A friend in need

Job Sees The Light - Seventh in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion. The New International Version will be useful to compare.

Job 6:1-4 Eliphaz ended by encouraging Job to turn from his wrongs, and in so doing, to enjoy God’s blessings. Job responds, not by acknowledging sin, but by asking for understanding.

The eloquent Job makes no apologies, but only likens the heaviness of his anguish to the weight of all the sand of the oceans. To him it is no exaggeration.

Job 6:5-7 Brutes and dumb animals are quiet when their appetites are appeased, and whichever of these Job most resembles to his friends, he too would cease bellowing if he were not starved for the milk of human kindness and the bread of divine compassion.

God has rejected him and his friend has berated him. The words of Eliphaz are tasteless food, as repulsive as an egg white. Job’s appetite for understanding rages.

Job 6:8-12 His strength is gone. After all, he is only a man.

Job 6:13 But though he is decimated he is not without the ability to reason.

And now, let us remember Satan's goal in this story, that Job should curse God. (Job 1:11; 2:5) So far, destroying his home, herds, flocks and children did not move Job to this sin, nor did afflicting his body and marring his appearance. New tactics are needed when such others fail!

Satan can use emotional upheavals to draw us into baseless controversies with our family, friends and enemies. Then, he sets himself up as both coach and referee, urging each one to fight beyond his endurance and encouraging foul play. Round after round, we go round and round. Once in the ring, it is hard to get out without one party being defeated. Usually, Satan is the only one to win.

Job 6:14 Should a despairing man have the devotion of his friends even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty? Job thinks so. True friends, he believes, should recognize that a despairing man needs support, not criticism.

And Job, would it also be fair to say that a glorious God should have the devotion of his subjects, even when his ways are inscrutable?

Job 6:15-20 Job is severely disappointed in his friends upon whom he had counted for understanding. In the walk of faith we learn to hope in God alone, the one who never disappoints.

Job 6:21-23 Job protests that he has not asked his friends to remit anything valuable for him, but only to support him. They would not give the little they could.

Those who are suffering— whether divorced, widowed, unemployed or bankrupted, often find their circle of friends suddenly depleted. That may be better than having friends who stay loyal but undermine their efforts to recover.

Job 6:24-30 Job is becoming defensive. Though he says Teach me, he does not feel his friends would have anything good to say and resents their meddling.

The defensive person is a mild schizophrenic, for he has two faces within: one with a haughty look, the other which betrays feelings of inferiority. His inner man is plagued with uncertainties about his worth and standing. If he were comfortable with himself, he would not be bothered by outside opinions.

Job’s anger at his friends could reveal a superiority complex. Those with great vanity and pride are the ones who take great offense at their detractors. But perhaps it is only that he resents being accused of wrongs he has not committed. He is being accused of lying, and he resents this insult to his integrity.

Job 6:28-29 NIV It is impossible that one’s integrity can be blackened by the disapproval of other people or improved by their esteem. Integrity has to do with whether our beliefs, words and actions are good and in harmony. What others think of us does not matter. A person with integrity may be the least poplar in a group situation.

Job 6:30 Job insists he has his bearings; his innerworkings— his mind, conscience and discernment are not impaired!

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