Job & Eliphaz exchange words but NOT understanding

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Job Eliphaz

Wednesday 1/24/24

Title: Job & Eliphaz exchange words but NOT understanding

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Job & Eliphaz exchange words but NOT understanding

Last week we ended by discussing a possible way to approach the advice of Job’s three friends.

  • First we know that they were in fact his friends.
  • We saw that their intentions were good in that they met up to come see Job in order to console and sympathizewith him.
  • At least Eliphaz knew Job well enough to know he was a man who had strengthened and restored others through his counsel.
  • The phrase Eliphaz used regarding Job’s counsel to others must have been in the form of correction since when it is quoted in the New Testament book of Hebrews it is in context with God’s correction of His Own children.
    • Job 4:3-5, “(3) Surely you have instructed many, And you have strengthened weak hands.  (4)  Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, And you have strengthened the feeble knees;  (5)  But now it comes upon you, and you are weary; It touches you, and you are troubled.”
    • Heb. 12:11-13, “(12) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  (12)  Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,  (13)  and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”
  • The hearts of Job’s friends were clearly moved and made heavy with Job’s burden upon seeing him and realizing that his condition was such that it had distorted his physical appearance to the point of barely being able to recognize him.
  • They mourned for and with him in silence for 7 days.
  • The silence was broken by Job cursing the day of his birth and with the beginnings of some bitter blame at God for being complicit with his sufferings.
  • Then we began with the first portions of the counsel of Eliphaz.
  • Eliphaz seemed to think Job was in no mind to listen, but approached him anyway.

Upon reading the first portion of Eliphaz’s counsel found in Job 4 we ended without analyzing his words, but decided instead to address a common misconception of the counsel of Job’s three friends before we went any further.

Job’s three friends are often seen in a bad light as though all of their counsel was completely wrong.

In addition to this, Job is seen as alway maintaining patience and integrity which he does not in that he eventually blames God in justifying himself.

We concluded that the reason for this is a misunderstanding of God’s words to Eliphaz AFTER Job repented.

In Job 42:7-8 it says, 

(7) After the LORD had spoken these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My anger is stirred up against you and your two friends, because you have not spoken about me what is right, as my servant Job has. (8) So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job will intercede for you, and I will respect him, so that I do not deal with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken about me what is right, as my servant Job has.” – Job 42:7,8

This makes it sound as if HISTORICALLY Job never accused God of wrong, when we know from God’s Own words to Job that he did!

We believe that this is what often sets the pace for many people’s feelings regarding Job’s friends and the view that Job was near to perfect through the entire event.

I reminded you of Ezekiel 18 which tells us that if a man turns around from doing or speaking wrongfully, and follows God with his whole heart – NONE of the acts of his unrighteousness will be held against him or remembered since he has turned from his unrighteousness.

Such was the case here for Job.

The point of this ending exercise last week was to level the playing field or take an eraser to the blackboard of this book and approach everything that is said, from every person in an untainted light. To allow their words to speak for themselves and be found as either right or wrong, good or evil.

So all that being said, let’s examine these words of Eliphaz, knowing we will at some point see both sound & solid counsel as well as poorly informed counsel coming from both Job and his friends as we go through the book.

Eliphaz begins with a question. It seems an odd question, but it may speak to a pride in Job which either existed only in Eliphaz’s opinion of him or in Job’s real character.

He says…

(2)  “If someone should attempt a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can refrain from speaking?”  

The word “impatient” is also translated with “weary”, “grieved” and even “exhausted” and all have some support. If taken literally, the verb means “to be weary.” But it can have the extended sense of being either exhausted or impatient as it is used in verse 5.

The interesting thing is that there is actually nothing in this statement which indicates a question. It is not natively an interrogative clause, but rather an imperfect clause. However, to make it read more fluently following the first part, it has made sense to most translators to place it as a question. 

Other renderings are “will it be too much for you?” and “Shall we address you? You are dejected.

