Summary: This is a study into Job chapter four.
Jewels From Job
Job – Chapter #4
Job has given us the first discourse. That is found in chapter 3. What will happen next is that Job’s three friends will respond to Job. This becomes almost a debate session. Here is the outline.
Eliphaz’ first discourse chapters 4-5
Job’s response chapters 6-7
Bildad’s first discourse chapter 8
Job’s response chapters 9-10
Zophar first discourse chapter 11
Job’s response chapters 12-14
After the first round is over – there will be a second round.
We should remember that we do not know the spiritual condition of these three men. We do know Job’s condition. “Then the Lord said, “Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited Me against him, to destroy him without just cause.” Job 2:3 (HCSB)
Job’s three friends will speak much truth but they will also speak much error. What we find in the Bible is inspired – it is there to encourage us and to keep us from false teaching. But there are times when we are exposed to falsehood so that we can discern the truth. The temptation of Jesus is such an example. We find both false teaching and truth. Satan’s discourse is plainly in the scripture – even though His teaching is false. There are many examples in the scripture where false teaching is presented. This is like an inoculation – so that we may discern the false from the truth. It is up to us to study the scripture so that we may learn where the truth lies.
The main theory of Job’s three friends is false. Their position was that God never afflicts a righteous man. Since Job is afflicted – He must be a sinner. We must keep in mind that God has not caused the affliction of Job – but He has allowed it. God allows the suffering of all people but He also sends blessing on all people as well.
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 2 "If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary? But who can withhold himself from speaking? Job 4:1-2 (NKJV)
Eliphaz will be the first to speak to Job. He starts speaking to Job with gentleness telling him he is not there to make him tired but to help him. “Should anyone try to speak with you when you are exhausted?” Job 4:2 (HCSB) He goes on to tell Job that he can not be silent and that Job that he had instructed many people and now it was his turn to be instructed. “Look! You have instructed many and have strengthened weak hands.” Job 4:3 (HCSB) Eliphaz is in the process of “buttering” Job up. We have all heard it is easier to catch flies with honey then it is with vinegar.
If Job is to reject the truth it would be a matter of pride – but does Eliphaz speak to him the truth?
3 Surely you have instructed many, And you have strengthened weak hands. 4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, And you have strengthened the feeble knees; 5 But now it comes upon you, and you are weary; It touches you, and you are troubled. 6 Is not your reverence your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope? Job 4:3-6 (NKJV)
Here we find some real insight. When we are not in affliction it is easy for us to give advice and to help others. When affliction comes on us it has a tendency to “blind” us to what is really happening. Our vision becomes narrower as our pain increases. When ministers are in affliction they become very much like the people they minister to when disaster strikes. We are not above reproach.
"Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?” Job 4:7 (NKJV)
Eliphaz gets to the meat of the issue quite quickly - Consider: who has perished when he was innocent? Where have the honest been destroyed? Job 4:7 (HCSB) Do the innocent suffer? Of course we know that the answer is yes. Innocent people suffer all the time. Earthquakes, disease, famine, accidents, etc. happen and innocent people are caught in the middle of it. This is the “Problem of Pain.” It is also true that some suffer because of the sins they have committed. If we do something wrong – sin – consequences follow.
By the time you get to the New Testament – the same type of thinking is found there. Many in New Testament times believed that people suffer because of the sin they committed – either there own or the sin of a family member. See scripture below: