Monday, January 20, 2020

When Job Prayed For His Friends

By: Joanne Viola

The mere mention of the Book of Job is enough to send one running. The book reminds us of loss and devastation and painful suffering.

After losing everything but his wife, whose only advice was to “Curse God and die.” (see Job 2:9), Job still remained faithful to trust God.

His three friends travel a distance to come sit with him and offer their comfort and counsel. These friends, while meaning well, could only point out to Job that he had somehow caused his own suffering and was reaping the effect of his own sin.

These friends completely ignored the fact that Job was a righteous man, blameless and possessed complete integrity 
(see Job 1:1).

The book of Job records dialogue between Job and his friends, and Job and God. God challenges Job with questions:
  • “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
  • “Where does light come from, and where does darkness go?”
  • “Have you visited the storehouses of snow or seen the storehouses of hail?”
  • “Who laid out the path for the lightening?”
  • “Can you direct the movement of the stars?”
After the first round of questions, the Lord then asks Job: “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” (see Job 40:1).

Job correctly, and wisely, responds: “I am nothing – how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say” (verses 3-5).

God then goes a second round challenging Job again:
  • “Are you as strong as God?”
  • “Can you thunder with a voice like his?”
  • “Who has given me anything that I need to pay back?”
Job fully comprehending what God was conveying to him, now replies : “It is only You who can do all things.”

With that conclusion, Job repented, taking back everything he had said.

But God was not done with him yet, as there were still the three friends who needed to be addressed. The three friends, who meant well but offered wrong counsel.

God offers Job the challenge of praying for his friends. The friends who had not spoken well of him. They had not been a source of comfort, but of criticism. They had not been a balm to his broken heart, but added salt to the wound.

It was in the final chapter of the story I saw something I had not ever seen before:

“When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes.” (Job 42:10, NLT)

May I just clarify, I am not a proponent of the prosperity gospel. However, I do believe in the power of prayer. In this portion of Scripture, the Lord challenges Job to pray for his friends. To intercede for them even though they mislead him and gave wrong counsel.

This speaks to me of praying for others, especially those who may have wronged us. Jesus Himself taught about loving our enemies:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” 
(Luke 6: 27-28, NLT)

Scripture does not record Job’s prayer. We only know Job obeyed in praying for them and the Lord blessed him deeply.This speaks to me of a sure connection between praying for those who have hurt us and restoration. 

As we intercede for others, we let go of unforgiveness, of anger, and of bitterness. In its place, the Lord restores to us His peace, His love, and His joy.
I have loved you even as the Father has love me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” 
(John 15: 9-11, NLT)

Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash 


1 comment:

  1. I would like to point out 1 thing that most people are unaware of. When people quote yeshua saying to pray for enemies they don't understand the definition of the word enemies or hatred. In classical Greek there are 3 words for hate/enemies; dusmenis, polemios, and ekthros.

    Dusmenis = a brother who has been alienated for a long period of time and refuses to reconcile.

    Polemios = someone who is at war with you.

    Ekthros = someone who was once a philos (brother) and has been alienated, but wants to reconcile.

    When yeshua is talking about praying for enemies he uses the word ekthros. The context is about the jews from the tribe of judah changing their hearts to accept back the lost 12 tribes, ie the ekthros.

    Yeshua nor god ever commands man to pray for their polemios.

    Job's friends are the equivalent of an ekthros.


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