Summary: Eliphaz has a one sided view of God which turns God into a cause-and-effect God. We see that only focussing on one aspect of God’s character will give us a skewed view of God.
Our world is very much a place which believes in the truth of cause and effect.
If I work hard I should get good money. If I am lazy or cheat I shouldn’t get as much.
If I am kind I should be respected. If I am mean I deserve to be ignored.
If I have integrity I should be trusted. If I lack integrity I deserve to be questioned.
If I study hard I should pass. If I don’t pass then it is my own fault.
Cause and effect. You see what I am saying?
As we go through life we feel that there needs to be a reasonable explanation for my situation. A plus B should equal C.
And when I can’t see the connection, or the situation does not seem to be reasonable, then some injustice must have taken place.
It is not fair that hard-working people are poor.
It is not fair that bad things happen to good people.
It is not fair when people with integrity are questioned.
Cause and effect. That is very much the world we live in isn’t it?
And that is the world that Job lives in as well.
Put yourself in his shoes.
• Your self-employed, all your tools have been stolen, and they were uninsured.
• Your car has been stolen and torched.
• Your three children were returning from school on the bus … and they were all killed when it overturned.
• You have contracted such a bad disease the doctor has told you to stay away from him because you look so gross.
• And to top it off your wife is abusing your religion, telling you it was just all a sham.
That’s a job like situation.
Job is a man of influence and he has some friends who have come to give him support in his time of need.
These are great friends. They are there for Job in his time of need. They identify with his loss and put themselves in the same humbling position – ripped robes and dust. They don’t even really know what to say so for seven days they are silent, just comforting Job with their presence. Which is probably the smartest thing they could have done – because as soon as they open their mouths they put their foot into it.
This is where the cause-and-effect issue comes in.
Eliphaz is the first of the friends to speak ... we hear from him for the first time in Job 4:1. By the time he gets to verse 7 this is what he is saying:-
7 “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? 8 As I have observed, those who plough evil and those who sow trouble reap it.
I don’t know if you have people in your life like this. The people who want you to do something or act in a certain way, but they don’t want to directly ask you.
“Honey are you hot?” “Sort of.” “Well maybe we should turn on the fan.”
Or you’re in bed. “It’s a little bit cold isn’t it.” “Yes.” “I think the blanket is on the floor.”
You know ... people like that.
Eliphaz is one of those people. He says it all, without actually saying it.
Have the innocent ever perished ... hint – Job you are perishing.
Were the upright destroyed ... hint – Job you have nothing.
People reap what they sow... hint – Job you obviously have a hidden dark side.
In the seven days that Eliphaz has been sitting there he has been doing the maths in his mind. What did Job do to make this happen?
What sort of evil does a man do that would cause God to send fire on 7000 sheep?
How bad do you need to be to have 3000 camels taken in an instant?
How offended is God that 10 children die in a house collapse.
Job, you are covered in sores. Scabs with worms infest your body. You’re nothing but skin and bone. What have you done?
What have you done to make God do this to you?
That is the cause-and-effect syndrome isn’t it?
You must have done something wrong to be in the situation you find yourself.
I should have behaved more faithfully because now I have a difficult life.
I’m going through these events because earlier in my life I was a rebel.
They’re in that situation because they didn’t listen to God.
Eliphaz uses it as a thought process. There are times when we do the same.
Life has to make sense. A plus B must equal C.
Otherwise it just isn’t fair.
Job is in distress. Eliphaz is accusing Job of hiding a very dark secret. What has made Eliphaz do that? The answer may surprise you.