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When Job Prayed For His Friends — 28 Comments

  1. While I understand what you are trying to say here William, I feel for those folk who have "followed all the rules" and have had extraordinarily bad things happen to them, without any apparent "reward" in this life.

    A family that I know well, had a son with a debilitating disease that took his life as a teenager. One of the parents died of cancer not long after and now the remaining parent is suffering from acute pain and waiting for surgery. Another family inherited a genetic propensity to develop cancer and one-by-one they all died except one.

    For some Christians the playing field is tilted, and there is no recompense in this life when the trial is over and no rewarding return to health and riches. It is as if the book of Job stopped at "Though He slay me yet will I trust him!"

    It is not easy to encourage someone who has had a bad run of misfortune, and platitudes about it being all right in the end do not make a lot of sense when they have to see it through the red mist of massive personal loss and/or accute debilitating pain.

    I once had to take the prayer in a church where I knew one of the members sitting in the congregation that day had a terminal illness. The duty elder asked me to pray for this member. Should I pray for their healing, or should I pray for strength to endure? I prayed that they would feel the love of Jesus expressed though the support of their church friends.

    Bad things happen to good people. Its not the result of their wrong-doing but evidence of an evil power doing its best to destroy us. We may not, as Job did, return to prosperity in this life. But in this battle between good and evil we owe it to one another to provide support and encouragement.

    William, you have hit on the right idea - we need to pray for one another. And that means a lot more than just saying a "Dear Father in Heaven ... Amen" prayer. Living encouraging supportive prayer is a way of life and ultimately is more important that material prosperity.

    • I think that an realistic response. As many of us suffer in these ways, we should definitely pray for both healing and the strength to endure through whatever is in God's will to us. Our Reward may not be great here on earth, but in Heaven it will be great according to our good works. Will we sit and moan and cry and do nothing although we suffer, and will we give our best to the Lord above and exercise our best faith that God says what He means, and does what He says? Yes Because God died for us. We may suffer here, but in Heaven it will be great. So to a certain extent is is "Though He slay me yet I will trust Him." It is not for us to question God but to trust Him fully, so we can be blessed. Blessed either here or in Heaven. Satan is just as busy with each of us individually now as he was in Jobs time. May God give us all the strength to endure, even if we go through debilitating pains here on earth.

    • I'd like to comment on your quote "Bad things happen to good people. Its not the result of their wrong-doing but evidence of an evil power doing its best to destroy us."

      I think that I understand what you are saying, that people who seem nice and caring can have bad things happen to them too. The problem with labeling people good and bad is that people often misunderstand others and place different weight on what is 'bad' therefore some people still get blamed for bad things happening to them when they were not part of the cause of the bad things. Pride, favoritism, nepotism, slander, gossip, elitism, apathy, lack of focus on the gospel commission and lack of courage for people to confront these issues is happening openly and shamelessly in many churches. It seems that scripture notes that those are bad things. Some people in churches are doing those VERY things and when people leave, they say 'oh it's the shaking of the end of time. We here in church are the faithful ones holding on while the unfaithful just drop away.'

      There really are no good people as stated many times in the bible (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

  2. Maurice thank you for the balance. I understand where you are coming from. John the Baptist was beheaded while Elijah was translated to heaven in a nice chariot. But God has rich blessings for John the Baptist as well. Since he died before Jesus, is it possible John was in the resurrection mentioned in Matthew 27:52? Either way, God is doing great things for us regardless if we see Him working or not. I do know this from experience, it is impossible to feel anger or hate while praying for God to bless those who have caused us pain.

    • Dear Maurice,

      Thank you for sharing your stories about how the Christian playing field is not level. I could also tell a story or two of Christian's suffering that I have seen first hand, and here is part of my own story.

      I have suffered greatly with Lyme disease for more than 13 years, with no end in sight. Over time, chronic Lyme sufferers pay out huge amounts of money for doctors and treatments that insurance doesn't cover, so that paying food and other household bills becomes a real struggle. When medical doctors get Lyme disease, they suffer just like the rest of us. One oncologist was diagnosed with ALS, stopped work, was in a wheel chair and for two years was waiting to die.
      Finally he thought about Lyme disease, was tested and treated for Lyme disease, and came back to life. He opened a medical clinic for chronic disease sufferers. Too bad he had three heart attacks and then died soon after. There is no health condition I know of that has the medical intrigue like Lyme disease and it's relating problems.

