When you are going through a rough spell (aka it looks like someone has thrown a grenade into the middle of your personal life), you are going to need some encouraging bonfire buddies. However, mark it down…underline it….bold it…italicize it (you get the idea), nothing will draw some major losers out of the woodwork faster than seeing someone go through trials.
I have a sneaky suspicion these supposed friends of Job were all too happy to see this righteous man lose it all. God commends Job as being blameless before Him. You don’t get a recommendation higher than that! Job’s impeccable character would have been known throughout the land. The fact that Job continually did what was right would have probably irked those around him. When it seemed that God was disciplining Job, those three couldn’t saddle their camels fast enough so they could expose Job for the fraud they thought him to be.
Is this ringing a bell with anyone this morning? When you are going through a really rough spot in your life and are emotionally vulnerable, nothing can bring you down faster than the negative and ungodly opinions of supposed friends. How do you know when it is time to get some new smore buddies?
* When they encourage you to doubt God’s character and use their own human reasoning to explain your misfortune.
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto you own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
*When instead of feeling encouraged their advice leaves you feeling anxious. In other words, you are in worse shape after they leave their odes of wisdom than you were just dealing with it by yourself.
Proverbs 12:25, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a GOOD word makes it glad.
*When the advice they are giving is not backed by Scripture. ( The Oprah Show is not a substitute for Godly wisdom.)
Proverbs 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. DO NOT ADD to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
By the time Job’s fire side friends were done with their lengthy accusations (about 30 chapters worth), God has to intervene because after thirty chapters of nothing but foolishness, He has had enough. God says in Job 38:2, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” The Jessica translation would say, “Job, why are you listening to these depressing thoughts with no real substance given by men filled with nothing but hot air?”
God then goes on to point out all the things He controls (the universe, stars, gates of death just to list a few) that even the top scientists of today can’t figure out. We find Job with his hand over his mouth and repentance in his heart. Job drops to his knees and declares, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (Job 42:2-3)
Job’s friends in their zeal to be biblical Dr. Phil’s, forgot the most fundamental truth that God is God. Sometimes there aren’t answers we can wrap our minds around to why God allows us to go through certain trials. The best thing we can do when we see someone we love facing some pretty heavy storms is to direct them to the One who does know all things and pray on their behalf.
Sweet sisters, be careful who you let sit around your fire. If their words of wisdom feel more like poison laced smores, get some new friends. To my faithful, godly, and compassionate bonfire beauties, thank you just doesn’t begin to cover how grateful I am for each and every one of you.
Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”