Salt in the Wound or Salt & Light?

Job 19:1-27 NLT 

Then Job spoke again [to his “friend”, Bildad]:
2 “How long will you torture me?  How long will you try to crush me with your words?
3 You have already insulted me ten times.  You should be ashamed of treating me so badly.
4 Even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours.
5 You think you’re better than I am, using my humiliation as evidence of my sin.

What kind of friend would you want TO HAVE in the time of your humiliation and loss of reputation? What kind of friend would you want TO BE in the time of your humiliation and loss of reputation?  Are you and those closest to you like Bildad (who crushed a humiliated Job) with his words?  Or do you have the type of life-giving relationships that are mercy-based, those who just want to see you recover?

6 But it is God who has wronged me, capturing me in his net.
7 “I cry out, ‘Help!’ but no one answers me. I protest, but there is no justice.
8 God has blocked my way so I cannot move.  He has plunged my path into darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head.
10 He has demolished me on every side, and I am finished. He has uprooted my hope like a fallen tree.
11 His fury burns against me; he counts me as an enemy.
12 His troops advance. They build up roads to attack me. They camp all around my tent.

Scripture is not teaching that God did wrong to Job, but Job is pouring out his anguish in a way that lets Bildad and the others know that God is allowing Job’s humiliation to occur - seemingly for no reason. Have you ever been frustrated when God allowed others to humiliate you or misjudge your reputation?  Have you assumed (and perhaps mistakenly so) that someone else’s humiliation and loss of reputation was the judgment of God on his/her life?  Can you empathize with those who feel as though God is working against them rather than helping them in their humiliation and shame?

13 “My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me.
14 My family is gone, and my close friends have forgotten me.
15 My servants and maids consider me a stranger. I am like a foreigner to them.
16 When I call my servant, he doesn’t come; I have to plead with him!
17 My breath is repulsive to my wife. I am rejected by my own family.

Job’s wife, family, employees, and close friends were repulsed by Job in his time of suffering and
humiliating shame. Can you think of a time in your life in which you could relate to how devastated Job felt?  How did these close relations fully reconcile with you?  What steps did you have to take? 

18 Even young children despise me. When I stand to speak, they turn their backs on me.
19 My close friends detest me. Those I loved have turned against me.
20 I have been reduced to skin and bones and have escaped death by the skin of my teeth.
21 “Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me.

Job is begging the few friends who will still talk with him to have mercy.  Would your friends and family expect mercy or judgment from you in the time of their repulsive humiliation?  Would you desire mercy or judgment from God?  How does Job’s suffering inform your beliefs about suffering as a punishment?

22 Must you also persecute me, like God does?  Haven’t you chewed me up enough?
23 “Oh, that my words could be recorded. Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument,
24 carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead, engraved forever in the rock.

In his time of humiliation and shame and pain, Job views the “encouragement” of his friends as
persecution - where they are biting and devouring him!  Lecture or listening - which do you prefer from others in the time of your humiliation and shame?  Which do you tend to give?

25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.
26 And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!
27 I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.  I am overwhelmed at the thought!

The most important part of Job 19: verses 25-27.  Job refocuses from ranting about his humiliation (feelings) and professes faith in the God of his salvation (facts).  “I know that my Redeemer lives…” rather than I feel like God isn’t there.  In the midst of Job’s anguish, his refocusing on God resulted in one of the most amazing prophetic utterances of the entire Old Testament.  Job foresaw the Incarnation of God who would literally stand upon the earth.  Job knew that his physical body would die and decay, yet he foresaw that he would be resurrected to see God!  Job was overwhelmed at the knowledge that his pain would pass but he would get to see God face-to-face after the resurrection.  What does this tell us about how we should respond in times of temporary humiliation and loss of reputation?  When addressing the humiliated, the suffering, the one’s whose reputation is in tatters - will you act as salt in a wound or as salt and
light?