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Job 2:11-3:10 – Job's Friends Weep With Him

They do the key thing real friends would do – show up.

Job 2:11-3:10 (ESV)

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said:

“Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night—let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it. Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan. Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none, nor see the eyelids of the morning, because it did not shut the doors of my mother's womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes.”

The point of this passage is to highlight the magnitude of Job’s affliction. He’s so beat down that his friends don’t even recognize him. And sitting quietly for seven days isn’t some kind of male bonding; it’s a mourning ritual. Remember, Job lost all his children.

Everything Job had is gone – every possession, every blessing, all his children, and now his health. By every imaginable secular measure, his life has been destroyed. Even his wife seems to have gone around the bend, and she’s no longer an encouragement to him.

At least these three friends showed up to do whatever they can to console and comfort him. And, for the moment, they’re doing the right thing, just sitting there silently.

Job’s lamentation sounds almost sinful, but he does not curse God. He’s just announcing that his pain and despair are total.

When things are bad, it’s OK to say, “Ouch.”

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:11-12 (ESV)

This is not a command to enjoy persecution. Pain hurts. You can take heart that your heavenly rewards will be great – and that can help you endure suffering – but let’s not kid ourselves.

No one is expected to say, “Gee, this is fun.” It’s OK, even glorifying, to pray for relief.

To download a free study guide with this week's Job devotionals, plus some discussion questions, see:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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