If You Speak, Encourage

John DeJong

READ : Job 4:12-21

The seven-day silence is broken with words of encouragement from Eliphaz. Several times he brings thoughts like, “You respect God and live right, so don’t give up!” and “Job, call out for help, and see if an angel comes!” He closes this discourse with a wonderful prophesy of Job’s vindication and victory.

Eliphaz cannot leave well enough alone. He needs to find a reason for Job’s problem and pain. In a sanctimonious and superior tone, he says to Job, “In my experience, only those who plant seeds of evil harvest trouble!” His suggestion is that there is some hidden fault in Job’s life that makes him deserving of his present situation. Later he shares with Job a dream vision where the words from God are “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” Much of what Eliphaz says is true in a general way. But was now the time or place? Was Job the one who needed to hear these words?

I recently criticized the use of sarcasm by one of my children. The response was, “Dad, where do you think we learned this?” Then he added, as if to excuse me, “But you always did it in a joking way.” Woe is me for past and present damaging words of sarcasm, wrapped in a smile and a laugh!

How about you? Are you the friend you would want in your time of trouble? Give an encouraging word!


Holy Spirit, help us hear ourselves. Help us discipline our tongues. Show us the good power of a good word. For the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.