Read Job 15
15 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “Would a wise person answer with empty notions
or fill their belly with the hot east wind?
3 Would they argue with useless words,
with speeches that have no value?
4 But you even undermine piety
and hinder devotion to God.
5 Your sin prompts your mouth;
you adopt the tongue of the crafty.
6 Your own mouth condemns you, not mine;
your own lips testify against you.
7 “Are you the first man ever born?
Were you brought forth before the hills?
8 Do you listen in on God’s council?
Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
9 What do you know that we do not know?
What insights do you have that we do not have?
10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side,
men even older than your father.
11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you,
words spoken gently to you?
12 Why has your heart carried you away,
and why do your eyes flash,
13 so that you vent your rage against God
and pour out such words from your mouth?
14 “What are mortals, that they could be pure,
or those born of woman, that they could be righteous?
15 If God places no trust in his holy ones,
if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,
16 how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt,
who drink up evil like water!
17 “Listen to me and I will explain to you;
let me tell you what I have seen,
18 what the wise have declared,
hiding nothing received from their ancestors
19 (to whom alone the land was given
when no foreigners moved among them):
20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment,
the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him.
21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears;
when all seems well, marauders attack him.
22 He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness;
he is marked for the sword.
23 He wanders about for food like a vulture;
he knows the day of darkness is at hand.
24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror;
troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack,
25 because he shakes his fist at God
and vaunts himself against the Almighty,
26 defiantly charging against him
with a thick, strong shield.
27 “Though his face is covered with fat
and his waist bulges with flesh,
28 he will inhabit ruined towns
and houses where no one lives,
houses crumbling to rubble.
29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure,
nor will his possessions spread over the land.
30 He will not escape the darkness;
a flame will wither his shoots,
and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away.
31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
for he will get nothing in return.
32 Before his time he will wither,
and his branches will not flourish.
33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes,
like an olive tree shedding its blossoms.
34 For the company of the godless will be barren,
and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes.
35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil;
their womb fashions deceit.”
Eliphaz, who may be the oldest of the friends who counsel and rebuke Job, represents the voice and wisdom of the Edomites. Eliphaz shares several truths. We see how men condemn themselves with their mouths and actions. Withering and death come to us all. However, Eliphaz misses the essential truths that can be learned by considering Job’s tribulation:
- Job believes in the power of God and that we all (believers and unbelievers) belong to Him (Job 12:16).
- Man’s wisdom is not God’s wisdom. What we see in the world and the lives of men is not what we see through the eyes of faith.
- The words of men and wisdom of the world are not a comfort to us. The only significance and comfort we can find in our lives is through the Word of God and our daily walk with him.
Instead of seeing these essential truths, Eliphaz paints Job as a presumptuous man who talks too much. Job is accused of being wicked, deserving of punishment, deceived by his own mind and lacking understanding. Eliphaz’s response represents how the world responds to trouble. How the world responds to trouble is very different from the response of believers. Yet, how often do we hear a worldly account of a situation and believe it? There is no shortage of non-believers with large platforms who share opinions on current events that include some truths but miss the essential truths going on at the same time. As believers, we should remember non-believers are unable to see what God is doing. We should remember to consider our circumstances through a different lens.
Job certainly sees his situation through a different lens than the world. Job’s security, even through his loss and pain, is found in God. Job stands within his core values by being faithful to God (Job 13:13-19) by acknowledging God’s sovereignty over him. We, as believers, can find the same security in His sovereignty. James, the half brother of Jesus, shared a similar point of view in James 1:2 saying, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” We would do well to remember we were created to worship and experience joy in all circumstances.
- What is your first response to challenges and trials in your life? See God and His will first instead of relying on your own understanding.
- Have you allowed your spirit to turn against God when you face tragedy? Choose the wisdom of holding your tongue and keeping silent rather than accusing God of intending harm for you.
- How do you turn tests into testimony? Use the ability God has given you for patience and discernment to see where He is working in your life, then use that wisdom to lead others closer to Him.
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