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Job 4:7-11 ESV

“Remember: who that was innocent ever perished?

Or where were the upright cut off?

As I have seen, those who plow iniquity

and sow trouble reap the same.

By the breath of God they perish,

and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.

The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion,

the teeth of the young lions are broken.

The strong lion perishes for lack of prey,

and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

Remember back in Job chapter 2, around verse 11?: Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. Job’s three friends may have been some of the worst comforters in history.

Imagine you have a friend in the hospital dying of cancer. You go to the hospital to visit them, and tell them their cancer is the consequence of sin–or at least unwise choices. Even if you have good reason to believe the cancer is the result of something your friend did (let’s say s/he is a chain smoker and has lung cancer), you’re an awful friend. Especially if the purpose of your visit is to show sympathy and comfort.

To make matters worse, Job wasn’t being punished by God for sin. He was being attacked by Satan because he was blameless and upright.

Oddly enough, in accusing Job, Eliphaz was also accusing God. He was portraying God as the sort of deity who watched from heaven for humans to screw up so that He could smite them in His wrath. While He is just and holy, He is also merciful and loving. When we overemphasize either of these aspects of God, we end up with an inaccurate view of His nature. Eliphaz focused too much on God as holy and just, and assumed all evil was the Lord’s punishment for sin.

When we have an inaccurate or incomplete view of God, we tend to do more harm than good. Job’s three friends came to comfort him, but they ended up making things worse because they thought of God as an angry and violent being. Had they considered God was also Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer, they might have done Job some real good.