Tight summaries from David Atkinson’s commentary. There’s nothing like reading God’s Spirit-breathed Word and meet Him there by the power of the Holy Spirit.
ELIPHAZ’S FIRST SPEECH (Job 4-5)
- Eliphaz seems to be the oldest, profoundest, gentlest and generally nicest of the 3 friends.
- He has a deep faith in God’s transcendent holiness and a deep experience of God making himself known.
ELIPHAZ IS FACED WITH HIS SUFFERING FRIEND.
- He witnessed a profound but sudden change in Job’s fortunes and heard Job’s heart-rendering outburst in lament – Job 3.
- He also knows nothing of the exchanges between God and Satan.
ELIPHAZ VENTURES TO SPEAK
- in his first speech, Eliphaz recognises Job’s true piety and goodness.
- He recognised that in the past Job instructed many and strengthened weak knees (4:4)
- Job was known to care for those in trouble, to be in touch with the suffering of others and has a the reputation of a holy and good man of intergrity.
- But now trouble has come to Job. (4:3-5)
ELIPHAZ TRIES TO ENCOURAGE JOB TO BE MORE CONFIDENT.
- Job you can live in hope because doesn’t God keep innocent and upright people safe? (4:7)
- The righteous are not ultimately destroyed and the innocent do not perish. (4:7 – 9)
THIS IS THE BASIS OF ELIPHAZ’ ARGUMENT: you reap what you sow and of course it matters how we live. Jesus Himself said so.
BUT CAUSAL LOGIC DOES NOT ALWAYS APPLY IN LIFE
- God is just and good.
- Virtue will be rewarded.
- The way of the wicked will perish.
- Job what wrong have you sown that you are sitting on the ash-heap?
LET’S TRY TO FIT CAUSAL LOGIC WITH PSALM 73.
- Yes we hold firm that God is just and rewards good and punishes evil.
- Yes it matters how we live.
AT THE SAME TIME ELIPHAZ SEEMS UNABLE TO ALLOW GOD TO BE THE JUDGE OF REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS.
- “Job because you are reaping disaster therefore you must have sown trouble”
- Eliphaz insists on interpreting what he sees before his eyes as evidence of God’s mind.
IT WAS ONLY WHEN THE PSALMIST SAW LIFE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ETERNITY THAT BE BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND.
ELIPHAZ FAILS TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN AN EARTHLY PERSPECTIVE AND GOD’S PERSPECTIVE.
- He functions with the natural view of causes and effects.
- Job’s suffering is the visible effect – and the cause must therefore be Job’s sin.
ELIPHAZ USES A FAULTY EQUATION AND ENDS UP WITH FAULTY COUNSEL
- “Job, you ought to stop defending your innocence – rather take responsibility for your sins.”
- “You reap what you sow – you are suffering because of your sins.”
Instead of a living faith in the all-sovereign, good and gracious God we now just have a theory of natural causes..
DO WE TRACE THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL AND FAITH IN KARMA HERE?
- If you are righteous and you have faith you will be divinely blessed by prosperity in every area of your life.
- The poor and the disadvantaged have only themselves to blame for their plight.
- They need to pull themselves together, stop sinning, do good things, come up with super faith.