Archives for : job’s friends

Job 16:2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

The modern saying, “Who needs enemies when I’ve got you for friends?” could well have been used by Job to refer to his friends. “Miserable comforters” — this is what Job called his three friends who had come to comfort him. Job’s friends had come professedly to comfort him, and no doubt were sincere in their intentions. But Job finds no help at all in the speeches of the “comforters” (verses 2-6). Instead of yielding comfort, all that they said served only to irritate, and to deepen his distress.

Are we better comforters than Job’s friends? What should we do when someone we care about has just suffered a tragedy? Crises in life happen to us all. Surely we can think of someone who is currently having a physical/health problems, another has psychological problems and is depressed, another does not have steady employment, another is stressed out carrying for a sick child/parent, another has marriage problems, and another has wayward children. How are we going to help these hurting friends? Or even this, how can we avoid hurting them more?

What do we say to someone whose heart is grieving and broken? How can we in any way be of help to them when they need us the most? Here are 4 easy steps:

(Please read Job 2:11-13)

  1. BE THERE.

Just being there is comforting to a friend. It shows you care about him. Job’s friends came as soon as they heard about his tragic experience. They dropped all of their own affairs and came rushing to be by his side. They stayed with him for seven whole days without saying a word. Just being there is a source of comfort. “I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matthew 25:36).

  1. BE QUIET.

Some said: “I don’t know what to say by way of comforting them.” Job’s friends didn’t utter a single word for seven days. Sometimes that is the very best thing to do: Be Quiet. Many times, especially when comforting those who are heavy hearted, it is best to simply be quiet. It is better to be quiet than to say the wrong thing. Imagine going to a friend’s father funeral and says: “Well, we all have to go some time.” That’s not very comforting. “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:18).

  1. BE SYMPATHETIC.

When friends are emotionally distraught, it is not a time to lecture them: “See, I told you not to go there.” Being sympathetic means being understanding, non-judgmental, and helpful regarding real needs. Job’s friends didn’t tell him to “cheer up,” or “look on the bright side,” or even assure him that “God works all things for good.” Instead they simply came to “mourn with him” (Job 2:11). Be sympathetic and caring: “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him” (Luke 10:33).

  1. BE EDIFYING.

Speak words of encouragement. When someone we care about is heavy hearted, our carefully chosen words need to be positive in nature. We should comfort them with kind words or memories about their loved ones. We could also comfort them from the Scriptures. If it is a death in the family, we could remind them of the promise of God that we will be reunited with loved ones in glory. “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the sou, and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).

The best way to comfort is just be there with the grieving one. Brethren, visit the sick in hospital and go to a wake. Don’t give excuse that you don’t know the family or what to say to this family member when the church member is not around at the bedside; just be there. The sight that church members are concerned about the family is comforting to them. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).

Jimmy Lau

Psa 119:97  Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.

The friends of Job

This is, in my estimation, the most withering of Job’s comebacks to those miserable comforters introduced to us as his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (2:11).  The statement is made by Job in Job 12:2 at the end of the first cycle of speeches by these friends, in all of which are accusations and insinuations that Job was suffering due to sins he had committed.  They were wrong, but they were certain they were right.

Aren’t there more than a few Eliphazes, Bildads, and Zophars today?  There are those who act as though they believe civilization has been holding its collective, bated breath in great anticipation of their arrival.  So many complexities, mysteries, and intellectual quagmires have sat stubbornly, mystifying their forebears, but pliably come forward as mere child’s play for them.  Or perhaps they purport themselves to be experts, demonstrating academic or professional credentials in support of such.  They may even move or speak with the air of unmistakeable confidence.  It might be that they have substantial followings and impressive venues to spout their philosophical triumphs.

But, as the case was for Job, the proof is in the pudding.  God’s Word proved these men wrong.  Job 42 shows that their claims and theories, however confidently asserted, were at odds with His mind.  They spoke words of man’s wisdom.  It may have sounded right on the surface, but it wasn’t right.

Consider Paul’s message to Corinth.  He speaks of preaching, the foolishness of God, coming in the wake of men’s inability to grasp His wisdom.  Then he writes, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,  so that no man may boast before God” (1 Cor. 1:25-29).

Humility, teachability, and submission are three indispensable quality traits we must possess when it comes to the Bible and spiritual matters.  Our theology must be formed by the latter and our character is formed by the former.  Let us forever be less concerned with being judged right by others and be consumed with a desire to be right with God.

–Neal Pollard