Job 4 – 5: Eliphaz Confronts Job

I am combining chapters 4 and 5 since they are both coming from Eliphaz. Remember that Eliphaz is the son of Esau who is the twin brother of Jacob. Jacob becomes Israel and Esau and his descendants, along with Ishmael, later become what we know as the Muslims who follow Islam. The families have an understanding of God as God has been a part of their life, at least to some degree.

Chapter 4

(1) Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: (2) “If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? Yet who can keep from speaking? (3) Behold, you have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands. (4) Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees. (5) But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed.

Starts out nice and polite. Kind of like, “Hey Job. Will you be mad if I say something. How can I keep from saying something though?” Eliphaz reminds Job how he has been instrumental to others to teach them and encourage them. Job corrected others who were slipping in their attitudes and actions toward God and help give strength to those who faced challenges. But now, Job has become like one of those who he has helped so many times before.

(6) Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?

Fear here is a reverence for God. Job’s reverence of God has given him confidence. Job’s own integrity has given him hope. Job’s integrity is his ability to be morally upright. Job’s own ability to be righteous has given him hope. Yet, now he is lacking both confidence and hope.

(7) “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? (8) As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. (9) By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed. (10) The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion, the teeth of the young lions are broken. (11) The strong lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

Eliphaz is basically saying, “Job you hypocrite! You have told people when they have done wrong and told them to repent, yet when it happens to you, you claim innocence.”

How often do we still see these ideas as held to be true? The innocent do not perish or suffer. Only those who have sinned endure hardship and must endure the anger of God. Repent from your wickedness and the suffering will end. When it happens to us, do we rush first to ask God what did we do to deserve our suffering? We know that in Job’s case, that God is working on a better relationship with Job. Is that ever our thought when suffering befalls us?

(12) “Now a word was brought to me stealthily; my ear received the whisper of it. (13) Amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, (14) dread came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. (15) A spirit glided past my face; the hair of my flesh stood up. (16) It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice: (17) ‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? (18) Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error; (19) how much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed like the moth. (20) Between morning and evening they are beaten to pieces; they perish forever without anyone regarding it. (21) Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them, do they not die, and that without wisdom?’

When people were dreaming, dread came upon Eliphaz. A spirit glided past his face. The word spirit is also the word for breath, which is a description of the Holy Spirit.

Can a mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? The answer to both are no. No matter how good we are or how much we sacrifice, we never can be right before God. He even puts no trust into his servants nor his angels. None of God’s created beings can ever be worthy or trusted. Foreshadowing the need for Jesus here anyone?

Chapter 5

(1) “Call now; is there anyone who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn? (2) Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple. (3) I have seen the fool taking root, but suddenly I cursed his dwelling. (4) His children are far from safety; they are crushed in the gate, and there is no one to deliver them. (5) The hungry eat his harvest, and he takes it even out of thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth.

This seems to be a challenge in order to prove a point. Call now to someone else who is or claims to be holy / righteous and who has suffered like you. Who else has ever suffered like Job? Vexation is also anger, provocation, spite and wrath. Anger and wrath kills the fool. Fool is the word eviyl which is from an unused root meaning perverse. Looks close to the word evil doesn’t it. Jealousy slays the simple. Anger and wrath from God kill the fool or perverse one. The one who has moved away from God. God’s jealousy slays the simple or deluded one. I have seen the fool taking root or I have seen the perverse nature taking hold of the man. Suddenly I curse his dwelling. That is harsh, but he is talking about pointing out the sin to the man. You don’t sit back and watch it grow and fester, you quickly address it so the person can stop and repent. Why? Because his family is at risk from the evil. His possessions are at risk from the evil. So now Job has basically been blamed for the death of his children and the loss of his wealth.

(6) For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, (7) but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. (8) “As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, (9) who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: (10) he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; (11) he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. (12) He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. (13) He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. (14) They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope at noonday as in the night. (15) But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty. (16) So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.

