Certainly no one has had experience: things not working out, go from bad to worse, finally in a corner and see no way out. Then a “friend” comes along, says “Oh, this is simple; here’s your problem.” Response you want to give would violate at least one of the 10 Commandments, maybe more. Even though often want sound bite answers, sometimes just not appropriate. May be ok if problem is temperamental appliance, not so much when it’s life stuff like Job was experiencing.
Too often fall into trap of expecting a silver bullet, the one magical solution that solves the whole problem. Human relationships, the long-range effects of sin and the curse, the complexity of God and his ways mean most of the time there isn’t a simplistic answer that applies to all situations. Doesn’t stop folks from trying, though!
“Anyone can be positive when things are going well. But the way you respond when adversity comes will make or break you. What you say in the midst of your difficulties will have a direct impact on the outcome. Don’t look at the facts of your situation. Look at the truth of God’s Word. Declare His truth over your situation until the facts line up with His Word!” Joel Osteen, 30 Thoughts for Victorious Living, 2003
“You must believe that you are healed before you see the results in your body. You cannot wait until your body looks and feels healed before you believe it. If you do, you will never receive by faith. You cannot get faith’s results without exerting the force of faith. Faith is believing that you receive whatever you ask before it can be seen with the sense of sight or felt with the sense of touch.” Kenneth Copeland, The Force of Faith, 1983
“A lot of the suffering and grief folks go through is really the result of their own wrongdoing. I don’t necessarily mean they’ve sinned. But just to think differently from what the Bible says is wrong. To walk in doubt and unbelief is wrong.” Kenneth Hagin, Must Christians Suffer, 1982
“We are not saved unconditionally, but so long as we remain on the straight and narrow road, we are saved eternally. Now as regards to healing, this principle is similar. Our healing is not guaranteed unconditionally, but so long as we remain in the faith which was initially present and caused the Lord to accept our person and heal us, our deliverance stays assured and lasts to the end of our life.” Donald Odon, The Day After Jesus Heals You, 1980
If we say the right things, our adversity will turn out all right. Faith is a force we can exert to get particular results. People suffer because they’ve done wrong. Permanent healing depends on maintaining consistent faith. So cause of adversity: you said the wrong thing, you’ve done a wrong thing, your faith is too weak. Sure sounds like those folks went to church with Eliphaz… in the last 30 years! Apparently didn’t read chapter 42, God had to straighten him out.
You just know won’t turn out well when conversation starts this way: “Will you get upset if I say something? Oh, never mind, I’ll tell you anyway!” Without any more intro than that, dives right in, shows Job no mercy at all. Eliphaz tries to defend God and his integrity; does so at Job’s expense. Would have been helpful had Eliphaz told Job: here’s something you haven’t considered, check it out. Instead, all he can do is find fault with Job: you aren’t living up to your reputation, you’ve brought it on yourself, the Lord spoke to me about this.
A. you’re impatient under the cross v.1-6
a couple weeks ago you were doing just fine (3-4)
Job was “go to” guy, the one those in need would seek out for help in all sorts of circumstances
picture Eliphaz paints, later confirmed by Job in chapter 29, is of one who daily went “out to the city gate and secured my seat in the public square”
highly sought-after public figure, perhaps even a waiting line of people needing Job’s counsel
religious devotion began at home, then extended out into the community; taught his children, prayed for them, sacrificed for them – used godly wisdom on their behalf, then for the neighbors
> instruction – both positive and negative aspects: go this way, don’t go that way, avoid those things; exhortation to do what is right, warning to stay away from wrong
> strength – brought new determination to those who have given up, have run out of hope, are helpless to change their circumstances and stopped trying
> support – Job effectively ministered to others experiencing kind of trouble that eventually came to him
> encouragement – come alongside and helped carry the load of someone about to collapse under weight of their burden
all of that is good – even apart from special circumstances like Job, we all live in fallen sin-corrupted world; means there are lots of people who need kind of help and attention Job provided
Those needing such a ministry: 1. Affliction, personal or domestic; 2 Bereavement; 3. Temporal losses and misfortunes; 4. Persecution and cruel treatment from others; 5. Spiritual darkness and temptation; 6. Sorrow and contrition for sin; 7- Infirmities of age and approaching end-of-life. “Till tears are wiped away, and hearts cease to ache, and sin no longer desolates, every believer has a mission in this world.” [Beecher]
accusation – you don’t practice what you’ve preached to others (5)
look at you; had all the answers when somebody else in trouble, but when it’s you – you crumble, can’t handle the pressure, don’t take own advice
commendation followed by “but” always stings; encouragement of the “atta boy” fades in face of criticism
not an intellectual exercise any longer for Job – it’s real life with real personal demands; to all appearances, Job can’t apply principles to own situation as he counseled others to do
a real Christian handles bad as well as good – bears up under his cross
remember all those promises – I will never leave you nor forsake you; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
if you possessed true grace you wouldn’t react this way
if outward evidence counts for anything, maybe you’re not really a Christian because Christians don’t get depressed and frustrated
accusing question – you’re trusting in the wrong things (6)
if anybody had challenged about your hope of heaven, would have said: look at my life, what I say and think and do
was that the real you? or just a pretense? and is that what God looks at? if God looks at that and it was really real, why the boils?
