Job 6:14-30

14 “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not forsake the [g]fear of the Almighty.
15 “My brothers have acted deceitfully like a [h]wadi,
Like the torrents of [i]wadis which vanish,
16 Which are turbid because of ice
And into which the snow [j]melts.
17 “When they become waterless, they [k]are silent,
When it is hot, they vanish from their place.
18 “The [l]paths of their course wind along,
They go up into nothing and perish.
19 “The caravans of Tema looked,
The travelers of Sheba hoped for them.
20 “They were [m]disappointed for they had trusted,
They came there and were confounded.
21 “Indeed, you have now become such,
You see a terror and are afraid.
22 “Have I said, ‘Give me something,’
Or, ‘Offer a bribe for me from your wealth,’
23 Or, ‘Deliver me from the hand of the adversary,’
Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants’?

24 “Teach me, and I will be silent;
And show me how I have erred.
25 “How painful are honest words!
But what does your argument prove?
26 “Do you intend to reprove my words,
When the words of one in despair belong to the wind?
27 “You would even cast lots for the orphans
And barter over your friend.
28 “Now please look at me,
And see if I lie to your face.
29 “Desist now, let there be no injustice;
Even desist, my righteousness is yet in it.
30 “Is there injustice on my tongue?
Cannot my palate discern [n]calamities?

There are two main themes here, one which Job lays out for us neatly in verse 14. A good friend should bring kind and encouraging words when someone is in despair. We talked about this previously, and it echoes a common saying, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Job has a bit more to say on this vein, and compares his friends to a desert stream that rages when it rains and then disappears in the heat. We need to ask ourselves, “What kind of friend am I?” Do we stick to our friends when things get tough, maybe when they say things we don’t agree with? Or do we bail when bumpy waters come, and look for someone who’s riding easy street?

Friendship isn’t an easy road, and at times our friends can stretch us, and certainly there may be times we need to say good bye when they are legitimately dragging us down and tempting us to do things we shouldn’t. But otherwise, we need to strive for the kind of love Jesus talked about (and ultimately showed) in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends.”

There is another side to this though (theme two), and so we have to be discerning. Which is what Job touches on in verse 24. While we need to be encouraging, that doesn’t always mean we say “happy” things to our friends. If we have a friend that is doing stupid things or even doing sinful things and we stand by without saying anything, what kind of a friend is that?

It’s hard to correct a friend, and we need to do it with their best interests at heart. Remember that saying earlier? Even our correction needs to be “good”. That is, it needs to be for the good of our friend, and not putting them down. But if a friend is hurting themselves (or others) by their actions, it does no good to stand idly by. You may hear something like , “who are you to judge me, you’re not God!”

Indeed you’re not God, but if you are a true friend, you need to help your friend, and God actually tells us to “judge” our brothers and sisters in Christ. So no, we don’t go around correcting unbelievers, that’s up to God. But a fellow believer and friend needs us to speak up and help them to live right. Again, do it for their good, and while they might not like it, they’ll be thankful, even if it’s a long time later. Be a “good” friend, and speak life and light as God directs.

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