Do not DESPISE God’s WORD during HAPPY DAYS
May 27 Bible Reading: Job Chapters 10-12
"A lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease; it is made ready for those whose feet slip." (Job 12:5)
All three of Job’s friends have spoken now, and Job replies to all their accusations with some hard-hitting statements as part of his closing speech of the first cycle of their verbal exchanges. As Job refers to the insinuations of all his three friends, he is surprised in their boasting that all wisdom began, and will end, with them. These vain thoughts are both shallow and commonplace, which will surely perish from the earth. Job is acquainted with the retributive theory of suffering just like his friends (12:3), and he asserts that it is easy for one not suffering to have all the answers for one who is suffering!
So, Job directly tells his friends that their ‘wisdom’ will no doubt die with them, and he upbraids his friends with regards to the high opinion that they had of their own wisdom when compared with his. This is an appropriate answer to these three friends who thought that they had all the answers to his dilemma. Why, Job asks, do his friends think they have more insight than he does? (12:1–3) He wishes they could understand that disaster often comes on those people who are least prepared and least deserving of it (12:4–6).
Thus, Job agonizes over being made a laughingstock, even to his friends, while evildoers and idolaters live in ease and security. Anyone knows that God is wise and powerful, but how do they explain the excruciating sufferings of a man who had once received answers to his prayers? In other words, this is what Job tells his friends: “You have no troubles, and yet you make fun of me; you hit a man who is about to fall.” "Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint" (Prov. 25:19).
A lamp has become an object of contempt in the thoughts of him who rests securely, though it was prepared for the feet that stumbled. Job had formerly shone as a ‘lamp’ giving light in the darkness, but now he was being viewed as a ‘lamp going out’ that is thrown to the ground and treaded upon (12:5). This was the viewpoint of the friends of Job who are relatively living at ease, and were now despising Job because of his terrible condition.
A good example to explain this is to check out a person who arrives at the place for his night stay, and then contemptuously throws aside the lamp that had guided his uncertain steps through the darkness. Just as the lamp had proved useful for the traveler, so was Job to his friends before. Once they had gladly used his assistance during the times of their need; now they, in their prosperity, were mocking him in his need.
On a spiritual application, we know that God’s Word is compared to a lamp that shines, as the Psalmist declares: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps. 119:105). There were times in the past that we had used God’s Word as crutches to support us during our days of pain and suffering. However, now when things are going well for us, we do not take either the time or the trouble to read or meditate in God’s Word. Let us understand that by doing this we are in fact despising God’s Word that has sustained us in our trouble. This will prove disastrous for us on the long run! Instead, let us lean on God (and on His Word) daily, who will uphold us even when we stumble sometimes (see Ps. 37:23-24).