Job 4:1

 

We were told at the end of chapter two that Job’s friends came to visit him after they heard of all that Job had suffered. Now we are going to be told what Eliphaz the Temanite said to Job. It turns out that Eliphaz did not understand at all what had happened to Job or why. The things that Eliphaz had to say had to do with his own philosophy of life, and was largely based upon general truths that actually did not apply to Job’s situation. Eliphaz’s attitude and words were the cause of additional sorrow for Job. Eliphaz had the wrong words and the wrong ideas, and he was making accusation against Job. The Bible says in Job 4:1-2, “Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, [2] If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? But who can withhold himself from speaking.” This was a situation where Eliphaz should not have spoken up. He did not know what he was talking about. Eliphaz saw someone else’s circumstance, and Eliphaz thought that he had all the answers, when in fact he knew nothing. It shows that he was arrogant and self-righteous.

 

Eliphaz said in Job 4:3-6, “Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.[4] Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.[5] But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.[6] Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?Eliphaz is making a big criticism of Job. Eliphaz is saying that there was a time when Job helped others who were in need, but now Job cannot help himself. You saved others, yourself you cannot save. That is the same criticism that they gave Christ when He hung on the cross. 

 

Eliphaz said in Job 4:7-11, “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?[8] Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.[9] By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.[10] The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.[11] The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad.” This is another major condemnation of Job. Eliphaz thinks that he is so smart. Eliphaz thinks that there is just one explanation for why people suffer, and therefore, that has got to be the reason why Job is suffering. Eliphaz is saying that he knows that people suffer when they are punished by God. In other words, you reap what you sow. God is holy and He punishes those who sin and do wrong. Eliphaz has seen that happen with his own eyes. He knows that it is true. There is only one problem with the thinning of Eliphaz: what he said is only true sometimes. That is not the only reason that people suffer. There are other reasons that people suffer in this life. First of all, God does not always give punishments in this life: that is what hell is all about. And in addition to the reaping-what-you-sow explanation for suffering, as long as we are on this earth, sufferings are a common part of life for both believers and unbelievers. If there is a natural disaster, everyone in the vicinity is affected by it, whether good or evil. It is just a fact of life that this is an imperfect world where things go wrong sometimes. Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” When Jesus described the characteristics of the age in which we now line, Jesus said in mark 13:8, “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in diverse places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.” Another reason for suffering is that believers sometimes suffer more than unbelievers simply because they are believers. Jesus was described as “a man of suffering and well acquainted with grief.” And Jesus said that the servant is not greater than his Lord. Paul wrote in First Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Of course, because of the first two chapters of the book of Job, we all know that Job’s sufferings were permitted by God not as a punishment, but as a testimony to Satan and the evil angels and the good angels and to all of us, that a believer could suffer great sufferings, and still turn to God. Others might turn away from God when they suffered some great sorrow, and many have turned away from God because of suffering; but not Job.

 

Eliphaz continues to belittle Job and to denounce Job. Eliphaz said in Job 4:12-21, “Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.[13] In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,[14] Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.[15] Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:[16] It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,[17] Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?[18] Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:[19] How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?[20] They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.[21] Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.” Job was saying, “I have suffered, but I do not know why I have suffered. I do know that I did not deserve these sufferings.” Eliphaz thinks that Job is being self-righteous because Eliphaz thinks that somehow and for some reason that Job did deserve to suffer. Eliphaz did not know what he was talking about, and he should not have said anything about Job’s sufferings. Many people make the same mistake. They talk about other people’s circumstance in life, but they do not know. Only God knows. Eliphaz would have been better off if he had remained quiet, said nothing, and simply prayed for Job. 

 

There is something else to say about these verses in Job chapter four where Eliphaz is talking about a vision that he had, and what he supposedly learned from that vision. It is just another example of his self-righteousness and pride. Eliphaz is saying, “I have had these spiritual experiences where I learned from God, and therefore, I know what is true, and therefore, I am right and Job is wrong.” Eliphaz’s spiritual experiences only made him more prideful. If your experiences do not make you more humble, I would question their validity.

 

Eliphaz continues his criticism of Job in chapter 5. Eliphaz says in Job 5:1-6, “Call now, if there be any that will answer thee, and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? [2] For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. [3] I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. [4] His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them. [5] Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance. [6] Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;” We know that Eliphaz is talking about Job here because he refers to the exact same things that happened to Job. Job lost all of his children in a sudden disaster, and Eliphaz speak of children being “far from safety” and being “crushed in the gate.” Job lost all of his crops, and Eliphaz speaks of the “harvest the hungry eateth up.” Job lost all of his animals, and Eliphaz speaks of robbers swallowing “up their substance.” Therefore, when Eliphaz speaks of “the foolish man” in verse two, Eliphaz is saying that Job is foolish, and that foolishness is the reason for what Job suffered.

 

Eliphaz was wrong in his conclusions, wrong in his attitude towards Job, and wrong in judging Job. But that does not mean that every little point that Eliphaz made was wrong. Eliphaz made some statements that were true in general, but they just did not apply to Job’s situation. But we see over and over with Eliphaz is that he takes the things that apply sometimes in some situations, and Eliphaz makes the mistake of saying that they apply now in Job’s situation. Another good example of that mistake is seen in the next several verses. Eliphaz says in Job 5:7-16, “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.[8] I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:[9] Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:[10] Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:[11] To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.[12] He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.[13] He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.[14] They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night.[15] But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.[16] So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.” Once again Eliphaz says a lot of things that are true, but he is implying in the wrong way how things apply to Job. Verse 7 is very true: “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” If things are going well for you, then get ready for some trouble. There is not just trouble in River City, there will also be trouble in our lives. One of the benefits of being a believer is that we know that whatever happens is the Lord’s will, and He is able to make it work out for good somehow.

 

Eliphaz is right again in verse 8. When trouble comes, make sure you turn to the Lord and trust in Him. Eliphaz is right again in verse 9. God does do great things and unsearchable: marvelous things.

 

In verse 11, Eliphaz starts to make implications against Job: “To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.” God can do that and God will do it in His kingdom after the judgement, but some people are going to have a low position in this life and stay low. Job was very low with all that he lost. He lost everything. The same point can be made about verses 12, 13, and 14. By the time Eliphaz gets to verse 15, he is way off: “But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.” Some people are called to suffer for Christ. What about martyrs? They will be rewarded in heaven after they have suffered in this life. God did not save Job’s children from the sword, and so Eliphaz once again is implying that Job must not have been trusting in the Lord, but the opposite is true. 

 

Eliphaz said in Job 5:17-18, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:[18] For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” These two verses are very true. Verse 17 partly answers the question: what happens when a Christian sins? When a Christian sins, they go out of fellowship with the Lord. That is why Christians need to quickly confess their sins: to stay in fellowship with the Lord Jesus. It says in First John 1:6-9, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: [7] But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. [8] If we say that we have no sin. We deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If you are a Christian, and you do not confess your sins, then the Lord will chastise you because He is trying to wake you up to the fact that He should be your priority. You belong to Him, and you are supposed to be serving Him. Some Christians are sick and some have died because they have not confessed their sins to stay in fellowship with the Lord. It says in First Corinthians 11:30, “For this cause some are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” 

 

Hebrews 12:5 quotes from Proverbs 3:12 and says, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” If you are not right with God, it is in your best interest to turn to the Lord Jesus now. God has His ways to wake you up. It is not necessary to go through that: just turn to the Lord.           

 

 

 

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Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved