When Job’s three friends… heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out… to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. Job 2:11 (NIV)
Job had some friends who were worried about Job’s spiritual condition and so they came to comfort him in his loss. They should be commended for that.
These friends felt quite sure that Job’s suffering must be a direct consequence of some sin in his life, and they wanted him to come clean and tell them what it was.
But Job maintained his innocence. In Job 31, he goes through a catalogue of sins, and calls down judgments on himself if he has been guilty of any of them:
“If I have walked in falsehood (31:5), if my feet have turned from the path (31:7), if my heart has been enticed by a woman (31:9), if I have denied justice (31:13), if I have denied the desires of the poor (31:16), if I have kept my bread to myself (31:17), if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing (31:19), if I have raised my hand against the fatherless (31:21), if I have put my trust in gold (31:24), if I have rejoiced over my great wealth (31:25), if I have rejoiced at my enemy’s misfortune (31:29), if I have concealed my sin (31:33), but I didn’t do these things!”
“If any of these things are true of me, then let briers come up instead of wheat and weeds instead of barley” (31:40). The words of Job are ended. The defense rests its case. What Job really wants is an audience with God. He’d like to ask God some questions.
Would you tend to agree with Job or his friends? Why?