Three FriendsSo Job has had quite an ordeal… seeing Satan literally steal everything from him. His three friends hear about what Job is going through and come to offer “assistance”.  Eliphaz the Temanite; Bildad the Shuhite; and Zophar the Naamathite – all get word and set a time together to come and help their friend in any way they can (Job 2:11).  The text then tells us that “when they lifted up their eyes from afar off, they knew him not” and this caused them to weep for Job (2:12).  Perhaps they could not recognize Job due to the swelling from the boils and the mourning process – but either way it was obviously a tragic sight, causing them to simply sit down by his side – without a word.

Job sits for 7 days and 7 nights in silence – mourning this loss and trying to figure out what in the world was going on.  Then, out of the silence, Job begins to speak – not praising God – not any words of faith at all… but to “curse the day of his birth”.  Obviously, there is grace for Job in his current situation – but it is at this time where Job’s limited understanding of his situation comes to fruit and we see the “logic” only get worse.

After listening to Job curse himself, Eliphaz clears his throat and speaks up.  For two chapters, (4-5) we hear this friend do his best to explain the situation to Job.  Unfortunately, it becomes evident rather quickly that Eliphaz knows even less about God then Job does!

Eliphaz had heard enough to convince him that regardless of Job’s past outward goodness in helping the poor, instructing the needy, and upholding the weak (4:3-4), he was a wicked man who had committed many sinful acts in secret and now he was reaping what he had sowed.  This “friend” argued that all of Job’s past public and private acts of goodness were for show and to cover up his real self (4:5-6).  He called attention to the fact that by observing what had happened to other wicked men, one could see that Job’s reaping was only normal and something to be expected.  His questions were provoking – Who ever perished, being innocent?  Where are there examples of the righteous being cut off?  His incorrect reasoning was that God is the one who causes wicked men to perish, so if Job was reaping the results of wickedness, it was proof of his great sinfulness and hypocrisy (4:7-11).   He argued that God was justified in punishing Job for his wickedness (4:12-21), that if he were a righteous man God would hear his prayers and deliver him (5:1-2), that trouble is bound to come, but not the fullness of it upon the righteous (5:6-7), that if Job would seek the Lord, He was able to deliver him (5:8-16), and that the evidence of God’s chastening upon him was proof that he was being chastened by God (5:17-27).

From first glance it may appear that Eliphaz spoke truth.  Many things he said were partially correct, yet the problem is that he spoke completely out of his experience.   Like many ill-informed Christians today, Eliphaz completely attributed the attacks from Satan as “chastening from the Lord” – and then proceeded to move from that faulty premise – into condemning Job.

The opening statement from Eliphaz is recorded for us in Scripture in order to teach us the error of attempting to define any situation by our own limited experience.  Eliphaz made the assumption (as do many today) that Job was being afflicted by God – completely unaware of what we know transpired in chapters 1-2… and that Satan was the real culprit.  The lack of tact by Eliphaz toward Job is repeated over and over again by well-meaning Christians who do not possess the knowledge of the Word in their hearts, and instead seek to interpret circumstances by what they “think” they know.

The result of this ignorance on Eliphaz’ part was to only stir Job into deeper troubles.  For, in his response/rebuke of Eliphaz, Job moved from simply blaming God for his plight – to actually accusing God of wrong doing (which he had not done up to that point).  Out of the frustration brought on by Eliphaz’ lack of sympathy, Job accused God of shooting poisoned arrows at him and terrorizing him.   That is not what God does with His children and only continues to reflect Job’s unfortunate downward spiral due to a lack of revelation.

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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