Job's Comforters - Why Four and No More?
- Job 2:11 “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.”
After our big travel trailer wreck in 2003, our infant ministry was in financial danger. Despite only having just begun in January 2002, the Lord had allowed us to come into contact with many friendly churches and ministries. I had preached a wonderful total of 70 meetings in our first year. However, when I asked for financial help after the accident, only 4 ministries gave to help us. Thankfully a few individuals gave enough to keep us afloat. (And many have helped since then all these many years!) Actually the fourth and final ministry to give to us helped us pay off the rest of our small debt in 2004. Sadly, the tiny church was closing and gave the proceeds of its sale to us. Although the money from its closing wasn’t much, our debt wasn’t much either. All we had needed was for people to give and help us. This church’s sacrifice is ever in the forefront of my mind, and another reason why I don’t quit evangelism to this day.
Have you ever considered why only 4 people came to encourage Job after his massive heartbreak? The Bible mentions “Job’s three friends” (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) as well as Elihu in Chapter 32. (Elihu is not called Job’s friend, and yet, Elihu was being a friend. Every believer can and should be a “friend” to those around us whether they consider you one or not. [Pro. 18:24]) According to Job 1, Job “was the greatest of all the men of the east.” Everybody knows how fast news can travel especially if that news is #1) about tragedy and #2) about a well-known individual. If Job was “the greatest of all the men of the east”, most people knew of him and many would have had dealings with Job. And yet, only 4 showed up at first to encourage Job. As one can imagine, this crushed Job:
- Job 19:14 “My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.”
Sadly, Christians are often not there for each other in the roughest times of life. Even the great apostle Paul experienced this forsaking of the brethren in trials.
- II Timothy 4:11 “Only Luke is with me.
- vs. 16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”
In the last chapter of Job (42), the Bible mentions in vs. 11 “all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before” coming to Job’s house to eat with him and comforting him. This happened according to verse 10 when “the LORD turned the captivity of Job.” Praise the Lord that Job had friends and family eventually come comfort him. At the same time, we must remember that time is of the essence in trials. If not for God talking to Job, Job had gone down a dark, bitter road of discouragement, self-pity, and even wishing for death. Christians must be there for each other immediately when trials hit. Otherwise the tempter will get to the hurting before we do, and much damage could come as a result.
Two years into my illness from 2011, I was in the emergency room again. I was in so much pain I had become delirious. I don’t remember much, but before I passed out I remember looking over and seeing Amy calling a bunch of Christians to see if anyone could help look over our two toddlers. No one was available. I have forgotten many things because of my illness, but that sight has been a haunting memory to me. How many are hurting who are not being helped?
- I John 3:17 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”