Thoughts on Job's conversation with Eliphaz-- Job 3-7
Thoughts on Job's interaction with Eliphaz
Last week we began to study the Book of Job together
-It introduces us to a man named Job
-Job was the most righteous man on Earth
-To prove to Satan that Job didn't follow God because of his health or any material blessing, God allowed to afflict Job-- Job
proved faithful, keeping his faith in God under the most extreme circumstances. While this might sound strange, what's amazing
is how confident and pleased God was with Job. Further-- a big takeaway point for us is that we are to follow God for the right
reasons-- not because of health or material blessings but for who He is- our Creator, the one true God.
-Central to the account of Job is that he was a righteous sufferer. The things he experienced were not because he had sinned
or done wrong. The hardships he went through were because he was righteous. In trying to figure this out- there is only one
explanation that makes any sense--- Job points us to Jesus- the ultimate righteous sufferer.
-While suffering for righteousness sake, at first blush, is not terribly appealing, when we see such as an identification with Christ
himself and hence as a part of the advancement of Christ's kingdom, that helps frame it in a new light. (see also Hebrews
Having been introduced to Job we are now going to begin to work our way through the rest of the Book of Job.
-Through the rest of Job there exists an ongoing dialogue between Job and his 3 friends (who initially came to comfort him in his
time of sorrow)
-Back and forth at each other Job and his friends will go until the end- when God himself shows up.
-I hope that you will get into this study with me and devote yourself to praying and walking your way through Job- for it is a
beautiful book that supremely captures what the heart feels when plunged into the valley of the shadow of death. From it we
can learn a lot.
A road map for this mornings lesson
a. Read Job 3
b. Overview of Eliphaz's response to Job's speech
c. Overview of Job's response to what Eliphaz said
d. Lessons and principles for us
READ JOB 3 -noting that his 3 friends had been with him for 1 week (having come to comfort him)
A SUMMATION OF JOB 3
-Job says that his sufferings were so great that he wishes he had never been born or that he had died at child birth or had
been rejected by his parents.
-In short, Job wishes that he was dead-- At this point- Death is something he longs for. Twice more (In Job 6 and Job 7)
asserts that he would rather be dead than have to deal with the anguish of heart and physical torment that he was suffering.
A couple of thoughts on Job's wishing he was dead
a. His thought is not an uncommon one.
In 1 Corinthians 1:8 the Apostle Paul says; 'We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we
experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life
Extreme hardship and suffering does lead people to wish there time on earth was over.
b. He had no intent on taking his own life
As much as Job wished he was dead, he does not talk about killing himself. While Job wanted God to take his life, he knew that
it would not be right for him to do so.
I've attended and presided over a number of funerals wherein the person has killed them self. They are not pleasant funerals.
Not only does it harm the family, the friends they don't think exist, anyone who who hears about it, but it also traumitizes first
responders - the Police, the Fire Department, the Paramedics, and anyone else who walks in the door.
Such reminds me of Jesus' words in John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may
have life, and have it to the full."
For your help as it regards Suicide I have a small handout that you might find helpful
ASK- CARE- ESCORT
c. Job's feelings on wishing he was dead were temporary- in the course of time, they passed.
Various feelings come and go.
d. If you ever feel like Job, talk to your doctor, talk to your pastor, talk to a trusted friend, reach out for help, hold on to your
A thought or two on how easy it is for us to misunderstand God
In Job 3:23 Job says; "Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?"
Later, In Job 6:4 Job says; "The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God's terrors are marshaled
What Job does right
He rightly understands that everything is related to God - for this is God's world and He is sovereign over it.
What Job struggled with
Thinking that God was using him for target practice
What Job was missing?
He didn't know what we know- that Job was incredibly precious to God, that Job was highly favored of God, that Job was a
model of faith and devotion for a whole world, that Job was a type for Christ.
It's easy for us to to misunderstand what God is doing. It's easy for us to lose sight of the love of God for us. Despite this, we
must be like Job and hold on to our faith in God regardless
B. ELIPHAZ'S RESPONSE TO JOB
Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: "If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from
speaking? Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those
who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you,
and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope? Job 4:1-6
Wow! What a slap in the face!
Eliphaz then proceeds to make the case that Job's troubles were because of some sin that he was harboring. v.7ff
In Job 5 Eliphaz concludes his rebuttal of Job saying that "Blessed is the one whom God corrects, so do not despise the
discipline of the Almighty" v.17. Eliphaz also encourages Job to repent and to appeal his case to God who is more than able to
turn Job's entire situation around.
