“15My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; 16Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: 17What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. 18The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.” (Job 6:15-18)
Even Job’s relatives had no compassion on him. Job likened them to a deceitful brook. This brook was only there when water was plentiful. During the winter, the brook was covered with ice. However, it was dangerous ice. It was blackish, meaning the water underneath was too warm to walk on. Some of the ice had snow mixed in it, so that was unsafe too. A person could look at the brook and say, “It is covered with ice; it will be easy to cross here.” Yet, if he stepped out onto it, he would sink in the icy water. Job said his relatives were as unreliable as such a brook.
Job continues to explain about the brook. When it is warm, the snow vanishes from the it. During the hot weather, the brook itself dries up completely and leaves nothing behind but a dry path. This brook cannot be depended upon during any season. It was the same with Job’s relatives. They seemed to be friendly and refreshing. However, when things began to get difficult, they started to disappear. When the situation really heated up, they vanished. They were nowhere to be found.
“19The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them. 20They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.” (6:19,20)
To Job, waiting for his relatives to refresh him was like traveling men waiting to find water in the desert. They come to the place where a brook once was, but the water is gone. Only a dry path remains. Hope of survival is gone. Job was like these travelers. His hope was gone. He expected that his family would be there to help him when he was in trouble, but they had all disappeared. Humanly speaking, Job was desolate.
When we see a friend or a family member in desperate condition, do we turn away? Do we neglect that person and go on with our own affairs as if nothing were happening? Do we leave that person to struggle on alone when we could encourage and refresh him or her? The Bible says that, if we do these things, we do not even love God. I John 3:17 says, “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?” The Bible also says, “27Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it . 28Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.” (Proverbs 3:27,28) If God has placed in our hands the tools to help a brother or sister in need, let us ask Him to show us how best to use these tools to meet their needs and to minister to them and encourage them. Let us not be like Job’s relatives who dry up and disappear when one of their own is in trouble. Let us ask God to help us love our brother or sister as we would want someone to show us love if we were in the same situation.
If you are in a situation similar to Job’s, do you feel that hope is gone? Do you feel that your relatives have forgotten and forsaken you? There is hope. There is comfort. It is found in the Lord Jesus. The Bible tells us that “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24b) Although it looked like Job had no more hope, that hope was gone, Job did have hope. In God, Job had a sure foundation of hope. This hope can be yours as well in the Lord Jesus. To learn more about this hope, click on the page “Sure Foundation of Hope.”