When you think of God’s servant Job, no doubt you think of suffering. A man of extreme wealth who was blessed with a large family and respected in his community, Job literally lost everything – including his health!
We all know that Job’s friends received a terrible report card for their theology. In fact, their theology was so bad God actually said He was mad at them because they did not speak properly about Him (Job 42:7). Although they were not mature enough spiritually to mentor Job in his unusual situation, they were actually very good friends. Don’t believe me? Test your own friendship against theirs and see how you do.
A Good Friend HEARS (Job 2:11a)
Job & his three friends lived along a trade route on the west coast of modern Saudi Arabia. Zophar came from Naamah which was west of Job’s land of UZ, while Eliphaz traveled up from the southeast, and Bildad was in the same general region as Job. As news of Job’s downfall spread across the trade route, the three friends heard of all the evil that came upon Job. They didn’t just hear in the sense of idly listening to the town gossip. They listened with an attitude that would cause them to take action. Do you listen to news to see if there is a need you might be able to meet? Job’s friends did! A great way to test ourselves is to ask, “What am I doing about friends’ needs I already know about?”
The desire to hear details of a terrible situation with no intention to help is a desire for gossip. The desire to hear details of a terrible situation with the intent to help is a desire for friendship.
A Good Friend HELPS (Job 2:11b)
When Job’s friends heard of his plight, they made an appointment to visit him in his distress. Their plan was to come and mourn the loss of his children and wealth. They also purposed to do their best to comfort Job. When is the last time you scheduled an appointment solely for the purpose of helping someone in need? If we are not intentional – written down and with a deadline, we may never have the time to help our needy friends! Put this in your calendar:
I am going to help _______________ this week.
A Good Friend HURTS (Job 2:12)
Upon finally seeing Job, the three friends broke down and cried. These distinguished businessmen destroyed their designer clothes by tearing them in distress. They reduced themselves to throwing dust in the air as a sign of despair for their friend Job. It has been well stated that compassion is your hurt in my heart! Do you hurt when other people suffer? Who do you know that is hurting right now? How can you empathize with them today?
A Good Friend HOPES (Job 2:13)
Hope is one of the most valuable assets you can give to your friends! Job’s friends neglected their typical comforts choosing rather to sit with Job on the ground. They stayed there, day and night, for the next seven days. We spend time on the things we value. Spending time with people – even if it makes us uncomfortable – is a sign of true friendship. It shows that person that we believe they are valuable and there is hope!
Some people think they cannot help because they are not well spoken and don’t know what to say in difficult situations. Job’s friends spent seven days and nights in complete silence with Job. In reality, they were better friends while they remained silent! Most of the time we don’t need to have the perfect thing to say; we just need to be there for our friends.
How did you do? Are you a good friend? What could you do better this week for the people who call you their friend? HEAR, HELP, HURT, HOPE, & be an awesome friend!