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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Job 4

Brown's Commentary on Selected Book of the BibleBrown's Commentary

Verses 1-21

John Brown

Job 4-5

Eliphaz Relying on Experience


A. Last week, in Chapter 3, Job was at the height of his deep, dark, depression!

1. In fact, he stated over and over again that he wished that he had never been born, and even though he had, he wished he had been stillborn.

a) But, I would like to point out, that even in the middle of what are the darkest hours of Job's life, he never mentions suicide!

2. We discovered in our study, that Job was fearful even when he was living in luxury!

a) We concluded with 4 things from God's word that can keep us from living in the same fear that Job had:

(1) Exo_34:14 (NKJV) `(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God),

(a) In other words, love the Lord and not the "things" provided by Him.

(2) 1Ch_29:15 (NKJV) For we [are] aliens and pilgrims before You, As [were] all our fathers; Our days on earth [are] as a shadow,

(a) We need to have an "eternal" perspective instead of living for the "here and now."

(3) 1Jn_2:15 (NKJV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1Jn_2:16 For all that [is] in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.

1Jn_2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

(a) We need to make it our life's purpose to love the Lord and serve Him, not to accumulate things!

(4) And finally, #4, learn to love Him with whom you will spend eternity!

(a) If we really know Him, then we can trust Him even during the hard times!

B. Now we turn our attention to Chapters 4 and 5.

1. Eliphaz is the first of Job's friends to respond to Job.

2. Job_5:27 gives an indication that these friends had discussed what they would say to Job and most likely appointed "Eliphaz = the `seer'" as their spokesman. (You'll understand why I use the term "seer" as go on.)

a) Job_5:27 (NKJV) Behold, this we have searched out; It [is] true. Hear it, and know for yourself."

b) It is important however to point out that there is no indication that they prayed about what they would say to Job!!


A. Job_4:1 (NKJV) Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

Job_4:2 If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary? But who can withhold himself from speaking?

1. In other words he asks Job if it will upset him to talk to him, then says that he is going to talk to him anyway!

B. Job_4:3 (NKJV) Surely you have instructed many, And you have strengthened weak hands.

Job_4:4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, And you have strengthened the feeble knees;

Job_4:5 But now it comes upon you, and you are weary; It touches you, and you are troubled.

Job_4:6 [Is] not your reverence your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope?

1. Eliphaz reminds Job that when he lived in luxury, he was very good a giving counsel, but now he can't even apply what he use to dish out!

a) This is not an uncommon thing!

b) It seems to be a human trait to "psychoanalyze" everyone else, but neglect seeing our own inadequacies.

(1) That reminds me of the cartoon of 2 psychiatrists that met on the street and one says to the other, "You are fine, how am I."

(a) Why is it so much easier to see the short-coming of others and hard to see it in ourselves?

(b) As we are going to see in the next few verses, Eliphaz is say, "I am fine, but you're not!"

C. Job_4:7-11 (NKJV) "Remember now, who [ever] perished being innocent? Or where were the upright [ever] cut off? Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, And by the breath of His anger they are consumed. The roaring of the lion, The voice of the fierce lion, And the teeth of the young lions are broken. The old lion perishes for lack of prey, And the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

1. Do you catch the implication and sense of superiority?

a) You can almost see the pious grin on Eliphaz' face and hear the "message" behind the message.

(1) "Come on Job, what secret sin are you not telling us about?You know that God would not the innocent suffer!"

2. Now we know that was not the case with Job because the Lord has already told satan that Job was a "righteous man."

a) But this same lie is being perpetuated today with the "health and wealth" teaching.

(1) The proponents of this teaching are telling God's children the same thing Eliphaz told Job:

(a) "It is not God's will for you to be sick!"

(b) "It is not God's will for you to be poor!"

(c) "If either of these things are in your life it must be a result of sin!"

3. Eliphaz goes on to tell us how he came to this marvelous conclusion!

D. Job_4:12-16 (NKJV) "Now a word was secretly brought to me, And my ear received a whisper of it.

13 In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men,

14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones shake.

15 Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my body stood up.

16 It stood still, But I could not discern its appearance. A form [was] before my eyes; [There] [was] silence; Then I heard a voice [saying]:

1. Not all "spirits that go bump in the night" are from the Lord!!

a) Later on in the book, the Lord rebukes all the counsel of Job's friends.

b) Therefore, based upon the Lord's rejection of their counsel, we know that this was not the Holy Spirit or any messenger of the Lord!!!!!

(1) That only leaves one option - this was an evil spirit sent by satan for the very purpose of discouraging Job even further.

(2) It was all part of his plan to fulfill what he had said to the Lord and get Job to curse God!

2. The proponents of the "health and wealth" teaching also claim to have divine authority for their same lie.

a) I would also like you to notice that this was indeed a real "spiritual" experience.

(1) It had all the spiritual mystery, and it even made Eliphaz' "bones shake", and his "hair stand on end".

(2) But please also notice that this spirit came in the dark of night and never let Eliphaz see him clearly!!

(a) And the "advise" he gives is even more clouded than his appearance.

E. Job_4:17-21 (NKJV) `Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?

18 If He puts no trust in His servants, [If] He charges His angels with error,

19 How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, [Who] are crushed before a moth?

20 They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; They perish forever, with no one regarding.

21 Does not their own excellence go away? They die, even without wisdom.'

1. As when satan came quoting God's word to Jesus, these words are true!

a) But the message they send is false because of the omission of God's grace and love!

b) With the reference to angels in verse 18, you get the impression that is more like how satan feels about God and man than the Lord!

(1) [If] He charges His angels with error,19 How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust

(2) "If He would kick me and my crew out of heaven for a small `error', why should he care about you human `dust-balls'?

(a) Notice that this evil spirit doesn't even acknowledge their rebellion in heaven for what it was = SIN!

(i) He calls it an "error"

(ii)"And for a simple "error" God kick His angels out of heaven why should He show you any mercy?"

c) If this was a message from the Lord it would contain hope, and it contains none.

Bibliographical Information
Brown, John. "Commentary on Job 4". Brown's Commentary on Selected Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jbs/job-4.html.
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