Today: [Job Five] Did Job Suffer Because He was Guilty? In this chapter Elipaz presses home his accusation that Job is in secret sin. He insists that people don’t suffer as Job suffers unless there is some craftiness or iniquity in them. Elipaz is descended from Esau and in his blood line are many vehement enemies of the Semitic people. When people harshly accuse and vilify you (in the guise of speaking gospel truth) they are in reality exposing what is in their own hearts.
[Job 5:1-27 KJV] 1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? 2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. 3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. 4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither [is there] any to deliver [them]. 5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance. 6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; 7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
In this chapter Job’s friend Elipaz continues his attack on Job. He begins in chapter 4 with gentle rebuke, even asking ahead of time for permission to speak lest his words be too much for his suffering friend. As he began his treatise he ignores the other 2 of Job’s friend sitting nearby because he considers himself the presumptive authority in the situation. Elipaz is an Edomite, a son or grandson of Jacob’s elder brother Esau. Jewish sources claim that when Jacob fled from Esau that Esau sent Elipaz to kill Jacob. The story goes that Elipaz had Jacob begging for his life and relents when Jacob pays him a bribe. Elipaz is also the father of Amalek the nation that God commanded Saul to destroy utterly. Saul refuses to obey and consequently is killed on the battlefield by an Amalekite. Haman who sought to commit genocide against the Jews in Esther was a descendant of Amalek.
The generational animosity of Elipaz against the Jews is seen here as Job is a Semite and Elipaz sees him as a whining hypocrite paying for his hidden sins. Elipaz torments Job in verse one telling him to call out for help but answers that neither God nor any saint will help him. The reason given in verse two is that he considered Job a foolish and in fact a silly man who envied the prosperity of others. In making the accusation of envy against Job Elipaz reveals what is in his own heart – inherited from Esau, a bitter envy against Job and all of the descendants of Shem.
In verse 3 when Elipaz speaks of seeing the foolish take root he is speaking of Job’s former prosperity. He says that when he sees the foolish taking root he “cursed them suddenly” thus Elipaz is claiming that Job is suffering because of the words of Elipaz’ own curse. Thus Elipaz is claiming great spiritual authority in the situation. We see this kind of conduct today when “apostasy watch” web sites see a minister they disagree with suffer or die prematurely. They pounce on the news with glee and claim this is God’s judgment against the minister they consider heretical. This is interesting because they rejected the minister because he believed in miracles and healing which they say passed away with the apostles. Yet in saying they don’t believe in miracles they certainly believe in God miraculously cutting down the ministers who do!
In verse seven Elipaz coins a proverb about man being born to trouble – suggesting that Job is just going through what everyone else faces from time to time. Therefore Job Elipaz has nothing to complain about because he is wicked in his heart, has been cursed by Elipaz himself and is only enduring his just punishment.
8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: 9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: 10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: 11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. 12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform [their] enterprise. 13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. 14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night. 15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. 16 So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.
In verse 8 Elipaz advised Job to seek God in his troubles. In verse 12 he tells Job that God disappoints the crafty and destroys their enterprise. In other words again Elipaz with thinly veiled accusation is telling Job that he suffers because he is wicked and that God not the devil is doing it to him. He further impugns Job’s own reputation for wisdom saying that God has destroyed the counsel out of Job’s own mouth. In verse 15-16 Elipaz contrasts Job’s losses with the promise that God will deliver the poor, suggesting that Job’s devastation is a form of retribution against him for being wealthy and that his losses are in fact God answering the prayers of poor people who resented Job’s status in life.
17 Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. 21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. 22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. 24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle [shall be] in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. 25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed [shall be] great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. 26 Thou shalt come to [thy] grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. 27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it [is]; hear it, and know thou [it] for thy good.
In verse 17 Elipaz presses his attack on Job telling him rather than mourning that he should be happy. He tells Job his troubles are chastisement from God and therefore he should be thankful for his suffering rather than complain. In verse 18 he contends that God is responsible for both wounding and healing and if he will accept this that all the troubles will ultimately be lifted if only Job will humble himself and accept the wisdom of Elipaz. He further exhorts Job that accepting his argument and points of debate are the key to bringing Job out of the sin that Elipaz is sure has brought upon Job all his suffering.
Have you ever met an Elipaz? Do you have a friend like Elipaz? Have you ever suffered and been reproached by someone you thought should stand by and comfort you but they rather attack and rake you? The deepest wounds often come from those closest to us. When suffering comes there is an insatiable need in the heart of man to know why. Somehow we think that if we knew why something was happening that it would make it bearable or perhaps show a way out of the dilemma. This is the contention of Elipaz – he is going to tell Job in no uncertain terms why he is going through this difficulty. When he opens his mouth he doesn’t really have any true answers but he does reveal his deep animosity and judgmental spirit toward his supposed from Job. He also reveals his entrenched self love and delight at the sound of his own voice. He speaks philosophy, invents parable, waxes eloquent above all the others present who sit there mute, dumbfounded at the dizzying oratory of this man speaking from the wisdom of Edom.
If Job had accepted what Elipaz had to say he would have never come out of his trial in the way he did. Be cautious about listening to your critics. When someone is suffering is not the time to rake them over the coals and reproach all their supposed sins. Paul may well have had Elipaz in his mind when he penned these words:
[Rom 12:15-16 KJV] 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 [Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
It is human nature to kick a man when he is down. Make sure that you are not one of these people. In speaking words of correction to hurting people you may merely be exposing your own arrogance and resentment toward others.
Furthermore realize that understanding why Job is suffering does not actually help him. Knowing why this trial is taking place does not make it better nor shorten it’s time in Job’s life.
When we demand answers we reveal that our minds are seeking to usurp the Lordship of Jesus in our lives. Surely there is understanding and knowledge in God but Isa. 55:12 says that you will go out (from the trial) with joy and be led forth with peace. God does not lead with intellect or rationale. Common sense very seldom serves to help us walk in the Spirit. God’s counsel is often beyond out comprehension because His thoughts are not our thoughts. If you require answers and give in to the obstinate demand for explanations you pitch yourself headlong into a stuck place from which you will not emerge until you simply humble yourself and ask God for mercy.
When you are confronted by an Elipaz who arrogantly wants to show you what a small and sinful person you are – don’t answer them again. You can’t win and argument with a devil. Elipaz’ words are accusations proceeding from the mouth of the accuser. The devil or spiritual principalities do not float in the air above your city – they live in men and woman in whom they find a ready dwelling place. Satan will always come to you in the words of men and women who are yielded to be Satan’s voice of accusation. When you hear accusation against you or others you have found where Satan’s seat is. Learn not to engage with these people or sources of information. Instead trust in the Lord. Get quiet and listen for the still small voice. Refuse to justify or make excuses for yourself. In due time God will speak up and act in your behalf.
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