Job 21:34 (NLT) “How can your empty clichés comfort me? All your explanations are lies.”
One of the most important ministries in the church is visitations. When we visit someone in the hospital or a friend who’s going through “hard times,” God wants to use us to bless and comfort His people. Tragically, Job’s friends fell miserably short. as a matter of fact he even calls them “miserable comforters,” (Job 16:2). They came with “empty words” (NKJV), “empty cliches” (NLT), “futile words” (NET), even “nonsense (NIV).
Why? How could his “friends” do this to him?
Well, first of all their theology was wrong. They mistakenly believed in health, wealth, and prosperity, that all believers are owed that by God. Job, clearly teaches us the contrary, that the most wonderful people can and will suffer tragedy.
Secondly, Job’s friends were not sensitive to the Holy Spirit. When we visit people, we need to be Spirit led. We mustn’t approach people with casual clichés we’ve developed over the years. Yes, sometimes those “principles” rooted in Scripture are indeed appropriate for the situation, but not always. Pray and ask the Lord for insight into the situation at hand.
Another thing we need to guard ourselves against is explanations. None of us have all the answers, we don’t usually know “why.” I’m always reminded of the words of Warren Wiersbe, “We live on promises, not explanations.”
Be careful. Be slow to speak. Sometimes it’s just your presence, your hug, and your listening heart they need.
The book of Job primarily deals with a righteous man who suffers beyond measure, he questions, complains, and even accuses God, but he does not lose heart, he never abandons his faith. But – the book of Job also teaches us what NOT to do when we visit people. Little did Job’s friends know that they had entered into the very pages of the Bible, right smack dab in the middle of a battleground between God and the devil…all centering on this man named Job whom God esteemed, and they despised.
May we all always be Spirit led.
Your brother in Christ,