The Four Left Behind
Job 1:13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: 15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
The Book of Job is familiar to most of us. Job is the story of a Godly man who had it all, lost it all, and after much suffering regained all he had plus more. There are many lessons to be learned in its 42 chapters… Appreciate what you have for it can be gone in an instant. Trust in God always, no matter what trial you face. Be a good friend. Don’t kick a good man when he is down. God is listening even when He is silent. When you get done complaining, God will speak. Those are just a few that I have meditated on through the years. As always with the reread, God showed me something new and different in His Word as He always does. His Word is alive and has the power to inspire over and over.
In the very beginning, in the first Chapter, calamity collides with Job’s happy, abundant life. Servant after servant came to tell Job of the various losses they had witnessed. Livestock, houses, and children were destroyed and killed in an instant. Each of the four servants who came said, “I only escaped to tell thee.” So, it seems these four men had a lot in common, more than just being a servant of Job.
Each one had witnessed slaughter by the sword of men, and the deadly devastation of natural disasters. As they came to Job I can imagine they truly thought they were the only one. Why had God allowed them to survive? Were they grateful? Were they horrified? No one else had lived to tell of the unspeakable things they had witnessed. “Nobody knows what I am going through. No one understands. Why me?”
Whether they met there at the place where they reported to Job we don’t know. They are not mentioned again. What became of them we don’t know. But these four servants who thought they were all alone, each the “only one,” can teach all of us yet another valuable lesson from the Book of Job.
First of all, they each had a purpose. There was a reason God chose for them to survive. Their mission was not yet complete, therefore they survived. It was each of these men’s duty to go to Job, the man who was their master and let him know what they had witnessed firsthand. He didn’t have to hear the version of all these tragedies from his enemies, those who killed and destroyed, but from friends, men who served him. God has a purpose for each of our lives. No matter how small the task may seem, if it is what God has chosen for us, we will accomplish that. We will survive. If God leaves us to carry on, we must carry on.
Secondly, they were not the only one. I can imagine them all in a group hug, comforting each other on that day. There were tears of joy and tears of sorrow. Only they could understand what the others were going through. We are not the only one who is “going through.” There is someone else facing the same tragedy, the same fear, the same loss, the same bewilderment. If we are left behind, we have a purpose. Comfort one another. Be a listening ear. Share with each other and learn to deal together with the pain we are experiencing.
Now we know as we read on in the Book of Job, friends came to “comfort” him when he was in mourning. They didn’t do such a great job. Their friendship skills proved to be lacking. Perhaps the true friends in the story of Job were the servants who came to tell him all they had seen. They could have just run from all the tragedy and never looked back. Finding those who say they are friends is easy in this life. Finding those who will serve us and tell us the truth when the news isn’t good is difficult.
Job has this to say about his “friends”… Job 6:21 And you, my so-called friends, are no better—there's nothing to you! One look at a hard scene and you shrink in fear. 22 It's not as though I asked you for anything—I didn't ask you for one red cent— 23 Nor did I beg you to go out on a limb for me. So why all this dodging and shuffling? 24 "Confront me with the truth and I'll shut up, show me where I've gone off the track.