Isaiah 58:1–59:21; Luke 22:24–62; Job 13:1–12
“Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay” (Job 13:12).
There were bits of truth in the words spoken by Jobs’ friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Between their blundering interpretations were words that expressed God’s majesty, justice, and sovereignty. Unfortunately, they pieced together their bits of truth and applied them incorrectly to Job’s life.
Job quickly saw through their packaged solution. However, not all those struggling with loss can handle an onslaught of helpful Christians with easy answers. When people go through difficult times and ask for advice—or even if they don’t—it’s tempting to deliver our responses based on our own experiences. Eliphaz argued this way: “Just as I have seen, plowers of mischief and sowers of trouble will reap it” (Job 4:8).
The way we interpret and respond to events in our lives is often Scripture-based and Spirit-led. Though we should readily provide encouragement to those who struggle, we shouldn’t always encourage others toward the same application. Our responses to those in need should be carefully weighed, and they should always guide others to Scripture, the good news, and the work of the Spirit. Ultimately, these are the means through which truth speaks into our experiences. We should never intend for our guidance to be the final authority in others’ lives.
How are you helping others understand their pain and sorrow?
Rebecca Van Noord
 Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.