By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
Chapter 1 of Job (background for entire book)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 8 And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Eliphaz Speaks: The Innocent Prosper
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
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?
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.
10 The roar of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion, the teeth of the young lions are broken.
11 The strong lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
12 “Now a word was brought to me stealthily; my ear received the whisper of it.
13 Amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men,
14 dread came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake.
15 A spirit glided past my face; the hair of my flesh stood up.
16 It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice:
17 ‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?
18 Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error;
19 how much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed like the moth.
20 Between morning and evening they are beaten to pieces; they perish forever without anyone regarding it.
21 Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them, do they not die, and that without wisdom?’
Psalm 8... A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
In the first chapter of Job, God declares what is the truth regarding Job; he is a blameless and righteous man. He says this to Satan's face, but the devil argues with God.
Oblivious to Satan's schemes behind the scenes (Job, that is), there is an all-out assault by the roaring lion to attack, and then further destroy this man of God through demonic/Satanic influence on the counsel given to Job from his friends.This poor man who has lost everything, including his children, is attacked relentlessly by his friends who have fallen prey to Satan's suggestion that one's circumstances reveal one's character. Jesus deals with this persistent lie in John 9. The notion that there is a one-to-one correspondence between one's circumstances and their sin, is a lie from hell. Many righteous people have suffered chronic and acute pain.
In the dialogue of chapters 3-31, and then Elihu later, the friends are seeking to judge the nature of the very thing to which the reader has been made privy: God's evaluation of Job as a righteous man.Neither Job nor his friends are aware of this heavenly encounter between God and Satan, in which the Lord sets the record straight regarding the integrity of Job. This background needs to be kept in mind while reading the entire dialogue, and especially the text quoted above.We find that his three friends are playing right into the hands of the evil one and contradicting God's assessment of Job, as mentioned in the first two chapters.In 1:8 the Lord says there is no man on Earth like Job, that is how highly esteemed he is in God's eyes!
Eliphaz is the first to speak to Job after he and his friends sat in compassionate silence for 7 days. They should have kept their mouths shut, but they didn't. I have not read any commentators that agree with what I'm about to say, so I am a bit hesitant. Although Eliphaz begins with a fairly gentle tone (4:3-4) sympathy for Job quickly fades. The character of Job is consistently, and with increasing viciousness, probed under the assumption that his moral failures account for his present plight.How cruel...and how common.
Eliphaz (v. 5-11) begins his attack, and he then appeals to a "paranormal" experience he had to buttress the authority of what he is saying (v.12-16). Notice how he describes his encounter.
He infers that an authoritative word from God came to him quietly and stealthily in the middle of the night via a spirit being. He saw an apparition which caused the hair on his neck to stand on end, dread and trembling...ever heard/felt that?! This spirit glided past his face, and then stood still. While he could see a form, he could not make out its appearance. Perhaps he was seeing what we call a "shadow figure."
I must confess that this description has a very familiar ring to it, doesn't it? Here is my interpretation. Eliphaz was so over-awed by this singular experience that any discernment went by the wayside.
Given the context of this book, it makes sense that Satan had an angel of Light experience with Eliphaz. He told God he had been wandering the Earth, and perhaps he paid this guy a visit...a very convincing paranormal encounter. Satan had a vested interest in making sure that Job's friends were his unwitting accomplices in accusing/destroying Job...in making him unravel, and thus making God look like the fool.
After trying to impress Job with the immensity of his supernatural encounter, Eliphaz then relays what this being said. I ask: does it accurately communicate what we already know is God's assessment of Job, or does he accuse, which is Satanic by definition?
It is my opinion that this book is the longest and clearest expression of diabolical influence on believer/s in the bible. Peter expressed Satanic influence, and was rebuked for it, when he told Jesus that the atonement wasn't cool.
The being waxes mystical in a way that brings accusation in through the back door. Trying to sound "holy" one can easily see this short paranormal sermon (v 17-21) so accents the transcendence of God, that He is transcended right out of the picture. Please read these verses and see if they reflect what we know is the truth regarding God's assessment of Job in chapter 1-2?
Why should He care for puny man (this is not the celebratory theme as found in Psalm 8--it is a diabolical mangling of our finitude) I have included Psalm 8 above so you can see the contrast between the Word of God and what I believe is a diabolical mirror image of Psalm 8. Psalm 8 is a hymn of praise, celebrating our privileged place in the created order, which speaks of the glorious Creator.There is utter astonishment that the God who is great enough to create the universe, has such tenderness towards us, and has made humans the pinnacle of His grand creation.In contrast, read verses 17-21 in Job, which comes from the mouth of this mysterious apparition.God's greatness is extolled, but man is left crushed and "little" in God's eyes. See the contrast? Would Satan extol God? Sure, if the end result is crushing Job in the process! In addition God's covenantal name (Yahweh) is mentioned twice in Psalm 8 (verses 1, 9) which accents our Lord as our Redeemer, and covenental love (hesed). Again,in contrast, the apparition never uses covenantal language for God. He wants to keep God so "way out there", that He has no time for us puny creatures.I could spend a long time contrasting these two texts, but would simply ask the reader to compare/contrast them for yourself and come to your own conclusion.
The question asked in v.17 has already been answered by God in chapters 1-2. JOB IS RIGHTEOUS IN GOD'S EYES. And given what we know, why would a messenger from God speak of crushing humans (like Job) every day..perishing with no one regarding it? This is hardly the kind of thng God would have had said--especially at this stage in the dialogue, but it is the slippery, religious sounding words that are designed to crush...to give supernatural authority to Eliphaz's torrent of accusations against Job. I mean, who can argue with what a spirit says?!
To state that this section is a quote from Satan does not detract from the authority/inerrancy of Scripture because the bible quotes many things from evil men or diabolical beings, without affirming that they are true--it is is simply a historical narrative of the ongoing reality of spiritual warfare and the drama of redemption. Eliphaz's assault on Job continues in chapter five, and the others chime in with same diabolical accusation.
Do you allow your spiritual experiences to eclipse the authority of the Word of God? Do you criticize others...especially behind their back, or when they are struggling? Hurting people hurt people, and we need to be tender.. I know you/we do, because James says that nobody has tamed their tongue..NOBODY. To avoid causing the same damage as Job's friends, please think before you speak.And I would be remiss if I didn't remind us that we are in spiritual warfare just as real as Job's was.It is very easy to wonder if God is displeased with us if we are hit with wave after wave of troubles.A thousand times NO! We live in a Fallen world in which everything is bent.There is nothing we can do, as God's children, to make Him love us any more, nor is there anything we can do to make Him love us any less. Discipline is real but beyond the scope of this blog.
“Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good.
8 The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more; while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone.
9 As the cloud fades and vanishes, so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up;
10 he returns no more to his house, nor does his place know him anymore..
I had to add these verses because they explicitly state that once a man dies he will NOT come back to Earth...not come back to his home. Is that not the main contention of the paranormal community? However, the bible explicitly denies it!
In Chapters 35-37 Elihu, the youngest, does what young men often do--blow off arrogantly.