Since this is the opinion of a friend, it seems only to affect his line of reason and questions to Job. I don’t think we need to attempt to shed any more light on Job’s state of mind beyond what his own words offered us. Clearly, in one way or another ALL of these options apply. Job is weary, exhausted, suffering from feelings of dejection, he is grieved at heart and it is safe to say that it is all too much for him. And really, can anyone honestly really blame him for at least be struggling with these thoughts and emotions?

All of this being true, I think Eliphaz was correct – Job was in no mood or state of mind to be receptive to counsel – godly or otherwise.

“(3)  Look, you have instructed many; you have strengthened feeble hands.  (4)  Your words have supported those who stumbled, and you have strengthened the knees that gave way.  (5)  But now the same thing comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are terrified.”  

Jobs has evidently helped and counseled many in his life, but Eliphaz suspects that when the shoe is on the other foot, Job may not be so receptive – feeling perhaps as if those who have been his students were now presuming to teach him.

“(6)  Is not your piety your confidence, and your blameless ways your hope?”  

The words at face value seem to me as an easing into the waters to avoid stirring up a defensive response.

Then he suggests something that is patently false…

“(7)  Call to mind now: Who, being innocent, ever perished? And where were upright people ever destroyed?  

(8)  Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble reap the same.  (9)  By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.”

The clear meaning of Eliphaz’s words is that no one who is innocent or upright has ever perished or been destroyed. 

Included in these words is the notion that the only purpose for trials is for the purposes of judgment. 

Sadly, this sentiment is one that is still taught as truth today.

If you do right all will be well, but if you do wrong you will be punished.”

The subtle difficulty of this is there are ways in which this is true. There are however, MANY ways in which this is NOT true.

If you are solely referring to God’s judgment then yes this is true. 

God does not judge the righteous with the wicked. The scriptures have gone on record more than once, testifying to the truth of this with the obvious exception of national judgment which we covered in Ezekiel 21:1-4 in the message entitled, “When God judges a nation” on March 8, 2023.

If you remember, Abram approached God about judging the righteous with the wicked when his nephew Lot’s safety was in question since he was living in Sodom and Gomorrah when God sent the angels to destroy it.

Genesis 18:25-26, “(25) Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the godly with the wicked, treating the godly and the wicked alike! Far be it from you! Will not the judge of the whole earth do what is right?”  (26)  So the LORD replied, “If I find in the city of Sodom fifty godly people, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Also David mentions this in his very first psalm.

Psalm 1:5-6, “(5) For this reason the wicked cannot withstand judgment, nor can sinners join the assembly of the godly.  (6)  Certainly the LORD guards the way of the godly, but the way of the wicked ends in destruction.”

So regarding judgment, no the righteous are not JUDGED by God as though they were wicked. 

If you are talking about reaping what you sow, which is different from judgment, then this is also partially true, but only partially. God rarely allows anyone to reap 100 fold of what they sowed, due to His mercy.

But do otherwise godly people ever suffer? Yes… absolutely!

  • Abel was killed by Cain due to anger and jealousy regarding Abel’s righteous behavior. 
  • Noah was laughed at and scorned by the pre-flood world for being a preacher of righteousness. He was also sexually assaulted by his son Ham.
  • Isaac was mistreated by Ishmael.
  • Many prophets were mistreated, imprisoned and even killed by Israel for proclaiming the truth God sent them to share.
  • Not the least of which was Jesus, Who being 100% righteous and innocent was mistreated and mischaracterized throughout His life and in the end killed for His teaching the truth.

All of these were in one measure or another instigated by the devil, influencing people and manipulating circumstances.

Ultimately this leads to the reason most often used by sinners to reject God and that is “Why do bad things happen to good people” as if any human being is truly good. 

By the way, we have a rather developed article on this subject on our website entitled, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

What we as human beings are most used to is mercy we DO NOT deserve. This is SO MUCH the standard of our daily experience that when we finally do get a little of what is coming to us, we cry “foul” as if justice has somehow been abused.

So in this line of reasoning, Eliphaz is incorrect, but it is not necessarily a misrepresentation of God Himself as much as a misunderstanding of the way things work – of the “system” as it were.