This punishment and suffering didn’t just come by chance. It is a direct result of something Job had done. Blessings are from God and afflictions are from our actions. We know that all comes from God, but this was and still is a common thought. If something bad is happening to me, it must be because I am being punished.

(17) “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. (18) For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. (19) He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you. (20) In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. (21) You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes. (22) At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth. (23) For you shall be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. (24) You shall know that your tent is at peace, and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing. (25) You shall know also that your offspring shall be many, and your descendants as the grass of the earth. (26) You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, like a sheaf gathered up in its season. (27) Behold, this we have searched out; it is true. Hear, and know it for your good.”

Reproves is also chasten or correction. Be happy that God is correcting you for your sin. Do not despise His discipline. I hated it when my parents would tell me later I would thank them for punishment. It was true though. Not sure if I ever thanked them, but I am grateful for the discipline. I wish I had more of it. Then my life might not have taken the same dark turns.

God will wound you but He can heal as well. He breaks but He also rebuilds. Not just talking about physical pain here. It always seems like the majority of our suffering is emotional in nature. At destruction and famine you shall laugh, as God will save you. God will lift you above the attacks. While they might affect you, they have no power over you. Still holds true today.

Job 3: Job Speaks

Job has had a rough go of it. Lost everything, save his life. Struck with an ailment that left him in agony. Friends showed up and think he is basically a goner. He has held his tongue against God and has endured through the suffering. Now he speaks.

Job 3:1-10 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. (2) And Job said: (3) “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ (4) Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. (5) Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. (6) That night–let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. (7) Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it. (8) Let those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up Leviathan. (9) Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light, but have none, nor see the eyelids of the morning, (10) because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes.

Job starts out cursing the day of his birth. Satan has been denied his victory as Job did not give into the torment and curse God. How horrible he must have been feeling though to curse the day. How many years of happiness did he experience under the sight of God, but with his recent tragedies Job is so willing to give those all up in order to escape this pain. Is this the way we see pain and suffering? Our whole focus is brought to bare on the trial we are going through. Everything that occurs before in our life is cast aside. How wise it seems to create altars / reminders in our life of the good that God has done before. With no hope, we can no look forward to the fact that God is still with us.

Job 3:11-19 “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire? (12) Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? (13) For then I would have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept; then I would have been at rest, (14) with kings and counselors of the earth who rebuilt ruins for themselves, (15) or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. (16) Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light? (17) There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. (18) There the prisoners are at ease together; they hear not the voice of the taskmaster. (19) The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master.

They day has been cursed rather thoroughly, so now Job questions his very existence. Why was I created if I am going to suffer in this way? A common question people ask when there life is full of suffering. When something happens to them, the question becomes why my. Why would God allow me to suffer in this way? How many people have fallen away because of suffering in their life? No answers as to why it is occurring, we deem that a just God must not exist because how just is it to allow suffering in the world. If he would have never been born, he would not have experienced joy and happiness along with the suffering.

Notice, in death, all were at rest together.

Job 3:20-24 “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, (21) who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, (22) who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave? (23) Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? (24) For my sighing comes instead of my bread, and my groanings are poured out like water.

Why has death not come to those that suffer? Why must they endure and face the pain? People often try to kill the pain they are going through struggles. Not always at first, because we tell ourselves it will past, but as the pain seems unbearable and we lose our hope, we turn to the side to distract ourselves from the pain with something else. Food, sex, alcohol, drugs, work. It could be anything. Just something to allow the flesh to be stimulated and for another sensation giving us rest.

But why do we not just die when this happens? There is life before the suffering and life during the suffering, so there is life after the suffering as well.

Job 3:25-26 For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. (26) I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.”

The religiousness of Job is now spoken. The thing I dreaded befall me. Job was not making daily sacrifices to please or honor God. He was making them as to stop God from reaching out and striking him. Was his heart into following what was right and wrong in order to please God or rather to appease God?