EP 163: When Your Friends Are Unsupportive: Job Part 4

Diana WinklerDomestic Violence

In our continuing series of Job, we meet Job’s first rotten friend, who does nothing to support him or comfort him. Only to abuse him. What is Job’s response to this treatment? What should our response be? Join us for Part 4!

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[00:00:00] What if your friends who came to comfort you in your worst days of your life, called you a sinner, called your kids sinners, and you were totally innocent of any wrongdoing? They kept insisting that you’re suffering because you sinned against God. You deserve what you got. What did Job do when accused by his friend Eliphaz?

[00:00:27] That is next on the Wounds of the Faithful podcast.

[00:00:30] Welcome to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast, brought to you by DSW Ministries. Your host is singer, songwriter, speaker, and domestic violence advocate, Diana Winkler. She is passionate about helping survivors in the church heal from domestic violence and abuse and trauma. This podcast is not a substitute for professional counseling or qualified medical help.

[00:00:57] Now, here is Diana.[00:01:00] Hello, friends. Thank you for being here with me. I hope that you’re enjoying this series on Job. I am certainly enjoying doing this study. I’ve had I have a new appreciation for this book that I didn’t have before and

[00:01:21] I have a lot to go over today. We’re going to talk about Eliphaz, the first speaker, the first friend to speak to Job about why this is happening to him. I was going to do all of his chapters, but I think I’ll be biting off more than I can chew because there’s so much in between what Eliphaz says. In chapters 4 and 5, and then we have b’s reply in chapter 6 and 7.

[00:01:51] So,

[00:01:52] I definitely will be doing them separate, because Eliphaz speaks also in chapter [00:02:00] 15 and in 22. I’m gonna have to do those on another day.

[00:02:05] So let’s get started here. So I have a lot to cover and not a lot of time to do it. I want to try and do this within my time allotment that I promised.

[00:02:16] So who is Eliphaz anyway? He’s one of Job’s friends. He’s a Tamanite. He is from the town of Taman, an important city of Edom, and that’s near the city of Petra. If you’ve been to Jordan you have seen the city of Petra, in the southeast of the Dead Sea, and Taman was known as a center of wisdom.

[00:02:41] That’s mentioned in Jeremiah 49 7. I’m not gonna go there, but you can look that up if you’d like. So another question that we were going to answer, a lot of people ask, how long did Job suffer for? Well, we don’t really know for sure. [00:03:00] The Bible does not specifically say how long Job endured this horrible suffering. I believe that it was not a very long time. so if we kind of piece together the things that we do know, it took maybe approximately a week to walk to see Job.

[00:03:18] Faster , maybe a couple days if they were riding from a camel. Some of Job’s friends came from the border of Syria. Eliphaz didn’t have as far to travel. He lived closer to Job, but let’s say five days to get there, and then we read that they sat with him for seven days, the Shiva,

[00:03:39] and then they have 19 speeches between the friends talking back and forth with Job. I doubt they gave all of those speeches all in one day. That would be utterly exhausting for that to be all in one day. So, let’s just say that one speech per day.

[00:03:57] That would give them time to [00:04:00] come up with their answers. You know, eat or whatever it is they do the rest of the day. Then of course, God comes into the picture. Um, so that’s approximately 20 days that I would give for this time period. we don’t know how long it took for. The word to be out that Job lost everything.

[00:04:22] It could have taken a week by the caravans. We talked about this last time. Word of mouth in that day, it traveled fast. Bad news travels fast, right? Gossip travels fast. Did you hear what happened to so and so? Yeah. And we’re not going to include the restoration of Job because, we’ll talk about that when we get to it.

[00:04:45] But. God does not restore Job instantly, like his children don’t instantly appear, I’m going to assume because the Bible does not imply that it was instantaneous. Just snap his fingers and [00:05:00] everything appears. So we’re going to say that everything came back the regular way.

