Read Job 16
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
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as one pleads for a friend.
22 “Only a few years will pass
before I take the path of no return.
In today’s reading, Job is angry, tired, and frustrated, not just with God for his current life circumstances, but also with his friends. They come at him with “long-winded speeches,” arguments, and the same explanations for his suffering that he’s heard before. To sum it up using Job’s blunt honesty, his friends are “miserable comforters” (v. 2). They are so intent on arguing the reasons why Job is suffering that they forget to offer mercy and compassion.
Chances are, you’ve been let down by a friend, too. Probably not to the extent of Job here, but at some point or another, a person you trusted has hurt you. Humans are flawed and broken sinners and we unintentionally take our hurt out on each other. Job knows this firsthand. If we rely solely on humans to help us in our pain, we will always be disappointed. Even after spending verses 6-14 calling out in anger to God, Job speaks this: “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 one pleads for a friend.”
This passage, written as far back as the time of Jacob in Genesis, speaks a truth foreshadowing Jesus. We know that Jesus is our advocate (1 John 2:1), interceding for us to the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:24-25). As if that’s not enough, He also calls Himself our friend (John 15:13-15). Job knows that because humans will always fail, we need a true helper and friend. In Jesus, we have that.
Because Jesus was fully God and also fully human, He alone can mediate and advocate for us to the Father. The next time you feel alone, let down by others, or in need of comfort, make sure you go to the right source first. Friends and community can help you, but they will never be your Help.
- Reflect on a time when a friend has hurt you. Have you forgiven them for that? Have you taken that pain to God?
- Read Romans 8:34 and Hebrews 7:24-25. Picture Jesus interceding for you on your behalf to God. What does that say about who He is and what you mean to Him? About what is Jesus interceding to God on your behalf today?
- Where is the first place you turn in pain? Who is the first person you go to? How can you rewire your brain to turn to God first?
Jesus, thank You for being my mediator and my friend. Thank You that even now You are interceding on my behalf. You are my only true help and advocate. Please help me forgive others when they hurt me. And most of all, help me turn to You first when I need help, comfort, or a friend. I love You. Amen.
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