You and I however, have inside information that Job and his friends did not. We know this is NOT about judgment, but rather about testing a man’s faith -meaning his devotional resolve towards God.

Then Eliphaz continues verses 10-12

“(10)  There is the roaring of the lion and the growling of the young lion, but the teeth of the young lions are broken.  (11)  The mighty lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.  

(12)  “Now a word was secretly brought to me, and my ear caught a whisper of it.”  

Eliphaz makes use of imagery from lions and mentions several different types of which it is hard to distinguish when translating. However, I believe the point still can be understood and Adam Clark does a good job at addressing it.

He says,

The roaring of the lion – By the roaring lion, fierce lion, old lion, stout lion, and lion’s whelps, tyrannous rulers of all kinds are intended. The design of Eliphaz in using these figures is to show that even those who are possessed of the greatest authority and power – the kings, rulers, and princes of the earth – when they become wicked and oppressive to their subjects are cast down, broken to pieces, and destroyed, by the incensed justice of the Lord; and their whelps – their children and intended successors, scattered without possessions over the face of the earth.”

In Verses 13-21 Eliphaz offers what is set forth as a dream he had regarding Job’s troubles.

“(13)  In the troubling thoughts of the dreams in the night when a deep sleep falls on men,  (14)  dread gripped me and trembling, which made all my bones shake.  

(15)  Then a breath of air passes by my face; it makes the hair of my flesh stand up.  (16)  It stands still, but I cannot recognize its appearance; an image is before my eyes, and I hear a murmuring voice:  

(17)  “Is a mortal man righteous before God? Or a man pure before his Creator?  

(18)  If God puts no trust in His servants and attributes folly to His angels,  (19)  how much more to those who live in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed like a moth?  

(20)  They are destroyed between morning and evening; they perish forever without anyone regarding it.  

(21)  Is not their excess wealth taken away from them? They die, yet without attaining wisdom.”

This appears to be a gross oversimplification of a complex issue.

  • No! Man on his own is NOT righteous or pure before God – true enough.
  • Yes! God did find fault in some of His angels. 
  • But the word “trust” here is misleading. Literally it means something that provides stability, support or confidence. While God certainly does not look to any of His creations for stability or support, He does in fact show confidence in them, though it seems it is rarely warranted.

Nevertheless, Eliphaz’s argument is not without basis. 

If God can find fault in angels who live in His presence and before His face and does not rely upon them, then how much more is this true regarding fallen man who are merely flesh and blood?

Now on to chapter 5 for the rest of the first counsel offered by Eliphaz

Job 5:1-27, 

“(1) Call now! Is there anyone who will answer you? 

To which of the holy ones will you turn?  

(2)  For wrath kills the foolish person, and anger slays the silly one.

(3)  I myself have seen the fool taking root, but suddenly I cursed his place of residence.  (4)  His children are far from safety, and they are crushed at the place where judgment is rendered, nor is there anyone to deliver them.”

In saying “holy ones” it is generally held that Eliphaz was referring to saints. Any earthly man or woman who loves and reveres God.

Then he makes a statement that wrath kills the foolish and anger the silly.

If he is referring to God this has a basis in truth. God spoke of the people of Ephraim as silly and foolish in that they forsook God for Baal and had fled to Egypt and Assyria for protection. To this God sent correction in the form of destruction out of His anger. – Hosea 7:10-16.

If this is in reference to Job’s anger the counsel of God is found in Ps. 37:8 – 

“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. … Refrain from anger and abandon wrath; do not fret—it can only bring harm.”

So Eliphaz is on solid ground so far however, he has a flaw which is common to all of us. It seems as if his counsel is at least in part based upon the seeing of the eyes. Isaiah, in prophesying of Jesus the Christ said that “He will not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears”

As human beings we are rarely in possession of ALL of the facts and what we see, we may very well misinterpret.

Job. 5…

“(5)  The hungry eat up his harvest, and take it even from behind the thorns, and the thirsty pant for their wealth.  (6)  For evil does not come up from the dust, nor does trouble spring up from the ground,  (7)  but people are born to trouble, as surely as the sparks fly upward.”  

