Seven sons and three daughters, gone in an instant. One minute they are celebrating at their brother’s house, the next “a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead” (Job 1:19). This was the news Job faced only moments after learning his worldly wealth had been destroyed by marauders.
News of Job’s loss reached three friends who travelled to mourn with him. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar (Eli, Bill and “Z” for our purposes) had the right idea. No doubt Eli, Bill and Z had pressing commitments at home. They probably worked overtime to prepare for being gone several days. The cost of camel food may have doubled over the past few years. How could they get it all done; how could they afford to make the trip? Despite these concerns, the guys headed for Job's place. Gift number one was their presence.
Upon their arrival, the guys barely recognized stricken Job. All three burst into tears when they saw the state of him. Gift number two was their unedited sorrow. “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” (Job 2: 13).
At the time, Job needed what bereavement professionals refer to as the silent witness. He was not ready to hear any words of wisdom. He needed a welcoming place to begin to process what had happened. Eli, Bill and Z waited for Job to begin the discussion; until then, they sat in the uncomfortable quiet. Gift number three was their silence.
Sadly, Job’s friends did not stay on their path of helpful action. Join us tomorrow as we return to our story just as the guys blow everything they have done right so far.
May you feel His grace today,
The last Word:
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Proverbs 4: 7b, NIV.