Job 4-7

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

May 14, 2003

Introduction

Keep in mind what has happened:

Job is going through the most difficult time anyone has ever experienced (except for Jesus).

The reason Job is going through this tough time is because God is proud of Job and knows that Job will love Him no matter what happens to him.

God thinks Job is an upright, wonderful guy.

The confusion between truth and appropriateness.

We’re going to start hearing the things that Job’s friends have to say, starting with Eliphaz.

Eliphaz is going to have some good things to say.  He’s going to give some great truths as well as some untruths.

But God is going to rebuke these friends,

(Job 42:7-9 KJV)  And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. {8} Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. {9} So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
We’re going to have to pick our way through the things that these men say carefully.
Much of what they say is true, but it doesn’t apply to Job.  Some of the things they say aren’t true at all.

Lesson

Truth refined in trials

We’ve talked about how our faith is refined in trials (1Pet. 1:6-7).
I’d say that sometimes the things we believe get refined as well.
Sometimes the way we apply truth to our lives gets refined.

Job 4

:1-6 Can we talk?

:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

Eliphaz actually seems to be the most compassionate of Job’s friends.

Because he speaks first, we think he may have been the oldest.

:2 If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved?

He wants to know if Job minds if he responds to some of the things that Job has been saying.

Job has been cursing the day he was born.  He’s afraid that life is no longer safe.

Lesson

Caution in responding to people

Eliphaz has listened to Job’s opening complaints, and he’s offended.  He doesn’t like the things that Job is saying.  So he responds.
We need wisdom in knowing how to respond to people.
Sometimes the things people say in their anguish aren’t the things we need to respond to.
Sometimes we would be used better is we’d just be silent.
(James 1:19 KJV)  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

:5 But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

He’s saying that Job has helped other people who have gone though difficult times, and now that it’s Job’s turn, he can’t take it.

:6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?

Shouldn’t you be finding hope in the fact that you think you’ve been upright and good?

:7-11 Only the wicked have difficulty

:7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

To the natural mind, to the immature mind, and to the person who has never gone through great difficulty, this sounds true. 

If you’ve lived long enough and been through some difficulties of your own, you know that it’s not true.

Even though Job lived during the time of Abraham, there’s one great historical example: 

Cain killed Abel.

Lesson

Jesus

Jesus would perish, being innocent.
We ought to be grateful that Eliphaz is not correct on this point.
(Isa 53:5-6 KJV)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

:8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

(NLT) My experience shows …

Lesson

Perhaps you haven’t seen everything yet

Eliphaz owes a lot to his experience.  But that’s not always the best standard for truth.
What if you haven’t experienced all there is yet?
Perhaps you haven’t thought things through either.

:10-11 The old lion perisheth for lack of prey …

The meaning is this:  Although wicked men may be strong, they cannot ultimately prosper.

Eliphaz is saying that lions are evil and that they will eventually die.

Yet historically, there are quite a few species of animals that have become extinct since the time of Eliphaz, and the lion isn’t one of them.

:12-21 Eliphaz’ vision

:15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:

Eliphaz shares another “experience” about an encounter with some sort of scary angelic creature that spoke to him.

:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

(Job 4:17 ICB)  It said, 'Can a man be holy in the presence of God? Can a man be pure before the one who made him?

(Job 4:17 NLT)  'Can a mortal be just and upright before God? Can a person be pure before the Creator?'

This verse is what the ghostly presence supposedly said to Eliphaz.

Can we be “just” before God?

Through Jesus we can be.

(2 Cor 5:21 KJV)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

:18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

There are some similar passages to this in Scripture:

(2 Pet 2:4 KJV)  For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

(Jude 1:6 KJV)  And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

:19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay…which are crushed before the moth?

before the moth – better, “sooner than the moth”

If God doesn’t trust His own angels, He certainly isn’t going to trust us.

:21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.

(NAS) Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them? They die, yet without wisdom.

Lesson

The danger of pseudo-spirituality

There is a danger that comes when someone tells you something with this air of “spirituality”.
Eliphaz claims the authority of these statements because of the ghostly encounter he’s had.
If you haven’t experienced this yet, you will find that in the church today there will be people who will have this idea that they have a “word” from God, and sometimes it can be pretty spooky.
God does give words to people, but we are also responsible to “test” those things to see if they are really from God.

(1 Cor 14:29 KJV)  Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

We need to be careful about these kinds of “pseudo-spiritual” revelations.
(Col 2:18 NLT)  Don't let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don't let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud.
(Gal 1:8 NLT)  Let God's curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him be forever cursed.
Here’s one way we might consider testing things:
(James 3:13-18 KJV)  Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. {14} But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. {15} This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. {16} For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. {17} But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. {18} And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

How does the “word” spoken to you match up to this?

