The Value Of Friendship

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great. (Job 2:11-13)

The Value Of Friendship

Few stories strike at the heart of suffering than the Old Testament story of Job. He lived in the land of Uz and was blameless, upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. He and his wife were blessed with seven sons and three daughters whom they loved very much. Job was a blessed man with great wealth, making him one of the greatest men of his time. He never took for granted the blessings received by the hand of God. His place was prominent among the heavenly hosts when Satan challenged God for the hedge around Job. Allowing Satan to bring tragedy to the family of Job, everything the man from Uz possessed was taken in one day. His children were killed, all of his possessions taken, and servants killed, and finally, Job was afflicted with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. In all of this, he never cursed God.

The story of Job was told by his family, friends, and everyone who knew him. They were shocked and amazed at the incredible tragedy that had befallen the family of Job. Nothing like this had happened to any man. How could Job maintain his integrity faced with such insurmountable suffering? There were many who talked about Job’s plight. The talk of society was filled with sadness at the house of Job. Many would wring their hands in unbelief. Hearing of the misfortune of Job, three men made an appointment to go to the home of Job and comfort him. Their names were Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. They each came from their own homes to visit Job.

Nothing is known of Job’s friends before the story’s telling. Whatever it was, Job’s three friends had their own lives to be concerned with. They could mourn the loss of their friend, but what of their homes and at what cost to their livelihood? Hearing how their friend had suffered greatly, the three friends decided to visit Job together. Preparations were made, and plans finalized. They left home and began the journey to the home of Job. The purpose of their visit was to mourn with Job and to find ways to comfort their friend. Their hearts of sympathy overflowed for Job and his wife. Visiting with Job would bring some consolation to their friend. The nobility of their cause was singular. Their lives were put on hold to spend time with Job.

They could not have expected what they found when they arrived at the home of Job. As they drew near the house of Job, they could barely distinguish their friend. He was in such an incapacitated way they immediately began to weep. It tore their hearts deeply to see Job under such suffering. Their hearts were filled with love and sympathy. How could such a thing happen to their dear friend, and why? Tearing their robes, the three friends poured dust upon themselves as a sign of mourning and deep grief. They could barely look at their dear friend in all his misery. Their hearts were broken. Approaching Job, they remained speechless. They sat for seven days and said nothing. Each day they looked upon their friend with love and compassion. There was nothing they could do to bring his children back or restore his possession. None of them could relieve him from his painful boils. But when Job looked through his blurred eyes filled with misery and pain, he saw three friends sitting with him and not leaving. It brought some comfort.

The bulk of the book of Job is about the speeches made by Job and his three friends as they try to understand what happened. Job speaks first, and his friends try to find words to comfort him. They said more when they remained silent than when they tried to explain the plight of Job. It must be noted before the debate that three friends came and sat with Job. There is value in friendship. They missed the mark trying to explain the suffering, but the lesson cannot be lost that three friends came to stay with Job. It would have been easier to send a card, mail a letter, send a messenger, or let the family know their concerns. The three friends of Job came to visit him. They wanted to comfort their friend with their presence. And they did. Their friendship was based on being there for one another. We must see the same value of friendship. Sometimes it calls for action on our part—more than a text, telephone, card, or Facebook post. Real people were visiting with real people in need. That is the value of friendship.

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