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. YaYa says:

    I just prayed for Emily. I also feel led to encourage you to pray/think about finding an integrative/functional medical Dr. for her. I almost didn’t post this, as I know we often go through trials (just like Job) for purely spiritual reasons. I also know the body of Christ is in place to love, serve, and minister to each other from the trials we been through 2 Cor 1:4. I went through something very similar, and had toxin/food issues that were affecting my brain. God used that dark time in my life to not only draw me closer to Him, but to also offer information to others who He occasionally places in my path. I’ll continue to pray for both of you.

  2. DebRN says:

    I pray for Emily and Steph as they face anxiety and depression, a perfectly logical response to this hate filled world. Oh, Steph, be her steady companion and voice that reminds her God is present. She will pass through these dark waters. It’s so important to allow her to voice her experience. I pray she has ears to hear the promises of God. I pray that our Living Lord be her strength, by her side.

  3. Stacey Wilson says:

    I think there is tremendous beauty in Job’s ability to to be raw with God. Here’s the thing…God already knows our heart, our minds and He knows our emotions! So why is it so crazy to say them out loud, to God, the only One who can help us through them? It’s not lashing out at Him. It is taking the junk and laying it at His feet because we know we can, He is good, and He will answer.

  4. Jeannie McBee says:

    Lifting you & your siblings in prayer, Tina. Your words are familiar to my heart as they echo the place where I was 18 years ago when we suddenly lost my mom. I pray that all of the struggles that you & your siblings experience in the ‘now’ lead you ever closer to the God who is with you all & who has always been. I, too, struggled to comfort my siblings only to find that God – one by one & in ways that ONLY He could – drew each of us closer to Him, our true Comforter. At the time, I felt powerless as I watched people whom I love dearly become undone by our sudden loss and unanswered questions. I wore myself out trying to help everyone. Little did I know the ways that God works through the worst of times when we rest & trust in Him. When we pray that He work in mighty ways amongst devastated hearts that are broken & don’t understand. When we ask Him to comfort us & our loved ones and draw us all closer to His never ending love & embrace. Keep the eyes of your heart open & wait in joyful expectation of the ways that He will work. Our God is good & He is faithful. I will keep all of you lifted in prayer.

  5. Maura says:

    Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy. Praise Jesus for His compassion and mercy. Praying for Emily, for strength and understand, for God to bring His hope and heal her anxiety and depression. He is mighty. Hugs to you Steph, it is hard to see our children suffering, praying you feel His arms and love around you all. In the name above all names, Jesus.

  6. Mari V says:

    I am blessed! Unlike a Job my friends, my beautiful family, my best friend Gretchen, mentor, Celebrate recovery accountability friends have all come along side me to walk this journey with me. As I read about Job’s life and how he remained faithful in the mist of this horrific agony I know I can too. And mine doesn’t even come close to what job went through. My friends and family have weeped alongside me AND have rejoiced as well. I like the latter part better. BUT GOD…….I know if God can see Job through this he’s going (and is) see me through this.

  7. Steph says:

    Dear Sisters, I am in desperate need of prayers for my daughter Emily, who is 19 and is struggling with depression and anxiety. Please pray that we will be able to get her the help that she needs. Please pray that I be of comfort to her. And please pray that our relationship with Jesus would be strengthened through this trial. Thank you!

    1. Laura Casey says:

      This story is all too familiar for someone who was just 19, I am praying for Emily, and I hope you know you don’t walk this alone

    2. Kaitlin Akvan says:

      Praying for your daughter Emily! I suffer from severe anxiety and I saw both a doctor for the medical side of it and also a therapist who specialized in anxiety. She helped me learn healthy ways to cope with my anxiety. If you guys can find someone who has experience treating anxiety, it is such a gift from Him!

    3. Kelli Paskey says:

      Praying for your daughter, Steph! Lord Jesus, shine your light into the darkness. May Emily experience your overwhelming peace, joy and hope. Please give this family the resources they need to deal with the challenge. Please protect Emily’s life. <3

    4. Alexa Mahajan says:

      Praying for her now! ♥️

    5. Amy H says:

      Praying for you both

  8. Sue says:

    These beautiful lyrics from the song ‘God’s Mercy’ by Lou Fellingham, are so fitting for today’s message.

    God of mercy hear our cry
    Turn Your hand tonight
    Bring relief from their pain
    Be their comfort
    And every day they’re given breath
    Give them strength to live

    God of mercy hear our cry
    Turn Your hand tonight
    Bring relief from their fears
    Be their hope Lord
    And every day You give them breath
    Give them strength to live

    May this be our prayer today.

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