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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Prayers in the Bible: Job prays for his friends

Job 42:7 It was so, that after Yahweh had spoken these words to Job, Yahweh said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you, and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore, take to yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept him, that I not deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has.”
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did what Yahweh commanded them, and Yahweh accepted Job.
10 Yahweh turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends. Yahweh gave Job twice as much as he had before.  (World English Bible, public domain)

Job interceded for his friends. Were they really friends? Sometimes, during the 30 or so chapters when they were lecturing Job on his supposed secret sins, they must not have seemed like friends. But they did sit with him in his agony of body and mind. Most of the prayer in the New Testament is prayer for other believers. (See here) Intercession, or supplication. Ours should be, too. For our friends, in other words.

Note that it sounds like God gave Job back what Satan had been allowed to take from him, after Job proved that he really did have his heart in the right place, that is, when he prayed for his friends, when he really would have liked to have said, yet again, "I told you so!"

Thanks for reading. This is part of a series. The previous entry is here.


Pete D said...

Martin - I haven't commented here in a while, but this entry particularly struck me as a good friends just lost his 2 1/2 yr old son to cancer that was just diagnosed a few months ago.

The Book of Job is one of the worst portraits of god there can be. God allows pain to be inflicted (the worst pain! his children's deaths!) as a test of faith? This is incredibly wrong. I cannot fathom why people hold this book up as some kind of inspiration. Such abuse just to prove a incredibly petty. Giving Job a new family and more possession hardly makes up for this. It's one of the most spiteful instances of a god treating a man with complete disregard for him. Are our lives so trivial to such a god?

Martin LaBar said...

I am sorry to hear about that loss.

Your way is one way of looking at Job, and I can see how it seems that way. I see Job as a lesson in what I should do when suffering comes to me, as it surely will (and has), than as a test of Job's faith, although that was tested. I see God as suffering with us, and for us.

Thanks for your comment, as always.