      My faith has grown through this ordeal. What I see as most important in life is to love others and accept and support them. I have compassion that I didn't have before.

      Your sentence, "I prayed that they would feel the love of Jesus expressed though the support of their church friends" is what I also want for others.

      Thanks Maurice!

    • Dear William,

      Thank you for the post about Job. Job's story is one of my favorite in the Bible. Job was the first book we studied in Sabbath school when I first started going to church in 1980. Ever since, I like to meditate on some of the verses and re-read portions of the book. In 2001, I read thru the whole book again, when I was on the couch with extreme fatigue and pain five to six days a week, and my husband would say, "get up and get doing". While reading Job, the verse about praying for friends and enemies jumped out at me. For sure, for all these years since, I have been praying for friends, relatives and enemies, hoping that would be part of my cure.

      At that time, I couldn't read much and could hardly think or talk, and would repeat things I said to my husband 4-5 times, not remembering what I just said. There were days of so much pain and suffering, that I didn't want to live anymore. Our meals were very simple, I could only do the simplest of chores, and I dragged myself off the couch to do this minimal amount of work to survive.

      It took four years to get a true diagnosis of Lyme disease and even more years to find out about the co-infections and related problems that come with Lyme disease.

      13 years later, I am off the couch and can do more than I could in 2001, but I am functioning at about 20-25% of what I was able in the past. I still forget what people say to me and still make big mistakes. Working 2-3 days a week out of the home is all I can handle.

      I am now convinced that God has allowed all these things to happen to me for a reason. When I think and work with people, it is with new eyes of compassion and love I didn't have before. And I do join Job in saying, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him!" Healing may come this side of heaven but we know for sure that healing will occur in heaven. However, healing is no longer my goal. If I can love others with the unconditional, accepting love of God, and give support and acceptance to others, I am happy, and that my main focus each and every day. Thanks William!

    • Did you mean by it's 'impossible' to feel anger or pain when we're praying for those who've hurt or angered us, God bless you, my brother, I find that hard to do, not everyone can do this, how do you do it

      • Helen, when people have angered me in the past, I started praying for God to bless them and do wonderful things for them, and while I am praying for God to bless them I start feeling all wonderful inside instead of angry. I can't feel anger while praying for God to bless someone. I heard a preacher say that on the radio, so I tried it and it is true!

      • True it is not easy. The Christian life is about emptying ourselves and letting the Lord take over. I too struggle with forgiving others and seeing them like God sees me and them. It is possible though... With God everything is possible.

      • Helen here is how I get rid of anger or pain when hurt by someone. I know that the real source is the devil. I feel sorry that that individual allowed himself to be used by him so I pray for Him/ her freely asking God to forgive and give them strength to walk away form Satan's wiles.

    • When we pray for our friends - and our enemies too - it brings us healing. We may not regain our health or prosperity, but we definitely gain God's peace,a peace which the world can not understand.a peace which knows no no bounds.

  3. William, to me scripture is fascinating. As you stated, "You know how you can read the same Bible story a hundred times, and then one day something in that story jumps out at you that you had never seen before?" That seems to happen all the time and for you I have no doubt that God led you to see what you now see in the story of Job for whatever purpose He had in your life.

    I tend to think differently than either you or Maurice both of whom I have a lot of respect for. You see things from a human/social point of view. I, on the other hand, am just a crusted old man with few social ties so I view things far more mechanically from a cold data point of view. When I study something out, to me context means everything and that is how I like to view the texts in the Bible.

    You and Maurice seem to be considering what happened to Job within the framework of one text, Job 42:10, without considering the context but I think to properly understand that text we need to look at what led up to that bit of scripture.

