A Dried-up River Bed
You are the God of the seasons, of the years, of the ages before me and beyond me. I praise You.
Consider: "Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin" (Prov. 18:24, NRSV). A timely reminder.
Many of us have had the painful experience of attempting to explain to a friend how we feel, only to find that we are not believed. Our confidantes think they know better. Job would sympathize! He replies to Eliphaz out of the anguish of not being listened to properly, and he pleads with his friend to do him justice (26-27). Job has never claimed to be without sin, only that he does not deserve the extent of his present suffering. He challenges Eliphaz to specify anything wrong in his life, for then he could repent. He is willing to be shown (24,30)! Eliphaz, however, is too full of his own agenda. Instead of being understanding and supportive, Job's friends have become as unreliable as a stream that one moment is swollen with melting snow and the next is dried up in the summer heat (14-17). Instead of helping Job, Eliphaz has added to the burden placed on him by the Satan's attack. No wonder Job despairs and longs for God to annihilate him (8-9).
Job is also hurt that his relationship with God has degenerated into his being merely an object for God to practice shooting arrows at (4), or so it seems to him; whereas he himself steadfastly sticks to his protestation of innocence before God (10). However, in referring his case to God, here and in the prayer of chapter 7, Job is beginning to find his way through the mire. Maybe, just maybe, God will ultimately listen to him.
True friendship is very precious, but it never gives one side the right to bulldoze the position of the other. Rather than come with our own agendas we need to learn to listen to our hurting friends and respect, believe and support them, giving them space to argue their case with God without fear of our disapproval.
Think about three of your friends. In what ways could you be more supportive of them? Ask God for help.
Lord, thank You for the preciousness of friendship, and especially that you call me Your friend.
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