Job 12:1-3 (NIV) 1 Then Job replied: 2 “Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you! 3 But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things?
On verses 1-3: By not hesitating to judge Job and rebuke Job based on false assumptions, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar came across as arrogant, condescending know-it-alls. What can we learn from this? When you don’t take the time to understand the person and their situation before you rebuke them, you just end up hurting them and yourself.You put the other person on the defensive rather than making them feel like you are on their side.
Job 12:4-6 (NIV) 4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called upon God and he answered– a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! 5 Men at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping. 6 The tents of marauders are undisturbed, and those who provoke God are secure– those who carry their god in their hands.
On verses 4-6: Job thinks about how his friends have gone from respecting him to laughing at him, even though Job can’t see how he did anything wrong. From this Job learned that people who live comfortable lives often look down on people who experience tragedy.
What can we learn from this? When you see someone suffering or experiencing tragedy, do not look down on them, laugh at them or immediately assume that such person is inferior to you. As Proverbs 17:5 (ESV) says, “Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.”
Job 12:7-10 (NIV) 7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. 9 Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
On verses 7-10: What is the lesson Job claims the wild animals already fully understand and that his mockers have failed to understand? The lesson is that there is so much that is out of our control. Like animals in the wild, you can be feasting one day and starving the next for reasons that have nothing to do with you. So have a humble attitude toward God, recognizing that life and breath are in God’s hands (v10). When things are going well, don’t assume that you deserve all the success you got, that it was all the result of your hard work alone. And when you see others struggling, don’t assume that their misfortune is always the result of their deficiency in some area or that things will never turn around for them. Remember that God has a hand in all those things and is sovereign.
Job 12:11-12 (NIV) 11 Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? 12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?
On verses 11-12: It is a bit challenging to understand what Job’s words mean here in their context, but I think the best interpretation is that Job is saying to his friends who were possibly younger than him, “I can discern wisdom when I hear it just as well as you can. I wasn’t born yesterday. Please don’t take me for a fool.”
Heavenly Father, You alone are God. Life and breath are in Your hands. May I always be humble before You. May I seek to understand before speaking. May I never assume that any success I experience is just because of me and my hard work, but may I see it as a gift of Your grace. May I never laugh at the misfortune or suffering of others. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!