Sunday, January 17, 2010

Job's friends

In my last post I mentioned that I had asked Bobby how to help one of my friends who is going through a tough time right now and he had whispered in my ear to be a good listener.
Right after that I had been preparing for my Sunday school lesson out of the old testament book of Job. I decided to do a quick reread of the entire book. Just kind of a quick refresher of the book.
That's when I noticed something I had seen before, but in a fresh way.
For those not familiar with the story of Job, Job was an upright man who feared God who lost his ten children, his possessions, and health, boils covered his body from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. He was having a tough time.
Very early in the story he has three friends who come together to visit Job.
Chapter 2:12-13 says, "And when they lifted up their eyes at a distance, and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe, and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great. Chapter 3:1 says, "Afterward Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth."

Now, the fresh thought that came to me:
I had noticed in the past how the three friends rallied around Job and how they were with him and how they said nothing but were just PRESENT with Job. The part I am kind of speculating on and I don't know if this was the case because Chapter 3 verse 1 says, "Afterward Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth." I had always looked at this as the three friends sat with Job and they all, including Job were silent while Job was suffering intense pain and anguish. That very well could be the case. It seems to say that.
But, since Bobby had said to me that the way to help someone through a tough time is to "be a good listener." I thought Job could have been talking. He could have been sharing with them all that had happened. He could have been pouring out all the agony and all the anguish and all his feelings and the three friends could have been listening and then in Chapter 3:1 "Afterward, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth." Afterward, meaning after all his sharing.

No matter which way it was, Job's friends came. Job's friends were present. Job's friends agonized with him. Job's friends empathized with him. Job's friends attempted to comfort.

These three friends started off well, but with time it kind of went downhill.

If you read the entire book of Job you will see each friend trying to explain all of this and give Job advice of what to do. Bad advice it turns out. Much of the book is Job and the friends going back and forth with one another. Nothing the friends say is really helping Job.

Nothing is helping Job until God speaks.

When God speaks then Job is okay.

Same thing I wrote about in another blog about Paul's thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians and how when God spoke Paul was okay.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness."

I believe this was God confirming to me again what Bobby said about being a good listener. That's tough for someone who spent most of my fifth grade year in school writing off for TALKING and then in high school getting two paddlings for TALKING. I spent many years being told "Sue Ann, you are too loud." I have been called the mouth of the south in my younger days.

You know the old saying, "God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason."

They say, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." Who is "they" anyway??

Now, to learn to listen. To close my mouth and learn to LISTEN. I am getting the message, now to obey.

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