With Friends like these …
“But what Satan could not do with all his Sabeans, and all his Chaldeans, and all his winds from the wilderness to help him, that he soon did with the debating approaches and the controversial assaults of Eliphaz, and Zophar, and Bildad, and Elihu. Oh, the unmitigable curse of controversy!” Alexander Whyte
Job’s three friends were silent for seven days (2:13), and Job later wished they would have remained that way.
Job 13:5 (NLT) If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.
In Job 3, Job dumps the whole bucket of his pain and lamentation. The first to respond was probably the oldest, Eliphaz. But what did he answer? The pain in Job’s heart? No, he answered the words from Job’s lips; and this was a mistake. A wise counselor and comforter must listen with the heart and respond to feelings as well as to words. You do not heal a broken heart with logic; you heal a broken heart with love. Yes, you must speak the truth; but be sure to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). (in the following chapters we will see this pattern repeated)
Can we learn something or anything from Job’s friends about how to help the hurting? Absolutely. Those first seven days were their golden hour. If they had stopped there they would have been heroes, I think, because they would have shown compassion and patience. And that’s what we should learn.
When you walk into a horrific calamity you should be really slow to speak and quick to listen. You should be quick to cry, quick to hold, and quick to meet needs, bring meals, and wait upon the Lord. The theological wrestling comes later, probably. It’s different with different people.
The principle I wish Job’s friends would have learned is found in James 1:
19 My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. James 1:19-20 (CSB)
Take some time and read through Job 4-7 before Sunday. Eliphaz is not a bad man. He just doesn’t seem to be exuding understanding of Job’s heart nor a submission to the unseen plan of God. Everything for Eliphaz seems to be wrapped up in a very simple package … Nothing is that simple.
See you Sunday,