Advice from John Calvin on comforting others:
Here we have Eliphaz telling Job that God punishes the wicked to show that he is Judge of the world and that they are wasting their effort fortifying themselves because they will not be able to escape his hand, for despite their great numbers and cooperation, God will destroy everything. But if that language is applied to Job, Job would have to believe that God is his enemy because he is wicked and filled with hypocrisy. That is not the case. Job has good reason to say, ‘Well, I know all of that, and if I needed it now, I would use it, but it does not apply to me.’ Job understood that he was not being afflicted because of his sins and that this was not God’s intention. It is not that Job did not feel guilty and deserving of worse if God had wanted to examine him rigorously, but he knows that God is not dealing with him the way he is because of his sins, but that God has another purpose. Knowing that, Job rejects the accusation they charge him with. Why? Because it does not fit his situation. ‘You are,’ he says, ‘a sorry lot of comforters.’ Why? Because they do not offer him appropriate consolations.
That tells us that when we want to comfort our neighbours in their distress and sorrow, we are not to approach them unmindful of their situation, for there are many comforters who, without regard for the person they are addressing, have only one pat thing to say. We must address each person and situation differently. We must speak one way to a person who is stubbornly opposed to God and another way to a pitiful creature who has always walked in simplicity. And depending on what the affliction is, we need to know how to proceed. For example, if men are morally insensitive, we must reproach and reprove their indifference so they will feel God’s hand and humble themselves under it. So we need great wisdom when we want to comfort appropriately those whom God afflicts. That is what we have to remember about this passage when it says that those who were intending to comfort Job were sorry comforters because they offered nothing that could help him. That is the main thing we have to remember.
John Calvin. Sermons on Job, Volume 2: Chapters 15-31 (Kindle Locations 1243-1258). The Banner of Truth Trust.