“For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.” (Job 6:21) Job’s family had forsaken him. And his friends? They were no help either. They saw what happened to Job and were afraid. Their fear caused them to say thoughtless things and to give useless advice.
“22Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? 23Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?” (6:22,23)
“Oh, if you would just comfort me!” Job seems to be saying. “I did not ask you to bring me money or a gift of your things. I did not ask you to try to get my stolen goods back from the enemy. All I want is for you to be there for me.”
What a good lesson in these verses! When a friend is going through great trials and has been stricken down, we do not need to try to fix things for them. That friend is not looking for our money or our advice. He or she is only looking for us to be there. It is enough for him or her if we show that we care.
Job continues, “24Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. 25How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?” (6:24,25)
Job considered Eliphaz’ admonition. Maybe God was chastening him, but for what? Was there a sin in his life he had not confessed? Did his friends see sin in him? The best thing to do was to ask them. “Show me what I have done wrong,” he said, “so that I can take care of it. Speak right words. They are effectual and will show me my sin and what I can do about it. Right words are forcible, but your arguments are useless to me.”
It is so important that we do not judge the life of another by their situation. We cannot assume a friend is in dire circumstances because of God’s chastisement. If we know that friends has sinned, it is right to show him or her that sin, as long as we do it lovingly and also show that friend how that sin can be forgiven and how the situation it caused can be remedied. If we do not know of any unconfessed sin in our friend’s life, we should simply love and support that friend until the hard trial has passed.
“26Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? 27Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.” (6:26,27)
Job’s friends listened to his words and judged his heart by them. They did not consider that these words were coming from a desperate man, a man who had last all and whose body was wracked with pain. A person in this situation might say things he would not normally say. Job said his friends were reproving his words; but he was a desperate man, and his words were as wind.
Eliphaz had told Job that, if Job were right with God, Job’s seed would be great, as the grass of the earth. (5:25) But he was saying these things to a man whose children were already killed and crushed in the grave (5:4). It was too late for them to be great and to flourish. They were already buried and gone. Now Job felt as if his friends were digging a pit for him too.
“28Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie. 29Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. 30Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?” (6:28-30)
In these verses, Job pleads with his friends, “Listen to my words! They may seem strange, but there is no sin in them. You know me. You know whether or not I am lying. I have discernment and know right from wrong. Please consider my words before you reprove them.”
These thoughts can be helpful for us as well. It is easy to judge a motive by a person’s words. However, we must listen carefully. Is there sin in those words? If not, we can simply listen and care. If the person has sinned, God will reveal it to him or her. He will help that person to get the sin right and to be restored. If the person has not sinned, God knows; and He is waiting, that He might show His graciousness to that person. Sometimes that wait is long, but the day of joy will surely come!