Our Dependence on the Lord (Job 35:16) - Radical

Our Dependence on the Lord (Job 35:16)

“Job opens his mouth in empty talk. He multiplies words without knowledge.”
-Job 35:16

This is a really interesting verse as Elihu is speaking to Job and talking about how Job is multiplying his words with empty or meaningless talk. But it’s interesting. Elihu who’s been speaking for over a 100 verses at this point and he’s not even let Job talk. So he’s starting to sound a lot like Job’s other three miserable friends, basically criticizing Job with a lot of words for the way Job is multiplying his words without knowledge.

Job 35:16 Teaches Us to Avoid Empty Talk

At the same time, this verse is a good reminder to all of us, whether we are in Job’s shoes, walking through suffering, or whether we are alongside others who are walking through suffering, to be really careful and wise, and humble with our words, to be careful not to open our mouths in empty talk and multiply words without knowledge. In other words, to be very careful not to speak as if we have it all figured out when part of God’s purpose in our suffering is to help us see that we don’t have it all figured out.

And we don’t see everything, that we don’t know everything, and whether we’re walking through suffering or trying to help others figure out what God is doing in suffering. We need to be really, really careful with our mouths. Yes, before God, to be honest before him with our questions, with our wrestling, with our struggling, at the same time to do that with humility, with trust that God sees things we don’t see and knows things we don’t know, and that He loves us. So we come to him like children before our Father, our Heavenly Father, not saying we’ve got it all figured out.

Job 35:16 Reminds Us Of Our Need for God

I think about my nine year old coming to me and saying, “I’ve got it all figured out and you’re doing this and you’re doing that.” And I’d be sitting there thinking, “You definitely don’t have it all figured out.” And I love him and it means a lot when a child comes to a parent and says, “I don’t understand this, but I trust you’re doing that you’re doing that which is good for me.” This is what we do when we walk through suffering. We come before God, not with empty talk, multiplying our words without knowledge, without wisdom, but honestly expressing our hurt, our pain, our grief, our questions, but all of that in the spirit of humility and trust before God.

And then when we walk alongside others in suffering, to do the same, not to claim that we have it all figured out, but to listen well, and to pray together, and to humbly sit with and be an encouragement to others who are walking through suffering, instead of trying to explain everything and all that God is doing in ways that we don’t know. So God, in all of this, based on Job 35:16, we pray that you would teach us humility as we walk through suffering, as we walk with others who are suffering, help us to be humble before you.

Job 35:16 Leads Us to Pray in Humility

God, we pray that in the fear of you just as we read in Job 28, and we see all over Proverbs, we would find wisdom. We would find knowledge and understanding even in quietness, not in multiplying our words, but in being silent and honestly expressing our questions and our wrestling before you. God help us not to sin against you with our lips by claiming that we have it all figured out. Either when we walk through suffering or when we’re giving counsel to others, God help us to do all this with a spirit of humility, a spirit of fear before you, and trust in you and the knowledge you have, the wisdom that you have, that we do not have.

God, we praise you that you are God. We confess that we are not. And so in this way, may our words be few. May we learn to be still and know that you are God, and that you are working, fighting for us in an Exodus 14 kind of way, that you are plotting for our good in ways we don’t see. Help us to be still and quiet then, with trust in you. God we pray for this kind of faith, especially in suffering and even when we’re walking with others through suffering, in Jesus name, we pray according to Job 35:16. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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