In the book of Job we see his friends offering what they think is godly advice and judgment. They are all in agreement that Job has done something wrong to incur the punishment he is enduring and they chastise him to look at his life.
Job maintains his innocence throughout the book. And well he should, because it was God alone who engineered the circumstances Job found himself in. Interestingly enough, Job’s friends used godly principles to come to the conclusion that Job must have sinned. Each offered words that supported his theory and is certain beyond doubt about what he believes.
Job, however, continued to defend himself and as we know, eventually takes his case before God Almighty. It’s been noted that – even though the friends’ positions were largely theologically correct – they were not applied accurately to this particular individual in these particular circumstances.
Job’s friends are examples of people who have the ‘right’ answers but don’t understand what God is doing in a particular situation.
We have to remember that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and while it may look like someone is suffering due to sin or disobedience in his life, this is not always the case. Job was righteous and God shows his evaluation of him at the end of the book. He tells Job’s friends that they have “not spoken accurately about Him, as his servant Job has.”
Then God has Job pray for his friends and He accepts the prayer on their behalf. He also blesses Job with twice as much as he had before. We need to remember that sometimes – well-meaning as we may be – we simply do not know what God is doing in in the life of someone else.
Throughout history, God has orchestrated circumstances beyond our understanding, and they don’t always fit the model we have in mind. Sometimes it’s best to sit in silence. Sometimes it’s best not to give advice but just to sit and listen.