Christians should minister to one another in times of trial.
Job, having survived the first diabolical challenge from Satan, encountered a second more severe personal challenge, which was designed to break his commitment to God. However, Job did not lash out at God, rather he remained faithful. This lesson introduces Job’s wife and three of his friends. Job’s wife suggested cursing God and ending his suffering with death. His three friends traveled a great distance and sought to comfort and sympathize with Job in his suffering. Every Christian will go through times of trial and suffering. However, as Christians we are given the responsibility and privilege to overcome evil with good by ministry to one another in such times.
1. A SECOND DIABOLICAL CHALLENGE
A. The Heavenly Court
Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
Job 2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
…….As we pick up in chapter 2, by the conversation between God and Satan we understand that some time had elapsed since the first trial. Satan is still pondering within himself, thinking that he really could cause Job to turn his back on God.
Remember everything Job lost in chapter 1:3: He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of (10,000) oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. He also lost all of his sons and daughters. The conclusion of Job’s losses was this; Job 1:21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
B. The Second Challenge
Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
Job 2:5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh (inflict his health), and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
…….The Lord knew that Job loved him in such a way that he not only allowed further testing, but turned the affliction over to Satan.
2. FAITHFUL IN SICKNESS AND CONFLICT
A. Job’s Affliction
Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
…….Not only did Job’s health become afflicted but his integrity also. In Job’s time, a person covered in boiled was considered unclean and not fit for social contact with others. Job’s boils were like no other case before his, not would there be in history another like it. Plagued with boils from the very top of his head to the bottom of his feet! Job was so covered that he couldn’t even find a way to lay in comfort to ease the pain.
Job 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
…….Knowing that his sickness came with excommunication, he voluntarily removed himself from his home and relocated to a spot where ashes and broken pottery was dumped. He didn’t chose to call in the professional to dress his wounds. Not even his wife came to attend to his pain. No salves were made for bandages, just him and his torment. Not only was his body afflicted, but the battle of the mind in times of physical torment will cause a man to suffer greater!
B. Job’s Wife
Job 2:9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
…….In my mind, the only reason Job’s wife would ask this question is because his life still gave the answer! Do you still retain your integrity? Apparently so! I can see right now in between the breaks of pain, Job lifting his face toward the heavens and giving praise to God! In the midst of her own pains and stress from losing everything right along with her husband, she looks toward this crazy man not affected by this disease, and he does not change!
Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
…….In the midst of all Job’s pain, after pondering his wife’s question, he is still able to answer righteously! Maybe he did believe what came out of his mouth, and maybe there was a time he doubted it, but he did not lose his composure! He can still remember how blessed his life has been, and though his torment has left him poor and broken physically, his spirit is still inclined to the Lord!
3. SYMPATHIZING FRIENDS
A. Job’s Friend Introduced
Job 2:11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
…….Since some time had elapsed since Job’s first test, it is unknown if his friends knew the condition he was now in. Apparently the news was important enough to travel to 3 different friends who lived possibly in opposite direction of each other. These friends had time enough to communicate by message and coordinate a time to come and comfort him. It is great help to a sick person when friends who truly do love take time to comfort another.
B. Job’s Friends Sympathize
Job 2:12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
…….Job’s conditions were so bad that his very own friends didn’t recognize him. Job was so bad off that they totally lost in front of him!
Job 2:13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
…….The three friends that came to give comfort and encouragement were completely absent of words for 7 days straight. Even though they were at a loss for words, they remained.
Sometimes the greatest gift you can give to someone in their time of pain is simply presence. Being there as spiritual advocate is beyond an encouraging word that has no substance.