[00:05:05] So I’m going to guess, 20 to 30 days or less. You may come up with a different number, you may have other opinions on how long it took for, God to answer Job, and that’s fine. This is all speculative, but what’s important are the lessons. Of course, when you’re suffering, even if you’re suffering for a day, a couple days, a week, it feels like a very long time, doesn’t it?

[00:05:30] So, Eliphaz, obviously, travels from his home, and that shows love and concern, doesn’t it, for Job? And he wants to help his suffering friend, at least he has good intentions. Um, but later it will be found out that Eliphaz’s advice and the rest of Job’s friends were wrong. That’s in chapter 42. God’s gonna put them in their place.

[00:05:55] Eliphaz is the first one to speak. That must’ve been really hard. That [00:06:00] must’ve taken a lot of courage to, be the first one to confront a godly man like Job.

[00:06:06] We talked about

[00:06:07] When somebody’s mourning that you don’t know what to say, you might want to keep your mouth shut and just be there for them. Oh, but that’s all going out the window right now. They were terrific when they sat with Job, during, and the Shiva, and that’s what we should do. they are not very good friends, at least, I wouldn’t want friends like these.

[00:06:28] So yeah, this took a lot of guts to come out. And give his counsel to Job. Job’s reputation as a godly man, Is well known and he’s suffering from a terrible thing. And so he’s insinuating through this book through this speech that he’s unable to Do what he’s preached to others. Hey, you don’t even follow your own advice.

[00:06:55] You give your friends and family Uh, that’s how it [00:07:00] starts Eliphaz His basic gist right here is the innocent prosper. Can’t possibly be innocent because they prosper. Eliphaz and his other friends are going to see that he’s in this pickle because of sin and that you better hurry up and repent of your sin or get back into right relationship with God.

[00:07:23] Eliphaz says Job was guilty of some sort of sin because the innocent don’t suffer like he had. Of course, this is circumstantial evidence. His friends were not at the throne room. They could not see what’s going on behind the scenes. They say that Job was reaping trouble. They talk about in the Bible, sowing seeds.

[00:07:46] You reap what you sow.

[00:07:47] I mean, usually this is true. Generally, in the world, you would think that, you live a sinful life, then you’re going to suffer for that. But we, that see behind the [00:08:00] scenes, already know that in Job’s case, he was wrong about him. And this is not the right counsel.

[00:08:07] So there are views that believe that Eliphaz’s speech, his advice, goes under what we call spiritual laws, not really general principles. So you probably know Galatians 6 7, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that will he also reap.

[00:08:30] But if you remember, when we talk about Bible study, you have to talk about context, and the context that Paul is talking about here. It’s not talking about, well, if you do drugs or you smoke cigarettes, you’re going to get lung cancer. Even though that’s true, that is not what Paul was talking about in this context, in this verse.

[00:08:53] They were talking about finances in the church, saying you need to support your local [00:09:00] church, your ministers that Give you spiritual counsel. it sure does have a multitude of applications, of course, but, the Apostle Paul isn’t talking or promoting about some, you know, spiritual karma.

[00:09:15] Hey, if we do good things, then we’ll get good things. If we’re doing sinful things, then we get bad things. if that were true, We would be, I mean, we would all be in hell. Because none of us are perfect. We can’t live up to that standard.

[00:09:31] So, Paul is talking about managing our money and using our resources to serve the Lord. You can also read about Paul talking about that in 1 Corinthians 9:11 or 2 Corinthians 9, 6, 10. I’m not going to read that, but You can look that up yourself for more, information. So, his friends are saying, you know, Job’s suffering equals that he sinned. Job must think [00:10:00] from, because he knows he’s innocent, that God has to be unjust.

[00:10:05] God has to be some big evil meanie. If, I know I’m innocent, I have done nothing to deserve this. It’s all maybe God isn’t loving.

[00:10:14] I’m gonna read, uh, chapter 4, verse 3. Behold, you have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands. Your words have upheld him who was stumbling. You have made firm the feeble knees, but now it has come to you, and you are impatient.

[00:10:28] If it touches you, and you are dismayed, Is not your fear of God your confidence and the integrity of your ways your hope?

