Job and His Friends: A Modern Application
Ivie Bozeman

"When Job's three friends--Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite--heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him." (Job 2:11 NIV) {Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. KJV}

Job's modern day friends would fall into three categories. One would believe in surgery as a cure for Job's boils: "You need to find a good surgeon, have your problems removed." He would then proceed to tell how he or one of his friends just recently had surgery. There wasn't anything to it. He was back at work in no time, with his problem gone.

The second friend would be a believer in Alternative Medicine. He would tell Job not to have surgery or go with these modern day medicines that poison the system. Natural substances that come from plants are what his body needs. When he starts eating right, exercising, and getting the proper amount of sleep, he will get well.

The third friend would tell Job it is some sin in his life that is causing his suffering. He explains to Job that a God of love does not let the innocent suffer. Once Job examines his conscience, discovers the hidden sin, asks forgiveness, God will heal him.

By this time, Job would be beginning to feel that with friends like his, he doesn't need enemies. He knows his relationship with God is pure and there are no hidden sins for which he is suffering.

With all Job's friends and their good intentions of bringing comfort and empathy, he would feel worse than he did before they came.

Are we guilty of being like Job's friends at times? Do we leave the patient feeling guilty because he has not recovered from his surgery as quickly as others we know? Comparing people and their recovery times, places a sense of guilt on the person. Is it something they are doing wrong that keeps them down long after someone else has recovered? Are they weak people who cannot bounce back as quickly as your friends?

Do we compare the different doctors, leaving the patient to think his physician or hospital was not quite the same as others?

Do we question the patients' spiritual life, trying to place the blame on sin or backsliding in the faith as a cause of the illness?

Do we tell the patient that if he will experience an attitude adjustment, rid his mind of all negative thoughts that he will get well or be much better?

Do we visit a patient, and upon seeing an old friend visiting or a family member more interesting, focus all our attention on the visitor rather than on the patient we have gone to visit?

Job is to be commended on his strong faith in God during his time of illness and trials.

Today, we have Jesus Christ who died on the cross to save us. There is no kind of suffering we can experience any more severe than Christ suffered. Jesus prayed to the Father to have the cup of suffering removed from him. He was not spared the agony of the cross. Christ suffered for us. Why do we expect to carry the full load alone?

The Apostle Paul had a 'thorn in the flesh' which he prayed to have removed. But it never was. If Jesus and Paul both suffered, why should we be spared from life's troubles?

God restored to Job what he had lost. Job proved that even though God allowed Satan to test Job he would not curse God.

Jesus' death and resurrection leads us into a new life both here on earth and in heaven above. He never promised to take away all our pain on earth. He goes with us through our pain and trouble. He never leaves us.

Ivie Bozeman


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