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February 5, 2011 – Job 4

Click here to read Job 4 on BibleGateway.com

Before we begin today, let’s get out our soapbox and polish that bad boy up. Beginning today, we will be looking at speeches from several of Job’s friends, usually one at a time and then Job answers each. But at the risk of treading on dangerous ground, let’s keep something in mind: God does not necessarily agree with everything in the Bible.

Remember as you go through Job (and other books, notably Ecclesiastes) to keep things in context. For instance, today and tomorrow we will hear from Eliphaz. Like any of us, sometimes Eliphaz is right on and sometimes he’s way off (though not as far off as some of Job’s other friends, as we’ll see). The Bible records what he said without necessarily endorsing it. So remember not to take any one verse as completely true, but to pray for God’s wisdom to see Job, and the Bible, in its entirety the way He wants us to see it.

*Soapbox down*

ELIPHAZ STARTS THE BALL

Eliphaz starts off encouraging Job. He says that, though Job may be experiencing discipline now, in the long run God takes care of His children. He suggests that the sinful are punished and the righteous experience God’s goodness. This fairly simplistic idea will be repeated again and again in Job, but ironically, we know from the first chapter that this perception is wrong. Job is suffering precisely because he doesn’t deserve it.

However, notice that Eliphaz remarks that no mortal man can ever be truly righteous (verses 17-21). This is similar to the same sentiments Paul expresses later in Romans; there is not one person righteous in the whole history of the world. If that’s the case, what are we to do? Romans 3:22 argues that our righteousness comes from God Himself, through faith in Jesus Christ. That’s the good news in a nutshell, even though Eliphaz couldn’t see it. More on that later.

EXHIBIT A

One of the interesting aspects of Eliphaz is his claim to wisdom. He mentions that he had a dream that revealed some aspects of the supernatural world to him, namely a “spirit” that glided past his face. Now, whether we accept this as literally true or not, it’s notable that Eliphaz feels that a dream is a convincing proof of truth. Can you imagine if someone tried that in a court of law today?

JUDGE: Can you say beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant stole your bagel?
WITNESS: Of course, your Honor. I had a dream in which a spirit told me.
JUDGE: Case closed. He is clearly guilty of stealing the dough

I think we can all agree that’s the best method of determining truth.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Thanks to the somewhat arbitrary divisions in our reading plan, we won’t get to hear Eliphaz’s conclusion until tomorrow. See ya then.

Same Bat-time, Same Bat-channel.

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