[00:10:35] Verse 8, Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.

[00:10:40] Verse 17, Can a mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his maker?

[00:10:48] Though there’s also something in here that I noticed and haven’t noticed before. Verse 12,

[00:10:56] now, a word was brought to me stealthily, my ear received the whisper of [00:11:00] it, amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men. It’s in verse 15, a spirit glided past my face, the hair of my flesh stood up. It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes. Then there was silence, and then I heard a voice. Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his maker? Even in his servants he puts no trust, in his angels he charges with error. How much more? Those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed like the moth.

[00:11:38] So, Eliphaz is claiming that he received, this message in a dream, and he received it by a spirit that passed before his face. It kind of seems like a, an evil spirit to me? But he is, trying to make Job believe that this came supernaturally, his words. He received some divine [00:12:00] message that’s supposed to make his authority more acceptable.

[00:12:04] Um, I don’t think I would agree with that.

[00:12:07] Doesn’t sound like a good spirit.

[00:12:09] So, yeah. Then, can a mortal man be more righteous than God? Eliphaz is stating, Hey, Job. We, we all sin. Just admit that you’ve sinned. It’s, it’s okay. It’s no shame. We, we all sin.

[00:12:23] And he charges his angels with error, how much more those who dwell in houses of clay. So Satan is an angel who’s causing all this trouble, right? So hey, I mean, if the angels can fall, then mortal man can fall and Job’s probably fallen too.

[00:12:44] So, one of the commentators that I was reading, McLaren, I really like what he said about what’s going on here. The speaker seems serenely unconscious, that he was saying anything that could drive a [00:13:00] knife into the tortured man. He is so carried along on the waves of his own eloquence. And so absorbed in the stringing together the elements of an artistic whole, that he forgets the very sorrows which he came to comfort.

[00:13:17] Ooh, let’s go on to chapter five.

[00:13:21] You know, our words can be Words that heal, or words that cut, like a knife. The book of James, talking about the tongue. We need to read that book more often. Our words are powerful.

[00:13:34] So, like, chapter 5, verse One. Call now. Is there anyone who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn? The holy ones is talking about angels, the good ones. Eliphaz is pretty much stating the angels are not going to help you.

[00:13:51] Yeah, here’s some really nasty words.

[00:13:53] I’m in, verse 3. I have seen the fool taking root, but suddenly I cursed his dwelling. His [00:14:00] children are far from safety, they are crushed in the gate, and there is no one to deliver them. That’s pretty mean. He’s pretty much saying, you know, trouble doesn’t show up like weeds.

[00:14:13] Which grow very fast, I know that from being a gardener that I’m always out there pulling weeds and they just show up overnight. Eliphaz is implying that, you have to,

[00:14:26] Had been doing something wrong for a very long time for this to happen to you. Behind the scenes, you are doing something evil.

[00:14:35] Just like things don’t grow in a garden overnight. I can tell you that. I go out there every day, and I’m looking for my little seeds to sprout and to grow or to show some fruit. His sons are far from safety. Verse 4. So this is a backhanded reference to Job’s sons. Hey, that’s probably your [00:15:00] sons. They didn’t mention the daughters, but it’s probably your sons that’s sinned. And that’s why you’re suffering. We always want to blame the kids, huh? They’re probably doing something sinful.

[00:15:12] They’re young people. Yeah, some of, some of us who have children, or if you’ve hung around folks with children, you can do everything right and raise them in the right way and they choose to go their own direction. and fall into sin. I don’t think that Job’s sons or daughters were doing anything ungodly.

[00:15:34] I think they were as blameless as Job. I think they were as blameless as Job. So yeah, this is how you insult people when they’re at their worst.

[00:15:43] So Eliphaz is gonna try and defend God. Um, not that God needs any defending here.

[00:15:51] You know, we already talked about 1st Corinthians 3. 19 is the same verse as Job 5. 13. He catches the [00:16:00] wise in their craftiness, but Eliphaz, his truth that he is quoting, that is true, but he is misapplying it to Job’s case. When somebody is Sick, or not feeling well, that’s, that is not for, that is not the time or place to be pontificating your theological prowness.

