Today's Reading: Job 1-2; Acts 7:22-43
Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. Job 2:11-13
Job's friends had obviously been getting reports as to what was happening to him, and at some point decided to come and see for themselves what was going on. He was so severely disfigured that his three friends did not recognize him. These friends came with the purpose to "mourn with him, and to comfort him." But if you continue reading the rest of the book of Job, you will see more criticism than compassion is given by these friends. They each used their own wisdom in giving Job advice and counsel; but their counsel is not of the Lord, it is of themselves. They do not know or understand God's ways. They ended up being anything but comforting to Job, as Job had to defend his own actions and beliefs to them. In the end, God restored Job double what he originally had, and Job was granted an amazing insight into just how glorious and holy God is. As for these three friends, it was Job himself who prayed on their behalf so that God would pardon their sins against him. They may have thought they were helping Job, but in reality they were sinning against him, and God was watching.
God is always watching us too. Sometimes God sets up circumstances just to see how we will respond. Will we turn from the Lord or will we worship Him? People around us will always have an opinion. Some of these people will be true friends who try to help. God is watching them as well. As Christians, we will find ourselves at times on both sides. When life's trials and afflictions hit us, we may feel like Job, and all we can really do is to continue to trust the Lord, to cry out to Him and to worship Him through it all. If we are watching a friend go through a difficult trial, then we must pray for the wisdom on how to help them. It is not our place to give them our personal counsel or guidance. Our role as their friend is to intercede in prayer for them and to help them in the ways that God leads us. We need to provide compassion and love, just as Jesus does to us. We need to remember that God is watching how we will respond in both situations. We must trust the Lord, seek His counsel, and wait upon Him. For in the end, God is the only One who can truly restore us.
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