Job 4-5: Does Job need to repent?
JOB ARTWORK USED BY PERMISSION COURTESY OF KINGSTONE COMICS (https://kingstone.co/)
ELIPHAZ IS THE FIRST TO CONSOLE JOB
No, this is definitely not like the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," but Job says the same thing George Bailey says: "I wish I'd never been born." No, Eliphaz doesn’t say, as Clarence the Angel in "It's a Wonderful Life," says, “OK, you’ve never been born,” but quite the opposite. Here is what Elipaz says that we get in poetic form in chapters 4-5.
Job, you are a good guy (4:1-6)
But you’ve gone astray somehow, as all folks do just as surely as sparks from a fire fly upward (5:7)
So repent, brother (5:8-16)
God will discipline you in some way, you know (5:17), but God heals the one he wounds (5:18)
God has a reason for all this, and you’ll see, you will have a big happy family again and you will die at a ripe old age (5:19-27)
Eliphaz, the first to speak, probably felt good about his effort to comfort Job. He gave him a great feedback sandwich. You’re a good guy, but you obviously sinned somewhere so accept this truth. The death’s, your sores, they are God’s way of zapping you for something you did. This too shall pass, Job. Things are going to get better, you’ll see.
We’re going to see in chapter 6 that Job doesn’t take to well to Eliphaz’s line of reasoning. He doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. He seems to be saying in the words of the 80s band Pet Shop Boys song, “What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?”
Have you ever comforted a friend by assuming something that you really did not know about? What kind of advice can we truly give when we don’t know the truth about their actions or what God really thinks about it? Have you ever felt judged by someone who doesn’t really understand what you are going through, what you have done or not done? Think about situations where you have been on either side of this, and pray about what your next step is. Do you have an apology to make? Do you have some thinking to do about how to forgive someone for judging you?
I’ve felt judged less than worthy by people for the job that I’m doing as a minister. I’ve felt compared to other ministers, critiqued without all the information, and unappreciated for the impact that I’ve made. I’ve felt that people have thought me to be a sinner when I didn’t feel like a sinner, just because of bad things that have happened in our church, such as members leaving or getting offended. This isn’t new but something that has happened many times over twenty years. I’m looking for a new path, and I want to know what Job’s response is in chapter 6.
Will his indignant response help me? Is that the way I respond when people accuse me of wrongdoing when I feel innocent of those things? Do I have sin to contemplate? Lord, help me and help others around me to truly listen to one another, be in the moment with one another, and not assume things about others. If I’ve assumed and judged and critiqued and made anyone feel unworthy, unappreciated, then I’m sorry and I want to know and be forgiven for those things. God bless us and protect us.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.