Job 4 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job%204&version=ESV
It can be hard to know what to say can’t it? When a loved one is going through some terrible difficulty and you sit with them in their pain, what do you say? Sometimes we feel impelled to say something just to break the silence even if it isn’t particularly helpful. I don’t know if that’s the reason that Eliphaz spoke up in chapter 4 (and continues in chapter 5), but what he said really wasn’t all that helpful because it wasn’t true.
His basic claim is that Job must have done something to deserve what was happening to him. Now in a general sense, what Eliphaz says is true. Verse 17, “Can mortal man be in the right before[b] God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” All humans are sinners, that’s true. Yet, that is not why Job was going through these sorrows. We know that for a number of reasons.
1. From a logical standpoint, shouldn’t Eliphaz then also be facing punishment?
2. Because we have already seen why Job was going through this and it wasn’t punishment for some sin. In fact it was because of Job’s faith and uprightness! It was no punishment.
3. The gospel is entirely opposed to this idea. The gospel is the good news that the blood of Christ was shed for every sin of every human being that ever lived. It means that Christ tasted death in our place (Hebrews 2) and bore our sins. Only those who reject this sacrifice will be judged for their sins and that on the last day (Acts 17:31). So even though we might face the pain and consequences of sin in this life and even though God might send a specific thing upon us as discipline to turn us back to him, he is not and will not ever punish us for our sins in this life.
We’ll continue looking at Eliphaz’s advice tomorrow in chapter 5.