NOT EVERYTHING ELIPHAZ SAID WAS BAD
1. He asserts that we are all sinners
Job 4:17 "Can a mortal be more righteous than God?"
TRUE: We are sinners- every last one us and in need of Savior!
2. He makes the point that trouble is part of life
Job 5:7 "Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward"
While trouble is part of life its probably best not to blithely say it to the face of the one in crisis.
3. We are not to despise the discipline of the Lord-- for He disciplines those He loves Job. 5:17
The only issue: Job was not being disciplined!
4. He makes the important point that God can turn any situation around- nothing is too hard for God 5:18-26
In a bizarre way Eliphaz prophetically speaks of the restoration that was indeed Job's -Job 5:18-26
SOME MISTAKES ELIPHAZ MADE
1. He assumed that trouble and hardship only comes because of sin
This is not the case- for Job stands as a type for Christ- he being a righteous sufferer
2. He was totally insensitive to his friends pain and suffering
In his response to Eliphaz Job chastises Eliphaz for this in Job 15:15-23
Job's response to his friends brutal insensitivity teaches us one very important truth about how to respond to people when they
are suffering and in crisis:
SAY SOMETHING KIND AND SUPPORTIVE!
Instead of saying- after Job said he wished he was dead- "Cheer up, we know you are harboring unconfessed sin, God is
disciplining you, turn back to God and He will restore you" Eliphaz could have said "How can we help?" "What you are going
through is awful, we'll pray for you." "We don't know why this is happening either" INSERT SOMETHING POSITIVE....
When crisis comes; showing up, attending to basic needs, prayer, a hug, establishing a caring presence, the provision of food,
other kinds of helps, some sort of positive words, helping the person make decisions (for decision making ability drops),
encouraging the person to get rest - for exhaustion quickly sets in. These are things to for us to do.
SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS
Reading and contemplating what Job says in his various speeches - Job 3, 6-7 and what his friends say is of great value to us
1. Teaches us how to be better care givers when people are in pain and suffering. Teaches us what to say/what not to say
2. Teaches us how crisis/trauma affects people-- hopelessness, sleeplessness, bad dreams, aloneness, physical pain, wrong
thoughts about God, loss of appetite, despair, loss of patience
3. Helps us express and get in touch with the feelings of our own hearts when crisis comes
4. Teaches us the importance of faith in God and right thinking about God-- Right thinking about God- esp when we are in the
midst of trouble is hard
As I've been reading the account of Job, I've found it strangely comforting - somehow the expressions of Job- even when he's
off track, resonate.
In closing, I'm going to leave you with the last few words of Job 6:10. Just prior, as noted before, Job expresses his desire that
God would take his life- but then he tells us why "Then I would still have this consolation- my joy in unrelenting pain- that I had
not denied the words of the Holy One."
Though filled with pain and reeling, Job's concern was that he might be found faithful to God. That is something for us to copy-
that it might be in our hearts, no matter what happens, that we might be found holding on to our faith.
A brief HANDOUT ON SUICIDE
Approximately 3500 suicides take place in Canada annually.
SOME SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS
-You are thinking of hurting or killing yourself
-You are looking for ways to kill yourself
-You, or the person in question is talking about death, dying, or suicide
-Self destructive behavior, such as drug abuse, attaining weapons, high risk behavior
-Strange, out of character behavior-- i.e person suddenly gives away a prized object or collection i.e: Normally outgoing person
completely withdraws, etc
HOW TO HELP
"Are you feeling suicidal?"
"Have you thought about how you would kill yourself?"
"Do you have a plan?"
"How have you been sleeping?" "Do you think you will try and kill yourself today?"
Please note: Asking these questions does not equal planting the idea in the persons head.
Please note: If you ask a person if they are thinking of killing themself and they so "No" they are not going to be offended that
you asked the question
-Listen attentively. Explore. Don't try to problem solve. Do not minimize the feelings expressed by the person
-Never promise secrecy
-Avoid appearing judgmental or shocked
-Remove objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
-Never leave the person alone
-Take the person to a hospital and wait until they admitted/are seen by the Doctor
-Call the Police
-Don't forget to pray and ask the Lord for wisdom, guidance, and patience.
-Avoid "pat" answers
-Remember: We are all rather frail