Blowhard. It’s a word that I thought of in my Bible reading today. In the New Testament in Acts 27, Paul’s ship encountered a real blow. In fact typhoon force winds shipwrecked the boat with him and 275 other people on board after two weeks of fighting the storm. I call that the wind blowing hard!
The other kind of blowhards I’ve been reading about are the human variety; Job’s three friends, B, E and Z. A blowhard is an arrogant person. The word has connotations of blowing and puffing up. A blowhard blusters and brags with self-important egomania.
The book of Job starts out with God describing Job to Satan. “Then the Lord asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.’” (Job 1:8) Satan was then given permission to test Job and strip him of everything—children, health, home, livelihood. As Job sat covered in sores and with grief beyond imagining, his three friends show up to “comfort and console” him. They had a good beginning as they sat in silence with Job for seven days and seven nights realizing his grief was beyond words. Then they became the blowhards.
They presumed to speak for God. They accused Job of having great sin or God wouldn’t have tested him. Never mind that God had already declared Job blameless and full of integrity. E even claimed he had secret knowledge into the mind of God in chapter 4, verses 12 & 13. “‘This truth was given to me in secret, as though whispered in my ear. It came to me in a disturbing vision at night, when people are in a deep sleep.’” He went on to tell Job, “‘We have studied life and found all this to be true. Listen to my counsel, and apply it to yourself.’” (5:12) They arrogantly blamed Job for his troubles because they assumed he sinned and rebelled against God. They said even his children must have sinned to get the punishment they deserved. They accused him of not knowing God. They even presumed to speak for God and claimed to be the wise ones who knew what God was up to.
“Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?... Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much.’” (38:1,4) After God went to great detail to explain His creation, Job realized God was God and neither he nor his friends were God. Job said, “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (42:5) God had him pray for his blowhard friends. “When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before!” (42:10)
Just like a hard blowing wind, blowhards can wreck much. People are left devastated in their wake, especially if they are grieving as Job was. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is not arrogant.” You can see why the way of love is not the way of arrogance. “But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.” (1 Corinthians 8:1b-3; NIV) When one is puffed up with arrogance, agape is not present. Agape builds others up. Paul said it again in 1 Corinthians 4:19 & 20. “But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.”
God’s power can give us the grace to build others up in love. We won’t need to tear others down in order to build ourselves up. We don’t need to claim to speak for God or share pretentious ideas we claim are from him. He gives us the power to put ourselves aside and really be a comfort and consolation to others. We might think humility is the opposite of arrogance. In a way it is, as God lifts us up when we humble ourselves. The other opposite of arrogance is love—agape love. So, I don’t want to be a blowhard. I want to be a sweet, gentle presence of the Lord of love to those who are hurting or seeking.
As always, Jenny has her own special take on the subject, and a song at http://thefivestages.wordpress.com