Notice: register_sidebar was called incorrectly. No id was set in the arguments array for the "Sidebar" sidebar. Defaulting to "sidebar-1". Manually set the id to "sidebar-1" to silence this notice and keep existing sidebar content. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 4.2.0.) in /home/earnestly/public_html/maranatha/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5535
Job – Pull Up A Chair

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. 12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 2:11-13

There’s nothing like dear friends surrounding you with their love, prayers and wisdom during the difficult times in life! As I read Job’s account, I noticed several things that I would like to share.

Job’s friends must have been close friends. Who else would run to their friend’s side for a couple of weeks in order to encourage him? These are the actions of someone who is close to him – notice verse 11 says they came to mourn with him AND to comfort him. They were so distraught at what they saw when they approached Job! They did not recognize him, they tore their clothes, sprinkled dust on their heads and sat with him. Those are the actions of a good friend, don’t you think?

I found it interesting, however, that all three of Job’s friends sat in silence for seven days and seven nights! Really? I say this for a reason. My dearest friend and I each lost a parent three days apart from each other. Although we were separated by a thousand miles, we mourned the other’s loss over the telephone. Had a telephone operator been listening in, they would have heard two women crying openly, talking about their parents and trying to encourage the other. As I look back on that time, it was quite pitiful, to be honest. 🙁

So with that thought in mind, I wondered why Job’s friends sat in silence for seven days? How could they sit in silence? Was it a tradition of the people at that time? I don’t know. The scriptures say it was because of his grief (Job 2:13). I just find it interesting that they could even keep silent, let alone for seven days and nights!

With tradition as the reason set aside, shouldn’t there have been encouraging words spoken at the end of those seven days? I would have stood up, gone over to him and hugged him, cried with him, and comforted him. I wonder what would have been Job’s reaction if his friends had comforted him – if they had spoken uplifting words – if they had prayed with him? Would this next verse have happened?

After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2 And Job spake, and said, 3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Job 3:1-3

It’s so important to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. There are times to keep silent and there are times when we must speak. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) There are times when we must correct as an adult and there are times when we must speak as though we are speaking to a child.

Job’s friends, however, didn’t seem to exercise good judgment, in my opinion. Instead of lifting up and encouraging, they began to pass judgment. Not just one friend, but all three! They had seven days and nights of silence to mull around in their heads all the finger pointing that we read about in the chapters following. It was so bad that poor Job admitted:

To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. Job 6:14

What kind of friends are these? All three were pointing a finger at Job. In essence, they were saying, “You had to have done something wrong or you wouldn’t be the recipient of all these curses!” Before we get all pious, I’m sure we can think of specific incidents in our own lives where we have been such a friend! 🙁 (Matthew 7:3)

As we read on, we see that the three did not mince their words. Job was feeling overwhelmed:

Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. Job 6:27

Despite his friends’ passing judgment, despite the trials of family, possessions and physical health, Job came through it all. How?

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:10-12

Job considered God’s words more valuable and more necessary than food! It was God’s words that kept him alive. It was God’s words that Job lived by before all the tragedies and it was God’s words that sustained him through them all. Job’s friends, and their lack of encouragement, only managed to cause Job to curse the day he was born. However, it was God’s words that brought him through what is considered today the best account of patience and trials! Job is spoken of even today and is used as an example by many: the patience of Job; the trials of Job.

Job lived Psalm 119:92! We have heard the old saying, “Silence is golden.” But it isn’t in all cases. Oh that the believer would rely on the work of the Holy Spirit when it comes to “being there” for those in need!! Would Job have cursed the day he was born if he had been surrounded by friends who would have encouraged him in the Lord instead of being silent? Silence sometimes leads to obsessing over our circumstances rather than overcoming our circumstances. It’s a good thing that Job was spiritually stronger than his friends or we would not have this magnificent book to glean from! I know that I need to turn to and surround myself with Christians who will not sit around and let me fall into the pit of despair but will encourage my heart and lift me up! In turn, I know what kind of friend I must be to others!

~Job 16:1-2 Then Job answered and said, 2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

Poor Job! He lost all of his children, his cattle – everything except a wife who told him to curse God and die, and friends who he considered to be miserable comforters. 🙁 What this dear man needed was someone with a kind word, not to be verbally kicked while he was down! It truly saddens me that usually the first ones to do this are those of the household of faith. 🙁

If the Christians who love to judge would take a “time out” of their self-righteous lives and study what God’s word has to say on the matter, it would be such a blessing to the dear brother or sister who really just needs simple encouragement! Our words have such an impact on other people’s lives. They don’t need encouragement when their lives are in order and things are going well! No! In fact, it is when they are at their lowest that those kind words can be most effective. Proverbs 18:21 says that our tongue has the power of death and life.

~Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Our mouths reflect what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34). If you are not right with God in your own heart, you cannot be of any earthly good to anyone else when it comes to encouragement and uplifting one who is down. In fact, when our hearts aren’t right with God, we say things that can be quite damaging to that person. We say things we don’t mean. We say things that do not uplift the person but tear him down.

You know, there are times when a person just needs to be encouraged – nothing more. There are times when encouragement can be followed by exhortation. Giving someone advice and counsel from God’s word is only as good as the condition of the counsellor’s heart! The scriptures say that we shouldn’t open our mouths to give counsel if we are not right with God (Matthew 7:3). I believe this is where Job’s friends went wrong. I noticed that they were silent for seven days before they spoke. I can just see it now – this gave them plenty of time to think on Job’s life rather than humble themselves before God and ask Him to guide their mouths.

I have a dear friend who has been battling chronic pain for 30 years. Oh how she was judged and continues to be judged by those who claim to be good friends, family and “the brethren.” Surely there must be sin in your life if you’re so sick, or She just doesn’t want to get better or help herself! 🙁 How quickly we are to judge others! It breaks my heart!

There doesn’t always have to be a reason for a Christian’s hardships. Job’s trials were not due to his sin or his lifestyle. He didn’t lose his children because he was a drunk and a horrible father. In the midst of his horrible trial, he needed a kind word. What would have been the outcome of Job’s account in scriptures if his friends had come to sit with him, hugged him, prayed with him and sat with him? A kind word goes such a long way. It is said that a person can live off a kind and encouraging word for a week! Wow!

Our loving Heavenly Father has shown us how to encourage the down trodden by sending His Son to redeem our sinful lives! No greater love is there than this. (John 15:13) That’s compassion! While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) He didn’t sit there and berate us before He died for us. He didn’t make it a point to kick us while we were down. Sadly, Baptists are known for this very deed 🙁 Why is that? Have they taken judging righteous fruit passed what God intended? I believe so. Remember Matthew 7:3!

Christ would never kick someone while they are at the bottom of their “pit” in life. It is while they are in their pit that His compassion comes shining through and He rescues them! Where is that compassion in Christians today? Christ makes a difference in people’s lives and our compassion should make a difference in people’s lives as well. When we have a brother or sister in Christ who is going through hard times, get yourself right with the Lord and then go make a difference in that person’s life.

~Jude 1:21-22 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

Once you sit with that person for a while (without a judgmental spirit, I might add), the Holy Spirit will reveal to you what to say. Take time to listen – take time to cry with them – take time to hold them. If we all waited on the Holy Spirit before opening our mouths, we would surely make a difference in people’s lives.

If you are not going to be the one to exhort (give advice and counsel) this person, then be the one to encourage! Everyone needs a hug – everyone needs a kind word. No one deserves to be kicked like a dog while they are going through hardships. No one!