Job 15:10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.
11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;
18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:
19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.
Eliphaz tried to justify himself by stating that he and his friends had grayheaded and very aged men among them. He claimed they were older than Job’s father. That may be, but they lacked wisdom. They were not behaving like the grayheaded men that God wanted them to be. Grayheaded men are supposed to have learned some truths about Who God is. They are supposed to give wise counsel to the younger men. These men had nothing good to offer Job.
In verse 11 Eliphaz suggested that Job despised the encouragement of God. He also asked if Job was hiding secret sins within. In verse 12 Eliphaz wanted to know why Job had allowed his pride to carry him away from God. Why did he wink at or make light of sin. Why did he turn his spirit against God. Why did he speak so foolishly?
Eliphaz assumed that because they were older, they knew better than Job did. The apostle Paul taught Timothy:
I Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Age without Godly wisdom is nothing. Eliphaz had already proved that his age was not a blessing. He had not learned anything of value with his age. He thought he was a wise man, but he proved he was not wise at all. Job did not need to heed his words. Job needed to trust God and follow Him.
In verse 14 Eliphaz repeated words that Job had spoken earlier. Job knew that man is not clean. He knew that man was born a lost sinner. Righteousness is not earned. It is not something anyone is born with. Righteousness is a gift of God given to those who know the true God as Saviour and Lord.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Job was not acting with piety. He was not suggesting that he embodied righteousness. He trusted in the true God for his hope. He was just confused with how things were going in his life at the present time. He would continue to call out to God. Eliphaz would be wise to step back and get out of the way.
In verse 15 Eliphaz stated that God does not trust in nor depend on His saints. Even the heavens are not pure before God. Only the third heaven, where God’s throne is, is pure. All of the earth and the two heavens have been corrupted by man’s sin. Eliphaz was right in that. He was wrong in that he suggested that God had no confidence in Job. Chapters 1&2 tell us a different story. God had confidence in Job. He knew that Job would remain a faithful child of God. Job’s faith was not in himself. His faith was in the true God. God was able to keep Job from falling. Eliphaz was like so many others. He assumed that man needed to rise up to the occasion and not be dependent upon the Lord. He wrongly assumed that it was an automatic thing that the older a person gets, the wiser he will be. He proved that to be wrong.
Eliphaz continued with his humanistic reasoning in suggesting that since man is less than the angels, he is more wicked than the angels. Man has the opportunity to be forgiven and saved. Man can be made righteous in Christ. The angels are made without sin, but when they sin, they cannot be restored. Man is born a wretched sinner, but he can be made a saint in Christ.
In verses 17-19 Eliphaz wanted Job to listen to him. He would impart his “wisdom” to him. Eliphaz claimed that his wisdom came down from the fathers. The fathers had not hidden their wisdom but readily passed it down to their children. Eliphaz failed to acknowledge that human traditions get corrupted the further from the source they are. God’s Word is sure and each generation must study God’s Word and follow the truth. We might be able to learn some things from our forefathers, but only if they walked in the fear of God. Our forefathers never supersede the Word of God.
There are many religions today that have followed the philosophy of Eliphaz. I remember being given a copy of the Mennonite Herald years ago by a man who wanted me to learn from that magazine. The doctrinal questions asked in that magazine were addressed by the writings of the “fathers”. There was no reference to the Bible, but to the “fathers”. I was raised in the Mennonite traditions. I have some understanding of them. The church I attended as a boy is not even fit to be called a church today. They do not even know what salvation is. They have indeed followed the “fathers”. The “fathers” were compromisers and each generation has perfected the art of compromise a little more. This is sad to say, but it is true.
Eliphaz claimed that his wisdom came all the way back from Creation. His words may well have come almost from the time of Creation, but they came from the teachings of the devil. Satan corrupted God’s Word to deceive Eve. Adam chose to accept those corrupt words and he chose to sin, knowing better.
Eliphaz was corrupting God’s Word and that is never a good thing. God shows us over and over again that we need to look to Him for wisdom. We can never allow any man to cloud what He has said. A godly man will always refer people back to God. He will give his understanding, but he will show others where he got his thoughts from so that others can examine the truth for themselves and see if this other person is speaking with accuracy.
It is not sin to examine all that is being said by the Word of God. The book of Acts states:
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
God did not rebuke the Bereans for being students of the Word. They did not reject the words of the apostles. They simply wanted to be sure that what the apostles said was true to the Scriptures. They were happy to hear the Word of God. They just did not want to get caught falling away from that Word.
It is always wise to examine what man says in the light of God’s Word. We need to follow after righteousness. We need to be saved in order to do that. We need humility in order to grow in the Lord. Pastors and teachers need to be humble servants of God. They need to be able to show those they teach why they believe what they believe. It must be based in the Word of God, not the teachings of man. A godly pastor will want his people to be building on the sure Word of God. Pastors are fallible. Pastors die. God’s Word is truth and It never dies. It is important to teach saved people how to study God’s Word carefully and accurately. The wise student of the Word does not take the arrogant stance that Eliphaz had. He wants to know the truth and he wants to help others to know the truth as well.