality, he gave a specific example of a pastor treating a wealthy man with honor and a poor man with contempt in the first seven verses.
Whether someone distorts God’s revealed word or adds to it, they are violating God’s law against misusing His holy name. Jesus blasted the Pharisees for doing this very thing, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:14-15)
Dear heavenly father, help us to know Your revealed word so well that we can recognize when someone is trying to deceive us. Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and mold us into the image of Christ. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness when we fail. Amen.