When you are not the person involved in the predicament or difficulty, it becomes an easy task gabbing or putting yourself in the place of a counselor, therapist, psychotherapist and a professional analyst. It is time to conjure what you feel the person involved has done wrong forgetting that it is not in our ability to speak gigantic words or rhetoric but that the Will of God is of utmost importance.
Such were the friends of Job – Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz all representing Tradition, Experience and Legality having all made their points but to no avail. They didn’t bring the truth; they failed to realize that it is impossible for mankind to keep moral practices sound and inward attitude right while their idea and comprehension of God remains erroneous and inadequate. The corollary effect is that mankind will always remain in that place of incompetence because spirituality can only be brought back into our lives when we begin to think of God more nearly as He is.
Where did their professional counsel leave Job? Their counsel left him more miserable than ever. Job had no choice than to reply them word for word. He told them that: I’ve had all I can take of your talk. What a bunch of miserable comforters! Is there no end to your windbag speeches? What’s your problem that you go on and on like this? If you were in my shoes, I could talk just like you. I could put together a terrific harangue and really let you have it. But I’d never do that. I’d console and comfort, make things better, not worse! He went on!
How long are you going to keep battering away at me, pounding me with these criticisms? Time after time after time you jump all over me. Do you have no conscience, abusing me like this? Even if I have, somehow or other, gotten off the track, what business is that of yours? Why do you insist on putting me down, using my troubles as a stick to beat me? Tell it to God—He’s the one behind all this; He’s the one who dragged me into this mess.
The friends were wrong in their notions about God; they were wrong in their method of dealing with their friend, Job. Was Job right in his reply back to his friends? This is what wrong counsel does, it gets one to a place where one is left with no choice but to speak and when one begins to spill, only the wrong words can come out. Job was rather full of self-vindication, full of invective against his friends, full of mistaken thoughts about God. He turned his face to God and said:
Look at me, I shout ‘loud’ and I’m ignored; I call for help and no one bothers to stop. God threw a barricade across my path: I’m obstructed; He turned out all the lights: I’m stuck in the dark. He destroyed my reputation, robbed me of all self-respect. He tore me apart piece by piece: I’m ruined! Then He yanked out hope by the roots. He’s angry with me: oh, how He’s angry! He treats me like his worst enemy. He has launched a major campaign against me, using every weapon He can think of, coming at me from all sides at once.
The resultant effect of their counsel led Job back to his fundamental problem, which is self. Eve, in the Garden of Eden learnt the great importance of looking out for number one (herself). Her motive was self-absorption and self-satisfaction, which took a lot of self-assertion. She was absorbed in what she would get out of eating from the tree, stifling any concern for what she ought to do – no real concern for anyone but herself. To talk about self is to put you ahead of others, which is contrary to the Word of God. God expects that, we all should start to practice playing the second fiddle.
Like his friends, Job was not informed. He didn’t disagree with their information but thought their information was wrongly applied. For almost twenty nine chapters of the book, the argument went on and the more we read from the debate and arguments, the more we see an impossibility of all of them coming to the understanding of the purpose and reason for going through such a turbulent time. Job was bent on vindicating himself and his friends wouldn’t give up on their accusations. He saw nothing wrong in what he did and they saw nothing right in him. He was determined to hold on to his integrity while they were super determined to find flaws and pick holes, leaving them with no common ground of understanding. Some sort of ministry is needed to bring the right counsel and guidance to them.
He finally got his three friends to keep quiet because they found out that their stratagem was not working, more so, they never had any solution to his problems. According to them, Job was still righteous in his own eyes. They came to the end of their wisdom and knowledge.
The three friends initially came to mourn with Job. They had travelled from far places to see their friend who is in trouble. On getting there, they tore their clothes and put dust on their heads to join their friend in the same state; all these would mean good intentions for their friend. Like Apostle Paul said, they had plenty of zeal but not according to knowledge.
You can have good intentions and if the good intentions are not backed up with the knowledge of God, it’s nothing but emptiness. You can be so emotional about people and their losses; but when your intentions to bring comfort to them aren’t backed up with knowledge, you may inadvertently end up becoming part of the problem. Knowledge with zeal is therefore the key to bringing complete comfort in times of trouble.
“We know enough to make us know that we know very little. The most advanced intellects in the church are but as infants compared with the Ancient of Days. We are of yesterday, and know nothing: with all our experience, with all our study, with all our meditation, with all our illumination, we remain “little children” when measured by the boundless knowledge of the Lord.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon