“With frons like these who need anemanies” – Marlin

Today’s devotion from Inspiration Ministries gave a marvelous 10,000 foot view of the Book of Job with just two scriptures. Most everyone knows how in a matter of hours, Job’s wealth went up in smoke, even down to the lives of his beloved sons and daughters (1:12-19). Then Satan ups his attack to include Job’s health, yet in spite of it all, Job did not sin with his lips (2:7-10). The devotion focusing on Job’s friends, reminds us that their intentions started off as good:

“When Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity…they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him.” – Job 2:11 NASB

After all, isn’t that what friends are for? Friends are there for you in your best times and are also there to comfort and support you even at your lowest point. After all, who needs a fair weather friend? I have found that you can find a lot of “friends” when you throw a party with plenty of food, less “friends” when you need help moving, and only a precious few when you lose a job or end up sick. But at least you find out who your true friends are.

Then the second scripture that the devotion used that really captured the essence of the visit Job had with his friends: Job said to them, “What miserable comforters you are” (16:2 NLT)! I am by no means a Job expert, but everyone should read the book in its entirety at least once. If you only spot check it, a couple of verses here and couple there, you won’t see the point. Job’s friends did not comfort him at all. Well maybe if they had have went home after seven days of sitting there with Job and not saying a word, they would have comforted some (2:11). Or if they would have stayed awhile longer and let Job pour his heart out (chapter 3) and then left; maybe that would have been even more helpful. (Have you ever noticed that when you friend calls and pours their heart out for 10 minutes, most times they will solve their own problems?) But for the majority of the book, Job’s friends preached to him.

There is a time for preaching, and there is a time for listening and comforting. Job’s friends missed a great opportunity to comfort and minister grace to their hurting friend. Instead they got beside themselves with lofty theological debates. I guess they thought the most important thing at the moment was to find out where to lay the blame for all these calamities. After they finished all their sermons, God said twice they did not speak what was “right” like Job had (42:7-8). In other words, I wouldn’t put any stock in what they said. We must always remember that a true friend “loves at all times (Prov. 17:17).” Let’s try more just being there for our friends and more listening. And in the words of Elvis, “a little less conversation.”