Job (04) - When Friends Hurt
“If one ventures a word with you, will you be offended? But who can keep from speaking? 3 See, you have instructed many; you have strengthened the weak hands. 4 Your words have supported those who were stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees. 5 But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. 6 Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope? 7 “Think now, who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? 8 As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. 9 By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed. Job 4:2–9
Eliphaz’s First Speech - Eliphaz has a word from the Lord, he has seen a vision in his dreams (4:12-13): Shall mortal man be more just than God? (4:17). God despises all, he says (men and angels) fail (4:18). No one is innocent, no one is righteous (4:7). So Job must give it up (5:8). If Job does this, blessings will flow (5:17ff). Job’s Response: Job responds with vexation; his burden is heavier than the sand of the sea (6:1-2). Job wants God to kill him (6:8-9). Job won’t concede that he has sinned (6:14). Job the calls the “friends” deceitful (6:14-15). Fear is drives them (6:21). This fear probably has to do with the loss of their common culture/kingdom. One of the repeated themes is wind; their words are “wind” (6:26), like the “great wind” (1:19). They are plundering the fatherless and their friend (6:26-27). Job knows that his days are ordained by God and few; therefore he must vent his anguish (7:1-11). Eliphaz vexes him to the point of suicide (7:13-15). Job wants Eliphaz stop tormenting him (7:16). Job probes whether there is any sin in him to be forgiven by the Lord (7:17-21).
Bildad’s First Speech - Bildad accuses Job of being full of wind (8:2). He suggests that Job’s wind words destroyed Job’s children due to his/their sin (8:4). Bildad castigates evil doers (e.g. ch. 18) which implies that Job is evil. Men are like plants which are cut down (8:11-19). But God does not cast away the perfect (8:20-22). Job’s Response: Job acknowledges some truth in what Bildad says, while Job’s issue is being right before God (9:2). He knows that he/man cannot contend with God (9:3-21). But Job must defend himself or be treated as a sinner and cast in a ditch (9:28-31). Job desires a day in court with God (9:32-33). So Job addresses his complain more explicitly at God (10:1-2). His prayer reminds God that He is his Creator and Preserver (10:3-13). God punishes sin, but Job is not aware of any sin which brought about his calamities (10:14-18). He wants to die (10:18-22).
Zophar’s First Speech - Zophar accuses Job of a “multitude of words” and a liar and mocker (11:2-3). Job hasn’t got it bad enough; he is getting less than he deserves (11:6). If Job will only confess his sins he will be blessed (11:12-20). Job’s Response: Job addresses these men not as friends but as accusers (satans). Job agrees with Zophar about God’s sovereign rule; but Zophar is a liar and all three of them are physicians of no value (13:4). Leave Job alone (13:5). Could Zophar stand up to God’s inquisition (like they are doing to him)? (13:8-13). Job wants his day before the Court of heaven to be justified (13:15-18). Job asks God to remove their hands out of his pocket (13:21) and tell him what sins deserve their accusations (13:23-28). The “friends” (as we have seen) are a continuation of God’s trial of Job. (See Toby Sumpter, Job through New Eyes/sermon notes)
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more