Three Heads Are No Better Than One

Read Job 2--3

When Job's three friends ... heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. Job 2:11

We will be spending a good deal of time with Job's three friends, so we had better get acquainted with them.

All three of the men were old (32:6), older than Job (15:10), but we assume that Eliphaz was the oldest. He is named first (2:11), he spoke first (4:1), and the Lord seemed to have accepted him as the elder member of the trio (42:7). Eliphaz put great faith in tradition (15:18-19), and the God he worshipped was an inflexible Lawgiver. He had a rigid theology that left little or no room for the grace of God.

Bildad must have been the second oldest of the three since he is named second and spoke after Eliphaz (8:1). In a word, Bildad was a legalist. For some reason, Bildad was sure that Job's children had died because they also were sinners (v. 4). The man seemed to have no feeling for his hurting friend.

Zophar was the youngest of the three (2:11) and surely the most dogmatic. He speaks like a schoolmaster addressing a group of ignorant freshmen. "Know this!" is his unfeeling approach. He is merciless and tells Job that God is giving him far less than he deserves for his sins (11:6)! Interestingly enough, Zophar speaks to Job only twice. Either he decides he is unable to answer Job's arguments or feels that it is a waste of time trying to help Job.

All three men said some good and true things, as well as some foolish things; but they were of no help to Job because their viewpoint was too narrow. These men perfectly illustrate Dorothy Sayers' statement, "There's nothing you can't prove if your outlook is only sufficiently limited."

Applying God's Truth:

1. When you have serious problems, what three friends do you most trust for advice?
2. Do you have "friends" like Job's, who offer advice with little, if any, sensitivity? How do you respond to their advice?
3. What can you learn about being a friend from Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar?

Devotions for Patience and Wholeness ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

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