PLEASE keep in mind that if at any point you feel you are getting lost in the wording of the scripture… change versions… it is easy to do and could help your understanding.
I believe Job’s friends started out with good intentions (ummmm… isn’t there a saying about a road to the proverbial place of eternal heat being paved with good intentions??) They really wanted to offer comfort and were possibly trying to make sense of it themselves. They left their homes to go “sympathize and comfort him”. When they came upon Job they could barely recognize him from a distance (remember all the sores he had from head to toe). At this sight, they began to weep aloud, tore their robes, and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat with him (Job 2:11-13) IN COMPLETE SILENCE for seven days and seven nights.
IMHO, I think during those 7 days and nights his friends had a LOT of time to think about what they would say to Job. According (in my Life Application Bible) to Jewish tradition, people who come to comfort someone in mourning should not speak until the mourner speaks. Job opens up (in yesterday’s reading) and THEN his friends are “loaded for bear” (as we say in the South J ).
Several BIG things stuck out to me from today’s read:
- We MUST be careful with the words we use when someone is in great pain. We DON’T have all the answers. And the older I become the more I am aware of how few answers I personally have which is why God’s Word is so important to me. HE does have the answers.
- As Christians and believers in the Word it is VITAL that we know the scriptures, in context, as well as an awareness of who wrote it, why they wrote it, and who they were speaking to. Many of you may not be old enough to remember a show called “Lost In Space” where this futuristic robot would yell out “WARNING!! WARNING!! DANGER WILL ROBINSON”. The reason I mention this is because not all of what Job’s friends had to say was totally wrong, BUT if we use the words of his friends out of context we could REALLY be hurting someone else (and this is very true with just about any scripture taken out of context and content). THIS IS WHY I SAY “WARNING!! WARNING!! DANGER!! WILL ROBINSON!!” In Chapter 4 it IS true that EVENTUALLY those who promote sin and trouble will be punished. However, it is false that anyone who is good and innocent will never suffer. Usually people who are grieving and/or in deep pain need our compassion more than they need advice.
- Job responds to Eliphaz and tells him that listening to him was like “eating the tasteless white of an egg.” Even as Job is responding he identifies God as THE ALMIGHTY (SHADDAI) in Job 6:4. And, in Job 6:10 he calls God the HOLY ONE!!! Even in his situation, Job still acknowledges the awesomeness of God. Job responds honestly to Eliphaz. In Job 6:25 (NIV) Job asks Eliphaz: “What do your arguments prove?” In Job 7:10, Job STOPS speaking to Eliphaz and begins speaking DIRECTLY to God. Job was beginning to doubt the value of living the way he had. He was being very open and honest with God telling God he felt as if HE was his enemy at that moment. Although Job remained loyal to God, he made statements he would later regret. In times of extended sickness, grieving, and pain we can ALL become what I call “testy” thus becoming prone to depression, doubt, despair, impatience, etc. This is why it is even more important during those times, for people to simply be an “ear”, be patient, and if needed encourage the “Job” in your life to seek professional counseling.
- Now we go from bad to worse with Bildad whom I will refer to as BilBAD (notice the emphasis on the last part of his name 🙂 ) the Shuhite’s advice. Like Eliphaz, BilBAD wrongly assumed that people suffer ONLY as a result of sin. However, BilBAD was even less sensitive, less compassionate, and less comforting by saying that Job’s children died because of THEIR wickedness. (How quick we are to ASS-U-ME…. Ouch ouch ouch!!)
- Job recognized that he was not perfect (see Job 7:20 & Job 9:20), but believed himself good and faithful. Even in Chapter 1 of Job, God says how “blameless and upright” Job was (but of course Job has no idea God said this about him).
- Job responds to BilBAD and although showing his impatience with God, Job did NOT reject GOD NOR CURSE GOD (as his wife had suggested he do back in Job 2:9). Job also reminds himself and his friends of God’s wisdom, His power, His knowledge, His strength, all He created, and so much more. Job 9:6-11 (NIV) says:
He shakes the earth from its place
and makes its pillars tremble.
7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;
he seals off the light of the stars.
8 He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
7. And lastly notice Job 9:32-35 (The Message):
“God and I are not equals; I can’t bring a case against him.
We’ll never enter a courtroom as peers.
How I wish we had an arbitrator
to step in and let me get on with life—
To break God’s death grip on me,
to free me from this terror so I could breathe again.
Then I’d speak up and state my case boldly.
As things stand, there is no way I can do it.”
The thing that caught my attention is that although Job did not have someone to arbitrate between he and God, I could not help but wonder if this was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is BETTER than an arbitrator (someone who makes decisions between two parties but has no stake in the “game”). Jesus is our advocate, who tore the veil that existed between God and man after the fall so we could have a personal relationship with God, have a constant, ever present COMFORTER in the Holy Spirit, and spend eternity with HIM!! This last point I did NOT read anywhere, it was just a thought that came to me.
What do you all think????
I’d LOVE to hear from all who are reading along.
Sharing HIS love,