Introduction: After pleading with each of his friends to end their unwarranted attacks, Eliphaz launched a second round of meritless accusations against Job. When Job needed comfort, his friends only offered scorn. Job responded by lamenting his friends’ lack of support. He then again turned his appeals directly to God. Although Job lived without the assurances of God’s Word, believers today do not need to live under the same misunderstandings and uncertainties that Job had about God. Through the revelation of God’s Word, Jesus answers the pleas that Job expressed to his friends and his misunderstandings about God. When you experience pain, loss, or rejection, Jesus offers believers His: (1) comfort / love, (2) encouragement / strength, (3) healing, (4) protection, (5) answered prayers, (6) deliverance, and (7) the hope of eternal life.
First, Job lamented that his friends had failed to offer him comfort when he needed it the most. When the world rejects you in your time of pain, Jesus offers His comfort and love. Second, Job revealed what he needed most from his friends was to be strengthened through their encouragement. When you feel beaten down or defeated and you call out to Him, Jesus offers to encourage and strengthen you. Third, Job incorrectly alleged that God was the source of his physical illnesses and pain. Contrary to what Job believed, Jesus offers you His healing when you are suffering from illnesses and pain. Fourth, Job also incorrectly believed that God viewed him as an enemy and that God was subjecting Job to His wrath. Also contrary to what Job believed, Jesus offers you His protection when you are under attack. Fifth, Job expressed his misunderstanding that his prayers were not being heard. Also contrary to what Job believed, Jesus can answer your prayers when you pray properly. Sixth, Job pleaded for his advocate in heaven to help deliver him. Jesus reveals that He is your Advocate who offers you deliverance. Finally, Job believed that he would die soon with no hope of restoration after death. Also contrary to Job’s misunderstandings, Jesus offers you the hope of an eternal life with Him.
Job pleaded with his friends for compassion. After Job’s friends had each blamed Job’s suffering on his alleged sins, he lamented their unhelpful words and lack of compassion: “1 Then Job responded, 2 ‘I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! 3 Is there no end to windy words? Or what provokes you that you answer? 4 I too could speak like you, if only I were in your place. I could compose words against you and shake my head at you.”’ (Job 16:1-4). Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar originally came to offer comfort and sympathy (Job 2:11). They initially did this by sitting silently with Job for seven days (Job 2:13). But they then attacked him. Like the psalmist, Job was broken-hearted over his friends’ lack of compassion: “Disgrace has broken my heart, and I am so sick. And I waited for sympathy, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.” (Ps. 69:20). “Look to the right and see; for there is no one who regards me favorably; there is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul.” (Ps. 142:4).
Job rebuked his friends’ worthless counsel and urged them to be silent. Job repeatedly rejected his friends’ advice as worthless: “miserable comforters are you all!” (Job 16:2b). “4 But you smear me with lies; you are all worthless physicians. 5 Oh that you would be completely silent, and that it would become your wisdom!” (Job 13:4-5). He would continue to rebuke them in anger: “But come again all of you now, for I do not find a wise man among you.” (Job 17:10). “So how dare you give me empty comfort? For your answers remain nothing but falsehood!” (Job 21:34). Although understandable, his angry words were not a model for believers to follow.
Job alleged that his friends’ comments that were no better than the wind. Throughout the friends’ rebukes, they repeatedly used the analogy of wind to describe worthless words. Job previously asked if they would treat his cries for help like the worthless winds: “Do you intend to rebuke my words, when the words of one in despair belong to the wind?” (Job 6:26). Bildad responded in the affirmative: “2 ‘How long will you say these things, and the words of your mouth be a mighty wind?” (Job 8:2, 18:2). Eliphaz then agreed by dismissing Job’s words of despair as being like worthless winds: “2 ‘Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill himself with the east wind? 3 Should he argue with useless talk, or with words which do not benefit?”’ (Job 15:2-3). Job responded by alleging that it was in fact his friends who offered worthless words with their false condemnations of him: “3 Is there no end to windy words?” (Job 16:3).
