“I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you. But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.” Job 16:4
The story of Job’s friends, their offers of advice and subsequent conclusions makes for some intense reading, but ultimately, not one of them looked for the good in Job, they all were busy pointing fingers and heaping blame. Meanwhile, their friend, Job, has lost his children, employees, income, health, and even the support of his spouse.
Job’s response to his companions is never one of pointing the finger back to them. He has made the decision not to heap up words against them. He will not repay their condemnation in the same manner. If the shoe were on the other foot, he says he would use words to strengthen them and to bring comfort.
How many times have you been in Job’s shoes? You may have not experienced his extent of loss, but you may have experienced friends who are so busy looking to find your faults that they only add to your sense of despair. Or, have you been guilty of being like Job’s companions; too busy trying to discover where your friend is wrong, that you have heartlessly overlooked the depth of their grief?
It makes for some serious thought and some souls-stirring questions. Take time to honestly confront yourself with these questions:
Do my friends know that I would be supportive and comforting if they came to me in the midst of a trial? Am I condemning in my thoughts and words toward my friends? Do I think the best of my friends, or am I out to see them fail? Do I use my words to strengthen my friends or exalt my own sense of self-righteousness? In trials, do I point my friends to hope in Christ or try to think of something impressive I could say? Do I treat my friends as I would want to be treated if I were in their position?
“But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.” Job 36:13
To heap up wrath means to place wrath upon, or to appoint wrath for. So, the hypocrite is just giving God ammunition by open rebellion and a heart full of sin. Even when God tries to “bind” him, or to point out the error of his ways, the hypocrite refuses to bow, thus adding more punishment and more eternal accountability for his choice.
Another way to look at it this “heaping” is to say that the hypocrite heaps up, or holds wrath in his heart. His motivations are based on his anger. He wants things to be his way, not God’s way. He refuses to yield to God’s punishment or correction.
By the way, the King James version defines this person as a hypocrite, but other versions use the terms “godless” or “profane”. Either way it points to a person outside of Christ.
Proverbs 11:21 reads, “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished…” God is very serious about sin and rebellion. “No matter how tight the cooperation may be, no matter how smart they are, no matter how cleverly they are concealed, no matter the walls they have built, no matter their technique of hiding, no matter the kind of meeting they have held, no matter the agreement between them, the wicked shall not go unpunished.” (Daniel Olukoya)
Anger is a deadly poison. To have it as the mainstay of life is unwise and unhealthy. To stubbornly hold onto your own agenda is only to heap up anger in your heart as you fight against God’s moving and to place yourself ultimately before the hands of an Almighty God for eternal judgment.
What is the cure? Lay down your weapon of anger. Confess your sin of stubbornness and rebellion and throw yourself upon the mercy of God. You will never win the battle. It will always cost you more than you want to pay. You will not go unpunished.
“For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee” Proverbs 25:22
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:20
God’s Word paints some very unusual pictures. Heaping coals of fire on someone’s head? Literally, it means piling up hot, glowing briquettes of coal upon the head of your enemy. Doesn’t sound very nice to me. Yet, as we choose to follow the Lord’s command in the treatment of our enemies, that is what is taking place.
The focus is not, however, on seeing our poor enemy melting underneath the heat of the coals of our vengeance, but rather, to see him melt into repentance and friendship by our kindness toward him. Or, on the other hand, our goodness toward him, may make his evil toward us more inexcusable, and thereby bring the heat of conviction upon him.
It makes me think of a cartoon picture of an enemy with steam coming out of his head when he cannot break down his victim. The victim continues to repay every assault with kindness. It just creates more anger and frustration in the enemy.
Our Lord’s actions had a similar affect on the people around him. He was kind to the unthankful and to the evil. When he was reviled he reviled not again. His truthful responses simply blew the minds of his enemies. The conviction of his words and acts heated them up and left them without excuse, yet they chose vengeance instead of repentance.
It isn’t always easy to be the “victim”. Making that choice to repay ill with kindness takes spiritual fortitude and much prayer. Yet, the love of God commands us to be forgiving, forbearing and patient. Trying to get our “pound of flesh” out of a situation will never lead us to the end we desire. Peace, joy and happiness cannot come out of a heart of vengeance. They are the fruits of endurance and forgiveness.
Are you the victim or the enemy? Have you felt the heat of conviction in your actions toward others? Are you making choices that lead for peace?
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” II Timothy 4:3,4
During my counseling studies I was presented with a rundown on how relationships break down. It starts off with a hurt or offense, then a communication breakdown, feelings of rejection and unreceived offers of appeasement. Then, once the conflict has broken out, the offended one seeks friends that agree with their position. This is what has happened here.
Sound doctrine has offended them. They have either refused to communicate this offense, or not taken time to fully understand the position and begun to allow feelings to rule. Every offer of appeasement or reconciliation has been rejected and they are in open conflict with God’s Word. So, they look around and accumulate others who have found themselves opposing truth and go about to make their own truth.
The truth hurts, but that does not change the fact that it is truth. Sound doctrine is vital, but that does not always make it easy to swallow. In our day of secularism, humanism, relativism and all the other ism’s, we see man trying to make his own truth. He is turned to fables, myths, legends, and false beliefs. These teachers abound, and people are thronging to them. Such is the manner of the broad way.
The narrow way, however, has but one Teacher, one Truth, and one Way. He alone has made the way for broken relationship to be restored and sets the parameters for sound doctrine.
To what are your ears attuned?
“For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God….” Ecclesiastes 2:26
Ever notice that the bad guy is usually the rich guy? In the old Westerns, the richer cattleman was troubled, power hungry and corrupt. The poor farmer boy had only his horse and his good moral qualities. But, in the end of the story, the poor boy got the girl and was rewarded, many times by gaining what the bad guy lost.
God has shown this same pattern through his Word. The enslaved Israelites left their captors (Egypt) with wealth untold. They then entered the Canaan land, “I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.” (Joshua 24:13) God took from the evil and gave to the good. Then again, in the book of Esther, we see all of the wealth of Haman given to Mordecai. (Esther 8:2)
The effort of gathering and heaping up is never related to the “good Christian” except in the idea of laying up treasures in Heaven. All of our heaping up of the temporary causes us to lose focus on God as the provider and rewarder. We are called to live life without the attachment to the things of this world, without the driving desire to accumulate wealth and stuffs. If we use the gifts of wisdom and knowledge, we will be wealthy. The tangibility of our wealth will be determined by our use of these gifts and by the hand of God, but tangible wealth should not be our main goal.
There is no reason, then, for us to covet the things of sinners, or to be envious of their gain. Over and over we are taught that they will be cut down and wither, they will not prosper, they are full of trouble and they will be consumed. Our focus should be on our own accountability and contentment before God. “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.” (Proverbs 15:16) We need to leave the disbursement of wealth to God. Remembering that - The good guy will win!