Then Job answered and said, I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. – Job 16:1
One of the tragic facts about Satan’s attack on Job was how Job’s friends were used against Job to create further injury. Tragically, those who have been closest to the devil’s target often fall prey to Satan’s deceit. Rather than being the encouragers needed and providing comfort, they add insult to injury. There are some lessons we can learn about how Job’s friends responded when he endured his trial. Consider these facts about Job’s friends.
They told Job that he was reaping what he had sown.
Job 4:7, 8 says, Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. Eliphaz’s response revealed his own spiritual immaturity. How we respond to a friend who is under a satanic attack reveals our own character. Rather than seeing the good that Job had done, he assumed the bad that he had not even seen. Why do Christians assume that a person has done something wrong? Did Christ do something wrong to cause Him to be crucified? This is part of the suffering that a Christian goes through when they are under a satanic attack. They will find that some friends automatically assume that there is some kind of sin in their life.
They demanded that he confess his guilt and stop covering up.
We see this in Job 8:1-3, Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, How long wilt thou speak these things? and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind? Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? It is interesting how often the word “cover-up” is used by friends who betray us when we are under attack. They assume there must be something we are covering. Soon, they begin to see “cover-up” in everything. In almost every attack against a servant of God, the accusation of a cover-up was brought forward against them. Even the Lord Jesus Christ’s silence was interpreted to be an admission of guilt or a cover-up.
They used his children.
Whether or not Job’s children were godly is irrelevant to the attacks on Job for two reasons. First, Job had given offerings on behalf of his children, in case any of them had done evil against the Lord. Secondly, bringing Job’s deceased children into the argument was pure cruelty. However, it is sad how many times children or loved ones are used against the one Satan is attacking to bring further hurt and damage to them.
Certainly, Job’s friends aided in the suffering he experienced. There are three lessons to be learned from these friends who sided against Job during Satan’s attacks.
1. They revealed their true lack of concern for Job.
They were never true friends. They were friends because Job was prosperous and, no doubt, powerful. However, Job had nothing to offer them at this point, so their lack of true concern was clearly revealed.
2. They revealed a lack of spiritual discernment.
This is important in the day in which we live. The internet has exacerbated the vicious attacks against God’s people. If ever we need discernment, it is today. When someone is attacked, we must be discerning enough to see that it is of Satan and to stand by our friends. Nothing reveals a lack of spiritual discernment like assuming the guilt of a friend.
3. They revealed their jealousy of Job.
This is hard fact for a Christian to admit. We see how God blesses a man’s ministry. We see the souls being saved and the lives being changed. In our hearts, we become jealous of the blessings they are receiving. Rather than rejoicing in the good that God is doing through them, our pettiness makes us jealous of their blessings. That leads us to believe the worst about them when they are attacked.
Perhaps, because we have paid such close attention to Job’s suffering, we have missed one of the greatest lessons of this story. Upon closer analysis, one will find that Job’s three friends responded in much the same as many Christians respond when they see another Christian under attack. The “miserable comforters” were never intended to be a pattern to follow nor an example to be upheld. Oftentimes in our churches and among Christian people, it would seem that emulating Job’s infamous friends was the goal. I think it would be fair to say that these fair-weather friends of Job did not realize how they contributed to Satan’s advance on God’s choice servant, but participate they did.
This trio of discouragement will forever be recorded in Scripture as the “Miserable Comforters”. As a friend you and I have the responsibility and opportunity in the ministry of comfort when our friends are under fire. Unfortunately, often we fall short of what God expects of us in the matter of friendship, especially when compared to the Friend …that sticketh closer than a brother.
This was an abridged chapter excerpt from the book, Satan’s Toolbox by Greg Neal.
Pastor Neal, through his preaching and his counseling, displays the compassionate heart of a pastor, follows the true leading of the Holy Spirit, and expresses a fervent desire to see lost souls come to know Christ. It is his ultimate desire to see the greater Jacksonville area reached for the cause of Christ and for revival to come to Northeast Florida.