Job’s friends unfairly made him the object of ridicule. At a time when he needed help, his friends only gave him ridicule and shook their heads at him. He made clear that he could use the same words of condemnation if they had suffered an unexplained misfortune: “4 I too could speak like you, if only I were in your place. I could compose words against you and shake my head at you.” (Job 16:4). The Psalmist also lamented the scorn that he received: “All who see me deride me; they sneer, they shake their heads,” (Ps. 22:7). “I also have become a disgrace to them; when they see me, they shake their head.” (Ps. 109:25). This foreshadowed the scorn that Jesus received: “And those passing by were speaking abusively to Him, shaking their heads,” (Matt. 27:39). “Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,”’ (Mk. 15:29).
Jesus offers you His compassion and love. When the world turns against you, Jesus offers you His comfort and love: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). “But God, who comforts the discouraged, comforted us by the arrival of Titus;” (2 Cor. 7:6). “I, I Myself, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you are afraid of mortal man, and of a son of man who is made like grass,” (Is. 51:12). Are you crying out to Jesus for comfort?
Show love to those who hurt you. Job’s friends failed to show Job the love that he deserved. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (Jo. 13:34). This commandment also required Job to love his friends, even though they were hurting him with false accusations of sin: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt. 5:44). When you show kindness and love to your enemy or attacker, the Apostle Paul reveals that you “heap burning coals on his head.” (Ro. 12:20). When others attack you, do you respond with Jesus’ love? Or, like Job, do you feel the need to defend yourself by responding to another person’s mean insults with your own ugly insults?
Job pleaded for his friends to encourage and strength him. Job lamented that he could find no strength or encouragement from his condemning friends to endure his pain: “5 Or I could strengthen you with my mouth, and the condolence of my lips could lessen your pain.” (Job 16:5). “This gives the sense, ‘I, if I were in your place, would not act as you have acted, but, on the contrary, would do my best to strengthen you with words of comfort and encouragement.”’ (Pulpit commentary on Job 16:5).
Jesus offers you comfort in your times of distress. When you feel attacked like Job, Jesus offers to comfort you: “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” (2 Cor. 1:5). He can also strengthen you in your time of need: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,” (1 Tim. 1:12). “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self,” (Eph. 3:16). If you are in need of comfort or strength, are you turning to Jesus?
Encourage one another with love in times of distress. Even if Job had sinned, his friends should have employed love and encouragement to bring Job to a better place. God wants you to be a source of encouragement to others. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13). “But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.” (Heb. 13:22). Will you encourage others the way God is there for you?
Job pleaded with God to lift his pain and illnesses. Job then turned to God and lamented what he incorrectly believed were loss, pain, and infirmities that God allegedly inflicted: “6 If I speak, my pain is not lessened, and if I refrain, what pain leaves me? 7 But now He has exhausted me; You have laid waste all my group of loved ones. 8 And you have shriveled me up, it has become a witness; and my infirmity rises up against me, it testifies to my face.” (Job 16:6-8). As Job had previously lamented, merely stating that he would get through it would not, in his mind, cause God to lessen his pain or bring him comfort: “Though I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put my face in order and be cheerful,’ I am afraid of all my pains, I know that You will not acquit me.” (Job 9:27-28).
God can restore the health of a faithful believer. Job lacked the promises of God’s Word. Through Moses, God promised to pour out His blessings on those who live in faith-led obedience (Dt. 28:1-2). This can include His promise to withhold diseases and poor health: “And He said, ‘If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.’” (Ex. 15:26; Dt. 7:15). ‘“See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”’ (Dt. 32:39). “ . . . the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.” (Is. 30:26). “For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.” (Job 5:8). “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3). “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Ps. 107:20). Hezekiah later cried out to God when he was facing certain death. God answered his prayers by healing him and by adding 15 years to his life (2 Kgs. 20:1-7). If you are in need of healing or a loved one has this need, are you crying out to God?
All things are possible with God when you have faith. When you have faith, there is no miracle that is too big for God: “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14(a)). “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jer. 32:27). “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2). “‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ (Matt. 19:26(b); Mk. 10:27(b); Lk. 1:37). “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro. 8:31). God also wants you to turn to Him in faith when your health issues seem impossible. His miracles happen every day.