It is difficult to say with any certainty what Eliphaz means here, but in keeping with his flow of thought it seems to me that he is saying that adversity doesn’t simply come for no reason. Life is not a series of disconnected events. Where there is an effect there is a cause. Yet, can anyone avoid trouble entirely? It is the fate of everyone to labor under adversity as surely as sparks fly upward.

Then he encourages Job to seek God. I do not think Eliphaz was presenting this as something Job had not thought of, but rather as a redirecting of his thoughts off of himself and onto the only One Who could offer relief.

“(8)  “But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would set forth my case.  (9)  He does great and unsearchable things, marvelous things without number;  (10)  He gives rain on the earth, and sends water on the fields;  (11)  He sets the lowly on high, that those who mourn are raised to safety.  

(12)  He frustrates the plans of the crafty so that their hands cannot accomplish what they had planned!  (13)  He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning is brought to a quick end.  (14)  They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope about in the noontime as if it were night.”  

Paul himself quotes these words of Eliphaz as reliable in 1 Corinthians 3:19,

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “HE CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR OWN CRAFTINESS”

Job. 5…

(15)  So He saves from the sword that comes from their mouth, even the poor from the hand of the powerful.  (16)  Thus the poor have hope, and iniquity shuts its mouth.”  

This truth is echoed in Psalm 107 regarding the poor who are oppressed by the powerful among the wicked.

Psalm 107:31-43,“(31) Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!  (32)  Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders.  (33)  He turns rivers into a wilderness, And the watersprings into dry ground;  (34)  A fruitful land into barrenness, For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.  (35)  He turns a wilderness into pools of water, And dry land into watersprings.  (36)  There He makes the hungry dwell, That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,  (37)  And sow fields and plant vineyards, That they may yield a fruitful harvest.  (38)  He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly; And He does not let their cattle decrease.  (39)  When they are diminished and brought low Through oppression, affliction and sorrow,  (40)  He pours contempt on princes, And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;  (41)  Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, And makes their families like a flock.  (42)  The righteous see it and rejoice, And all iniquity stops its mouth.  (43)  Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”

Job. 5…

(17)  “Therefore, blessed is the man whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  (18)  For He wounds, but he also bandages; he strikes, but His hands also heal.  (19)  He will deliver you from six calamities; yes, in seven no evil will touch you.”

In these first words I find immediate accord with God’s word to Israel through Hosea.

“(1) Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, and He will heal us; He has wounded us, and He will bind up our wounds.  (2)  He will revive us after two days, and on the third day He will raise us up so we can live in His presence.”~ Hosea 6:1-2,

Job. 5…

“(20)  In time of famine he will redeem you from death, and in time of war from the power of the sword.  (21)  You will be protected from malicious gossip, and will not be afraid of the destruction when it comes.”

This is stated in Isaiah as well…

“(17) The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, do not forsake them.  (18)  I will open rivers on the barren heights, and springs in the middle of the plains. I will turn the desert into a pool of water and dry land into springs of water.  (19)  I will plant cedars in the desert, acacias, myrtles, and olive trees. I will put cypress trees in the desert, elms and box trees together,  (20)  so that all may see and know, consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” ~ Isa 41:17-20  

Job. 5…

“(22)  You will laugh at destruction and famine and need not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.  (23)  For you will have a pact with the stones of the field, and the wild animals will be at peace with you.  (24)  And you will know that your home will be secure, and when you inspect your domains, you will not be missing anything.  

(25)  You will also know that your children will be numerous, and your descendants like the grass of the earth.  (26)  You will come to your grave in a full age, As stacks of grain are harvested in their season.  

(27)  Look, we have investigated this, so it is true. Hear it, and apply it for your own good.”

Though not every word here of Eliphaz is correct, it find more than a little agreement in Ps. 37, 91:8  and 107.

