The book of Job shows us a man God described as a “blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:8). The first two chapters show how Satan was allowed to take blessings from Job. Job’s oxen, donkeys, and sheep died, and his ten children perished. Job suffered from boils, head to toe. His wife insulted him and told him to curse God, then his friends arrived. For seven days and nights, they sat with Job, saying nothing. After that week passed, they all, in turn, began to criticize Job. They believed Job had committed some grave sin to be punished so terribly, but they were wrong. Job then suffered through their unnecessary and inappropriate admonitions.
In Job 17:1-2, Job bemoans his condition and his company, saying, “My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished, the grave is ready for me. Surely mockers are with me, And my eye gazes on their provocation.” In Job 16:1, he said his friends were “sorry comforters.” If they were there to comfort, they were doing a poor job of it. Instead of offering comfort, they brought accusations; instead of helping Job rise, they pressed him further into the ashes.
Job 42:7, and the verses that follow, record God’s rebuke of Job’s friends. To be forgiven, they needed Job to act as a mediator between them and God. Verse 10 records an essential detail concerning Job’s mediation: he prayed for his friends while still suffering many afflictions. We are told, “The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold” (emphasis added).
Job’s righteous example extends to these final verses. He continued suffering boils along with the loss of everything precious to him, and although these miserable comforters had brought only inappropriate accusations, he prayed to God for them. Take that lesson into your prayer life: when you are miserable, and your life is filled with affliction, pray for others and trust God to take care of you.