If I asked you what the characteristics of a friend are, you might respond using words like loyal, truthful and available. I’d be inclined to agree with those descriptions. What I don’t understand is how Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar could be considered friends, by anyone’s description. When you read of their exploits in the book of Job, you have to wonder how their actions and words could be defined as those of a friend at all. But in both chapter 2 and chapter 42 of Job, the three are referred to as Job’s friends.
Even more confusing is how and why Job put up with them. At a time when Job needed them most, they peppered him with challenges, criticism and a serious lack of compassion. Consider his response: Job 42:10 says, “After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.” Wow!
I have to believe this is not a story retold to highlight Job’s friends. In fact, this amazing set of challenging events in the life of Job helps us to understand why God had so much confidence in him. The devil got it all wrong when he questioned Job’s motives.
Apparently the depth of Job’s character was deeper than many people knew—so deep, in fact, that he chose not to forsake his friends. In today’s vernacular, they had been willing to throw him under a bus! It takes a big person to not retaliate when he or she is mistreated. It takes a strong person to weather the verbal assault that is unfairly launched but it takes a godly person to engage in spiritual intercession for those who, seemingly, least deserve it. But then, God tends to notice those kinds of people—and He delights in pouring out His grace upon them.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” -John 15:12-13 (NKJV)
By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor