One of the implications of Job is how to deal with suffering people. If you tell people Rom 8:28 when they suffer, 1) what do you mean by that and 2) how can you know that? You can’t know if God is going to work out that specific circumstance. You can’t say that to a terminal cancer patient as some sort of guarantee of their health. Rom 8:28 is about the eschatological end, the final end. But things in this life aren’t going to be ok. We will suffer. So when you rip off Rom 8:28, you are being like Eliphaz and misusing the Word of God.
Job and his friends just can’t figure out why. They are confined to their own small worldview.
Job answered. (Everything is a response). Some scholars say Job and his friends are talking around each other, but even though their arguments don’t meet all the time, Job is in fact responding to Eliphaz. His responses are combative to Eliphaz. There is clash in his counter-argument, and clash is what is required for debate. So you need to look for how what Job is here saying clashes with Eliphaz to see that debate.
“Grief” is the word “suffering”. Job wishes you could weigh his grief, because it is heavier than the sand on the seashore (Job 6:3). He is countering Eliphaz. It’s not ok. It’s not working out like Rom 8:28.
“My words…rash” in Job 3 he wasn’t trying to state everything in perfect logic; he was suffering; he was emotional. Job says Eliphaz misunderstood him. Job wasn’t even asking Why.1
His pain is of divine intensity. God has planned out a full-scale attack to be totally effective to make Job suffer to the most. His friends need to understand that. He doesn’t need the philosophy right now; he just needs some sympathy and help. Ironically, the friends originally came to comfort him. But they are scared, because what happened to him could happen to them, so they need to use Job to understand the Why question so they can prevent it happening to them.
For everything there is a reason. Job is saying that his words are the effects of the cause of his pain. Eliphaz can’t figure out the fundamental cause and effect of Job’s pain and his words. Job is discrediting Eliphaz’s words.
This is the first “wish statement” that Job has. He wishes for death. Job doesn’t say that God is wrong for doing this, but he does want the pain to end. Technically, Job is not suicidal because he wishes God would do it. Job knows he isn’t sovereign over death, and so he wishes God, who is sovereign, would end his life.
“I have not denied…” Job hasn’t reneged on his beliefs in God. He just wishes he could be relieved.2 He still has his integrity—a clash because Eliphaz says he doesn’t.
Implications to modern Christians regarding suffering
Paul says anyone who walks in a godly manner will suffer. That can manifest itself in many ways. In early church history people had a martyr complex—they sought martyrdom—because they viewed it as something holy. We too can uphold suffering in modern America because we don’t suffer, but as life unfolds, it will come. So if your life is filled with no suffering, sure there might be a problem. But if you stop and look at life in general, we will be called on to suffer more and more as our culture degenerates.
Job’s weakness. He isn’t like a rock. He has no resourcefulness. He doesn’t have the inner wisdom or the external resources to get out of this situation.
Job rants against his friends. Job says, If someone is withholding lovingkindness (loyalty and love) they have forsaken the fear of God, and since the fear of God is tied to wisdom, Job is saying his friends (Eliphaz) are useless. They should come alongside him and heal his pain. His pain is the issue. But they didn’t.
“They are like a wadi…” A wadi is a riverbed that remains dry unless it rains, and when it does it floods—then you die, if you’re in there.
He says his friends are like this wadi which helps nothing. In Job 6:21 he calls out their fear; he nails it right on the head.
The most powerful of Job’s argument thus far. Job says that Eliphaz’s attacking his words is like attacking the wind, since his words were just emotional. If Eliphaz could point out what Job has done wrong, then Job would repent of it. But Eliphaz didn’t, so he can’t.
“Is there any evil on my tongue?” Job is calling them to prove him wrong.3
- This is why, when you comfort people, you listen to them. You listen. Don’t just start spouting out Rom 8:28-esque statements. ↩
- At the end of the book, Job dies. So he gets his wish. ↩
- We must be careful of accusations without proofs. Eliphaz failed because his argument wasn’t inline with reality. ↩