Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Can I Say Something?

The camel bumbled along, and the deep tilt of the beast, swaying left and right, was making him sick. The sooner they arrived, the sooner he could get off this beast.

Bildad looked over at Eliphaz and Zophar. "How much further?"

"I already told you we were almost there." Eliphaz grunted.

"It's only been an hour since you last asked," Zophar said.

Bildad sucked in a deep breath, and waited for the nausea to pass before answering. "Well, that was one hour too long."

Bildad urged his camel to a stop, and slide off. He would walk the rest of the way. He ignored the way the other two men rolled their eyes.

They soon started to approach Job's land...but it didn't look right. Everything around them looked burned, windswept, or destroyed. Bildad felt his stomach turn again at the sight of carnage and the smell of decaying flesh. The only thing that seemed to be in abundance was scavenger birds.

They caught sight of Job's house. It looked remarkably intact from their vantage point, despite the destruction of the surrounding land.

But then they saw him.

At least they presumed that was Job. Whatever it was, it was sitting in a heap, outside the doorway.

None of them spoke as they approached the blob formerly known as Job. They didn't need to say a thing; the broken look in Job's eye said it all.

Silently, the men tired their camels up, and hunkered down with Job.

Based on Job 2:11-13

You know what I find interesting, these men, plopped down next to Job, and didn't say a word. They Bible says that they set aside a time to come together so that they could show Job sympathy and support.

What I wonder is how did those men go from seemingly sweet, to attacking Job's faith for the majority of the book? There are even moments when I wonder if these guys were really friends.

"Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent." Proverbs 17:28

At the end of Job, in chapter 42, you see that God is angry with Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad passing judgement on a situation that they knew nothing about. Job had to offer sacrifices, and pray to God for forgiveness for them

There is something to be said for shutting up, and showing your support for a person. Talking seems to be the thing that gets us into trouble.

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19

What I want to say today, is that we need to think before we speak. We can speculate all we want about the ulterior motives of Job's friends, but the fact of the matter is, their presence was comforting - until they opened their mouths!

I don't want to be the kind of person, the kind of friend, or the kind of Christian who doesn't have a clue about showing people love and comfort. I don't want to appear wise until I open my mouth. I want to be the kind of person who would have defended God and Job, like Elihu in the book of Job. Sometimes it's just as simple as the sage advice from Thumper, in Bambi. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

V. Joy Palmer

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