Day 10

Eliphaz’s Second Speech and Job’s Reply

from the Job reading plan


Job 15:1-35, Job 16:1-22, Job 17:1-16, Romans 12:9-15, James 5:8-11

BY Guest Writer

How many times has some very well-meaning person tried to assuage your heartache with words, saying something along the lines of this: “God will comfort you and see you through this. He always does.” Or this: “Just hang in there. Evil people always get what they deserve.”

Look closely, and you’ll see those two sentiments are basically parts of Eliphaz’s second conversation with Job. So why are they a problem? Well, for one thing, the latter suggests that Job must be evil too—why else would he be suffering badly? Their conversation leads to the question: How do we truly weep with, mourn with, and comfort those who are broken? How do we become true comforters? (Romans 12:15).

First, we need to read and truly absorb Job’s scorching honesty in chapters 16 and 17, where the stakes are even higher. Just a reminder: God refused to allow Satan to take Job’s life, which means Job’s torment was as bad as it could possibly get with no relief anywhere, falling just short of death—and Job couldn’t exactly turn to morphine to numb the pain. So now the question becomes one of self-reflection: If we are the ones in the fiery furnace, how do we cling to our relationship with God when it feels as if it is all going up in smoke?

These two questions are tied together, because those who weep and mourn most effectively will have climbed into that fiery furnace of suffering in some way. In doing so, they join the “Jobs” of the world. So for both situations, we wonder:

What does true faithfulness look like, both for the one who comforts and the one who suffers?
What part does prayer play in our suffering?
What does it mean to bring all our emotions—even our anger, doubt, and feelings of betrayal—before God?

After all, Job’s protests were laced with accusations. If his suffering teaches us anything, it is to strip away all pretenses—physical and spiritual. God had worn out and torn up Job, seized him by the neck and dashed him to pieces to the point that Job’s face was red from weeping (Job 16:7–9,12,16). His dark anger boiled over in agonizing questions, as he protested the stony silence of God.

Still, more than anything else, Job longed for his shattered relationship with God to be mended. He’d already sought out a mediator to bring them together (9:33–35; 16:21). He also repeatedly begged to talk with God—which he ultimately did in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Most importantly, Job returned to this understanding: his “advocate” and “witness” were set apart on high (16:19). Job remembered who he was and who he was not—he was not God. All of this points to Job’s faithfulness and his very real relationship with God.

So how do we sit with someone in their despair? How do we pray in the midst of others’ suffering, as well as our own? In my own experience, words like “Lord have mercy! Christ have Mercy!” bring me back to the truth of God’s character, of both His unfailing lovingkindness and ultimate sovereignty through Jesus Christ. Our Savior reaches through our blinding pain to comfort and deliver us. Our prayer for mercy, offered with humility and hope, binds us together before the God who comforts, even from on high.

Elaine A. Phillips received a BA in social psychology from Cornell University, an MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary, and an MA in Hebrew from the Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem, where she and her husband, Perry, studied and taught from 1976–79. She holds a PhD in rabbinic literature, and teaches Biblical Studies at Gordon College. She also serves as a historical geography field instructor for Jerusalem University College. She has published a commentary on Esther in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary; a devotional book, With God, Nothing Is Impossible; and, most recently, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts.

Post Comments (52)

52 thoughts on "Eliphaz’s Second Speech and Job’s Reply"

  1. Tina says:

    Praying with tears for Allison and Ryan and precious little Mary Elizabeth..Praying the days they have together are blessed beyond beyond.. God is good and though we don’t understand these things, these heart breaking things that happen., we have a God who will see us right until the time to meet our loved ones again..
    May God be with Allison , Ryan Mary Elizabeth and the family as they face this trial..
    Sending love wrapped hugs and prayers…xx

  2. amarose says:

    Life is messy for everyone and I’ve really experienced that for the first time in the last few years. But this is why community is so important. We get to come alongside those in our life who are in the middle of the mess and weep with them, mourn with them, comfort them. It’s been amazing to see how God has provided me with the people I needed and how he has also equipped me to be that person for other people in my life.

  3. Churchmouse says:

    How uncomfortable are we when we hear Job’s protestations? How uncomfortable are we when someone close to us, a usually faithful believer, expresses their confusion and doubt about what God is permitting in their life? Do we squirm and say the first churchy cliche that comes to mind? Do we tell them we will pray for them and make a quick exit? Do we make a casserole or send a card but that’s as close as we want to get? Or do we sit next to them in silence and hold a hand? I think how we react to another’s grief reflects our relationship to them and our relationship with God also. Perhaps a good way to deal with grief and sorrow is to be as proactive as we can before the calamity hits. Know the Bible. Nurture and solidify our relationship with God. Sit with the hard things Jesus says and ask Him what He means. Nurture our relationships with those in our circle. Then when we face, or we sit with someone who faces severe difficulty, we have that sure foundation to comfort us, to comfort them. That foundation yields strength in the storm. Let the grieving person dictate when words are needed. Until that time becomes apparent, just pray. Cry with them. Just be. And know and trust that He is there, being still as well. Words are not as necessary as your presence and His.

  4. Angie says:

    Praying for Allison and her husband now.

