Monday, February 8, 2010

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies!

Job 15:1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
Job 15:2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
Job 15:3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?

Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz were quite the triumvirate of support for Job. Not! Initially, we can respect their respect for Job. He was in such a woeful state of loss and poor health that that sat with him for three days unable to utter even a word.

Silence can say a lot. They should have left it at that. Once they began their philosophical tirades against poor old Job, they unfairly piled on only to make a bad situation worse. Their accusations and answers to this godly man show us a number of things.

1. Never criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. They were adamant about how he should ride his horse when they weren't the ones in the saddle, they weren't even anywhere near the horse! It is easy to criticize and judge and “go off” with misinformation until you get an idea of what your friend is really going through.

2. They didn't listen well. They heard him, but they didn't really listen. It seemed as if their listening served only to catch him in his words. They would have done better to listen to his heart.

3. They didn't trust Job's judgment. Neither they, nor job could really grasp what was truly transpiring. It was all about a spiritual warfare that was going on over Job's loyalties. Satan and God were duking it out and these guys were majoring on minor issues. Job was trying to get to the bottom of the reasons for his suffering, these 3 were reacting according to their limited knowledge of the ways of God. Their limited knowledge kept them from understanding what Job was trying to say.

4. They couldn't buy his innocence. The 3 amigos didn't want to be confused with the facts. All they knew, or thought they knew, was that if you are suffering, you have sinned. It was all black and white. In fact, Job was innocent, the Lord even testified to his uprightness. But they couldn't grasp that possibility and refused to even consider it. I do feel that with true friends, they don't need an explanation. But with others, they will never buy your explanation.

5. They were unkind to one who needed and deserved the milk of human kindness and decency. Here was a man whose misery was without peer. He was in great need of consolation and help, yet he received speeches. Not helpful ones, at that.

Let's commit to the kind of friendship the sticks closer than that of a brother, that loves unconditionally, that supports and grows and sharpens. Friends like Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz are a dime a dozen, but a real friend is extremely rare and infinitely valuable.

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