Job 16:2-5 “I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest? I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you. But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.”
Job was in a state.
Calamity after calamity fell upon him. If you or I were to suffer what Job did in one day, I am not sure how we would handle it or respond with the grace that he did. Then, his wife in her grief comes to him and says;
Job 2:9 “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.”
To which Job, even then, points his wife in a godly direction:
Job 2:10 “But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
By the time we come to chapter 16, we find that his friends had tried to process with Job as to why all this had come upon him. Seeing all that had happened, Job’s friends seemed holden to one truth: this is undoubtedly God’s judgment for sin.
Job, too, was at a loss. He had searched his heart and repeatedly asked God “Why?” His wisdom and knowledge of his God knew that there are unsearchable things with God. Situations and circumstance that goes far beyond man’s reasoning. That was when Job’s faith took hold.
Job 1:20-22 “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”
He understood that man is not defined by the possessions he holds and that they are a gift from God that can be given and taken away in an instant. It is one thing to know that truth and wholly another to live it.
Then, Job’s friends come. Upon hearing the news, I am sure their hearts were devastated. So much so that they could not speak for a week.
Job 2:12-13 “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. 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.”
By the time we reach chapter 16, the comforting friends had turned to accusers. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar revealed their limited views, their lack of wisdom, and their inability to comfort one they held dear. But what could they have done?
Closer to home, we all have had situations that have presented themselves that reveal our utter lack or inability to help someone.
I am a Biblical counselor, and I must confess, there have been meetings where sitting across from an individual I hear this inner voice that cries; “I have nothing to help this person!” “What am I supposed to say? How in the world can help this person when I am void of what it is they truly need?”
I am being a bit transparent here, but for a good reason. It is at that moment I pray and ask God for what it is that the person needs. I come as an empty vessel with no preconceived notions as to how they should or shouldn’t live, act, or speak. In being that hollow conduit, I can, by God’s grace, give what the Holy Spirit tells me to them to comfort, to heal, to admonish, and to console.
I have found by failure and success; by learning from those times when I felt I knew what was best instead of listening to that still, small voice just how to counsel someone who comes for help. I genuinely do not have the answers – but I am connected to the God who does!
It is His counsel I seek. It is His path and direction I desire for you. Job’s life and account are there for us to see that even in the most extreme circumstances, God is always in control – even when all around me is a hot, chaotic mess.
Those opportunities, as a child of God, to be there for someone; to indeed be a comfort comes when you and I are clean vessels; devoid of opinions, prejudices, and preferences. I must know that the voice I hear is the Holy Spirit – not some lying spirit trying to derail what God desires to do in the heart of His child.
In the end, Job’s friends suffered chastisement for one reason – they failed to seek God for what to do. How would it have turned out if Job’s friends began a prayer meeting that would extend for as long as it took to hear from God before they even spoke or acted to help their friend?
I have come to realize that God can do an exceedingly and abundantly better job in and through me if I just get out of His way. Far too often, it is as if I look up and say, “God, I got this… ” only to realize I am pushing aside the most significant asset I possess to help someone.
It is pride that forsakes God in situations like that.
May we, as humble children of God, just come sweetly into His presence; sit at His feet and listen for His leading; His prompting, and His words for us to give those we desire to help. We have His promise that all our needs are already met. We just need to get from God what He has for others.