Psalm 37:1-20, “(1) Do not fret when wicked men seem to succeed! Do not envy evildoers!  (2)  For they will quickly dry up like grass, and wither away like plants.  (3)  Trust in the LORD and do what is right! Settle in the land and maintain your integrity!  (4)  Then you will take delight in the LORD, and he will answer your prayers.  (5)  Commit your future to the LORD! Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf.  (6)  He will vindicate you in broad daylight, and publicly defend your just cause.  (7)  Wait patiently for the LORD! Wait confidently for him! Do not fret over the apparent success of a sinner, a man who carries out wicked schemes!  (8)  Do not be angry and frustrated! Do not fret! That only leads to trouble!  (9)  Wicked men will be wiped out, but those who rely on the LORD are the ones who will possess the land.  (10)  Evil men will soon disappear; you will stare at the spot where they once were, but they will be gone.  (11)  But the oppressed will possess the land and enjoy great prosperity.  (12)  Evil men plot against the godly and viciously attack them.  (13)  The Lord laughs in disgust at them, for he knows that their day is coming.  (14)  Evil men draw their swords and prepare their bows, to bring down the oppressed and needy, and to slaughter those who are godly.  (15)  Their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.  (16)  The little bit that a godly man owns is better than the wealth of many evil men,  (17)  for evil men will lose their power, but the LORD sustains the godly.  (18)  The LORD watches over the innocent day by day and they possess a permanent inheritance.  (19)  They will not be ashamed when hard times come; when famine comes they will have enough to eat.  (20)  But evil men will die; the LORD’s enemies will be incinerated – they will go up in smoke.”

Psalm 91:2-10, “(2) I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  (3)  He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague.  (4)  He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.  (5)  You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day,  (6)  the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon.  (7)  Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you.  (8)  You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked.  (9)  Because you have made the LORD–my refuge, the Most High–your dwelling place,  (10)  no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent.”

Now you might rightly say that these things did not come upon Job due to sin and therefore there was no need to return to the Lord since he never forsook Him. You are right – yet, what do we see David doing when he was pursued by Saul for no reason? He sought refuge in the Lord, drew all the closer to Him and did not blame God for placing him in Saul’s crosshairs. He did not take matters into his own hands but fully trusted the Lord to deliver him and to right all wrongs. It is in THAT light that I see these verses directly applying.

Job digs his heels in and justifies his complaint.

Job 6:1-30, “(1) Then Job responded:  (2)  “Oh, if only my grief could be weighed, and my misfortune laid on the scales too!  (3)  But because it is heavier than the sand of the sea, that is why my words have been wild.  (4)  For the arrows of the Almighty are within me; my spirit drinks their poison; God’s sudden terrors are arrayed against me.”

This is NOT accurate of course. When satan approached God, both times he tried to tempt God to personally act against His servant Job, but He would not. He only allowed satan to test Job’s resolve and fidelity to God. In keeping with his statement to his wife however, Job sees this evil as coming from God without a cause. Notice in Job’s view it is God’s poison arrows which have pierced him through.

(5)  “Does the wild donkey bray when it is near grass? Or does the ox bellow over its fodder?  (6)  Can food that is tasteless be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?  

(7)  I have refused to touch such things; they are like loathsome food to me.” 

On the one hand I can see this as a comparative statement. If what was presented to me was good, would I complain? But since what I have been feasting on is adversity, is it wrong for me to bray and bellow?

On the other hand, he ends his statement as if the complaint was against real food. I have refused to touch such things; they are like loathsome food to me.

No one I’ve read from suggests this but I believe he is saying that he refuses to be complicit with these events. As if to say, “I will not go gentle into that good night.” – to borrow from Dylan Thomas.

The word ‘I’ is nephesh meaning the soul or the whole person. “Touch” means to come into contact with another person. The words “such things” is added with the intention of cleaning up the meaning but I think it muddy’s it instead. I think he is saying that with his whole being he refuses and will not agree with this judgment God has enacted against him.

“(8)  “Oh that my request would be realized, and that God would grant me what I long for!  (9)  And that God would be willing to crush me, that He would let loose His hand and kill me.  

(10)  Then I would yet have my comfort, then I would rejoice, in spite of pitiless pain, for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.”

