Have you ever read the book of Job?
More specifically, have you ever wondered why God commanded three of Job’s friends (not all four) to have Job pray for them.
Why didn’t God have the younger guy (Elihu) pray for the older four?
In Job 42:9-10 we read:
“So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Here are my thoughts:
Job’s fortune was restored only after he obeyed God and prayed for his friends. This act has multiple meaning: Job’s friends were proved wrong – they were made aware that Job was a friend of God and that their opinions of him were wrong. They also came to see that both their remarks and thoughts about Shaddai were erroneous as the Lord revealed in His response to them.
Another meaning that jumped out at me is this, Job had to humble himself and pray for the friends that added to his grief.
I don’t know about you, but it is not easy to pray for someone who has hurt me, especially a sincere prayer for the Lord to show them mercy.
In the above verses we see God not only hearing Job’s prayers, but accepting them.
The Lord only accepts sincere pleas. One scripture says “Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he that comes must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Another reminds us, “The just shall live by faith.”
Faith is not whimsical. It is not a mouth talk. Faith is a heart posture before Almighty.
Side note: The entire book of Job zeroed in on Job. His friends zeroed in on him. The Adversary zeroed in on him. Yahweh zeroed in on him. Mr. Job was the center of everyone’s attention.
Back to Job’s case; Job needed to ask the Lord to forgive his friends and to accept the sacrifice he was about to make on their behalf.
In order for this prayer to be sincere, Job himself had to reach a point of forgiveness for their behavior so that when he spoke to God, it came from a broken and contrite spirit (Psalm 51:17).
I’m thinking Job’s act was one way God used to ensure Job did not entertain animosity against his friends.
The root of bitterness that may have beenplanted was uprooted.
Job was able to rid himself of any anger and sincerely beseech God’s grace on behalf of his companions, Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, who ended up causing him added frustration during his time of testing.
Job had to learn the above through obedience. His obedience came through his time of suffering (Hebrews 5:7-9).
Lessons in a nutshell.
- Compassion is the antidote for anger.
- Forgiveness is the remedy for unforgiveness.
- Humility is the solution for arrogance.
- Sincere giving quickly erodes selfishness
- Love covers a multitude of sins
Father, like Job I find myself surrounded my friends and even relatives who have angered and frustrated me. I find that the root of bitterness and the pangs of resentment towards these folks are ever present. I pray You will give me the grace of compassion, a spirit of gentleness and a heart of forgiveness. Thank You for the example of Jesus, Your Son, who humbled Himself to the point of death, for me. May I strive to be like Him in all I do. Amen.