LINK: Job 5 & 6
In the last chapter, Eliphaz rebuked Job. Now he gives Job some advise that is not wrong in itself, but it was based on the wrong assumption that Job sinned! He was also very smug in his delivery.
Job wanted God to "loose His hand" from keeping Job alive (5:9). The Hebrew word for "loose" has the picture of setting prisoners free (Psalm 105:20). His only consolation or joy was that he was suffering but still innocent.
Sadly, his friends will not buy Job's argument. In Job 6, he compares them to a riverbed which is dried up in the summer when it is most needed. When he most needed his friends, they were a disappointment to him and not kind.
He closes Job 6 asking them to show him where he has erred.
When trouble comes your soul to try,
You love the friend who just "stands by."
Perhaps there's nothing he can do --
The thing is strictly up to you;
For there are troubles all your own,
And paths the soul must tread alone;
Times when love cannot smooth the road
Nor friendship lift the heavy load,
But just to know you have a friend
Who will "stand by" until the end,
Whose sympathy through all endures,
Whose warm handclasp is always yours--
It helps, someway to pull you through,
Although there's nothing he can do.
And so with fervent heart you cry,
"God bless the friend who just 'stands by'!"
Written by B.Y Williams, published in Poems That Touch The Heart by A.L. Alexander
I have a couple of friends going through some tough things. Many hours over the Christmas Break were spent just "standing by" and listening to their hearts and praying for them. I am challenged not to be a friend like Eliphaz who just assumed things about Job and dispensed advice that did not pertain to Job's situation. Eliphaz did not take the time to listen to and hear Job's heart.
We are usually quick to speak and so slow to listen. This chapter challenges me to be a better friend by reading the negative example of Eliphaz.
I have often heard the saying, "The only way to have a friend is to be one." How are you as a friend? How can you encourage a friend today?
Lord, teach us to be the friend who just stands by when our friends are going through tough times. Make us a better friend to others. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.