[00:16:24] Oh, I know so much about the Bible here, let me just throw up on you, also spiritualizing somebody’s suffering really isn’t helpful. And it does more harm than good. We’ve all had that before. We’ve all had people come up to us, try and quote Bible verses to us, and it just makes us feel worse. Even though those things are true.

[00:16:46] And he’s telling Job, Hey, you know, God’s trying to correct you. You should not be resentful towards God who’s trying to correct you. Hey, you need to humble yourself and forsake your sin and, learn [00:17:00] from your, learn your lesson, mister.

[00:17:02] Hey, God is going to heal you and deliver you if you will confess your sins right now.

[00:17:07] He says in verse 8, as for me, I would seek God and to God I would commit my cause. Hey, he’s very arrogant, isn’t he?

[00:17:17] Very pompous and arrogant and he’s assuming, he’s assuming that he’s right before God. He’ll get that a lot.

[00:17:24] Verse 17. Despise not the discipline of the Almighty. He shatters, but his hands heals. For he wounds, but he binds up. He will deliver you from six troubles and seven. No evil shall touch you.

[00:17:37] And he finish, finishes up his speech with. Verse 27. Behold we have searched out. It is true here and know it for your own good Yeah more arrogance. Um, he is not a very good counselor

[00:17:54] This is not very good medicine for someone who’s in the pit of despair

[00:17:59] [00:18:00] Now he says, you know, you shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue. Um Yeah, that’s pretty much, you know backbiting, slander, you know gossip, scandal You know, whispering behind somebody’s back. Well, what is he doing now?

[00:18:15] He also tried to talk as an authority, a communal knowledge. Hey, we have all come into agreement on this stuff and all of us here together, we know it’s good for you. We know what we’re talking about. We’ve investigated. Your situation, which I don’t think that’s true at all. That’s the attitude that they’re bringing.

[00:18:38] Pretty much ganging up on Job.

[00:18:40] Words can be poison. And let me point out that Eliphaz is preaching a God who we can figure out. The joke is always about the women. The men saying that, you know, you can’t figure women out. Don’t try because you never will. Well, I don’t think that’s true. I think if you really [00:19:00] try, you’re sincere in figuring out the ladies in your life that you can understand women.

[00:19:06] But we will never understand God a hundred percent. We can’t. Not in our finite humanity.

[00:19:13] So I like what they comment in the commentary by Mason, he says something very eloquent. Aspirin is a good and effective medicine, but it’s useless against cancer. So much of the advice that Eliphaz and the other friends dole out is, in its own right, correct and good and true. But because it is wrongly applied, it becomes useless.

[00:19:38] More than useless, it is a lie.

[00:19:40] I agree with that.

[00:19:41] So, we have to worry about our own preconceived notions about God.

[00:19:46] If we start out with, well, God’s never gonna let innocent people suffer, and then we see an innocent person suffer, then we will start thinking, well, you can’t be a good person, a [00:20:00] righteous person, because, my preconceived notion tells me that you’re not, you’re, you’re a bad person. This is what, you know, Jesus had this problem back when he was walking the earth.

[00:20:12] The Pharisees was saying the same thing to Jesus. They, they crucified him because of it. They were mocking him. Well, if you’re God, take yourself down from this cross, right? That was probably really hard to hear that. Yeah, I can come down on this cross and whoop you. But he didn’t because he knew he had to complete his task. and I think another mistake with Eliphaz and his friends was they’re trying to come at it with knowledge, not with love or care or concern or maybe empathy. They’re just, again, pontificating,

[00:20:49] They’re putting their thumbs under their lapels. You know, we’ve got all this wisdom and our reputation is stellar. [00:21:00] Because our investigation says that it’s true, then it must be, well, that’s, that’s really not fair, or it’d have been better if they were just offered him some sympathy.