where’s your faith now? you had great confidence in God, what happened? OUCH!! — doesn’t stop there, plows right on ahead with more
B. only the wicked have it this bad v.7-11
a righteous man doesn’t come to a bad end (7)
think about it, the truly innocent never suffer; universally true – calamity is payback for evil
if you don’t believe that, prove it; come up with example to prove the point; oh yeah, then follow the example
either way Job is still on the hook: no example, must mean Eliphaz is right and Job is wrong about the principle
if an example, must mean Eliphaz is right about Job, Job’s response is wrong
so… Job needs to apply what he taught to himself and repent of his open sin or needs to apply what Eliphaz is saying and repent of his hidden sin
trust me, I’ve seen it happen – you reap what you’ve sowed (8-9)
it’s even in the Bible so it must be true: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Gal. 6:7
while always true in big picture, not universally true in smaller picture; those who practice evil may escape justice in this life but not the next
order is important, Eliphaz got it backwards and misapplied principle to Job
had no evidence at all that Job had plowed iniquity; assumed it must be true because of what he thought Job’s harvest was
didn’t consider that what Job was harvesting someone else had planted; we know that’s true from first two chapters
made an error in logic: a cause leads to an effect but an effect may have more than one cause
since you have it this bad you must be guilty
if you believe principle (evil repays evil), judging from Job’s circumstances he must have been really bad
strong lesson for us to learn from Eliphaz’ first argument: even the best of us don’t have all the facts; especially when it’s brother or sister, need to remember God knows things we don’t
C. God told me to tell you v.12-21
God spoke to me v.12-16
elaborate explanation of experience Eliphaz had, gave him goose bumps, made his hair stand up, knees knock; couldn’t see it, but I could feel it – must have been God
how do you argue with that kind of experience, statement?
you’ve heard it, person headed for really dumb or even sinful decision, “God spoke to me”, “I feel it’s from God, what he wants me to do”
they hope you have no comeback, just like Eliphaz; seems he was bent on beating Job down, overwhelming him with argument, not letting him up for anything
here’s what he said v.17-21
don’t presume to be more wise than God – even the angels are foolish compared to God, where does that leave you?
you don’t have the understanding to question God and his providence, to challenge him about your circumstances
you thought Job was low after his own outburst, what do you suppose he thought / felt after all this from his best friend? and, btw, it isn’t over yet, not by a long shot
Things to remember: even best of Christians can be deceived, misled by Satan, apply right principles in wrong way.
James Durham: “However they misapply, this will hold good: It will be well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked. It will be well with them that worship God, and a curse will pursue them that do not.”
Must also take long view, remembering that sin is present in this world and Christians aren’t immune from its effects. Notice I didn’t say “consequences”. Fallout from sin of others and sin-corrupted environment get on us sometimes. But only in this life, not the next. Someday this will all be behind us, will experience that glorious future God has in store for us, when all things will be made right. Be sure that so much as lies in you, on good terms with Heavenly Father.