READ: Job 5
BACKGROUND: Chapter 5 is a continuation of the words of Eliphaz the Tamnite to Job. Eliphaz says some things that are true, and some that aren’t necessarily true. It is important to not that the words of Job’s friends – and even some of the thoughts of Job – are not to be taken as Biblical truths in the way that the words of the Proverbs or Psalms are. It’s a different genre, and their words reveal their hearts not God’s truths. God’s words in Job, however, should be understood as absolutely true.
2 – A catchy phrase to be sure. Eliphaz is implying that Job is resentful towards God.
7 – Eliphaz is saying that if Job would just stop acting like a fool and humble himself then God would take the punishment away. (This is, obviously, not the major issue at hand, and it serves as an example of Eliphaz not only getting his theology wrong but also being a pretty bad friend and comforter.)
13 – This is quoted in 1Corinthians 3:19, and it’s the only clear quotation of Job in the New Testament.
17-26 – Eliphaz tells Job to celebrate God’s judgment because the righteous man will eventually be healed. Not his worst advice ever – God does use discipline to shape and transform us. But again he misread the situation. And is this what Job really needed to hear in the moment? Even if he had been right, was it the correct time to tell that to Job?
THINK: (Something a little different today)
Read verses 17-21 again slowly, keeping in mind that Eliphaz is speaking to his friend Job who has just had his entire family die and lost everything he had.
Now, read those verses once more and put yourself in the position of Job as he listened. How do the words hit you?
Read them one last time and put yourself in the position of Eliphaz. What feelings and attitudes fill you as you speak these words to Job?
In light of this passage, answer the following questions to yourself:
– What makes a comforter really helpful? Is it enough to just speak truth?
– What did Job really need from Eliphaz at this moment?
– What kind of attitudes might be in the heart of someone who preaches at a person who needs comfort?
PRAY: Ask God, by the power of the Holy Spirit living in you, to give you the wisdom and the love that is needed to be a comfort to those in distress. Ask for the right heart, the right words, the right tools to lift someone up and point them toward God rather than away from him. Open up your life to God and offer to be his messenger to the broken people around you.
ASK: Who in my life is broken and hurting and in need of comfort right now? Am I willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus to that person, and, if so, what will that look like?