Summary: Over at the Compassion prayer station we have three options. Does a friend need a helping hand (a meal, someone to watch their children). Does a friend need a listening ear (someone to walk them through their thoughts and pain). Does someone need a sho
Read Job 4:1-8
Shadowlands Video Clip
Let us look in humility at the path of Job’s 3 friends. They travel a great distance. They sit with their friend for 7 days. They desire for him to be restored. (have any of us done this)
Eliphaz is the senior member of the group and is greatly respected. He does not say anything in Chapter 4 that is contrary to conventional wisdom at the time. The only problem is that conventional wisdom is not always right.
As we dissect Eliphaz’s response I want to be very clear that even in light of Job and in light of Jesus our Savior who suffered. We respond in so many similar ways to suffering.
#1 Friends may try to help with a Pep talk (4:1-6)
- Job you have helped so many
- You have strengthen many people around you
- You know how to handle suffering
- God is your confidence
- Take hope in your integrity
- You are better than this buddy get up and lets get on with life.
This kind of Pep talk can be exactly what a friend needs. We just should not see it as compassion. Please imagine with me the Christian Children’s fund commercial. Imagine the old guy with the beard running around telling starving children. You are great kids. You kids are better than this. Take confidence in God. Lets get out there and get some food. No they need compassion, love, and food.
In Job’s response to Eliphaz in Chapter 6 he says, “you tell me to pull myself up by my boot straps, but I have no boots”
Pep talks can take the form of encouragement, but they are not a great source of expressing compassion.
Good Idea Bad Idea
Good Idea - Giving a friend who is down a pep talk,
Bad Idea – Think all suffering people need is a good pep Talk
#2 Friends may try to appeal to our Faith in God (verse 6)
“Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope.” The problem with this statement is not weather or not it is true. Yes it is true that our confidence should be God. Yes our integrity is what we have when everything else is taken away. The problem is how truth is being expressed.
A friend came to me struggling with his ability to provide for his family. He had started a new job and his income was extremely variable. He was in a great panic about providing for his family. He came to me with questions about what to do. How would this have sounded? Your panic makes me think you do not have complete faith in God. Do you know that your really hope is your integrity?
Good Idea Bad Idea
Good Idea – Ask your friends questions about their situation
Bad Idea – Questioning their Faith in God
#3 Friends might try to connect your sin with the suffering
As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. Eliphaz uses Chapter 5 to explain to Job that we should not despise the discipline of God (verse 17).
Does God discipline people (yes look at Hebrew 12)
Does sin produce suffering (yes)
Are we very good at knowing the difference between discipline, judgment, and bad circumstance? (NO)
Read Matthew 7:1-5
We have a tendency to concentrate on the sins of others and look the other way when they are carrying a burden. Jesus tells us we have this backwards. We are to concentrate on our own sins and concentrate on helping others with their burdens.
Steven Covey tells in, 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, the story of a man who riding an a bus and was greatly disturbed at a young boy who was running up and down the isle of the bus screaming and laughing at the top of his lungs, while the young boys dad just sat idly by. The man could not believe that someone would be so rude and inconsiderate, of the other people around him. He then began to notice other unflattering things about the man. His hair was unkempt so he was probably homeless, and his eyes were bloodshot so he had to be an alcoholic. Finally not able to take anymore of the child this man went and approached the dad and demanded that he get control of his young son.
The dad seeming to be shaken from a trance apologized to the man and told him that the Boys mom, his wife had just died at the hospital after struggling all night and he was trying to think of a way to break the news to the boy.
Good Idea Bad Idea
Good idea - connecting sin with bad consequences