Job Chapter Four

 

Read Job 4:1-11

 

v1. “THEN ELIPHAZ THE TEMANITE ANSWERED AND SAID,”

 

            Eliphaz is the first of Job’s friends to speak.  They have set back now for seven days and seven nights; silently sympathizing with Job, but then Job, as we studied in chapter three spoke out.  Eliphaz’s speech follows Job’s.

 

v2.  if WE ASSAY TO COMMUNE WITH THEE, WILT THOU BE GRIEVED? BUT WHO CAN WITHHOLD HIMSELF FROM SPEAKING?”

 

            Will you be grieved with us if we speak?  If we tell you what we think, will you take offense to that?  We don’t intend to add to your grief, we hope we don’t and will be sorry if we do.  When we visit someone that it grieving we must take care not to add to their grief.  We must not be as the enemies of David:

 

Psalms 69:26  FOR THEY PERSECUTE him WHOM THOU HAST SMITTEN; AND THEY TALK TO THE GRIEF OF THOSE WHOM THOU HAST WOUNDED.”

 

We want to commune or communicate with you. In this situation who can be held from speaking.  This is much the same as Elihu says in chapter 32:

 

Job 32:18-20  FOR I AM FULL OF MATTER, THE SPIRIT WITHIN ME CONSTRAINETH ME.  BEHOLD, MY BELLY is AS WINE which HATH NO VENT; IT IS READY TO BURST LIKE NEW BOTTLES.  I WILL SPEAK, THAT I MAY BE REFRESHED: I WILL OPEN MY LIPS AND ANSWER.”

 

And there comes times when we must reprove our friends, even if our friends are suffering affliction, for what they have done or said that was wrong, not hold back only for fear of offending them.  There is a time and place for everything and we must seek out the best time and place but still do this duty.

 

v3.  “BEHOLD, THOU HAST INSTRUCTED MANY, AND THOU HAST STRENGTHENED THE WEAK HANDS.”

 

            Job was a good man and had done many things to help his fellow man.  Not only did he provide for his own children but for many others as well.  Though a great man he did not think it beneath him, note the humility.  Though a business man he found or made the time.  He went among his neighbors talked to them about their souls and strengthened them in their weaknesses.  Eliphaz starts out his speech recounting Jobs efforts to instruct and strengthen those about him.  Job does much the same thing in a later discussion:

Job 29:15-16  I WAS EYES TO THE BLIND, AND FEET was I TO THE LAME.  I was A FATHER TO THE POOR: AND THE CAUSE which I KNEW NOT I SEARCHED OUT.”

 

v4.  “THY WORDS HAVE UPHOLDEN HIM THAT WAS FALLING, AND THOU HAST STRENGTHENED THE FEEBLE KNEES.”

 

            Eliphaz continues to recount the wonderful things that Job has done for others but it seems perhaps that he’s doing that to soften the sting of what he’s going to say next.  Some think the praises were given to make the charges he brings later easier to accept.  Others think that he’s really upbraiding him that even though he taught others, he didn’t teach himself.  This would go back to the idea many people had in that day that troubles were brought about by sin.  Not very comforting to a man in this condition is it?  A man by the name of Terent once said:

“We all find it easy, when in health, to give good advice to the sick.”

 

v5.  “BUT NOW IT IS COME UPON THEE, AND THOU FAINTEST; IT TOUCHETH THEE, AND THOU ART TROUBLED.”

 

            Job you’ve done all this good.  You’ve helped people through their troubles but now that troubles have come to you, you can’t handle it.  You’re down in the dumper; you’ve let this get to you.

 

v6.  is NOT this THY FEAR, THY CONFIDENCE, THY HOPE, AND THE UPRIGHTNESS OF THY WAYS?”

 

            Remember we studied two lessons back and mentioned again in our previous lesson that the common belief was that trouble, and tragedy were the just recompense for sin.  They believed that God visited these things upon mankind because of his sins.  So Eliphaz is getting ready to charge Job with wickedness and falseheartedness, charges that were totally without merit and untrue.  He further charges, by his words, that Job’s righteousness must to have been a sham, a pretense.  And says, in effect, had Job been sincere then God would not have allowed all these afflictions to fall upon him nor would Job have behaved the way he did in chapter three.

