According to their folly

The last several verses of the last chapter of Job are quite remarkable. Job repents! He makes a profound confession as to seeing, not just hearing about, God. Nary one of his questions was answered. And, in the end, God described Job as representing Him honestly in contrast to the misrepresentative folly of his “friends”. Not just one time, but twice, God recites the comparison! “The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.’ 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” (Job 42: 7-9, ESV, emphases mine).

So, what gives? Job spoke with boldness, rawness, and honesty out of the midst of his agony. His response was one of utter desperation to his God, who he knew would hear  him in the time of his need. Job never threatened to disown God, but rebuked his wife at the very suggestion. An act of confident worship, reflective of Hebrews 4:16! “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The three “friends” thought they were “spot on”. They used the “right words” to defend God but were way off base. They assumed Job was being punished for his sins and they deemed him guilty. They arrogantly assumed; not just about Job, but also regarding God. They must go to Job and offer a sacrifice. Not only a sacrifice: they are told that “my servant Job will pray for you” and God will hear Job’s prayers! Oh, the irony. They judged wrongly and misused Scripture in doing so. The lesson? Beware how we view, conclude, accuse, judge, and condemn. Beware how we wield God’s word. Job could be any one of us. And, Job’s friends could be one of us, too!