Job is miserable! He is covered in sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. His three best friends come to give him support and comfort.
In the story of Job he is in ‘round two’ between Satan and God for his soul. God counts him as His most faithful servant; His gold standard. Satan thinks he is too good to be true and if things go against him, Job will curse God to His face.
Well, things are going BAD. In round one, he lost everything he owned and even his children were ALL killed in one fell swoop. He held fast to the hand of the Lord. In round two, Satan is attacking Job’s health. God drew the line at killing him but Satan is trying to make him wish he was dead. Job is still hanging onto the Lord. Clinging to Him in fact.
Job’s wife has lost the contest. She has told him to “curse God and die” (verse 9b).
NEVER says Job. “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (verse 10b).
I don’t know if Job’s wife sent for his three closest friends or how they heard of Job’s trouble, but they come running. They drop everything they are doing and come to see Job. They were from different nationalities but we are not told where they were living at the time and I can’t figure it out myself, even with Google. Suffice it to say, they were not his next door neighbors. They did, however, know one another and worked it out between themselves to come and see him together. I wonder how long that took to arrange.
Job’s friends intent is to “show him sympathy and comfort” (verse 11b). When they get there they see him sitting outside his house on the ground. They don’t recognize him at first because he is so disfigured by the sores. When they realize that this horribly disfigured creature is their friend, their jaws drop and their hearts break. They are left speechless. Looking at one another, they agree that they have to go on. “He needs us now more than EVER” they conclude.
Approaching without fanfare or shouted ‘hello’s Job’s friends come and sit down beside him. They offer no words of comfort, only their presence. They sit with him in silence. For SEVEN days. We don’t know if they got up to take meals or breaks. I’m sure they got up occasionally to use the bathroom. It’s possible that Job’s wife brought meals to them. But there was no feasting or celebration of the men coming together. They sat together in silence offering their presence as testimony of their support for their friend.
Today, the friends would have brought along their phone or a book to keep them busy during the waiting. Or more likely wouldn’t have simply waited. We are in a rush to get things done. I know I usually am. I would have been contacting specialists, arranging doctor visits, and going to the pharmacy to look for ANYTHING that could help relieve his suffering. I couldn’t just sit and watch in silence while my friend suffered. We are told earlier that Job used broken pottery to scratch his sores. I’m sure his friends got to witness this. And were treated to the vision of blood and puss oozing from the open wounds.
Job’s friend’s minds weren’t idol while they waited. They were preparing their responses for when he finally spoke. They were devising within themselves just what to say about how Job could have gotten into this predicament. But for now they simply kept vigil with him. I wonder if any of they were planning along the same routes as I would have been. There probably was not that kind of resources available in that time.
Spoiler alert: NONE of them proposed a cure or treatment. All they were really interested in was HOW he got into this situation. Blame was the name of their real game. (Or at least this is how I remember the story.)
Father God, thank You for the friends You have placed in my life over the years. There have been MANY! Each one was special and perfect for the time they were there. From the couple who befriended my family in the Harrogate Tennessee to the woman who walked the roads with me every day in Pennington Gap Virginia, to Wayne who comes running every time we cry for help. Each one is precious. Each one is a gift from You. My ‘family’ makes up my biggest ‘friend’ list. They are the ones who would come running if I were in Job’s shoes. THANK YOU for EACH of them! They would offer me the support and compassion I needed. And most likely would have some ‘advice’ to give too.
THANK YOU that I am not ‘alone’ in anything I go through. I may feel like I am sometimes but I KNOW I’m not. Because I ALWAYS have YOU, even if no one else knows I’m in pain. It is not easy for me to reach out for help. I wonder if Job had that same issue. He didn’t call for his friends, they came on their own when they heard. And he didn’t immediately acknowledge them or ask for their help. He suffered on in silence. Maybe he was afraid of what they would say when he did address them.
Help me TRULY understand this story Father. I’m not asking to become a Bible scholar, just to understand in my own heart this story and have some of my ‘why’ questions answered. I’ll take what You bring to me Holy Spirit.