alienated and alone January 10 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Job 19, 20, 21

Alienated and Misjudged

Have you ever been alienated from acquaintances, friends, and loved ones? Someone may have judged you unfairly and then separated his contact from you. Although you know you are right, he or she doesn't think so. You are no longer invited to parties or family functions. You are no longer able to go out with your friends. If you call them to spend time together or to get a reason for their aloof behavior, you receive elusive answers, if they answer at all. What do you do when you feel alienated and misjudged?

The patriarch Job lived around the time of Abraham (more...). He lost his family, friends, servants, business, respect, and even his health. He does not understand why—he has always lived a righteous life and been blessed by God.

Now Job is separated from his family and friends, and he feels alienated from God. Yet in his conscience, he can find no reason for the distance. The heavens are like a brass ceiling—God does not answer his prayers. He believes he is being unfairly punished. He does not see God's purpose.

Job's friends think they know the answer. Their theory is that God only brings trouble to the wicked. Job is very sick and in terrible pain, therefore, he must have done something very wrong. Theory, however, does not always match reality. Things are not always what they appear to be. What is usually true is not always true. Kind counselors will listen to their friends. They will not try to fit their friends into pre-fabricated molds, and they will not give the impression that they have all the answers. True friends will console those who are suffering. Job's friends, however, are not at all helpful.

Then Job replied: “How long will you torment me and crush me with words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly you attack me.

If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me and use my humiliation against me, then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me” (Job 19:1-6, NIV).

Because of what has happened to him, Job feels wronged by God and alienated from everyone. Then Job takes an honest look in the mirror of his soul and asks himself, why should anyone want to know me? I look disgusting and cursed by God.

Have you ever felt alienated? Where was your hope? This is Job's hope. Even in his great physical pain and alienation, he says,

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-- I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27, NIV)

Job knows that someday after he dies he will see God. He then warns his friends that when the day of judgment comes, the Almighty will punish them for their false accusations and pride (Job 19:28-29).

The judgment of Job's friends is faulty. Although many times we might desire it, Job argues, we know the wicked do not always get punished in this life. Many times they get rich and famous.

Many people enjoy watching television programs like “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” They (or We) watch them because they are fascinating, even if the rich and famous are at times eccentric. We might envy them because they have what we might not have—great abilities, wealth, and the opportunity to have or do whatever they want. Famous entertainers, movie stars and sports figures captivate our attention. We admire them and graciously forgive their sins because they are heroes. Job says the wicked
… spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. Yet they say to God, “Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?” But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked (Job 21:13-16, NIV).

What will we do? Will we stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked or join ourselves to them because they are successful? Let's not be taken in by the false philosophies of the world or live for pleasures and riches. Let's serve God and seek his wisdom and favor. He will bring us lasting blessings if we patiently seek his face. Some of us may yet be alienated and misjudged, but God sees us and will eventually reward our righteous deeds.

Lessons to Live By

•  True friends should console those who are suffering, not stand aloof or accuse them of sin.

•  If you feel alienated or even disgusting, remember Job's words, (Today's Bible memory verse):

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes-- I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27, NIV)

Do you know the Redeemer lives? The Redeemer is Jesus Christ. He paid for our sins and gives us forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life. It is through him that one day we can see God in heaven (more...).

•  Remember that the prosperity of the wicked is not in their own hands–God allows it. Be willing to be alienated and misjudged rather than follow their counsel. You will later be rewarded by God.

Focus Verses

Job 19:25-27 (see above)

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A Look Ahead: What do we do when we suffer injustice, and correction for the wrong does not come right away? Find out in our Next Lesson, called Timely Justice.

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