A FRIEND INDEED
Lord, help me to run the race, to fight the fight, to finish the course, all to your glory.
Read Job 16:1–21
16 Then Job replied:
2 “I have heard many things like these;
you are miserable comforters, all of you!
3 Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
4 I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.
5 But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
6 “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;
and if I refrain, it does not go away.
7 Surely, God, you have worn me out;
you have devastated my entire household.
8 You have shriveled me up—and it has become a witness;
my gauntness rises up and testifies against me.
9 God assails me and tears me in his anger
and gnashes his teeth at me;
my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes.
10 People open their mouths to jeer at me;
they strike my cheek in scorn
and unite together against me.
11 God has turned me over to the ungodly
and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.
12 All was well with me, but he shattered me;
he seized me by the neck and crushed me.
He has made me his target;
13 his archers surround me.
Without pity, he pierces my kidneys
and spills my gall on the ground.
14 Again and again he bursts upon me;
he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin
and buried my brow in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping,
dark shadows ring my eyes;
17 yet my hands have been free of violence
and my prayer is pure.
18 “Earth, do not cover my blood;
may my cry never be laid to rest!
19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
20 My intercessor is my friend[a]
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as one pleads for a friend.
- Job 16:20 Or My friends treat me with scorn
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Therefore he [Jesus] is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.’1
Job begins his response to Eliphaz with a plea for better support from his ‘miserable comforters’ (v 2). He points out that if he were in their place, he could also choose to lecture and berate someone in his position (v 4) but would prefer to bring encouragement, comfort and relief (v 5). These are key purposes for the exercising of vocal spiritual gifts in the New Testament.2 Today let’s set our hearts to encourage, comfort, or relieve others by our words with God’s help.
In verses 6–14 Job summarizes his misery. Though innocent of any known transgression, he continues to suffer, possibly including intense abdominal pain (v 13). He has seen his whole household devastated (v 7) through the tragic loss of his children and his wealth and is worn out through grief. If ever someone deserves relief it is this dear man.
Thankfully, in the final paragraph, Job reveals the source of his enduring hope. He continues to pray amid his trials. His face may be red with weeping and dark shadows may ring his eyes, but he has not ceased calling on God. In fact, at the end of the book, God says he will accept Job’s prayer for his friends, so pure and powerful was his life of prayer.3 Job, however, realizes that his own praying will not be enough. He longs to have an advocate on high, an intercessor with the Almighty. Amazingly for the period in which the book was written, we get a flash of revelation concerning the coming ministry of Christ. Here, as in 9:33, Job looks for someone to stand between himself and God. Wonderfully, the answer comes in the form of one who is also his friend! This remarkable intercessor sympathizes with our weaknesses and loves those for whom he prays.
Read Hebrews 4:14–16 and thank Jesus for being your intercessor. Rejoice that he is your friend and bring him your concerns, approaching his throne with confidence.
Mighty God, you lift me up when I am down. You comfort me when I am lonely. I couldn’t go on if it wasn’t for you. All thanks and praise to you.
1 Heb 7:25 2 1 Cor 14:3 3 Job 42:8
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