Job 42:10 states, “The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends…” It struck me when I read these words that prior to the time that Job’s fortunes were restored to him, he had been arguing back and forth with his friends. Throughout the narrative Job becomes increasingly defensive and offended that his friends had, for all intents and purposes, turned on him and accused him of having sinned. Some of the friends' ‘doctrinal’ beliefs made them assume that Job must have sinned, and that was the reason why all of these trials had come upon Job. It’s funny because aren’t we the same way? Don’t we all tend to react the way Job did when falsely accused?
When we know that we are innocent in a matter, particularly something related to walking out our faith according to God’s commandments, but we are accused of doing something ‘wrong,’ don’t we want to dig our heals in and try to defend ourselves? While there are many ways in which Job prefigures the Messiah throughout the book, there is one important way that he does not: his attempts at self-justification. By self-justification I do not mean he was being self-righteous based on the fact that he walked righteously before God. What I mean by self-justification is that he tried to defend his own innocence before other men in what turned into a pretty heated debate with his friends. This specific action is distinct from how the Messiah handled his false accusers. Yeshua did not seek to defend Himself before men, even unto the grave. In fact, the Scriptures say he did not even open his mouth before his accusers: the priests and scribes, Pilate the governor, and even Herod. The following verses explain:
Matthew 26:62–63, “The high priest stood up and said to Him, 'Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?' But Yeshua kept silent…” (C.R. Mk 14:61)
Matthew 27:14, “And He [Yeshua] did not answer him [Pilate] with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.” (C.R. Mk 15:5)
Luke 23:9-10, “And he [Herod] questioned Him [Yeshua] at some length; but He [Yeshua] answered him [Herod] nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him [Yeshua] vehemently.”
How many of us could stand, like Messiah, silent in the face of these types of false accusations and wait for God to bring about our defense? Could we remain silent even in the face of death knowing that God could allow it to go that far, but has promised to resurrect us and justify us before all men in the end? To be honest, I don’t know if I could do that. In the recent past I went through an experience of unjust persecution. It was difficult not to want to defend myself before my accuser, but in the end, not defending myself turned out to be the best decision as the Lord taught me a lot through the situation. As I experience these little incidents that are certainly not life threatening, they continue to build my confidence that, no matter what, the Lord is my defense. But unfortunately, the only way to gain confidence in this area is through experience.
The next time you are tempted to defend yourself against false allegations, think of Job, and instead of defending yourself, stay silent. In fact, go one step further: pray for your accusers and see if God doesn’t turn things around much more quickly. In the meantime, while you are still choking down your pride, set your mind and heart on the Messiah and consider all that He has endured on your behalf. This will help you not only to swallow your pride, but also to humble yourself, and to allow room for God to exalt you in the end. One last helpful tip that may be of benefit in the heat of the moment is to recite the following verse to yourself silently in order to build up your faith to endure until your defense arrives.
Psalm 62:1–2, “Truly my soul waits in silence for God only; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”
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