Hey, my friends. Welcome back to Let’s Encourage One Another.
Can I guess what you’re thinking? You saw the title to this episode and thought, “Job was the one who needed encouragement, wasn’t he? Not the one to offer it.”
But today, I want to share with you this little insight into Job: he was an encourager, too!
I have absolutely loved learning about this part of his life. And truth be told, we don’t have a lot of information about it, but it’s just enough to show us that Job cared about others and reached out to them when they were having difficult seasons.
So let’s dive into the story of Job and see what we can learn from him when it comes to encouraging others.
Job the Encourager
If ever there was a man who needed encouragement, it was Job. In the matter of a few short days, everything was taken from him—his livestock, his children, even his health. And though many of us know of Job’s faithfulness to God throughout this trial, what we don’t realize is that he was known in his community as an encourager.
Listen to this. This is what Job’s friend says to him:
“In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees.” (Job 4:3-4 NLT)
That’s it. That’s all we have when it comes to the way Job interacts with those around him in his community. But it is so rich in imagery and gives us such insight into his character. I love the words he uses here.
But let’s just start with the idea that Job encouraged many people. He was known as an encouraging person. Remember, he’s not saying this about himself. His friend is saying it about him.
Some translations say Job instructed a lot of others. He was a leader, of sorts, someone who was not just well-known, but who knew others. By name. And was able to speak to them in personal ways, to check in with them and see how life was going. To instruct them in the ways of God and encourage them to remain faithful to Him.
But let’s stop and look at how Job did this. What specific words does his friend use to describe him?
You Have Strengthened Those Who Were Weak
He says that Job strengthened those who were weak. Does that remind you of anyone else?
Listen to what God says in Ezekiel 34 as He describes Himself as the Good Shepherd:
“I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day… I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.” (vs. 11-12, 15-16 NLT).
Weak can mean a physical weakness, but it can also be a timidness or trembling. To me, it conveys the idea of anxiety or fear or overwhelm. The word used in Ezekiel can also mean sick, in pain, or grieved. Job came alongside others who were having a hard time. He strengthened those who were weak.
Who do you know who is weak? Who walk with timidness or anxiety? Who are in pain or grieving? How can you come alongside them and strengthen them during this time?
Because we are called to behave the same way. In 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NLT), Paul writes, “Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak.” What does that look like for you?
Your Words Have Supported Those Who Were Falling
Job also spoke words of comfort and encouragement. It says, “Your words have supported those who were falling.”
He didn’t just encourage others with his actions, but he spoke words of life to them. Words strong enough to support them when they were down and broken. He epitomized Ephesians 4:29—“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Do you have any idea how powerful your words can be? We’re not just talking about the everyday uplifting word—the compliment, the affirmation—but speaking words that actually support someone who is literally falling apart. Whose life seems to be in shambles or whose inner world is chaotic or hopeless.
And it’s not necessarily even saying just the right thing at the right time, having the perfect word or phrase to share. But a discourse, a conversation with the one who is hurting. Taking time to stop and actually talk with them about what is weighing on their hearts.
What words come out of your mouth? Are they uplifting? Do they build others up? Do they support those who are falling?
You Encouraged Those with Shaky Knees
So Job strengthened those who were weak. He spoke words of encouragement to them.
And, finally, Job encouraged those with shaky knees. Another translation (ERV) says, “You gave strength to those who could not stand by themselves.”
I picture Job with someone’s arm over his shoulder, and he is helping them to stand up and walk.
There are some things that happen in life that just knock us to our knees, aren’t there? They knock the wind right out of us. We can’t stand. We can’t breathe. Our world is falling apart.
Some things in life were never meant to be carried alone. Job knew that, and he supported his friends until they were ready to walk by themselves again. Walking with them in seasons of grief. Coming back time and again to make sure they were okay.
In Isaiah 35 verse 3 (NLT), we see, one again, that we are called to do the same. As Isaiah prophecies about the restoration of Israel, he says, “With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.” These word pictures are used so many times throughout Scripture because this is what our God does for us.
You know, I wonder… if Job had had a friend who was more similar to himself, one who encouraged others like he himself did, what would they have done for Job during this great trial of his? This trial where he is grieving the loss of his own children, his livestock, and his health. If you’ve ever had one thing after another go wrong, this was the type of season Job was in. How would an encouraging friend come alongside him? How would they support him?
I also wonder how Job would come alongside you right now in the midst of whatever struggle you are facing… what words of comfort and wisdom he would share with you. How he would help carry you. Because Job shows us what it means to encourage and strengthen others just like God encourages and strengthens us.
Let me read those verses from Job chapter 4 a couple more times, because I love how different translations phrase it. First, let’s look at the ERV:
“Job, you have taught many people.
You encouraged those who were ready to quit.
Your words helped those who were ready to fall.
You gave strength to those who could not stand by themselves.”
Now from the Message:
“You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words
that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet,
put fresh hope in people about to collapse.”
Do you catch Job’s spirit of encouragement in those readings? I love it. And I invite you to read over these verses a few times this next week and ask God to show you what you can do to encourage others in this way. To strengthen those who are weak, to use our words to support those who are falling, to encourage those with shaky knees.
Let’s be like Job, and thus like Jesus, my friends. Let’s encourage one another.
Okay, that’s all for today. Until next time…
ARE YOU READY TO C.A.R.E. COURAGEOUSLY?
Grab the Courageous Care Masterclass at www.lovedoesthat.org/care.
- “In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees.” (Job 4:3-4 NLT)
- “I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day… I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak.” (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-16 NLT).
- “Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NLT)
- “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT)
- “With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.” (Isaiah 35:3 NLT)
Friend, I’d love to encourage you as you encourage others. Here are two ways to get started:
1. SHOP ENCOURAGEMENT + SYMPATHY GIFTS
These are prayerfully-crafted gifts you can share with those you love as tangible expressions of care. Let your friend know she is not alone.
2. GET STARTED WITH SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
Interested in spiritual direction? Fill out this interest form where we can start to talk about what’s weighing on your heart and identify next steps you can take to discern God’s direction.