            This was the very thing that Satan wished to prove.  That Job was a hypocrite, that he wasn’t the perfect, righteous, upright man that God knew him to be.  Job’s first friend to speak is helping Satan, claiming that very thing that Satan set out to prove.

 

v7.  “REMEMBER, I PRAY THEE, WHO ever PERISHED, BEING INNOCENT? OR WHERE WERE THE RIGHTEOUS CUT OFF?”

 

            Eliphaz now turns to another argument to prove that Job must be a hypocrite, his righteousness a sham.  Remember all the times that you’ve seen, heard about, or read.  When did God punish someone who was righteous?  No one innocent or righteous has been punished as you’re being punished.  Much as David said:

 

Psalms 37:25  I HAVE BEEN YOUNG, AND now AM OLD; YET HAVE I NOT SEEN THE RIGHTEOUS FORSAKEN, NOR HIS SEED BEGGING BREAD.”

 

v8.  “EVEN AS I HAVE SEEN, THEY THAT PLOW INIQUITY, AND SOW WICKEDNESS, REAP THE SAME.”

 

            You reap what you sow, don’t you?  Job your problems and troubles must be as a result of your sin because we know that if you plow iniquity and sow sin, that you will reap the results of that sin.  This is true in many, many cases isn’t it?

 

II Corinthians 9:6  BUT THIS I say, HE WHICH SOWETH SPARINGLY SHALL REAP ALSO SPARINGLY; AND HE WHICH SOWETH BOUNTIFULLY SHALL REAP ALSO BOUNTIFULLY.”

 

            While this is a truth that cannot be disputed, when dealing with mankind we don’t always reap what we sow do we?  Some examples of what I’m talking about:

 

            Most recently on September 11, 2001 a large number of people reaped the whirlwind that had absolutely nothing to do with their own way of living except to go to work in the morning like they always had.

            We see dread diseases destroying people around the world and many of those people didn’t create the circumstances that gave them the disease.  A child contracts AIDS because of a contaminated blood transfusion.

 

            But in effect the world is reaping what it sown through the centuries, isn’t it?  Doesn’t the sin of men, frequently not even in our own generation, create many of the problems from which we reap our tragedies?  So Eliphaz accuses Job of reaping exactly what he sowed.

 

v9.  “BY THE BLAST OF GOD THEY PERISH, AND BY THE BREATH OF HIS NOSTRILS ARE THEY CONSUMED.”

 

            This is true in some cases isn’t it?  When God intervened directly in the lives of mankind we have many examples of God destroying people and even nations.  Just one example of the many times that God turned his wrath upon Israel

 

Isaiah 31:1  “WOE TO THEM THAT GO DOWN TO EGYPT FOR HELP; AND STAY ON HORSES, AND TRUST IN CHARIOTS, BECAUSE they are MANY; AND IN HORSEMEN, BECAUSE THEY ARE VERY STRONG; BUT THEY LOOK NOT UNTO THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, NEITHER SEEK THE LORD!”

 

            As he will in the day of judgment:

 

II Thessalonians 2:8  AND THEN SHALL THAT WICKED BE REVEALED, WHOM THE LORD SHALL CONSUME WITH THE SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH, AND SHALL DESTROY WITH THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING:”

 

            Eliphaz says Job; this is what’s happening to you.

 

v10.  “THE ROARING OF THE LION, AND THE VOICE OF THE FIERCE LION, AND THE TEETH OF THE YOUNG LIONS, ARE BROKEN.”

 

            Eliphaz here is accusing Job of being a tyrant or oppressor.  In Hebrew, scholars tell us, there are five different words for lion and they’re used to set forth the terrible tearing power, fierceness, and cruelty of men who rule harshly, who are oppressors.  They roar, and rend and prey upon all around them and teach their young to do likewise.  Remember that we’re studying poetry and the language is embellished somewhat due to that fact.