You cannot earn God’s healing through your works. By Jesus’ stripes you can also be healed from any infirmity: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Is. 53:5; 1 Pet. 2:24). He is so powerful that He healed a leper merely with His touch or His command: “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matt. 8:3). Although your faith-led obedience can bring His blessing of healing, you cannot earn His healings through your works. This would undermine Jesus’ sacrifice. God illustrated this principle in the Old Testament through His healing of the Syrian leper Naaman. Naaman wanted to earn his healing through a dramatic test of his strength in the raging mountainous rivers in Syria. He did not want to dunk himself seven times in the calm Jordan River (2 Kgs. 5:9-12). God never wants you to serve Him with the wrong motives. Yet, He also wants you to know that His offer to bless and restore your health are real. Serve Him in obedience and let Him bless you.
Cry out to God when you need deliverance from an illness or disease. Some think that a true person of faith should stoically accept an illness. Yet, David cried out for God when he needed healing: “O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.” (Ps. 30:2). “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; Heal me, O LORD, for my bones are dismayed.” (Ps. 6:2). “As for me, I said, ‘O LORD, be gracious to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”’ (Ps. 41:4). Moses also cried out for God to heal his sister Miriam from her leprosy: “Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘O God, heal her, I pray!”’ (Nu. 12:13). Hezekiah was a man faith because he cried out to God for divine healing (2 Kgs. 20:1-7). Have you cried out to God if you need healing?
Job pleaded with God to turn his alleged anger from him. Job then lamented his incorrect belief that God had purportedly turned His wrath against him as a wicked enemy: “9 His anger has torn me and hunted me down, He has gnashed at me with His teeth; my enemy glares at me. 10 They have gaped at me with their mouths, they have slapped me on the cheek with contempt; they have massed themselves against me. 11 God hands me over to criminals, and tosses me into the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, but He shattered me, and He has grasped me by my neck and shaken me to pieces; He has also set me up as His target. 13 His arrows surround me. He splits my kidneys open without mercy; He pours out my bile on the ground. 14 He breaks through me with breach after breach; He runs at me like a warrior.” (Job 16:9-14). Job previously stated his belief that God viewed him as an enemy: “Why do You hide Your face and consider me Your enemy?” (Job 13:24). “For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, my spirit drinks their poison; the terrors of God line up against me.” (Job 6:4). And he would continue to labor under this false belief: “He has also kindled His anger against me and considered me as His enemy.” (Job 19:11). He further saw his friends as persecuting him the same way as God allegedly did: “Why do you persecute me as God does, and are not satisfied with my flesh?” (Job 19:22). Job failed to understand God’s deep love for him.
God will bless you with His protection when your faith leads to the fruit of obedience. Job was simply wrong to interpret his trials as evidence that God viewed him as enemy. Job had lived a righteous life (Job 1:1). God later promised to protect His people from their enemies when they acted with faith-led obedience (Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22; Nu 10:9, 35; Isa. 54:17; Gen. 22:17). God will also bless you with His hedge of protection against your enemies: “7 The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.” (Dt. 28:7). For those who are obedient and take refuge in God in the face of the enemy, He promises to be a shield against the enemy’s fiery darts: “He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5(b); 2 Sam. 22:31). With God’s help, Jonathon killed 20 enemy soldiers (1 Sam. 14:14). Likewise, it was God’s blessing that allowed David to kill Goliath (1 Sam. 17:50-58). God also used Gideon’s small army of only 300 soldiers to kill 120,000 enemy Midianites (Jdgs. 7:16-22; 8:10). When you are feeling under attack, are you praying for Jesus to protect you from your enemies? “Arise, LORD; save me, my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.” (Ps. 3:7).
Job pleaded with God for his prayers. In his sorrow, Job also expressed his lament over his claim that there were no serious sins that should be hindering his prayers for deliverance: “15 I have sewed sackcloth over my skin, and thrust my horn in the dust. 16 My face is flushed from weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids, 17 although there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure.” (Job 16:15-17). Job again misinterpreted his trials as evidence that God was not listening to his prayers.
