-Eliphaz the Temanite answers his friend as this section gets underway after Job has poured out his heart in grief. We, as examiners of the text, must keep in mind that while some of Eliphaz’s statements contain truth, there is definitely some error mixed in as well (Job 42:7). This is important to ascertain. Eliphaz begins with counsel that is intended to help Job, but in some ways could be interpreted to be a harsh demonstration. He says that if one ventures to say a word with him, would he become impatient? It would be difficult to refrain from speaking in this situation. He retold how Job’s words had admonished man, strengthened weak hands, helped the tottering to stand, and strengthened feeble knees. But now (notice the stark contrast here), these things have come upon this righteous man, Job, and Eliphaz accuses him of becoming impatient in the process. Dismay has overtaken. Eliphaz rightly calls his friend back to reverence for God to be his confidence and the integrity of his ways his hope (Job 4:1-6).
-Eliphaz gives his observations as he questions Job. He asks, “Who ever perished being innocent?” and “Where were the upright destroyed?” According to what he has seen, only those who plow iniquity and sow trouble harvest it. He has only speculated, for he concludes, “By the breath of God they (sinners) perish, and by the blast of His anger they come to an end.” These, who he compares to roaring lions, have their teeth broken and are scattered by the Sovereign in such cases (Job 4:7-11).
-Now, Eliphaz continues, a word was brought to him stealthily as if by whisper. “Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men,” dread had come upon him, which made his body tremble and all his bones shake. A spirit passed before his face making his hairs bristle up on his body. The spirit stood still, but he could not discern its appearance. There was a form before his eyes, there was silence, then he heard a voice, “Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before His Maker?” The spirit continues, “He (the LORD) puts no trust even in His servants; and against His angels He charges error. How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth!” The chapter concludes at this point with the spirit’s final words, “Between morning and evening they are broken in pieces; unobserved, they perish forever. Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them? They die, yet without wisdom (Job 4:12-21).”
-*Application* When friends try to pick us up in our down moments of life, we still need to use wisdom and discernment to know if this is a word from the Lord or someone else. Sometimes even the best intentions are not that helpful. Only counsel from the Living God in coordination with His Word (which can be found in the Bible) is absolute truth that we can count on. We must remember this when we find ourselves in these types of life situations. Fact is, with Christ on our side, we can be justified and pure before our Maker, and He does trust us with a call on our lives (Romans 5:1-10, 2 Corinthians 11:2, 1 John 3:3, 2 Timothy 1:9).
Verse to Memorize: Job 4:17