Morning Light – March 21st, 2016

MLJob Chapter Fifteen: How Did Satan Get at Job? In this chapter Eliphaz speaks up once again as the chief spokesman of the 3 comforters. He accuses Job of impiety and surmises that only wrong doers and hypocrites suffer as Job does. Eliphaz then plainly thinks that God is punishing Job. Job agrees that it is God tormenting him but insists that he is righteous. Why is Job suffering? This chapter will reiterate the answer as is emphasized throughout the book of Job for those willing to see it.
Today: [Job Fifteen]
[Job 15:1-35 KJV] 1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, 2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? 3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good? 4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God. 5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. 6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. 7 [Art] thou the first man [that] was born? or wast thou made before the hills? 8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself? 9 What knowest thou, that we know not? [what] understandest thou, which [is] not in us? 10 With us [are] both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father. 11 [Are] the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?
In this chapter Eliphaz replies to Job’s lament with more vehement criticism. He sums up as empty speech Job’s eloquent remarks of complaint against God. He is not impressed with Job’s reasoning or oratory. In the beginning Eliphaz was tender and respectful. Now he outright charges Job with impiety and absolute foolish talking.
It is interesting that in the scope of the book and it’s reputation that Job’s comforters are looked upon so negatively. It is a fact that Job does make many impious statements from the depth of his pain and suffering. If his friends point it out why would that be a problem. Let’s consider a few things about Job and his “comforters”.
1. For all their disagreement among themselves one thing they all agree upon is that God Himself is afflicting Job. Job 1:12 repudiates this when God points out to Satan that all Job had was in his hand because (as is later revealed) Job struggled with fear of the very things that destroyed his life (Job 3:25).
2. Up to this point there is no indication that Job or his three friends even believe in a personal devil, yet we are introduced to him in the very beginning of the book – penned by an unknown author, perhaps Elihu, Solomon or Job himself years later. Paul wrote that we should be aware of the strategy of the enemy to avoid being taken advantage of in spiritual battle:

[2Co 2:11 KJV] 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
3. Job’s comforters are viciously critical. They use every artifice and their considerable command of language to assault, beat down, vilify and accuse Job. They claim they are doing so in hopes that Job will repent but does that hold up as an acceptable strategy from a biblical standpoint. Paul made this statement in Romans:

[Rom 2:4 KJV] 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

When you are tempted to excoriate another person or correct them in some way take heed that you do not become a Job’s comforter. If your goal is to see someone repent then you must give them God’s goodness. If you project something other than the goodness and mercy of God to a person you consider an offender then your purpose is not repentance but something else that will not bear fruit in that life or in your own.
12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, 13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest [such] words go out of thy mouth? 14 What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy [is] man, which drinketh iniquity like water? 17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that [which] I have seen I will declare; 18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid [it]: 19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them. 20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all [his] days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor. 21 A dreadful sound [is] in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him. 22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.
Eliphaz rebukes Job openly because Job thinks he is unjustly suffering. Job thinks he is righteous and judging from God’s assessment of him one could argue he wasn’t far from the truth:

[Job 1:8 KJV] 8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job was what God declared him to be but that wasn’t all he was. He was a man ruled by unreasoning fear. Psa. 19:9 says that the fear of the Lord is clean. Every other fear is unclean. Job’s fear made him vulnerable. Job’s fear gave the enemy access to his life although he was an otherwise upright person. The one great lesson from this perspective where Job is concerned is to deal with worry and fear in our lives. Jesus Himself compared fear with gluttony and alcoholism:
[Luk 21:34 KJV] 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares.
Fear and worry causes you to be blinded to Satan’s devices. This makes sense because Job and his friends seem totally oblivious to Satan as the author of what Job is suffering. They wholly attribute the suffering of Job to God Himself as do the overwhelming preponderance of scholars and most Christians today – in spite of the plain indication of scripture otherwise.
Job feels that his moral excellence and spiritual qualities should have shielded him from suffering. He believes that God is tormenting him for sport. He doesn’t realize that his good and perfect character is no shield from calamity. Isaiah tells us:
[Isa 64:6 KJV] 6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Our own righteousness does not leverage God into a position of acting against his own principles. Heb. 11:3 tells us that we live in a world framed by faith. Fear is the opposite of faith but has just as much creative power to shape the lives of those who give into it – even Christians. In the story of Job the path of progress is not convincing God to solve the problem but convincing Job to stop blaming God for it.
23 He wandereth abroad for bread, [saying], Where [is it]? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand. 24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle. 25 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty. 26 He runneth upon him, [even] on [his] neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers: 27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on [his] flanks. 28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, [and] in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps. 29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth. 30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away. 31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence. 32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green. 33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive. 34 For the congregation of hypocrites [shall be] desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery. 35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.
Eliphaz insists that Job is a hypocrite and that it is Job’s hypocrisy that has reduced him to his sorry state. Is Job a hypocrite? No. Job is an upright man but a man nonetheless born into a fallen condition and by his own admission he knows he has no advocate to stand between him and the dictates of a righteous God. Eliphaz has a belief that men only suffer because they are wicked in some way. If you believe God’s testimony of Job then you cannot make that conclusion. It is true that Prov. 13:15 tells us that the way of a transgressor is hard but that is not the only true. Contemporary theologian depart from good doctrine here by saying that good people suffer because God is working some esoteric good by afflicting the righteous for his glory. That is plainly not the message of Job. The message of Job is that the suffering originates with Satan in whose hand Job placed himself by giving in to unreasoning fear.

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