A miserable comforter or a friend? Job 16
Most people have had enough of “long-winded” preachers! It seems that, like Job’s friends, we can have a tendency to argue and “make fine speeches against” a whole host of issues without ever having really suffered in someone else’s shoes.
Our sad moralistic mumblings in the face of sensitive subjects can transform our ministry into that of a “miserable comforter!” Job, no doubt echoing the refrain of a more perfect sufferer, offers another remedy:
“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.”
He is also predicting Paul’s words to the Corinthians centuries later:
“But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” 1 Corinthians 14:3
Ask yourself: “Will these words Strengthen, will they Encourage, will they Comfort?”
Effective words are always carried on the wings of love and friendship. Job, like Jesus, earned “his wings” the hard way. No slick, superficial theory, just the blood and guts of tested integrity.
He knew warfare and hardship – “God has turned me over to evil men, and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.”
He was broken – “All was well with me but he shattered me.”
He bore deep wounds – “He has made me his target; his archers surround me. Without pity, he pierces my kidneys and spills my gall on the ground.”
He knew repentance and tears – “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin, and buried my brow in the dust. My face is red with weeping…”
When Job opened his mouth, he didn’t just have an argument, a personal ambition or a theory, he had a tested testimony, a true spirit and a purified prayer.
“…my prayer is pure.”
“O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest!” (Jesus cried out “It is finished!”)
“Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.
“My intercessor is my friend, as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.”
Are you a miserable comforter or a friend?
The world hungers for genuine friendship. Less words, more pleading, less bluff, more bleeding!
Dare I admit that we may be “saying” too many wordy prayers in cold isolation – formal meetings where we never truly meet? Perhaps, true intercession is birthed in active friendship? Intercession needs a body. Intercession is friendship.
My Intercessor is my friend.
Friendship blessed my house! Job 29
Protection: “God watched over me…his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness!”
Intimacy: “God’s intimate friendship blessed my house…and my children were around me…”
Prosperity: “…my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.”
Influence in the public place: “I went to the gate and took my seat in the public square…”
Health and renewal: “My roots will reach to the water, and the dew will lie all night on my branches. My glory will remain fresh in me, the bow ever new in my hand.”
Pray for your “friends.” Job 42
Job, through his holding on to faith and integrity, gets a deeper insight into God and His unfathomable greatness.
“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”
Confronted with the immensity of creation and the mighty mystery of heavenly warfare, he humbly accepts the limitations of his own sphere of human existence:
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
He abandons himself to God once more by burying his flawed flesh into the death of the “seen friend” to come.
“My ears had heard of you but know my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
“I will accept his prayer…”
He prays for his friends, he has become an intercessor, who, in the image of Christ,
“is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25
“After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.”
Genuine prosperity comes from the journey into intercession.
I have many faithful friends who have tasted the dust and ashes of life and ministry. Hang on like Job, you’ll come out as gold! It’s not too late, a new beginning is just around the corner. Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle of intercession, pray for your friends…
“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.”