[00:21:11] Except for that first week that’s all the sympathy that they gave towards him Instead of being confident or dogmatic if you notice that you only seem to be Depressed and in the pit of despair after these guys shows up. It just gets worse and worse I mean he was worshipping God before, Those guys showed up. So we’re gonna go on to chapter 6 and The theme of this chapter is my complaint is just. Okay My words have been I’ve been a little rash Job’s outbursts is complaining his Lamentation in chapter 3. Now, he didn’t curse God But he was you know teetering on that [00:22:00] edge there of falling off that ledge He felt that, God’s attacking him or cursed him some way.

[00:22:07] He’s describing how the words of Eliphaz tasted. Verse six in chapter six. Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow? My appetite refuses to touch them. Dear food, that is loathsome to me. his friend’s words were weak and flavorless. Didn’t give Job any, any strength for the journey that he has to go through.

[00:22:33] they did not have any sweetness. They talk about honey in the Bible. They didn’t bring any honey to the table here. They didn’t have any sympathy. No consolation for him. Um, they’re talking to him like they were gonna talk to a criminal. If we would talk to somebody on death row, a criminal, we would talk very harsh to them, right?

[00:22:54] Hey, you deserve to be here. You should be executed and let’s hurry up and, get [00:23:00] the noose out now. That’s how they were talking to him. Now, we talked before, Job never seemed to have any suicidal thoughts, but he wished that God himself would take his life. We studied Isaiah and Jeremiah.

[00:23:15] They both ask God to end their life, and they also ask God to take somebody else’s life. we’re not supposed to take revenge. Ourselves, but we can ask God to take revenge for us. That is his role, that’s his job as the creator. he says that,

[00:23:34] uh, verse 10, where I would even exalt in pain and sparing for, I have not denied the words of the holy one. What is my strength that I should wait and what is my end that I should be patient? Is my strength the strength of stones or is my flesh bronze? Have I any help in me when resource is driven from me?

[00:23:55] There’s a better translation instead of, I have [00:24:00] not denied the words of the Holy One.

[00:24:02] So Job felt he had no hope at all. He had no inner strength. I should point out that We all know about the, the life coaches and the, the motivational speakers, the gurus that, hey, just look inside yourself and, you know, find the strength in your, yourself. Well, your flesh is weak. He’s saying that he doesn’t have the strength of stones.

[00:24:29] His flesh is not like bronze. Job was written during the Bronze Age, when that was a dominant metal used for tools and weapons. Iron is mentioned five times in the Book of Job. Bronze still would have been in use. Apparently bronze requires the access to tin to make, which was rare and expensive in the ancient world.

[00:24:53] So that was from my Bible, my commentary, my personal Bible here. so he’s sitting here, he’s in [00:25:00] pain while he boils on his skin. He’s sitting on top of a garbage dump outside the city and he’s utterly helpless. He cannot help himself. We have seen that in ourselves and our family. When you are addicted to drugs. Um, it’s very hard to help yourself. You, have to have somebody else intercede for you to help you.

[00:25:22] Rehab or a counselor, family member. The NIV has a great translation of Job 613.

[00:25:29] Do I have any power to help myself now that success has been driven from me?

[00:25:34] But, you know, they should have shown his friend some kindness. And then Job shoots back at Eliphaz. Hey, you should show me kindness, even if it were true that I had forsaken the fear of the Almighty. That’s in verse 14.

[00:25:51] Okay.

[00:25:52] He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. My brothers are treacherous as a torrent bed, [00:26:00] as torrential streams that pass away, which are dark with ice. And where snow hides itself. When they melt, they disappear. When it’s hot, they vanish from their place.

[00:26:11] Yeah, so hey, give me the benefit of the doubt. You’re my friend. Um, I like the imagery here in this passage. It’s talking about, you know, snow will come and turn into water, of course, when it melts and then it comes down into the brooks, right? And Eventually, the brook is going to dry up because it’s not a permanent stream.

