Reasoning, The Folly of Job’s Friends

My husband informed me of an oversight that was made regarding the plans for building our home. One that will cost us thousands of dollars we don’t have.

I’ve touched on a few of our troubles on this road to buying property and building our dream home. Troubles that increasingly have me questioning God and his intention. And just when I was thinking we only had one hurdle left, this one appears. The fight in me was dwindling. Though my husband was standing firm, I was ready to walk away.

As I sat in church listening to the sermon on Sunday, the story of Job came to mind. I knew I would find some answers there.

I’ll admit, I don’t think I’ve read through the entire book of Job. I know the story, but by the time I get halfway through, I skip to the end, to the important part where God speaks to Job.

This time as I read, I tried to pay more attention to what was being offered up as the reason for Job’s misfortune. What I saw were three men with three opinions. They all seemed to sound reasonable. They all claimed their perspective of God was the correct one.

They sat for days, reasoning with Job. Merriam-Webster defines reasoning as — “the process of thinking about something in a logical way in order to form a conclusion or judgment.”

The book of Job is a hard one for me to understand. It addresses the involvement of God and Satan in our troubles, and questions whether it is because of our sin that we have troubles or whether God inflicts us with troubles even when we are innocent.

So I did a search on the internet and found some interesting opinions. Here is one of them:

Then the thought occurred to me: perhaps these speeches represent the voice of Satan (= “the Accuser”). I had always assumed his voice ended in chapter two. But doesn’t it make sense that the one who is named “the Accuser” would continue to accuse his target throughout the duration of the “test”?

Reading the book in this way really opened my eyes to the Slanderer’s shrewd and cunning schemes: mixing truth with lies so craftily, as he always has. Thought of in this way, the accusations sound quite familiar to the lines he still uses today against God’s children: “You brought this on yourself” (4:8) “You think you’re so godly, you think you’re so wise—you’re nothing but a witless loser!” (11:12) “You’re a foolish sinner!” (15:2-6) “You’re evil and there’s no hope for you!” (18:5-21) (All my loose translations, of course.)

Do you think they were the mouthpiece of Satan?

Maybe. Maybe, Job’s “friends“ were so busy reasoning why Job was afflicted that they forgot to be compassionate.

In the end, God speaks:

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

And the Lord said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.

“Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?

“Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.”

Job 38:1-2, 40:1-2, 8, 41:11 (ESV)

Even here, God isn’t giving Job a reason, he is revealing more of who he is. When we don’t know what’s going on, it is important for us to remember who he is and find comfort there.

After addressing Job he turns to his friends. He doesn’t let them off the hook easily.

After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

Job 42:7-8

I have been guilty of this when trying to comfort others, or in trying to find my own comfort. By explaining God’s reason for when bad things happen, reasoning it out with my limited understanding.

God sees the whole picture. I may not understand why we are having such misfortune regarding this property, but I see through Job and his friends, I don’t need to know the reason to know my God. He has not abandoned us. He has a higher purpose.

Are you facing a situation that you don’t understand? Do you know someone going through their own trials? Instead of seeking reasons or offering platitudes, let’s lend an ear or extend a hug. Let’s try being present with each other, if not physically, then emotionally.

Grace & Peace,


2 thoughts on “Reasoning, The Folly of Job’s Friends

  1. Jill

    Great post, Sandy! Reminded me of one of my favorite books on Job, James T. Draper’s “Where Real Worship Begins.” Indeed, it begins amidst our trials. Praying for blessings on you and your husband in your desire for a new home.

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