I find it interesting that Job's Comforters got one thing right.
What they got right: God brought this horrible affliction upon Job.
What they got wrong: WHY God brought this upon Job.
God answered Jobs complaint, summing up the whole matter at the end of his book:
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding." Job 38:1
Even back then, they did not blame any of the calamities on the "natural order of nature". They knew all good and bad came from the hand of God.
Sabeans killed his servant, fire from heaven (lightning?) burned up his sheep, the Chaldeans stole the camels, and slew more servants. Job's "sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
And, behold, there came a great wind (tornado) from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead;"
Job admits it was all from God.
Job 2:9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
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.
The other things that the 3 comforters did right was to make an appointment with Job to see him and mourn with him for 7 days. They should have stopped right there but they could not. They definitely regarded Job's troubles as EVIL that came upon him for his transgressions.
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.
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 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.
Yep, they should have stopped right here.
2Co 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Chapter 3 - Grief and sorrow and bitterness were welling up in Job's heart and finally it all came out.
Job 3:1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.
Job 3:2 And Job spake, and said,
Job 3:3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
Job 10:1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
Job is actually very simple. Scripture plainly and repeatedly states that Job was righteous, and that even in the midst of his great suffering, he "sinned not, nor charged God foolishly" (Job 1:22).
Why then did God allow Job to suffer the loss of everything except his own life? The answer is evident when viewed in context with all of God's Word. Job was allowed to enter into the sufferings of Christ which is viewed as an honor and a royal and divine service of immeasurable magnitude to the King of Kings.
The Apostles rejoiced when "they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41).
Peter writes: "rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christs sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." (1 Pet 4:12).
Paul says, "I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his bodys sake, which is the church" (Col 1:24).
Job was just as precious to God as the thousands of martyrs that lost their families, possessions and honor and even their own lives through the centuries in joyful service to the Lord Jesus who, lost all everything including His own life, for them. Job was a cherished and beloved servant of God who had great faith and could say "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15).
God also used Jobs suffering to bring out the false reasoning and counsel about His Righteousness and what it means for man to be righteous in light of God's righteousness. Jobs "counselors" all blamed Job!
Eliphaz, the first to respond, explained it this way:
Job 4:7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?
Implying that his servants, sons and daughters were destroyed for their transgressions.
Did Eliphaz really have to remind Job that he fell short of God's righteousness? Eliphaz says, "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?" Job 4:17
Again, Eliphaz attributes all to God, but obviously he does not know why God did it. But, that doesn't stop him from "darkening counsel".
Job 4:9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.
Job is just needing pity and comfort from his "friends".
Eliphaz pretty much accuses Job of lack of faith for his troubles
I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: Job 5:9
Message: You are not seeking God. You need to seek God.
Job 6:14 To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.
Job was actually seeking God at the time that all this happened to him, his conscience was clear, yet suffering was still brought upon him.
Chapter 8: Bildad speaks. He attributes the calamity to God, but his reasoning is also more blame for Job's children's transgressions.
Job 8:3 Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?
Job 8:4 If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;
Job 9:13 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. (sarcasm)
Job 9:17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
Then Zophar speaks:
Job 11:6 ...Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
Again, blame for his "sin".
Job speaks and calls his "counselors" forgers of lies.
Job 13:1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.
Job 13:2 What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.
Job 13:3 Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.
Job 13:4 But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.
Job 13:5 O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.
Later, Job receives revelation from God which is more than all the flapping lips speaking to him could ever give him.
Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
Job 42:3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Job 42:4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Job 42:6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
God speaks to Elipahaz about himself and his two friends.
Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
Job 42:9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him OVER ALL THE EVIL THAT THE LORD HAD BROUGHT UPON HIM: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
Job knew of no sin that he committed yet at the same time he could not justify himself and this goes perfectly with 1 John 1:8 regarding the sin of self-justification.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 John 1:8
I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. Job 9:2-3
How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him? Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge. Job 9:14-15
If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Job 9:20
And finally the Lord God, says.
Job 40:7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
Job 40:8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
May it never be. Let God be true and every man a liar (Rom 3:4).
If our claim to righteousness by faith crosses the bounds of what God teaches us as in the doctrine of "Sinless Perfection", it will sound like we are justifying ourselves, which, if we do, we make God a liar.
If you are going to Joplin, have pity on these people, comfort them, help them and minister God's love to them. And don't be surprised if you meet some mighty men and women of faith like Job. You probably will. Talk little, listen much.