    If we overview the book of Job we see a couple of things. First is that Jobs friends had a horrible understanding of how God treats His creatures. Secondly that Job was continually justifying himself even to the point of charging God with unfairness in dealing with him. Both Job and his friends were all wrong each in his own way. The narrative says concerning of one of his so called friends, "Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God" (Job 32:2 NKJV). Even God Himself asked the same thing of Job, "Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?" (Job 40:8 NKJV).

    After God severely chastised Job the last chapter of the book starts out:

    Then Job answered the LORD and said: "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked,`Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said,`I will question you, and you shall answer Me.' I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:1-6 NKJV)

    Job finally saw what the truth really was and what he was doing to God's character; that the only reason he was called perfect was because God justified him as he does all of us. When he saw that there was more to what was going on than his narrow view of his life and repented and humbled himself, when he finally did what God requested him to do on his friends behalf because he knew he was really no better than they were then God Blessed him.

    To me it wasn't the prayer that changed things it was Jobs attitude toward God that made the turn around, the prayer was simply the end result of that. Was Job a good "Christian" who was loyal to God? Absolutely! Did he see himself as God saw him? No, and that was the one thing that needed to happen in his life.

    While the book of Job gives us a picture of what happens behind the scenes in the great controversy it is also a story of how God works with His sheep - His wayward children which often don't know where they are or what in the world they are doing. God was shining a light on the path of Job and his three friends that they might see things more clearly. Another similar story is that of Jonah were God also works with His servant in order to change his prophet's perspective of things.

    • Mr. Cluthe, please have mercy on readers of this comment board who may be suffering. To me you sound like someone who has not suffered. Nevertheless, even from a cold data point perspective, I think you should reconsider certain things. I don't think the main themes of the text is about justice, justification, or judgment, the main themes seem to be suffering, mercy, and sympathy (Job 19:21). I don't see Job as trying to justify himself rather than God, to me he takes pains not to do this (ch. 9). Remember Job is someone who would ask forgiveness for sins that may be unknown (Job 1:5, 23:1-7), and he trusts that God is forgiving. Job points out that as far as he knows he didn't ask to be born (ch. 3, 10), so why the continual suffering when he wishes for death(ch. 6, 7, 10)? And even if he sinned, why try him and punish him continually, why not show that his sins are forgiven or let him sleep in peace(ch. 7:17-21, ch. 9, 10, 14:2-6)? (Thank God we don't believe in everlasting hell.) Job repeatedly acknowledges his sinfulness, he was not a man who didn't realize that God was the one who justifies him to perfection, rather it is because he realizes this why he appeals to God for mercy. You ask "Did he see himself as God saw him? No". How do you think God saw Job, and how you think Job saw himself? I'm not being rhetorical, I'm not sure what you were getting at.

      Believe me, even those who are aware of the behind the scenes controversy still ask the questions that Job asks. God accepts Job's prayers and not that of his friends, which to me implies that he was still in God's favour (Job 42:8), despite that he seems to justify himself rather than God. In addition, God who said that He destroyed Job without cause (Job 2:3), does not address the points that Job brought up, instead He refers to his greatness and creative power. Job was not trying to destroy God's character, he was silent for 7 days and nights (Job 2:2) and then in anguish he started to cry out for mercy (Job 7:11). Even Jesus said 'Father, father why have you forsaken me?' In the end Job and God are friends and even God said Job spoke of him the thing that is right (Job 42:7). God understood where Job was coming from (Psalm 103:13-14) and was ready to forgive him.

  4. Thank you for this reminder that we are blessed when we focus on the needs of others - when we pray for our friends, as Jesus did. Jesus went a step further, though. He prayed for His enemies too.

    It is, of course, true that not all of God's faithful people will be rewarded in this life, as was Job. But when we consider the context, it seems to me that God's people may realize their reward in an even shorter time frame.

    We know that the story was an ancient one when Moses wrote it down. So Job's lifespan was probably a few hundred years. He had grown children when God allowed Satan to attack Job literally to within an inch of his life. So perhaps Job was 50 or 60 or 70 at the time. (Ancient people didn't have children as early as we do.) Then we don't know how long Job suffered. Was it only a year? Two years? Twenty years? We just don't know. It's easily possible that his suffering lasted to the equivalent of the end of our short lifespans or longer. If he had lived no longer than we do, he would not have realized a new life before the resurrection.

