Summary: The advice that comforts may be right advice with proper theology in some situations but bad advice for each person’s situation since it does not meet the need of the present situation.
I. A REPRIMAND: “You are a sinner” (vvs. 4:1-5:27)--"Come clean, Job. Innocent People don’t suffer” (4:7)-- “One who feared God and shunned evil”-- Eliphaz (means “my god is gold”): “Come clean, Job. Only the wicked suffer. Innocent people don’t suffer.” (4:7) When his friends answered him, what did they answer? The pain in Job’s heart? No, Eliphaz answered the words from Job’s lips; and this was a mistake. A wise counselor and comforter must listen with the heart and respond to feeling as well as to words. You do not heal a broken heart with logic; you heal it with love. Yes, you must speak the truth; but one must be sure to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). He is the voice of philosophy. He is the theologian.
Illus: Ring. “Hello?” “Job, good to hear your voice. This is Eliphaz.. You’ve got a nasty case of boils someone told me. You know you don’t look too good in sackcloth either Job. Not your color. But anyway I was calling to give you some advice. I’m sure you don’t mind. Man does not live by bread alone. I tell you Job, you just need to get your religious life back on track. A prayer a day keeps disaster away. Let go and let God Job. If you just pray hard enough, everything will be fine. I tell you, Job, if you really had faith, none of this would be bothering you.” “But God isn’t hearing me.” “The Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want. C’mon Job. God is everywhere. You see those big black and white billboards all over town, saying things like I don’t doubt your existence, signed God. That’s the ticket Job. You need more faith. Every time you get down just think, What Would Jehovah Do and you will be fine. No more troubles. Gotta run. And idle mind is the devil’s playground. Catch you later Job.” (click)
1. An affirmation (agitation) (vvs. 1-6)-- Eliphaz begins his discourse with Job by making a positive, affirming statement in an attempt to connect with him. It is because Job’s friends can’t bear to hear him speaking the way he has, just sighing, "let me die ... better for me to die." Eliphaz is the one who speaks first: "Job, I’ve got something to say to you, what’s wrong with you man? You’ve encouraged others throughout your life and now, it’s time to apply a little spiritual insight to yourself." Look at v. 3: “If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary? But who can withhold himself from speaking? Surely, you have instructed many.” Eliphaz states (v. 6) that piety (“reverence” or “fear of God”) is the basis of assurance and that one’s integrity (or blamelessness) is the basis of hope.
Illus: “Reverence controls behavior, behavior does not control reverence.”
2. An axiom (assumption) (vvs., 7-11) “Who ever perished being innocent”--(v. 7a)--Eliphaz believes Job has sinned against God and should confess his sin if he is to be restored. "Consider this fact, who being innocent has perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? I’ve observed this, that those who plow evil and trouble reap it" (4:7&8). His assumption was wrong regarding Job. The answer that he gives is not the right answer. To get the right answer you need to be sure about the question. His assumption sprang from his observation “I have seen” (v. 8, 5:3 “I have seen the foolish taking root”). revelation (4:12) “a word was secretly brought to me.” Sometimes people will say, “God spoke to me” but we need to be sure it lines up with the Word of God.