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Scripture reading – Job 6
Rather than pity and comfort, Eliphaz the Temanite (2:11) added to Job’s sorrows (Job 4-5; Job 6:1-13). Eliphaz had come to Job under the guise of friendship, but offered subtle insinuations of some wrong doing on his friend’s part. He had failed Job, for he was guilty of blending man’s reasonings with godly wisdom.
Job answered Eliphaz’s insinuations that his troubles reflected God’s judgment and displeasure. He acknowledged his sorrows had come upon him like the “arrows of the Almighty” (6:4a), and he was wounded to the depths of his soul. (Remember, Job did not know God’s purpose for his troubles; had he known, he would have cause for shame.) In his afflictions, Job complained it seemed the “terrors of God” were aligned against him (6:4).
Job Asserted: His Complaints Were Not Without Cause (6:5-6)
Failing to empathize with Job’s sorrows, Eliphaz’s counsel was both insensitive and harsh. Nature offered ample illustrations of how beasts do not complain when they are fed (6:5). The donkey does not bray when it grazes in a field of grass, and the ox is satisfied with its fodder (6:5). Yet, Job complained, Eliphaz’s counsel was as unsavory as unseasoned food, and as tasteless as the “white of an egg” (6:6),
Job Articulated: Death is preferable to suffering unspeakable sorrows. (6:8-13)
Once again, Job’s thoughts turned to despair (6:8-9), and he reasoned the grave would bring release from his sorrows (6:10). Overwhelmed by disappointments, Job confessed his weakness, and sensed he had nothing for which to live (remember, he lost family, and riches in one fell swoop). Afflictions and sorrows had overwhelmed him, and he reasoned he did not have the strength of stone or brass (6:12). Indeed, Job was reduced to hopelessness (6:13).
Job Argued: His friends had failed him. (6:14-21)
Instead of the pity and compassion he should have been shown (6:14), Eliphaz afflicted Job with counsel he likened to the mirage of an oasis in a desert (6:15-17). His words had left Job’s soul thirsty and yearning for relief (6:15-17). Like a caravan seeking water in the desert, the arrival of Job’s friends had raised his longing for compassion; yet, they brought neither understanding nor comfort (6:18-21).
Job Admonished: Who invited you? (6:22-27)
Job questioned his friends, “Did I say, Bring unto me?” (6:22) (Stating the same in a different mode, Job asked: Why did you come? Did I invite you? Have I requested any of your possessions to replace the loss of my own? (6:22-23)
Job challenged Eliphaz, “Teach me [truth], and I will hold my tongue,” tell me “wherein I have erred” (6:24). In essence, Job confessed, he would gladly accept “right words” [truth], but was wearied by Eliphaz’s hollow arguments and unfounded reproofs (6:25). He asserted, Eliphaz’s counsel was flawed, for he lacked both wisdom and empathy (6:26). Instead of pity and compassion, he had added further grievance to a man who was childless (6:27a). In effect, Eliphaz dug a pit with his counsel, and hoped to entrap Job as a hunter would dig a pit to entrap his prey (6:27b).
Closing thoughts (6:28-30)
Job challenged Eliphaz, tell me the truth, and I will listen (6:24a). Tell me where I am wrong, and I will repent (6:24b). Resolute in his desire for truth, Job invited Eliphaz to speak the truth. He invited him to look at his countenance, examine his life, and determine if he spoke the truth (6:28). Job declared his integrity, and asked, “Is there iniquity in my tongue?” (6:29).
I admire Job’s resolute desire for the truth (6:24). Do you have that desire? A desire for those who love you to speak honestly, and lovingly the Truth? (Ephesians 4:15)
“Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour” (Ephesians 4:25).
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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