 

v11.  “THE OLD LION PERISHETH FOR LACK OF PREY, AND THE STOUT LION'S WHELPS ARE SCATTERED ABROAD.”

 

            These rulers, those who oppress men eventually get their just reward.  They perish and even their offspring are scattered and suffer because of their sin.  Eliphaz is, in effect, telling Job in yet another way that his sin is the source of this trouble.

 

Read Job 4:12-21

 

v12.  “NOW A THING WAS SECRETLY BROUGHT TO ME, AND MINE EAR RECEIVED A LITTLE THEREOF.”

 

            Now Eliphaz is prepared to tell Job of a vision that he’s recently experienced.  In his mind this is further proof that Job is reaping the result of his sins.  In those days God brought visions to men at various times and in various places.  This was done chiefly through dreams, at night, therefore secretly between the person and God.  He says that his ear received a little thereof, or that he knew a little bit or portion of God’s word.

 

v13.  “IN THOUGHTS FROM THE VISIONS OF THE NIGHT, WHEN DEEP SLEEP FALLETH ON MEN,”

 

            And Eliphaz tells us that his vision came in the night, when men are in deep sleep.

 

v14.  “FEAR CAME UPON ME, AND TREMBLING, WHICH MADE ALL MY BONES TO SHAKE.”

 

            It seems as though a great fear and trembling came upon Eliphaz, he was shaken or his bed was shaken so hard that his bones rattled.

 

v15.  “THEN A SPIRIT PASSED BEFORE MY FACE; THE HAIR OF MY FLESH STOOD UP:”

 

            Then, he says, a spirit passed before my face, a spirit being that he could see and he was so scared that the hair on his flesh stood up.  Have you ever been so scared that your hair literally stood on end? I have.  The scream of a screech owl, made at the right time and place can accomplish this, especially if you are not expecting it or don’t know what you are hearing.

 

v16.  “IT STOOD STILL, BUT I COULD NOT DISCERN THE FORM THEREOF: AN IMAGE was BEFORE MINE EYES, there was SILENCE, AND I HEARD A VOICE, saying,”

 

            This spirit stood still, he couldn’t really see a bodily form but there was an image, it was silent and then he heard a voice.

 

v17.  “SHALL MORTAL MAN BE MORE JUST THAN GOD? SHALL A MAN BE MORE PURE THAN HIS MAKER?”

 

            Should mortal man be more just than God - of course the answer is no.  The argument that follows then is that God would not punish Job as he has if he did not deserve this punishment.

 

v18.  “BEHOLD, HE PUT NO TRUST IN HIS SERVANTS; AND HIS ANGELS HE CHARGED WITH FOLLY:”

 

            God puts no trust in his servants, his angels created to be special ministers and messengers for him.  He does not council with them.  He understands that they’re weak, that they do foolish things, that they follow false ways and can be lead astray.

 

v19.  “HOW MUCH LESS in THEM THAT DWELL IN HOUSES OF CLAY, WHOSE FOUNDATION is IN THE DUST, which ARE CRUSHED BEFORE THE MOTH?”

 

            Since God does not trust the servants he created as angels how much less confidence and trust then would He put in mere man whose dwells in a house of clay.  Man, whose foundation is the dust of the earth and who can be crushed or eliminated as easily as a moth.

 

v20.  “THEY ARE DESTROYED FROM MORNING TO EVENING: THEY PERISH FOR EVER WITHOUT ANY REGARDING it.”

 

            Man dies daily, he’s not talking about the aging process here in that our physical bodies deteriorate and eventually stop serving us, but men die from many causes every day.  Most people give no regard to the preparation for death, do they?  Because we think we’ll always have another day, won’t we?  It’s so common a thing that no one heeds it.  The deaths of others are much the subject of common talk, but little the subject of serious thought.”

 

v21.  “DOTH NOT THEIR EXCELLENCY which is IN THEM GO AWAY?  THEY DIE, EVEN WITHOUT WISDOM.”

 

            Men have no goodness or excellency but that death will take away, men die a second death because they have no wisdom in the ways of God.  Who are you, Job, that you thought yourself different from other men?  How is it that you think you should not be visited with these troubles and afflictions?