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©John Yerkes (whatyousee.kc)

Chapter 6:14-30 (ESV)

Posted on May 02, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 6:14-30 (ESV) - He who withholds kindness from a friend
    forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed,
    as torrential streams that pass away,
which are dark with ice,
    and where the snow hides itself.
When they melt, they disappear;
    when it is hot, they vanish from their place.
The caravans turn aside from their course;
    they go up into the waste and perish.
The caravans of Tema look,
    the travelers of Sheba hope.
They are ashamed because they were confident;
    they come there and are disappointed.
For you have now become nothing;
    you see my calamity and are afraid.
Have I said, ‘Make me a gift’?
    Or, ‘From your wealth offer a bribe for me’?
Or, ‘Deliver me from the adversary's hand’?
    Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the ruthless’?

Teach me, and I will be silent;
    make me understand how I have gone astray.
How forceful are upright words!
    But what does reproof from you reprove?
Do you think that you can reprove words,
    when the speech of a despairing man is wind?
You would even cast lots over the fatherless,
    and bargain over your friend.

But now, be pleased to look at me,
    for I will not lie to your face.
Please turn; let no injustice be done.
    Turn now; my vindication is at stake.
Is there any injustice on my tongue?
    Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?”

Question to consider: Why do you think scripture has so much poetry?

Have you ever thought about how much of scripture is written in poetic form? Today we tend to receive information at an insane rate through video streams, social media and text messaging. Even sitting down for five minutes to read a devotional blog can seem like a difficult task. Technology that was supposed to free up our time has consumed it.

Yesterday, I wrote about staying silent if you are not able to offer words of comfort during another person’s time of pain. Poetic form allows someone to express their deepest emotions in a way that causes the reader to slow down and ruminate over it. It elicits word pictures in the mind so that people can begin to imagine the depth of the feelings of the author.

As an example, I think of Matthew 2:16, “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.” It’s a simple statement of fact that can be easy to gloss over. On some level you know that it must have been a terrible event, but your mind is already on to the next bit of information to complete your daily reading plan. Then Matthew followed it up with a poetic statement from Jeremiah who was given an image of this day about six hundred years before it occurred:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.

(Matthew 2:18) This poetic description suddenly connects us emotionally with all of the mothers whose children were murdered.

Job’s words today address the treachery he experienced by a friend who blamed him for his sores and the calamity against his family. He describes it as being in a dark and flooded stream filled with hidden shards of ice that injure him unexpectedly. Job’s friend has reproved him as if he sinned without addressing any specific sin. So Job is asking Eliphaz what sin he committed to deserve this? Was it done preemptively because of the despairing speech he would give in response to it? If there was indeed some punishment brought upon Job for an injustice he committed, Job was asking Eliphaz to reveal it.

I invite you to take more time and think about Job’s words in today’s passage to see what kind of emotion it elicits in you and whether it will affect your reaction to someone else’s pain in the future.


Dear heavenly Father, please help us to slow down and reduce the rate of information that we consume so we may realize it is connected to people whom You knit together and gave the gift of life. May we develop compassion for other people and a desire to connect them to the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus. Amen.