Tag Archives: Job’s friends

“When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.  When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.  Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.  No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”  (Job 2:11-13, NIV)

There is a lesson here for anyone who might visit someone who is suffering: Words can (and often do) get in the way.

Job’s three friends were faithful, indeed: They took time to visit their afflicted brother.  Job’s friends were sympathetic: They were so moved by Job’s dis-figuration that they wept and put dust on their heads (which was a sign of mourning or penitence).  Job’s friends were sensitive: They knew that Job needed their presence more than he needed their advice, so they sat with him for seven days and nights!

None of us should expect to have all of the right words — or words at all — in such times; but all of us can choose to be faithfully present; sympathetic; and sensitive to those who are suffering. Don’t allow words to get in the way.   – Luther

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“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10, NIV)

Praying for our friends (particularly when they have rubbed us the wrong way — as friends are in an excellent position to since they are close to us and know our “crimes” and our inconsistencies) can be a difficult choice.

In Job’s case, his friends did well at the beginning of his afflictions: They came to Job and sat with him for a whole week, saying nothing, but being present just the same. Then, they began to give advice. It was sincere advice, but it wasn’t intelligent advice.  Their advice grieved Job.

At the end of Job’s ordeal, it was time for reconciliation. Job could have borne a grudge but, in obedience to God, Job prayed for his friends. 

We can do our friends no greater service than to take what all we know of their crises, burdens, fears, and joys to the Lord in prayer.  (We impede the work of God when we choose instead to gossip, pontificate, speculate and prognosticate about the situations of our friends.)

Pray for your friends, as only true friends can.  – Luther

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