Although Job had lived a blameless and upright life, fearing God and shunning evil (1:1), he was not perfect. He speaks here of ‘the sins of my youth’ (13:26) and says, ‘My offences will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin’ (14:17).

The mistake that Job’s friends made was to think that his suffering was linked to his sin. Job becomes increasing frustrated with his friends. They go on about ‘sin’ (11:6,14) and effectively heap condemnation on Job (v.5). They do not offer Job any real comfort.

Eventually Job turns around and replies, ‘But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things?’ (12:3). ‘What you know, I also know’ (13:2). He points out to them that it would be best for them to say nothing: ‘If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom’ (v.5).

We need to pray for wisdom when people are suffering so we don’t just speak in “scriptural properness” but, demonstrate God’s wonderful love by our actions; being very compassionate and discerning in what we say.

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