[00:26:35] This is just water from the snowfall. Job’s pointing at his friends all together. This might have been out of respect. Because he didn’t want to single out anybody, make them feel bad,

[00:26:48] but his other friends didn’t say anything against what Eliphaz said. Job accused them of being as unreliable as a snow fed stream that vanishes when it’s hot. You’re like [00:27:00] fair weather friends. When things get hard, then you just leave me to hang out to dry. So verse 21, It’s kind of the climax of Job’s reaction to Eliphaz’s speech.

[00:27:14] Nobody offered him any help, for you have now become nothing. You see my calamity and are afraid. Have I said, make me a gift? Or from your wealth, offer a bribe for me? Or deliver me from the adversary’s hand? Or redeem me from the hand of the ruthless?

[00:27:32] I mean, Job wasn’t asking him to save him from something that he did wrong, something obvious like, you know, bail him out of jail or something, he just wanted some comfort in that his friend Eliphaz was really harsh. Verse 24. Teach me and I will be silent, make me understand how I have gone astray. How forceful are the upright [00:28:00] words, but what does reproof from you reprove? Do you think that you can reprove words when the speech of a despairing man is wind? You would even cast lots over the fatherless.

[00:28:11] Bargain over. Your friend

[00:28:14] In verse 30. Is there any injustice on my tongue? Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?

[00:28:21] So this is how you insult somebody when you call ’em a wind bag, that’s a common insult.

[00:28:27] He’s, stating to his friends, Hey, you would gamble over an orphan. You would bargain over your own friend. He’s angry at his friends. That’s okay.

[00:28:38] ask for any bribes. This is, what he’s getting at. But their relationship right now is damaged. It is going downhill from here, folks. swapping insults, and it’s gonna get worse as we go along, okay?

[00:28:53] And their friends have not looked at him while they were talking. They have their heads [00:29:00] down. When he talks about, teach me, cause me, he’s asking for proof. Show me some proof of my sin. Where are all the witnesses that say that I committed sin against them? You don’t have any. You never brought anything to prove.

[00:29:15] So your argument is moot.

[00:29:18] So this gives us a very unsavory view of Eliphaz for sure. Um, I’m gonna look over chapter 7 really quick. He does not sleep very well, it looks like. Verse 3 in chapter 7, nights of misery are appointed to me, the night is long, I am full of tossing until the dawn. Verse 5, My flesh is covered with worms and dirt, my skin hardens and then breaks out afresh. Um, yeah, gross, right?

[00:29:48] My life is a breath, my eye will never again see good. That’s in verse 7. Verse 11, here’s what he says to his friends, Therefore I will not restrain my mouth, I will speak in the [00:30:00] anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

[00:30:03] Verse 16, I loathe my life, I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.

[00:30:11] You test him every moment.

[00:30:13] Verse 19, How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit? Hey, look me in the eye when you’re talking to me and accusing me of things. Right?

[00:30:25] If I sin, this is verse 20, if I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Yeah. So,

[00:30:33] For this conversation, you can defend your innocence. You can be sad. You can be bitter. You can be angry. You can stand up for yourself. You can ask for proof against your accusers.

[00:30:47] You can ask for help.

[00:30:49] There was a lot in these chapters. We’re going to do chapter eight next week. I’m not going to continue with, Eliphaz. We’ll be going [00:31:00] over who Bilidad is. Friend number two. What does he have to say? A lot of what Eliphaz said. I’ll tell you that much.

[00:31:08] You can read ahead if you’d like, there’s a lot of things that I skipped today because there’s just, there’s too much to go through verse by verse, but enjoy the imagery used in this book. Savor that, cause it is beautiful, even though he’s saying some very difficult things. God bless you, thank you for being here with me and studying with me.

[00:31:33] I hope it’s been a blessing. Come back next week and, we’ll continue to study God’s unsearchable truths. Bye for now!

[00:31:41] Thank you for listening to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast. If this episode has been helpful to you, please hit the subscribe button and tell a friend. You can connect with us at DSW Ministries dot org, where you’ll find our blog along with our Facebook, [00:32:00] Twitter, and our YouTube channel links. Hope to see you next week!