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Discovery Magazine 4/1/2006

Job’s Three Friends

Job didn’t know what hit him! He was living life with his family and friends, enjoying the blessings that God had showered down upon him. Suddenly, out of nowhere, calamity struck! He was plunged into misery, heartache, and great pain. First, he lost his possessions and his wealth. Then he lost his ten children—all on one day! They were killed when a tornado collapsed the house where they were having a birthday party. And as if these sad events were not enough, Job was then afflicted with a horrible skin disease that caused painful sores to appear all over his body. The sores caused him constant suffering. He took a piece of broken pottery and began scraping his sores as he sat on an ash heap.

Three of Job’s best friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) heard of his tragedies. So they traveled to where Job lived in order to comfort him and mourn with him over his losses. Job’s body was so ugly from the sores that his friends did not recognize him, and they began to cry when they saw how miserable he looked. They sat down with him on the ground, but they stayed silent for a whole week because they could see that their friend’s physical suffering and grief were very intense.

Finally, Job cried out in anguish. He said he wished he had never been born, or that he had died at birth. He felt he was being tortured. He wondered why he had to endure such horrible suffering. Having spoken, Job’s three friends began to speak one by one. They had one main point, which they repeated over and over again to Job. They insisted that he was suffering because he had sinned against God. They did not know that it was actually Satan who had brought Job’s sufferings upon Him—not because he had sinned—but because Satan wanted to try to get Job to turn his back on God. The friends were wrong in falsely accusing Job. What is the lesson for us? We must not assume that when bad things happen to other people, it is automatically due to some wrong they have done.



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