  5. Angie says:

    I looked back at my post for Eliphaz’s 1st speech. I felt his words showed jealousy towards Job, his reputation, and life. This 2nd one seems the same to me, only bolder. He is not mixing in any pretty words. It seems like he is trying to discipline Job. When he says, “Listen to me and I will inform you. I will describe what I have seen, what the wise had declared and not concealed…” the I’s seem so big, so ugly, so arrogant.
    Job’s answer in today’s language sounds like (to me), “Dude, don’t you think I know all the things you are saying? Do you think you are the first one saying them? I’m the one living this out here. I am crushed and yet I tell you, my hands are free from violence and my prayer is pure. Instead of these unhelpful words, would somebody argue for me to God? Be my friend. I am hopeless right now.” I think of Moses in the battle where Aaron and Herr (I believe) held up his arms to God. As long as they did that, God’s army was winning. Moses became too tired to keep his hands up so they held them up for him. That is the kind of help I see Job asking for. That is the kind of help I want to give.
    Like the verses in Romans say, that kind of help/love is without hypocrisy. It is a deep love and honor, saturated in the Spirit. It comes along side and holds up hands when they are too weak to be lifted and raises hands in celebratory praise during the good times.
    I believe we are in a time like that right now. As James says we must be patient. We need to strengthen our hearts because the Lord’s coming is near. Instead of complaining about other brothers and sisters in Christ we need to lift their arms in times of need or genuinely celebrate with them in times of blessing. For we are to be like our Lord, compassionate and merciful.
    We are all works in process. Thank God for His tender mercies, fresh and new each day.

    1. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Angie, I love this. Thank you for giving your thoughts.

    2. Sharon W says:

      Great job Angie. Thanks for that analysis. KOKO ✝️

    3. Kim SalekHull says:

      Beautiful words angie. Thank you for sharing!!

    4. Alexa Mahajan says:

      That’s a great word! Thank you for sharing :)

    5. Stephanie Hanes says:

      I love these insights you’ve shared, Angie. Thank you for summarizing so well!

    6. Stephanie Hanes says:

      So well written! Thank you for sharing these insights!

    7. Tecla Trentham says:

      I love this so much!!!!! I totally agree with your thoughts here.

    8. Tecla Trentham says:

      Perfect!

    9. Amanda Staymates says:

      Wow, great observations… thanks for sharing.

  6. Kathy says:

    Sisters, I wanted to update you on my friend Allison. I shared with you on Monday that she is pregnant with a child who has Trisomy 18. They decided to go ahead and induce Allison a month early in the hopes that the baby would survive the birth so that Allison and Ryan would have time with her before she died. Mary Elizabeth was born Monday night. She did survive the birth and they are looking at bringing her home for just a little while. Hospice is going to work with them when the time comes.
    Please continue to pray for them as they bring this sweet baby home. Pray that God will bless this time they have with her.

    1. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Praying for Allison and Ryan. May they know the joy of some time with Mary Elizabeth. May they know the hope of holding her again some day soon.

    2. Blake Ennis says:

      I’m praying for Allison, Ryan and this sweet baby, for even though short-lived this gift of life will be filled with healing love and strength so the gift of heaven’s hope will be a soothing balm in their hearts.

    3. Kelli Paskey says:

      Thank you for the update. Continuing to pray for Allison, Ryan and baby Mary. Lord Jesus, be near! May this family be overwhelmed with your comforting presence. <3

    4. Lisa Jouvert says:

      Amen. Jesus have your way.

    5. Alexa Mahajan says:

      Praying now ♥️

    6. Amy H says:

      Praying for them tonight

    7. Es Ig says:

      Jesus, please be there for Alison and Ryan. May Baby Mary bring joy, no matter how short her stay on earth is. Let your will be done x

  7. Shawn Parks says:

    Mercy. I need it. God provides it. So simple and so profound. Praise God for his compassion and grace!

  8. Tina says:

    As the eldest of 7 children who recently lost our mum, THIS is my season. This is my journey now. And it has been difficult…
    Though I walk with the Lord, love the Lord, know and trust the Lord God, this has knocked me for six. I have watched the others grieve, and I have been powerless to help… as I write, I dont think I have even hugged them recently, certainly not since 30th January the day of mums passing. I have phoned and called on them, put cards in the post to them… but I have not hugged them.
    I dont know how to help my siblings! To be honest, I dont actually know how to help myself!

    I pick up the bible, I put it down, though I know God is with me, I act as though I am alone, though I know Gods love and comfort, I have the face and posture of someone who is alone..and burdened..

    But God…

    Though I may have that feeling of aloneness, keeps reminding me that I am not alone, that He is right here in the trenches of grief with me, He brings people alongside that hug and pray and hold me and mine up.. He does the same with my siblings.. I am the eldest, but the truth is this is a journey we do on our own because we each had a different relationship with our mum. I can give love and I can speak words of hope and one days to come… but I as the eldest have no power to make things better for my siblings in any way shape or form… But God…

    He brings me back to the truth of God’s character, of both His unfailing lovingkindness and ultimate sovereignty through Jesus Christ. Our Savior reaches through our blinding pain to comfort and deliver us. Our prayer for mercy, offered with humility and hope, binds us together before the God who comforts, even from on high.

    I love this! These are beautiful words, I am claiming them today and in the days to come…

    Thank you Elaine. A. Phillips. Thank you!

    Being the eldest, was holding me to ‘ransom’ to do the job I had always done… take care of my siblings, be second mum… The freedom given of, and in Gods Word, Love, Grace, and Hope, is that HE will comfort and deliver EACH of us through this sad and deficult time.. Amen.

    These words today…priceless… thank you Elaine.

    Sisters, hoping the Lord God turn his face to shine on you today… every blessing, love always, Tina. Xx

    1. Kathy Stansell says:

      Oh, Tina! Your words spoke straight to my heart! My mom passed on Feb. 6. I am the oldest of five and I have felt everything you write about – wanting to take care of my siblings like I always have and not being able to. We haven’t all been together since my mom died and there are days that I want to just hug on them. Thank you for this reminder that God is the One who will comfort and deliver us. Thank you, thank you. Be blessed today!

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