The Test of Friendship

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), January 22

images“I am one mocked by his friends, who called on God, and He answered him, the just and blameless who is ridiculed” (Job 12:4).

“But you forgers of lies, you are all worthless physicians. Oh, that you would be silent, and it would be your wisdom!” (13:4-5).

Ever been disappointed in friendship?

The “good” seasons of life produce many friends, but companionship during suffering is rare. Job has discovered a truth experienced by other Bible heroes:

Joseph’s journey was a lonely one, paved with betrayal and disloyalty. Had not the Lord been with him he would have been totally alone.

Abraham was a solitary figure.

Moses, alienated from his people, experienced rejection from those he sought to rescue. He spent forty years of solitary life in the wilderness twice, once with a bunch of sheep and another with a bunch of rebellious people..

Jeremiah only had an Ethiopian eunuch for a friend.

Had the Lord not been with him, Daniel would have faced the lions alone.

The austere life of John the Baptist attracted few companions.

Had God not been present these men would have been been totally alone. In fact, it was the presence of God in their lives that drove others away. The harshness of their journey trimmed away the fatness of friendship.

Jesus spent his cruelest hour alone. Jesus knew betrayal and aloneness, never more so than when He hung on the cross as He bore man’s sin and experienced alienation from His Father. Yet, Jesus was known by the Pharisees to be a friend of tax collectors and sinners. He describes his relationship with his followers: “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Jesus, however, knowing the treacherous nature of the human heart, didn’t withdraw from man. He remained engaged. He expected no less from man than he received—“Crucify Him” instead of “Hosanna”. His philosophy, “They know not what they do,” sustained him throughout the ups and downs of human relationships. He promised not to leave His disciples alone when He ascended to the Father. He sent them the Helper to be with them and live in them.

Man never has to be totally alone. Ever again.

Questions from today’s reading (Job 12:1-14:22):

How does Job respond to Zophar in chapter 12-13?

What does Job say to Zophar in chapter 13 that reveals his annoyance or anger toward Zophar?

How does Job’s suffering affect his relationship with Zophar?