As I have been reading and studying the book of Job, I noticed that the friends Job had were not encouraging to him during his season of suffering. His friends instead tried to figure out what Job had done wrong that caused God to seemingly be ‘punishing’ him.
In the Old Testament days it was believed that if you were ‘upright and righteous’ you would find favor with God and He would be sure you ‘prospered’.
However, the scripture is very clear that Job was righteous and blameless; which is why Job was so distraught when he began losing all of his wealth, quickly followed by his family and his own health.
Job cried out to God asking ‘Why’; he was not trying to argue with God he truly wanted to know if he had done something that caused him to lose favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Job’s friends remained strong in their belief that Job could not possibly be righteous if God took away his prosperity. His friends ridiculed him and tried to convince him that he was not in good standing with God.
This upset Job and he made it clear that their words were foolish and that the Lord gives and takes away, but God is still good regardless.
Zophar tried to convince Job to repent for proclaiming his innocence and righteousness; scolding him that he does not have the knowledge or power to know God’s immeasurable or limitless being and wisdom.
This only confirmed Job’s complaint– God was not acting predictable according to their understanding of Him. Job rejected the faulty ‘wisdom’ of his friend, because He knew that God was ultimately in control regardless of what the circumstances may look like.
Job accused his friends of misjudging him and then stood up to them by making it clear that he is not inferior to them. Job dismissed their criticism and said that they were ‘forgers of lies’ and worthless physicians. (Job 13:4)
According to Job, his friends were speaking out of vain; they intended to offer him comfort in his spiritual distress but instead was passing judgement and giving faulty advise.
Job tells them a better expression of wisdom from them would be to ‘be quiet’. Their counsel was not helpful nor comforting to Job; it only further complicated his circumstances.
Job finally told his friends to basically stay out of it while he pleads with God.
See Job didn’t blame God or accuse him of wrongdoing; Job wanted to sincerely know and understand why God seemed to be giving so much attention to his being. He truly wanted to know why he needed to suffer so much when his faith was unwavering.
Despite all the questions Job cried out to God he remained firm in his belief that one day God would vindicate him; which is exactly what would happen. Job knew that no matter what life looks like his hope could only be in God.
If Job would have listened to his friends counsel and assumed God was punishing him and that he was in fact not righteous this could have led Job down a dark and depressing path, walking away from God instead of running into His arms for grace, protection, love, and justification.
When seeking comfort and/or counsel from someone we need to be mindful on who we are trusting. Although some may have good intentions they cannot give good sound advice regarding your circumstances if they have no understanding or lack Godly wisdom.
Our best bet is to take our questions and concerns to God and not allow those around us to influence our choices, actions, reactions, and especially not our faith.
Have you ever felt like God was punishing you for something and that is why you are suffering? Did you seek comfort and/or advice from a friend? Was it helpful?
How does this example from the book of Job change the way you view suffering and who we choose to seek comfort in during it?
Is God telling you anything specific about your circumstances, suffering in general, or seeking comfort and counsel while reading this article?
Call to Action
Declare over your life that God is NOT punishing you and He is NOT mad at you.
Pray and Journal what God is speaking to you about current or past seasons of suffering.
Make a goal to be mindful on who you share your suffering with and be sure you always take it to God first.
I thank you today for this message on suffering and choosing who we seek comfort and counsel from wisely. Lord sometimes we get so caught up in the hurt, suffering, and grief that we lose control of our words and tend to share to much with the wrong people. Lord I confess I am guilty of not seeking Your comfort and counsel first and allowing those around me to affect my actions, thoughts, and faith in You.
I pray that each person that reads this article will be moved by Your Words and have discernment when seeking comfort in others. Lord I pray that You would ignite a fire in each of us that would encourage us to seek You first above all else. Help us to remember that Your love, mercy, forgiveness, and justification does not come from our actions but from You and You alone. I pray that each would feel Your presence surrounding them in their seasons of struggling and know that You are with them.
I pray for protection over our minds and spirit from the words of those who are faithlessly giving us faulty advice. I pray that our hearts be protected by Your hand and that we remember You are the ultimate comforter and counselor. In Jesus mighty name I pray