Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 16-17; Psalm 23
After Job’s friend, Eliphaz, shares his human wisdom with his grieving friend (Job 15), it comes Job’s turn to reply. Job’s first words to his friends are, “I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all.”
Ain’t that the truth? Miserable counselors they have been. When you’ve lost all ten of your children, all of your possessions, and even your health, do you really want to hear words like, “Why does your heart carry you away, and why do your eyes flash, that you turn your spirit against God and bring such words out of your mouth?” (Job 15:12)
Remember, friends, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. I pray that we learn to speak those words that fit the occasion, to ask the Holy Spirit, our great counselor, to guide us in what to say to a grieving friend.
So, how amazing it was to then read Psalm 23 right on the heels of the words of Job’s heartache.
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
- Psalm 23:1-4 ESV
Job’s friends truly were miserable comforters, but God’s rod and staff bring comfort to His sheep.
According to GotQuestions.org, the shepherd’s rod was a “sturdy wooden stick used as a weapon to fight off wild animals” while the shepherd’s staff was “a long, slender stick, often hooked at the tip, used primarily to direct the sheep…. The shepherd used his staff to keep his sheep out of danger and close to himself…. Together the rod and the staff of Psalm 23 paint a picture of the divine Shepherd who wields them. He is strong, competent, and trustworthy; He is present with His sheep, able to defend them and watch over them through all the dangers they face.”
Jesus truly is our very good shepherd who comforts us in all our affliction. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Please help us to be patient with our friends when they say stupid things because they just don’t know what to say. I’m sure it hurts them to see us hurting. Help us to have grace toward them when they are terrible comforters and say things that make our pain even worse.
I pray that we will trust You all the more as we see what miserable counselors even our dearest friends are. You, Father, are our greatest comforter. Apply Your Word like a balm to our hurting soul. Speak to us through Your Words, healing our brokenness for Your glory, comforting us that we can comfort others.
Lord, I want to thank You in all circumstances and trust that You have purpose in my pain. As I walk through the dark valley, will you please grow my faith muscles? Help me to see Your light glowing at the end of the tunnel, guiding me with your merciful staff and fending away my enemies with Your righteous, rugged rod.
I pray that You will someday use my pain to comfort others who find themselves in pain. Teach me how to speak fit words for hurting hearts. Lead me with Your wisdom to when to speak and when to be silent, when to exhort and when to encourage. I want to be an instrument of Your peace, to be my brother’s keeper, to love my neighbor as myself, and to comfort others with the comfort that we have received from You.
In the Name of our Perfect Comforter, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.