(James 3:13-18 NLT)  If you are wise and understand God's ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don't brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise! {14} But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don't brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie. {15} For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil. {16} For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil. {17} But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. {18} And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.

Job 5

:1-5 You’re a fool, Job

:1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?

(NLT) You may cry for help, but no one listens. You may turn to the angels, but they give you no help.

Eliphaz has just reminded Job that God doesn’t seem to trust His own angels (4:18)

:3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.

(NLT) From my experience, I know that fools who turn from God may be successful for the moment, but then comes sudden disaster.

It sounds to me as if Eliphaz is calling Job a “fool”.

:6-16 Eliphaz speaks of God

:6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust

Tough times don’t come from nowhere

:8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:

This is a very good thing to say to a person going through a tough time

(1 Pet 4:19 KJV)  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

The problem with what Eliphaz is saying is that it comes with a dagger aimed at the heart.  It comes with the suggestion that Job is a wicked fool who deserves this trial.

:9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

Eliphaz has a wonderful concept about God.  He doesn’t strike me as someone we should categorize as a “wicked unbeliever”.

:12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.

This is true in light of eternity, but it isn’t always true in this life.

One of the difficulties that is presented to the believer is the question of why the wicked prosper?

(Psa 73:1-3 KJV)  A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. {2} But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. {3} For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

(Psa 73:12-14 KJV)  Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. {13} Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. {14} For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

(Psa 73:12-19 KJV)  Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. {13} Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. {14} For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. {15} If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. {16} When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; {17} Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. {18} Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. {19} How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.

It’s in coming to the “sanctuary”, into God’s presence that Asaph realized their “end” (vs. 17).  God will one day have a reckoning with the wicked, but it’s not always in this life.

:13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness …

Paul quotes this when he talks about being careful that we don’t live according to the world’s “wisdom”:

(1 Cor 3:19 KJV)  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

Paul uses Eliphaz’ words to make his point.

:17-27 “God is good to good people”  

:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

This is a very often quoted Scripture:

The Psalmist writes:

(Psa 94:12 KJV)  Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

Solomon quotes it:

(Prov 3:11-12 KJV)  My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: {12} For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

The writer of Hebrews quotes it:

(Heb 12:5-6 KJV)  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: {6} For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Yet it’s source is Eliphaz.

That doesn’t make it wrong.

:18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

This sounds like something familiar …

(Deu 32:39 KJV)  See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

(Hosea 6:1-2 KJV)  Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. {2} After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

:19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

(NLT) He will rescue you again and again so that no evil can touch you.

David writes something similar to this in:

(Psa 91:10 KJV)  There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

:21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue

(NLT) You will be safe from slander and will have no fear of destruction when it comes.

We can prove this false right off the bat.  Job doesn’t seem safe from Eliphaz’ tongue.

Eliphaz thinks he’s helping Job, yet instead he’s actually doing the slandering.

:24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace

(NLT) You will know that your home is kept safe. When you visit your pastures, nothing will be missing.

Here’s another stab in the heart for Job.  His home was not safe.  His children all perished.

Job 6

:1-7 Reasons to complain

:3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.

(Job 6:2-3 NLT)  "If my sadness could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, {3} they would be heavier than all the sands of the sea. That is why I spoke so rashly.

It sounds as if Job is a little remorseful about having said some of the things he said back in chapter 3.

:4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me

Keep in mind, Job himself is not going to be correct in some things.  It’s not God’s arrows that have struck him, but Satan’s.

:5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?

Job feels he has a right to complain.  His life is miserable.

:7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.

People complain about tasteless food, but Job’s life is way worse than tasteless food.

:8-13 Longing to die

:9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!

Job wishes that God would just let him die. He is in despair.

But note, Job doesn’t take his own life.

:10 Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.

(NLT) At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Job is glad that at least He has not cursed God.

:12 Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?

He’s not superman.

:14-21 What friends are for

:14 To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend

afflictedmac – despairing

pitycheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

Lesson

Grace to people

We need to be gracious to one another.  There is no grace in Eliphaz’ statement. Eliphaz has no proof of Job’s sin, yet he has assumed it to be true.
Love on the other hand gives the other person the benefit of the doubt, “love believes all things …”

:15-21 My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook

In the Middle East, the “wadis” are gullies that fill up during a rainstorm, but are soon dried up again.

:18 The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.