    We live such short lives that we scarcely live long enough to experience all that Job experienced. Often God lays His saints to rest in mercy. And when they wake up, it's to the glorious appearing of their Savior coming to take them to their eternal lhome.

    Thus I believe that every one of God's saints who suffers in this life will receive twice as much and more in the new life - just like Job, but even better.

    Whatever our situation may be, we will surely be blessed by allowing the mind of Jesus to be in us (Phil 2:5) and praying for our friends and our enemies.

    again, William, for reminding us.

  5. The greatest threat to confidence and the ability to witness is the inconsistency in the apparent results of prayer and experience. How can you assure unbelievers about God's goodness when there are so many tragic happenings difficult to explain?

    Here is one, a fourteen year old school girl at my school dies on Friday just passed. The doctor diagnoses an appendicitis as gastroenteritis. The child is taken more than once to the doctor when his prescription didn't work. Her appendix "bursts" toxins enter her blood and now she is dead. We can only pray for a miracle of understanding for classmates, parents and unbelievers. There is no "guarantee" of results only reliance on His character that can see us through life. Where is the certainty of prayer? Should we still say " Whatsoever you should ask in My Name I will do it?"

    • Paul, I am so saddened by this news. We are all praying for the family and friends for comfort and the will to go on. Surely this is one of those times when words cannot express our grief but God understands our groanings that cannot be put into words. And I know Jesus is crying with us, and will one day wipe those tears from our eyes with his own nail scarred hands.

    • Hi Paul,

      I am so sad about the medical misdiagnosis with the 14 year-old girl. It happens so frequently. Six weeks after I married my husband, my father-in-law was diagnosed with heart burn. However, he had a heart attack and surgery and was dead in four months. We have been comforted by the fact that nothing happens except that God allows. So much we don't understand but will one day be made plain.

      Our prayers need to be, "Thy will be done", and believe that one day, healing will occur for everyone who makes it to heaven. This earth is but a passing ground and if we live a few hours, a few days or a few years, somehow, we can't go before our time is up. Our lives are in His hands.

    • Paul, I believe the story of Job is intended to pull aside the curtain between the seen and unseen and let us know why bad things happen to good people. It is not God who sends the bad stuff. Satan does. And God allows things to happen partly because it is needed to demonstrate the evil of the great usurper. But that is not the end of the story. The reward Job got at the end of the story is not nearly as great as every child of God will receive at the resurrection. That's the hope to which we can point those who experience great tragedy.

      And William's point is still true: We are blessed when we focus away from ourselves and pray for others. It is a law of God's universe that in serving others we gain blessings - whether the service is in physical acts or intercessory prayer.

    • Yes it is certain God is always and only good. We can be certain God always hears our prayers.
      What did Jesus mean when He said, whatever you ask in My Name?
      In the midst of the worst time of His life, what did Jesus pray? Three times He prayed: O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. The Father's answer was obviously I am sorry my son, you need to go through it. It was so bad that Jesus felt all alone, he couldn't feel the presence of His Father although he was still there.
      Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit understand the pain of this family and they will be there to comfort and support them.

      The LORD through the Word does not promise that we will not have trials and tribulations in this world, in fact the Word tells us that we will have them, the Word promises help to endure to the end, it also does promise a future where there is no more sorrow.

      The LORD gave Adam & Eve a choice: a world where you only know/experience good, or a world where you know/experience good and evil and they choose good and evil. This is the Great Controversy - do we want God to limit the options to only good? Make your choice!
      The time is coming, very soon, when God will put an end to all this evil and he will start again with a new heaven & earth with only those who agree they want there to be only good(as defined by God).

      So if we are telling others that because God is good that he only allows good things to happen on this earth then we are falsely representing God and they shouldn't believe us. If we are not praying as Jesus did, not my will but thine be done, then we are not praying in His Name/(character) and our will may not be done.

