By: George Zeller
The LORD’s wrath was kindled against Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar— three men who tried to counsel Job in his unparalleled afflictions (Job 42:7). They were deserving of God’s strong displeasure because they accused Job falsely. Job himself called them “miserable [troublesome] comforters” (Job 16:2), and indeed they were. Although these three friends have been considered the most unsympathetic comforters in history, a few compliments may be paid to them:
1) They had an exalted view of God. Without the help of any Bible, they saw God as high and holy and they obviously gave much thought to God and His ways and His dealings with men.
2) They understood Divine justice, that man’s terrible sin must be punished by a holy God. They believed that Job was being punished, and thus they wrongly assumed, without any evidence, that he had committed great sin. They knew that God punished wicked men but they failed to understand that God also tests righteous men, that they might come forth as gold (Job 23:10).
3) They did come to visit Job, not just for a half hour, but for days. How often do we visit those in deep affliction?
4) They wept with Job and shared in his grief (Job 2:12; compare 1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
5) They sat with him in silence for seven days (Job 2:13). There are times when deep tragedy strikes a friend and we hardly know what to say, but we can at least show that we care.
6) They told Job what they thought to his face and not behind his back. Much of what they said was not good, but at least they said it to him, and did not speak wrongly to others about him (2 Corinthians 12:20).
Yes, God can teach us even from these fault-finding companions. They were not totally without virtue.
George W. Zeller has served on the staff of the Middletown Bible Church for more than 40 years. He is a graduate of Grace Theological Seminary where he studied under Dr. John Whitcomb. He has written numerous Sunday School lessons, Bible study materials, doctrinal booklets, and various papers on a wide range of Biblical topics. These studies are accessible at www.middletownbiblechurch.org.
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