Like all of us going through a hard time, Job gets a lot of advice from his friends. The majority of the book is a discussion between Job and his friends about what has happened to him, why, and how to fix it.

And although Job’s friends are renowned for their bad advice, they are not terrible people who make overtly evil claims. What they say makes a lot of sense from a worldly, human perspective. And, even more, the friends often encourage Job and say things that are right and true about who he is. It is only their conclusions that are off.

We get friendly advice all the time. We are created to live in community together, to sharpen one another. So how do we know when the advice of our friends is worth following?

Job leans on his faith. He loves his friends and he hears them out. But his trust is in God alone. If a friend points you to your faith, they are offering sound advice. Otherwise, they are not. Job’s friends, likely because they care for their companion, are trying to find a quick solution. They are trying to find a way out of this thing, to right the ship, to answer the question so that everything will be okay again.

Our friends want the best for us. But just like we often make mistakes perceiving our own good, friends make mistakes perceiving what is good for one another.

The example of Job is to hear his friends out but rely on his faith in God. Job’s posture throughout his story is worship. When his friends’ advice strays from worship for the sake of ease, their advice is no longer correct.

“Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope? “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.”
– Job 4:4-8