Job 4:1 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?
3 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?
7 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.
A few days ago I mentioned that Eliphaz would later have some good things to say to Job. I was wrong in that statement. I should have mentioned Elihu, not Eliphaz. My apologies for not being more careful in my writing.
Eliphaz as noted was the Temanite who was one of Job’s “friends”. In verse 2 Eliphaz began by asking if their response to Job’s words would cause him grief. Eliphaz knew that what he wanted to say was not going to be pleasing to Job. Job had already stated his case, and his three friends were not in agreement with him.
In spite of knowing that Job would not appreciate what his friends would say, Eliphaz justified himself by saying that it was impossible to remain quiet after Job had made his complaint public. Eliphaz and his two friends’ basic argument is that Job had obviously sinned and that is why he was facing the trouble he was in. They saw no other explanation for what was taking place. They obviously did not know Job. In chapters 1&2 God described Job as a man who eschewed evil and feared God. God spoke very highly of Job. God shows us that Job was not suffering because of sin. He did not handle his suffering as well as he could have, but his suffering was not the result of sin in Job’s life. Job’s suffering was the result of Satan wanting to prove that nobody would remain true to God if God did not protect them unfairly. Satan would be proven wrong throughout this book. Job’s three friends would also be proven wrong by God and they would be sharply rebuked by God for their ungodly theories. We will look at their theories because as we have noted before, nothing has changed with man. The theories that Job’s three friends held to, are still being used today by ungodly or unlearned people.
In verse 3 of our text, Eliphaz noted that Job had been quite influential in his life. That was a true statement. Job was not a selfish person. He had helped many people in need. Eliphaz acted like many people do. He tried to flatter Job first and then he would come in for the kill. The enemies of God are very good at psychology. They know what tricks to use to try to get people to drop their guard. It is always good to think carefully when someone wants to flatter you. Some people are genuine and they have genuine motives in mind. Many do not.
In verse 4, Eliphaz continued his flattery of Job. He said that Job’s words had been helpful to those who were in despair, or who were weak. Job had been there to give words of encouragement to others. Job was not a back-stabber. Job was genuine and he had a genuine concern for others. That is what God had stated in chapters 1&2. God did not put those facts in parenthesis and then go after Job. God stated the facts and showed us what was going on. Job’s three friends used the facts as a starting point to go after Job.
In verse 5 Eliphaz showed who he truly was. He accused Job of being able to give out good advice, but he was not willing to live by that same advice. Now that trouble had affected Job directly, he could not handle it.
In verse 6 Eliphaz stated that Job was getting what he deserved. Eliphaz and his three friends may have been jealous of Job’s testimony. Job was a man that was highly regarded by others. His three friends did not have that position. Job was highly regarded by others because he chose to show high regard for God. His three friends did not do that. They could have done that, but they did not want to live that way. They wanted the respect that Job had, but they did not want to follow God’s way of receiving that respect. As we will see, they never did gain that respect and God was very angry with them for their ungodly ways. They dared to invoke His character and His goodness in a dishonest manner.
In verse 7 Eliphaz drilled down deeper. He accused Job of being guilty of sin. Where was his sin? He accused Job of being in a state of perishing. The Hebrew word translated as “perishing” means “to destroy”. Eliphaz claimed that Job was about to be destroyed and it was because he was guilty of secret sins. Eliphaz claimed to have an inside track to the intimacy of Job’s life. He thought he could see into Job’s heart. His pride and arrogance was on full display.
Eliphaz claimed that Job was about to be cut off. He stated that righteous people are not cut off. Eliphaz claimed to be wiser than God. Job was indeed suffering. However, he would recover from these boils and he would live long enough to have a new family and see them grow up and have families of their own. The book of Job ends with great blessings that God gave to Job. He outlived his three friends and he enjoyed God’s blessing, rather than face His anger.
Eliphaz stated that those who promote iniquity which is wickedness, will reap the results of that lifestyle. That is true in the end. However, there are many wicked people who seem to do quite well in this world. Asaph wrote about that in Psalm 73. Asaph said his feet nearly slipped when he saw the prosperity of the wicked. He saw them as doing much better than the righteous. However, Asaph would go into the house of the Lord and when he had his “vision” corrected, he saw the end of the wicked and he also saw the end of the righteous.
Eliphaz only saw what he wanted to see. He believed that the righteous would never suffer like Job was. He would have fit well with the Charismatics of our time. They assume that if you live “right”, everything will go well for you. That is what men like Kenneth Copeland preach. They have gained quite a large following with their lies. There are many who have been brainwashed into believing those lies. They will even add their own lies to those of their “master”.
The ungodly face struggles in this life. They face hardships that are self-inflicted. However, many times they shrug off those hardships and figure out a way to find a distraction to help them carry on. Whether it be marriage failures, or loss of family members or financial difficulties or even health issues, they find a way to move on and make it look as if they have overcome. Of course there are many ungodly people who will run to the aid of their fellow comrades and help them in their time of difficulty.
I often receive letters from those who are asking for donations to help them assist others who are facing challenges in life. The world is full of enablers. God is not an enabler. God deals with justice and with truth. Job did not need friends like Eliphaz. He would need to endure their falsehoods for a while. As we observe this, we will see the patience of Job. He desired and even demanded an audience with God, but he put up with a lot of “hot air”, from his three friends. In the midst of his pain and lack of sleep, he needed to put up with them for a time.
We can learn from this. Even though Job was in quite severe pain, he still could deal with these men in a manner that did not drive them away. He rejected their philosophy, but he put up with their false teaching. Job had some good grounding in that regard. He just needed to get to know God better. We too need to be well grounded so as to avoid the false teaching that is so common today. We also need to be sure that we draw nigh to God and get to know Him better after we are saved.