Day 4

Job’s Reply to Eliphaz

from the Job reading plan


Job 6:1-30, Job 7:1-21, Romans 8:18–25

BY Lisa Harper

One of my favorite lecture series from my first seminary experience (I’ve recently begun a second seminary adventure at the “mature” age of 55!) was about having a “high view” of God. We had lively discussions in class regarding how, in our modern era’s quest to make the gospel relevant, we’ve all but lost the kind of deep reverence prophets like Isaiah and psalmists like David displayed toward God. In our bumper-sticker theology, “God is my copilot” culture, we’ve unwittingly minimized the omniscience and omnipotence of the Alpha and Omega in an attempt to make Him more accessible.

I remember being so convicted during those classes, realizing I didn’t revere God the way I should. I committed to being more circumspect in how I addressed Him in prayer and even how I carried His Word, holding my Bible as a precious treasure instead of carelessly shoving it into a suitcase or tossing it into the back seat of the car. I still hold to those convictions.

However, as I look back over my walk of faith in the 20-plus years since that class, it’s clear I’ve often overcorrected, swinging into the opposite side of the doctrinal ditch. I didn’t always have the spiritual maturity to understand that having a high view of God doesn’t mean we need to have a degrading view of ourselves. Of course, humans are wicked and depraved apart from divine grace, but after we put our faith and hope in Jesus Christ, we’re allowed to shrug into His robes of righteousness, knowing we have been adopted into the family of God as full heirs! (Romans 8:14–17). A high view of God should open believers’ hearts and minds to what our heavenly Father says about us, His beloved children.

Now, if we give Job’s three friends a big benefit of doubt, we can assume they had mostly good intentions when they delivered their self-righteous lectures. However, like a young seminarian armed with more head knowledge than spiritual maturity, their arrows missed the mark by a country mile!

Job understands the situation well. He says, “What strength do I have, that I should continue to hope? What is my future, that I should be patient?… Since I cannot help myself, the hope for success has been banished from me” (6:11,13). Job cannot change his bleak situation, despite his innocence.

But that’s the point. Job’s friends recognized the frailty of humanity and our propensity to sin, but their view of God is way too small. Without the context of God’s redemptive grace, we still make everything about us! In Romans 8, Paul points to the future, complete redemption of all creation as our hope in the midst of present suffering. Though we are currently “subject to futility,” all things will one day be fully “set free from the bondage” into “glorious freedom” (Romans 8:20). This is our hope.

“Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24–25).

Job’s friends got the frailty of humanity part right, but their concept of God’s attention missed His compassionate heart. The Lord was Job’s only hope, just as He is ours. With Christ, our mere humanity is transformed into glory befitting children of God, no matter what suffering we may be experiencing at the moment.

Editor’s Note: Devotional was edited at 11:00 am on 3/14/19.

 

Post Comments (42)

42 thoughts on "Job’s Reply to Eliphaz"

  1. Bonnie Sargent says:

    I think as Christians regardless of why someone is in a mess, it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance. So regardless of why job was in the mess, even though we know by the book he was a blameless man, comfort is not always in the “why this is happening” but serving our brother or sister in whatever way Gods put on our heart even if that is listening to them vent or just sitting with them. I think sometimes the less we talk, the more the person can hear God when going through messes or even be convicted. Or if we do talk to be sensitive and filled with love and compassion.

    1. Elena Perez says:

      Very true. As am reading your reply I am reminded of the comment in my life application bible, “be slow to give advice to those who are hurting. They often need compassion more than they need advice.”

    2. Lori Wat says:

      ❤️

  2. Maura says:

    God does not change. He is good and our suffering is not in vain. Job’s story always impresses me. God knew the value of this man and the faith he possesed. I see his contention more in trying to understand why the Lord has let him come to this point than a lack of faith. Yet his faith does not abandon him in who he knows God to be. Unfailing love does not fail even when we feel intense pain and extreme judgementin the midst of great loss.How mighty is our God, never depends on our lives being free from suffering, but that our faith focuses on the Way, the Truth and the Life in the midst of it. Praise Jesus!! Please pray for my upper back, neck and head having much pain this morning. Thank you Sisters. May you feel His joy and love mighty this day.

  3. Stacey Wilson says:

    Job takes the focus away from his victimization and places it on God’s faithfulness. It’s a wrestling match of sorts. He’s broken and hurting and yet, in verse 17-19, “What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant?” Job knows that God has not abandoned him, even in the pain and heartbreak.

  4. Churchmouse says:

    Job despairs. He’s lived his life by God’s rules as best he can and within his limited understanding of a sovereign God. He seeks meaning in the midst of his sorrow. Eliphaz has not helped. Job has nothing to lose and so he pours out all his ugly emotions. He doesn’t choose his words carefully. Rather, he speaks out of his anguish, even bitterly complaining. Who can fault him? He has truly lost everything. He’s ready to give up. He just wants to be left alone in his misery. Yet in his aloneness, he still looks to His God. Job wants to know if he has sinned, if he has somehow deserved this suffering. He asks “why?” Job has not given up on God – he turns to Him in his suffering, in his confusion. Can we not relate? Suffering overwhelms. It pulls us down to our base nature and we become focused on the immediate here and now and we crave relief. We want to throw in the towel. We want to wave the white flag. We want to surrender to despair. Job challenges us to lift our feeble heads and look to our God who alone knows our suffering and sits with us there. We look to God for answers because we know He alone has them. We want to pour out all our ugly emotions before Him because He has felt what we feel. Job turns to the One he has trusted and just waits. That’s not passive. That’s active anticipation. Job waits for God to speak because he knows He eventually will. Job tunes out Eliphaz so that he can hear God. God is still his closest friend. God is still sovereign even though Job doesn’t understand.

    1. Tess S says:

      Thx for this! ✨

    2. Christina Currano says:

      I love the way you put this!

  5. CBR says:

    Day 15 of the study is Eliphaz’s third speech and Job’s reply. Job23 Maybe the commentary was switched from that day?

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      We’re sorry for any confusion! The devotional has now been updated. We’re so glad that you’re reading along with us! -Margot, The SRT Team

  6. Bobbie Leathers says:

    When I read about Job and his friends, I always think of the term “piling on.” Do you know what I mean? Some people tend to be dirt movers. They shovel dirt on top of you when you are already in the pit. They are ready to bury you and your despair instead of reaching down with a hand and a prayer to lift you up.
    I am so grateful that our relationship with God through Christ is one of hope. He doesn’t pile on, He lifts us out of the pit. Once we are on sure footing, He walks with us through the darkest of days shining His light in paths of righteousness.
    And so my conviction in today’s passage is to not be a “piler oner” but a prayerful partner. Not a self-righteous finger pointer but a humble comforter.

  7. Allison says:

    4 Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 25 Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

    1. Corrina Castillo says:

      Is this Romans’?

      1. Elena Perez says:

        Romans 8:24-25

  8. Meg Herndon says:

    ❤️

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