Day 219 – How to be a Good Friend… Not!

Job refuses to “curse God and die” as his wife suggests (in yesterday’s reading). Instead, he curses his own birth, so devastated by emotional and physical pain that death – or no birth at all – seem the best options (Job 3).

Job is not alone, for his friends came “to show him sympathy and comfort him.”  (Job 2: 11b ESV). Job has hardly finished speaking before his friends – who began wisely silent (Job 2:13) – start in on him.

For something like 33 chapters.

Here’s an example from Eliphaz: “As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.” (Job 4: 8). In other words, you reap what you sow.

If things are going tough for you, Job, you must have done something wrong to deserve it.

Some comfort.

Oh, then Eliphaz goes and pulls the “God card:”

Now a word was brought to me stealthily…
Amid thoughts from visions of the night…
A spirit glided past my face;
the hair of my flesh stood up…
[Note: if you don’t believe it, check out the painting below!]
Can mortal man be in the right before God?
Can a man be pure before his Maker? Job 4: 12 – 15, 17

What do you do when someone claims to hear from God? In this case, through a vision? If you question the person, you risk questioning God. I get into the whole issue of hearing from God in this post.

And here Eliphaz uses his “dream” to let Job know that he can’t possibly be a righteous man. No one can.

We all know that’s true in the sense that “all have sinned,” yet God has declared Job (relatively) righteous. But these “friends” are out to prove the opposite: that Job’s pain is the result of his lack of righteousness.

With friends like this…

Takeways? When my friends are in pain:

  1. Shut up. And don’t give in to the pressure to speak. Ever!
  2. Don’t suggest the person deserved the pain. Ever!
  3. And don’t say “God told me so.”  Ever!

Today’s Readings: Job 3:1-4:21,  Psalm 91:12-16, Proverbs 22:15, Romans 8:1-17. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).

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