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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 1:19 NASB)
 

Read the sermon that corresponds to this devotional at http://www.freshministry.org/111603.html

 


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