(NLT) The caravans turn aside to be refreshed, but there is nothing there to drink, and so they perish in the desert.

:19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.

TemaTeyma’ – “desert”; the land settled by Tema the son of Ishmael

Sheba[email protected]– “seven” or “an oath”; a nation in southern Arabia

:21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.

Job feels betrayed by his friends who have come to supposedly comfort him like a brook could satisfy a thirsty traveler, yet they are only bringing pain.

Lesson

Friends bring refreshment

Paul tells his friend Philemon:
(Phile 1:7 KJV)  For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

refreshedanapauo – to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labour in order to recover and collect his strength; to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest; to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation

(Phile 1:7 NLT)  I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God's people.

:22-30 Friends?

:24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

Job wants to know from these guys where he went wrong.

:25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?

(NLT) Honest words are painful, but what do your criticisms amount to?

Lesson

Friends do say tough things

This doesn’t mean that a friend never says anything difficult to a friend.
Sometimes the only one who will tell you the truth is a friend.
(Prov 27:6 KJV)  Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
The problem is that there’s no truth to what Eliphaz has been saying.  He’s just throwing stuff at Job.

:26 Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?

(NAS) "Do you intend to reprove my words, When the words of one in despair belong to the wind?

Lesson

Handle desperate words carefully

I think that sometimes we can fall into a trap of responding to a person’s words when we simply need to let them talk and spill their guts.
We don’t have to correct everything.

:28 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.

They should be able to look Job in the face and see if he’s lying or not.

:29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.

(NLT) Stop assuming my guilt, for I am righteous. Don’t be so unjust.

Job 7

:1-6 My life has been difficult

:1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?

Everybody’s life is hard.

:2 As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:

(NAS) As a slave who pants for the shade, And as a hired man who eagerly waits for his wages,

:4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.

He’s having a hard time sleeping at night.

:7-17 Prayer to God – finality of death

:7 O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.

It seems that part of this last section is addressed to God.  The difficult thing is how the book is written that we don’t always know whether Job is addressing his friends or God.  Some suggest that the prayer starts here.  Others suggest it starts in verse 17.

:11 Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

It seems that Job feels that he must complain because he thinks that once he’s dead, he won’t be able to talk to God about what happened.

Keep in mind, Job does not have an accurate idea about death.

:12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?

(NAS) Am I the sea, or the sea monster, That Thou dost set a guard over me?

He feels that God has His eye on Job.  He feels that God must think that Job is something dangerous to have to keep watching him like this.

:14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:

Job can’t get a good night’s sleep because of the nightmares.

I wonder if he’s referring to Eliphaz’ pseudo vision?

:17-18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?

David quotes verses 17-18 –

(Psa 8:1-5 KJV)  To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. {2} Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. {3} When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; {4} What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? {5} For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

David is taking these verses and thinking about God’s grace – why would God ever be good to us?
Job is taking this truth and wishing that God wouldn’t think about him so much.

:19 till I swallow down my spittle?

An expression meaning “for a single moment.”

:20 I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?

(NLT) Have I sinned? What have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why have you made me your target? Am I a burden to you?

Job admits that he is a sinner, but he doesn’t understand what he’s done specifically to deserve his troubles.

The truth is, his troubles haven’t come as a result of his sin.

:21 thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.

He’s afraid he’s not going to make it through the night.  If God is looking for Job in the morning, Job won’t be there.

Lesson

Talk to God, not just about Him

Eliphaz talks a lot about God.
Job is in a better place by talking TO God, not just about Him.
When God finally speaks up, God will talk to Job, not to Eliphaz.
I think as a friend, one of the best things we can do for people is to pray WITH them and FOR them.

Lesson

How do we use truth?

Eliphaz has some wonderful doctrines down pat.  He has much that is correct in his theology.  But instead of bringing healing with God’s Word, he is hurting.
He has notches in his Bible.
(2 Tim 2:24-26 NLT)  The Lord's servants must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone. They must be able to teach effectively and be patient with difficult people. {25} They should gently teach those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will believe the truth. {26} Then they will come to their senses and escape from the Devil's trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
Even if Job had been hiding some secret sin, God’s servants need to be gentle.
(Prov 12:18 KJV)  There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
God’s Word is a Sword.  Don’t kill people with it, use it for healing.
1Sam. 6 – Bethshemesh – people lifted the lid on the Ark and peaked in.  They removed the Mercy Seat to see if the Law was okay.  As a result, people died.
(Num 7:89 KJV)  And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

God speaks from above the Mercy Seat.  No need to remove it.

(Mat 5:7 KJV)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Be merciful, find mercy.