      The LORD loves us so very much and He wants the very best for us, He wants us to be in a everlasting covenant of love with Him, He does provide and protect us more than we can ever know, however there are times when our physical lives suffer but we can be sure our eternal life is safe though the grace of God.

      These verses help a bit to understand why some of God's loved ones are allowed to be put to sleep before the great time of trouble:
      Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
      Rev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

  6. Who knows the depth of compassion, the wellspring of charity and grace that are released when we suffer? Those who see their lot not as punishment but as the resource of God's mercy. Too often our short-life mentality says "why me?" Those who are in the dust nap still have to finish their life, have yet to see the full amount of grace and surprises that the judgment will provide. Think of John the Baptist, it's not the accomplishments (he who dies with the most toys wins) but the depth of our understanding that turns our heart to HIM. Be patient, God is not finished with us yet.

  7. Pray for Those Who Hurt Us.--Let us strive to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. The Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed, not only for himself, but for those who were opposing him. When he felt earnestly desirous that the souls that had trespassed against him might be helped, he himself received help. Let us pray, not only for ourselves, but for those who have hurt us, and are continuing to hurt us. Pray, pray, especially in your mind. Give not the Lord rest; for His ears are open to hear sincere, importunate prayers, when the soul is humbled before Him (Letter 88, 1906). {3BC 1141.8}

  8. Millicent I don't think Tyler's comment to my understanding has no sympathy to fellow readers. he understands it differently in the way it is unveiled to him and others who have agreed I for one appreciated all the comments today as they have broaden my view on the subject. Lets all pray for holy spirit to open our minds and understand one another better and appreciate the privilege to be able to share.
    I look around and see the suffering around the world, the people displaced by wars, the hunger, the everyday bombings and wonder are people in these darkest places praying for those who persecute them daily seeing their children dying because there is no efficient medical help I pray for people in my original home where I came from when I hear of what is going on. and many times I have felt anger and doubt and sometimes find it hard to pray for others Tyler's comment hit the mark for me as sometimes I don\'t know where I am and what to do, its an encouragement to hear that GOD works with me (my attitude ) at looking at situations

  9. I love the way how God responded to Job when he had to take a stand and pray for his friends ,it shows that Job had forgiven his friends thus why he was able to kneel down and pray. At times we ask our selves why is that our prayers are not answered we have been praying for many years but still we do not have hope that one day we will be answered and the thing that is being a hinderance to our prayers it's because of our unforgiving hearts ,thus why Jesus taught the disciples that whenever you say the Lord's prayer one must be a forgiving person,At times we say l have forgiven my neigbhour,friend but l dont want to talk to them anymore so as much as we kneel down and pray we must say Lord forgive us and don't talk to us and we all know that God's langauge to us its blessings and answered prayers so lets always pray to have a forgiving heart that we can pray for those who tresspass against us

  10. Thank you all for opening my eyes on this particular verse,the lord will meet us at the point of our needs.

  11. I too was impressed by the scripture found in Job 42:10. I read the listed comments because I googled, “ Why did Job’s test of faith cease when he prayed for his three friends?”

    First, Job never cursed God as Satan claimed he would. Yay for Job!

    Second, he went full circle enduring all of satan’s attacks and he still selflessly forgave and prayed for his friends that failed to spiritually uplift him during his fiercest trials. Isn’t thus what Jesus experienced and as he hung on the cross said, “ Forgive them, for they know not what they do?” My intent is not to compare Job with Jesus, but to point out that ultimately forgiveness is key to realizing our faith walk. Our all knowing God knew Job was a faithful man and would prevail. This is why he subjected Job’s faith to be tested.

  12. Dear Brother,

    Praise the lord! In Job 42:10, when Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before.

    My question is what happened to Job's friends? Why did Job pray for his friends? Because recently I Lost my job, so do I have to pray to the lord for my friends, whoever doesn't have a job, or for their regular problems? Please explain this to me.


    • Amand I am praying right now that God leads you to the right job. I know God has a plan for you. I know also, just like Job, God blesses and looks out for us as we bless and look out for others. Back in the 1990's I read about a church in Colorado that was in debt until it actually helped another church financially and then God blessed them and they became debt free. God helps those who helps others.


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