Job 12: 5 “He that is ready to slip with his feet is like a lamp (torch) despised in the thought of him that is at ease.”
How often have the Christians put on their “gossip list” instead of on their prayers list of the Person who has slipped and fallen! How easy for those who are at ease to mouth their glib commonplaces in their still secure and comfortable world! In sheer exasperation Job bewails the whole situation, because of his (Job’s) troubles, a man of godly character (Job 1:1, 8b, 20-22; Job 2:3, 10) is treated like a simpleton or criminal on the basis of a theory that is contradicted by another (equally distressing) fact, namely, that robbers are prospering while he (Job) is reduced to such mockery (Study the Book of Job for this understanding).
Until we suffer, we can never share the pain of the Person who suffers, nor understand the attitude of the scorn with which healthy and comfortable people treat the Sufferer. Job, once the most respected and renowned man of his day (Job 1:3), lamented: “I have become a laughingstock to my friends” (Job 12:4). Job, the Person who is handicapped by lost and adversity, – Job who suffered loss of properties, children and experiencing the physical bodily ailments and mental anguish (Job 1:14-19; Job 2:7-8, 11a, 12a, 13b) is doubly afflicted by this attitude of “a (disaster) is despised in the thought of one who is at ease” (Job 12:5b). People around him (Job) avoided him, talk down to him, and assume his handicap cripples the total Personality (Study the Book of Job, for details).
Torch Discarded – Job laments “He that is ready to slip with his feet” and says: “is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.” The word “lamp” is really “torch.” In the Middle-Eastern Culture, when the Traveller reached his destination after journeying through the darkness of the night, he threw aside the torch that had guided his steps. Job likens himself to the torch. He (Job) had aided his friends and relatives when he was in a position to help, but now that he has lost everything they throw him aside. They make him the subject of mockery – Job 12:4-5 “I am one mocked by his friends,….the just and blameless who is ridiculed. A lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease; it is made ready for those whose feet slips.” People are still doing this, how many times we have known of those who were well-to-do, as far as this world’s goods are concerned, but some calamities intervened, and they lost their means. Some who had appeared to be their friends, suddenly had nothing more to do with them. There are many people in this life who are interested only in what One has, not what one Is. As long as we have things, they are our friends; but when we have little or nothing, we become the object of mockery.
This attitude should never be for the Christians in their relationship with one another. We have a fellowship, a Oneness, that binds us together, making us all One in Christ. The “stronger” is obligated to help the weaker brother. We should gladly help with deeds of kindness one for another, that Christ might be glorified through us. God’s Word states in Galatians 6:10 “As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Christians are to be kind to everyone, but especially to other Christians.
- Story – A Sergeant in the Army was asked what had led him to become a Christian. He gave the credit to a Private in his Company who had been converted. “We gave that fellow an awful time,” the Sergeant said. “One night he kneeled to pray. My shoes were heavy with mud, and I threw one of them and struck him on his head. The next morning, I found those shoes beautifully cleaned and polished. That was his only reply to me. It broke my heart, and I came to Christ that day,” said the Sergeant. This is what the Lord Jesus desires the Christians to do. Without Christ a man will retaliate and pay back, but if one has really been born again, his attitude will be different said the Sergeant.
- David L. Mckenna gives a painful description of this fault: “A certain ghoulish glee always attends the downfall of the high and the mighty. Jealous tongues cluck with juicy gossip whenever a great person shows signs of weakness, makes a false move, or experience a failure. Americans, in particular, cannot countenance human weakness in their Leaders. The slightest physical flaw in a President sends the stock market spinning downward and starts the cartoonists’ pencils doodling caricatures that make the person a laughingstock (David L.Mckenna, The Communicator’s Commentary- Job, Word Books, 1986).
- Unknown Writer – Someone of our day has made a caustic comment: “Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded.” A lesson we can learn from the Book of Job is how to respond to those who suffer or fall.
People around us are hurting. There are those who feet have slipped on the pathway of life. They do not need others to stand back to criticise and condemn. They need us to stretch out a helping hand, to uplift, to be friends in need. Let us be Encouragers on the road of life, and out prayer be that of Charles Wesley:
Help us to help other, Lord,
Each other’s cross to bear;
Let each his friendly aid afford,
And feel his brother’s care.
Help us to build each other up,
Our little stock improve;
Increase our faith, confirm our hope,
And perfect us in love.
Dear Lord Jesus, lead me today to pray for a friend who is hurting, to speak the word of encouragement to the one whose feet have slipped on the pathway of life.