Last Sunday and this Sunday I am preaching on the book of Job. Answering tough questions this book of the Bible raises about the heart and character of God. Where God seems far from good. Far from what we see in Jesus.
One part of my sermon that I left on the proverbially cutting room floor centered on the actions of Job’s three friends. So I decided to blog about it.
In Job 1 & 2, disaster after disaster happens to Job. Thousands of his animals are either stolen or slaughtered. Countless servants are executed. And all ten of his children are crushed to death. Then right after a less-than-helpful conversation with his wife (where she tells him to curse God and die), this happens:
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. (Job 2:11-13)
If you’ve ever studied the book of Job or heard a sermon about it, Job’s friends catch a lot of flack. And rightfully so.
But not because of those three verses.
Job’s friends did it right at first. They hear about the tragedies their good friend has just experienced so they drop everything to be at his side. They weep when they see him and then they give him a powerful gift. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.
They gave him the gift of 168 hours of their time.
And what did they do during these seven days? No one said a word to him… They spent time with Job but they didn’t attempt to “help” him by offering their perspective on why bad things happen to good people or feeling the need to quote any Bible verses to him in an attempt to make him feel better.
They simply sat with him.
Job’s friends did it right at first.
Then, for whatever reason, they changed tactics. Chapters 3 through 31 of the book of Job contain an accusation-heavy conversation where Job’s friends take turns blaming him and pointing the finger at him. As the old saying goes, “with friends like these…”
Let me ask you three questions. May you spend time reflecting a bit on each:
- When bad things have happened to you, have you ever had friends that did what Job’s friends did in Job 2:11-13?
- When bad things have happened to you, have you ever had friends that did what Job’s friends did in chapters 3 through 31?
- Who is someone in your life right now going through a rough time that would be blessed with the gift of your time and your presence… and your silence?
***Please join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. This Sunday’s sermon is titled “Answering Tough Questions About the Book of Job.” Where God seems far from good. Far from what we see in Jesus. Bring your thinking caps. And bring a few friends! February 16. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***