Miserable comforters are ye all...

by David J. Stewart

The story of Job is heart-touching. Job was a blessed man who feared the Lord. Job was also very wealthy and had many children. One day God was bragging about faithful Job to ole Satan. The devil accused God of protecting and spoiling Job with all the blessings. Satan dared God to remove His hand of blessing from Job, thus to prove that Job would curse God. God agreed to allow Satan to attack Job. At first, Satan was only allowed to afflict Job’s wealth and family. But alas, Job’s health was soon to be taken as well. We read in Job chapter one that Job lost nearly everything—his sons, his crops, his livestock. In chapter two Job loses his health and his wife’s support and encouragement. She prompts Job to curse God, but he does NOT. Notice the phrase repeated over and over again in Job 1:16, 1:17 and 1:18—”While he was yet speaking…” While someone was breaking the bad news to Job, someone else would bring more bad news before the first person had even finished speaking. Then another person came with more bad news before the second person had finished. In all, four people had brought devastating news to Job. Can you imagine the shock both Job and his wife felt? How awful the evil reports they had received—they had lost nearly everything. Job’s wife became bitter. Yet in all this, Job refused to accuse or curse God, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22).

Now meet Job’s so-called “friends”—Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. “Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place” (Job 2:11). I believe these friends were sincere because they wept with Job (2:12). However, well meaning friends can be very hurtful and unkind at times. We soon see that Job’s so called “friends” were no friends at all. Listen to what Job says about them in Job 16:2, “I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.” How often have you had bad things happen, one thing after another, just to find that the people you thought were your friends added more pain to your sorrow. Oftentimes, well-meaning people do more damage than good. When someone is hurting, they need our presence more than our words. Any words spoken should be uplifting. It’s interesting that Jobs friends didn’t say anything for the first week. They didn’t respond until Job had spoken in chapter three. Oftentimes our mouth gets us into trouble. Job was hurting and needed to express himself. His “friends” took his words and used them against him. Eliphaz blamed Job for his calamities (4:7). Bildad blamed Job’s children for what came upon him (8:4). Zophar called Job a liar for defending himself (11:3-4). In Job 20:5, Zophar refers to Job as being “wicked” and a “hypocrite.” Job’s so called “friends” had much to say—all negative. Poor Job!!! Listen to the words of Job, “How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These TEN TIMES have ye reproached me...” (Job 19:2,3). These were NO friends at all.   We learn several lessons from all this:

  • In times of hurt and sorrow, we should turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in Prayer and to His precious Word for consolation and comfort, not to people. Friends and family may let us down but Jesus (God) never will. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1st Peter 5:7).

  • Trust in God!!! Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). People get upset with God today over the silliest things—Job lost nearly everything and still maintained his faith in God.  Happy is the man which trusteth in the Lord (Proverb 16:20), “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy” (James 5:11).

  • Hard times are worth more than their weight in gold, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth…” (1st Peter 1:7). Notice, “MUCH MORE” precious than gold. Why? Because unshakable faith comes from having your faith shaken, and faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6). Though suffering is never a joy in itself, be assured that God knows what He is doing, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2nd Corinthians 4:17). What a blessed truth and encouragement.

  • Suffering is NOT a sign of judgment! If you are a Believer, Jesus suffered your judgment at the cross—you are at liberty in the Lord. You may suffer judgment at the hands of men or yourself, but not the Lord. If God does allow specific afflictions in our lives, it is only because He loves us and has a greater purpose than ours. Affliction is a part of life—for the unsaved, it brings misery with no hope; for the saved, it brings misery with hope. The Believer can sing, “this world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through; my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue...”

Job’s three so called “friends” were all wrong, God was NOT judging Job—he was simply testing Job. God loved Job and had a purpose.  Job is very blessed today in heaven.  He is only there because Jesus forgave his sins.  Are your sins forgiven?  Turn to Jesus Christ now and confess your sins, asking for eternal life and forgiveness.