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Well, at least they came. I've got to say
at least that much for Job's friends. Our natural indication is to run
away from people who've just been struck by God's wrath. Like a kid that
didn't do the assigned reading, we'd rather hide from the teacher and hope
she doesn't notice us and call on us. So when we observe someone receiving
evil from the hand of God, we tend to not want to make eye contact with
God because we don't want to be next. Not Job's friends. You've got to
hand it to them, they didn't run away-they ran to him in his hour of need.
And when they came they did a wonderful ministry for him. That is until
they opened their mouth.
For seven days and seven nights they sat
with Job and said nothing, because they "saw his suffering was too great
for words." (Job 2 13 NLT) Now that's friendship. To come beside a friend
and enter into his suffering. Their presence clearly communicated their
love for him, they didn't need to speak.
But after a while Job began to grieve
out loud which prompted his friends to respond to his words. Really, they
would have been better off just remaining silent and listening to their
friend. Instead, they decided that their friend who was going through an
amazing amount of suffering didn't need their support, rather, he needed
a lesson in theology.
They argued and they argued. Job claimed
he'd done nothing to deserve this treatment, his friends, in effect, said,
"of course you have, God wouldn't be doing this to you unless you deserved
it." Like skillful prosecutors, each of them took their turn accusing this
righteous man of sinning, and getting what he deserved. Job continued to
defend himself, until God set the record straight, "And it came about after
the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the
Temanite, "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends,
because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has."
(Job 42:7 NASB)
Job was right, yet the theology of Job's
friends continue in popularity today, even after God said they were wrong,
and we continue to speak, even when we know it would be better not to.
"This you know, my beloved brethren. But
let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;" (James
Read the sermon that corresponds to this devotional at http://www.freshministry.org/111603.html