The word concealed here can also mean cut off or destroy.  The words “the Holy One” is actually only ONE word and is the same word translated as “holy ones” earlier. It is often used in reference to God, angels and saints alike.

This being true there are many directions one could go in interpreting what Job may be saying here, but I hold to the fact that what he IS saying MUST BE in agreement with what he HAS said and in keeping with the flow of all he is saying. 

So it seems that Job may be saying that he has not corrupted or denied what is commonly known and accepted regarding God, His ways and will – therefore he can die in peace. Or that he is powerless to cut off or destroy God’s accusations against him so he simply wishes he could die and get this over with.

I am inclined to believe the later, especially when taken together with the next things he says.

“(11)  What is my strength, that I should wait? and what is my end, that I should prolong my life?  

(12)  Is my strength like that of stones? or is my flesh made of bronze?  (13)  Is not my power to help myself nothing, and has not every resource been driven from me?  

His admittal that he is incapable of helping himself or enduring this for much longer leaves him with little to do but long for death.

Then he says something entirely untrue.

“(14)  “To the one in despair, kindness should come from his friend even if he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”

The scriptures are not silent about this. It is wrong to affirm someone in their rebellion against God. Yet, Job says that his friends should be comforting him even if he had gone so far as to forsake all respect for God.

Now Job breaks into simile and metaphor to describe how he should have been able to look to his friends for comfort, but they have become like a dried up stream offering no relief.

“(15)  My brothers have been as treacherous as a seasonal stream, and as the riverbeds of the intermittent streams that flow away.  (16)  They are dark because of ice; snow is piled up over them.  

(17)  When they are scorched, they dry up, when it is hot, they vanish from their place.  

(18)  Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go into the wasteland and perish.  (19)  The caravans of Tema looked intently for these streams; the traveling merchants of Sheba hoped for them.  

(20)  They were distressed, because each one had been so confident; they arrived there, but were disappointed.  

(21)  For now you have become like these streams that are no help; you see a terror, and are afraid.  

(22)  “Have I ever said, ‘Give me something, and from your fortune make gifts in my favor’?  (23)  Or ‘Deliver me from the enemy’s power, and from the hand of tyrants ransom me’?  

(24)  “Teach me and I, for my part, will be silent; explain to me how I have been mistaken.  

(25)  How painful are honest words! But what does your reproof prove?  

(26)  Do you intend to criticize mere words, and treat the words of a despairing man as wind?  

(27)  Yes, you would gamble for the fatherless, and auction off your friend.”  

(28)  “Now then, be good enough to look at me; and I will not lie to your face!  (29)  Relent, let there be no falsehood; reconsider, for my righteousness is intact!  

(30)  Is there any falsehood on my lips? Can my mouth not discern evil things?”

So Job maintains that he is righteous, though God never attributes this to Job even from the beginning on through the end of this trial.

The danger Job is facing here is one we should all find familiar. He is turning the events over and over in his mind, meditating on them from his subjective point of view.

This is an ongoing issue for mankind. Instead of going TO God, we say we want to, we might even claim that we do go to Him, but in all honesty we have already made up our minds so that even if He spoke we would have no ears to hear His words. Bias blinds the eyes of the seeker.

James teaches us the difference…

James 3:13-18, “(13) Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings.  (14)  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth.  (15)  Such wisdom does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic.  (16)  For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice.  (17)  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.  (18)  And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.”

So this is one of the first overarching lessons to take away from our studies in this book. We HAVE to divorce ourselves from selfishness and self seeking, from bias and from viewing things from a mere human perspective and look to God.

If Adam and Eve had taken the questions and concerns of their heart to God in the cool of the day – those concerns planted there by the suggestions of the serpent in the garden – they would have received an answer which would have reconciled them rather than driven them to rebellion through seeking to save themselves.

The same is witnessed countless times in scripture and this situation with Job is no different. He speaks of wishing for an audience with God, but until he is brought to a place of humility as we see later in the book, he doesn’t get the audience he has so longed for. Again James comes to our aid for understanding by saying that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Now, next week we will examine the next argument from Job found in chapter 7.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!