Job 5-8
(Point and Counterpoint)
May 26th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

“O that my vexation were weighed,
   and all my calamity laid in the balances!

- Job 6:2 (NRSV)

Summary of Chapters

Eliphaz’s comments in chapter 4 were just a warm-up act for a trio of stone-age talking heads who will pontificate for the next twenty-five chapters. Eliphaz continued his misguided rebuke of Job in chapter 5. His basic premise was false, but he made some valid statements (although not necessarily applying to Job specifically). For example, “he (God) catches the wise in their craftiness and the schemes of the wily are swept away (5:13 - NIV),” which was quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:19.

Job replied in chapter 6 by saying that he would rather die than continue to suffer. He asserted his integrity and counter-rebuked his friends, comparing them to a useless dried up river. He said they are no help. He never asked for anything but they are harassing him with their opinions:

In chapter 7, Job expressed his anger to the LORD and asked why this has been done to him. Bildad then saw his first opportunity to opine by also blaming Job for his own suffering, as captured in chapter 8.

Reflection and Application

With friends like these, who needs enemies? What happened here? When you think about what Eliphaz and Bildad are saying you realize the folly of their argument. They are assuming that they know why God caused or allowed Job to suffer. Their assumption was the equivalent of the man who claimed that the world would end on May 24th, 2011 A.D. None of these men were privy to the thoughts of God on the fate of Job or the timing of the fate of the world.

What would have been a better approach? It would have been better if Eliphaz and Bildad had turned to God in prayer (which would have been an acknowledgement of his sovereignty) and asked for help for their friend Job. This is the best thing that we can do for our friends. We should not try to diagnosis the source of their troubles, but instead provide physical and moral support and most of all, petition for them in our prayers.

When we look closely we find valid points tucked between the false allegations of the three amigos. For example, Eliphaz poetically observes man’s broken state: “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward (5:6).” He also correctly praises the power of the LORD:

This prose could have been a great opening for a prayer to God. Eliphaz could have then asked for comfort and deliverance for Job, but instead he went off on a presumptuous tangent and did not listen to Job’s true needs.

While Job’s friends may have had limited listening skills, we have a friend who can listen for an eternity. God is always interested in hearing from us – even if we express our feelings in anger, as Job did in 7:11: “I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” It’s better to complain to God than to take anger out on our family, friends, or other people. God is a big guy, he can take it. If we are talking to him then we are carrying out the relationship that he wishes. If we complain to him instead of to our false idols then we are demonstrating our true belief – we gripe to the one who is in command. Endless griping will not serve the relationship, but there may be times when we need to unload our troubles on God, as Job did in this chapter.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Who are your three best friends?
    2. What can you do for them today to show your loyalty and compassion?
    3. How can we determine what to do and say when our friends experience difficulties in their life?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you alone know the answers to everything and your are available to listen endlessly. Help us to turn to you when we are in trouble.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Friends who are seeking work

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Job 9-12 (Zophar on Deck)

    Comments and Questions
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