The effective fervent prayer of the righteous can accomplish great things. Although Job lacked the benefit of God’s Word, God later made clear that that those who pray in faith and confess their sins can accomplish great things through Him: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Ja. 5:16). In a similar way, God heard Elijah’s prayers to both stop and later restart the rain in Israel: “17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (Ja. 5:17-18). God also heard Hezekiah’s prayers when he prayed for His intervention: “20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.”’ (2 Kgs. 19:20). God also wants you to pray fervently to Him to intervene when you need deliverance. “Let my cry come before You, LORD; give me understanding according to Your word.” (Ps. 119:169). “In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.” (Ps. 18:6).
Pray without doubt. You are part of Jesus’ holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). As His appointed priest, God will hear and respond to your prayers. Yet, your prayer will not likely be answered when you pray with doubt. “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, . . .” (Jam. 1:6). Are you praying with doubt about whether God will respond?
Job pleaded for his Advocate in heaven. In the face of scoffers and his incorrect belief that God viewed him as an enemy, Job pleaded for his Advocate: “18 Earth, do not cover my blood, and may there be no resting place for my cry. 19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high. 20 My friends are my scoffers; my eye weeps to God, 21 that one might plead for a man with God as a son of man with his neighbor!” (Job 16:18-21). Although many of Job’s comments were misplaced, he had the faith to know that he in fact had an advocate in heaven (Job 16:19). “Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, He will take His stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25).
Jesus is your Advocate. Job’s plea foreshadowed Jesus Christ. His is your counselor (Is. 9:6) and your only mediator to God the Father (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus also advocates for you in the same heavenly court: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1 Jo. 2:1b). “Christ Jesus . . . also intercedes for us.” (Ro. 8:34). “Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25). “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 Jo. 5:14). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). If you are need of help or feel that you are under attack, Jesus wants you to call out for His deliverance.
Jesus can deliver you. When Moses faced a Pharaoh with an arrogance and distain for Yahweh, Moses advised that he would live to see Yahweh’s power: “Then he said, ‘Tomorrow.’ So he said, ‘May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God.”’ (Ex. 8:10). Approximately 80 years later, Moses told the Jews that God allowed them to witness His many miracles in the wilderness so that they would know that He is unique and unlike any other: “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” (Dt. 4:35). David also proclaimed God’s unique power: “For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (2 Sam. 7:22). Isaiah also counseled the people who lived in Hezekiah’s time that God was not like an idol: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”’ (Is. 44:6). “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,” (Jer. 32:17). With faith in God, even the impossible is possible: “And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ (Matt. 19:26; Mk. 10:27). When you have faith, Jesus can deliver you from any enemy or trial that you may face.
Depend upon Jesus, the Rock of your salvation. David placed his trust in the “the Rock of Israel”, who encouraged him: “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Sam. 22:3; Ps. 18:2). “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my salvation,” (Ps. 18:46). “The LORD is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed.” (Ps. 28:8). Paul reveals that “the rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4). He is our Rock and the power or horn of our salvation: “And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant—” (Lk. 1:69). Like David, Jesus wants you to call upon Him as your Rock of deliverance in times of trouble.
Job saw his life as ending soon with no hope for his life after death. Because Job incorrectly believed that God viewed him as an enemy, he saw no hope, even in death: “22 For when a few years are past, I shall go the way of no return.” (Job 16:18-22). Job previously stated his lack of hope in his afterlife: “Before I go—and I shall not return— To the land of darkness and deep shadow, the land of utter gloom like darkness itself, of deep shadow without order, and it shines like darkness.” (Job 10:21-21). As one commentator observes: “Job would not live long enough to see his longing fulfilled in Jesus Christ, yet He would be eventually comforted by the anticipation of that fulfillment.” (David Guzik on Job 16). You also have hope through Jesus.
Jesus offers you the hope of eternal life. While Job saw himself as headed to a place of darkness, Jesus offers the hope of eternal life in heaven: “but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Tim. 1:10). “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life;” (Ro. 2:7). “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” (Ro. 12:12). “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Heb. 10:36). Thus, you have many reasons to praise Jesus.
Let God use your trials to build up your faith. God tested Job so that he would have a deeper understanding and trust in Him. He would learn that not all suffering was a punishment. Your trials should produce also perseverance and endurance (Ro. 5:3; Jam. 1:2-3; 2 Cor. 1:8-10). Are you turning to Jesus to build up your faith during your trials?