We have been doing a series of messages about Job, the patriarch from the Old Testament. The title of the series is “Job: Patient Endurance and Faithfulness.” Last time, we talked about the devil’s role in his second attack on Job, the inflicting of the gruesome pain on him and how that suffering affects our faith.
So Job, at the end of chapter 2 is sitting in an ash heap, he is trying to ease his distress/pain by scraping his boiled covered body with a piece of broken pottery. It's a sad sight. And the Bible says that three of his friends come by to support/ comfort/ help him. And they sit with him for a period and don't say anything. They were there just to support him, we don't always have to open our mouths and try to figure out why things are happening…sometimes we just need to be there.
Finally, one of the three friends, Eliphaz weighs in on Job's situation. Job 4: 2 “If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? Yet who can keep from speaking? 3 Behold, you have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands. 4 Your words have upheld him who was 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 “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off?
I want to break down this conversation for you; these words of counsel that Eliphaz supposedly has.
Conditioning Job 4:2 “If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? Yet who can keep from speaking?” There is some conditioning going on here. I got to weigh in on this Job, so don't get angry if you don't like what you hear because I'm going to say it anyway.
Compliment Job 4: 3 “Behold, you have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands.” These words were complimentary but they were a setup for something else.
Criticism Job 4:5 “But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed.” The Pharisee is coming out in Eliphaz, the finger pointing; you're angry Job! you're impatient and when trouble comes, you're discouraged and dismayed!
Confidence? Job 4:6 “Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” Eliphaz is saying to him that if you had a fear of God and integrity, then you would have confidence that God was going to get you through...it's like saying: just trust God…and everything will turn out o.k.
Condemnation Job 4:7 “Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off?” If you had not been doing something wrong you wouldn't be punished like this Job.
These are words that are full of worldly wisdom…. they are earthly, and they reek of worldly philosophy. How can we bring a wise word to someone in their time of suffering and distress? We can't do better than to follow the example of Jesus who always had a wise, comforting word; sometimes a correcting word but always did it in a spirit of love and grace.
Join us in person on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. or via livestream by going to https://www.firstbaptistsudbury.com and clicking on livestream for “ The W5 of the Tongue.”