When you see someone suffering do you think that maybe they deserve it? Do you think that their own sin or mistakes have brought them to this point? Or think that if their faith was stronger, bad things would not happen? This book disproves these theories because God had declared Job blameless, Job 1:8, Job 2:3.
When we look at the first chapters of the book of Job, we see there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than either Job or his friends are aware of, Job 1 and 2. Consequently Job’s friends don’t understand why Job is suffering. Yet, without knowing all the facts, Job’s friends try to counsel him.
The first one to venture his comments is Eliphaz. His world view is very much one of cause and effect, Job 4:7-8. It doesn’t allow for the fact that bad things happen to good people. Eliphaz misses the whole concept of God’s grace. Because his starting point and theological view is skewed, his advice to Job is biased toward a cause and effect world view and his words are no help to Job.
People that echo the Eliphaz view today are those who promote the prosperity gospel.
Like some today Eliphaz claims to have a special word of knowledge from God, Job 4:12-21. And yet at the end God is displeased with Eliphaz as he is with Job’s other so called friends, Job 42:7.
Eliphaz’s view of God is that He is a distant, Job 22:12-14 and not a relational God. This is not what Scripture teaches us, either in the Old Testament or the New Testament. If God did not want a relationship with humankind, he would never have sent His Son to bring us back to himself, Romans 5:6-10, and Ephesians 2:4-8.
Eliphaz didn’t start from the point of view of compassion for Job’s suffering but from his own skewed and opiniated world view. There is a lesson in that for us when we are dealing with people who are suffering. What we believe about God affects the way we view situations and especially the question of suffering.
Tomorrow we’ll look at what was wrong with Bildad’s and Zophar’s view before we come to make a list of tips to help us in counseling and giving advice.
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