Day 10

Eliphaz’s Second Speech and Job’s Reply

from the Job reading plan


Job 15:1-35, Job 16:1-22, Job 17:1-16, Romans 12:9-15, James 5:8-11

Do you remember the television show America’s Funniest Home Videos? It showcased real people attempting a lot of foolish things, all while their friends and family cheered them on, laughing at them and filming the events for posterity. It’s worth noting that if a friend tells you to stack one ladder on another so you can paint the second story of your house, first ask if they will pay your hospital bills. Counsel can be good, and it can be bad; it can revive or it can ruin. Job knows this firsthand.

Job’s friends turned on him. They probably thought they were helping. After all, they had already grieved with him. Maybe they even thought, How long are we supposed to sit quietly with him? He needs to fess up already. So, Eliphaz grabs the mic and accuses Job of sin, reasoning that Job’s trials are his own fault. He even manages to crush the rest of his friends in the process, saying, “I have heard many things like these. You are all miserable comforters. Is there no end to your empty words?” (Job 16:2–3).

If we aren’t careful, we can be miserable comforters to our friends. We can’t speed up anyone’s season of suffering. When we become impatient, exasperated, or just fed up with the trials of another, we become what we hope would never come our way in our time of need. An accuser. A tempter. A liar.

Rash counsel and rushed advice can injure those who hear. If we don’t give careful consideration to our counsel, we will throw spiritual platitudes and canned Christianese at our friends as they walk through real pain, suffering, and heartache. It will make us feel better because we’re involved, but we will crush our friends as they hear our words. Yes, we are commanded to bear one another’s burdens, but not to fix them. The Lord tells us to pray and encourage one another, not blame one another.

If we, like Job’s friends, try to figure out our friends’ suffering, we run the risk of jumping to wrong conclusions because you and I are not God. We ought to point one another to the risen Christ, who also endured awful advice from His friends (Matthew 16:21–28). We should pray for our friends to find comfort in the Wonderful Counselor. Jesus knows what to do, and the Holy Spirit will give our friends the comfort they truly need.

Written by J. A. Medders

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