Tuesday, December 26, 2023


No 35  God Brings the Mighty Lion Down
Eliphaz Continues (Job 4: 7-12)
If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? This was the first remark by Eliphaz in Job 4:1. It consisted of 11 words. A paraphrase might be, "If  someone dares to speak a word with you, will you get upset?" Seems so tenderso caring. Yet his very next words belie that tender carebut who can withhold himself from speaking? “Who cares if you get upset―I don’t care if you do or don’t. How you feel doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to give you a piece of my mind.” Then Eliphaz proceeds to unload. His first blast (4:3-6) calls Job and his so-called religion a sham! You go around telling everybody else how to handle their problems, but when trouble comes your way, you can’t handle it. “You can dish it out, but you can’t take it,” someone might say.
Where does Eliphaz go next? Verses 7-9 (Chapter 4) sets the stage for every argument Eliphaz will make hither on: 7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? 8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. 9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. 

Says Eliphaz, “Job, if you were innocent, none of this stuff would have happened to you, because God never punishes the innocent. The innocent will never perishthey will never be cut off. It’s as simple as that. You sin. You pay for it. Obviously, Job, you are experiencing the blast of God. God is knocking you off your feet. Be careful, Job, because the next act from God will be to burn you up with fire from His nostrils.”

“Fire from His nostrils” sounds like dragon-talk to me. From childhood on, we are exposed to the mythological fire-breathing dragon. If we were reading fairy tales, we would expect such talk. But Eliphas, who is supposedly on a mission of mercy, on behalf of God, and in the name of God, describes God as a fire-breathing God who burns up sinners. This is hardly the picture of God I would want to hear about if I were on my death bed. With those words, my heart would shudder at every next word that would come out of Eliphaz’s mouth.  

First Trait of the Last Days
Clearly, clearly, clearly, we see that the Book of Job is a book for the people of the last days. In our day people have such misshapen views of God as did Eliphaz. They do not see God as a loving and kind Being interested enough in our welfare to give up His Son (Who was asking permission of Him to be allowed to come to earth and die on behalf of the sins of mankind). The Father will finally give that permission through the tears from His own eyes and the breaking of His own heart. Rather, people today are more inclined to think of a God who breathes fire from His nostrils.
Our whole spiritual life is molded by our conceptions of God. If we cherish erroneous views of His character, our souls will suffer injury. To think of God as a Judge, and forget Him as our loving Father will cause great harm. In fact, nothing can do our souls greater harm than this. We must be very careful of our thoughts and views and attitudes toward God.
It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth. (Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, page 415). 
Eliphaz Needs a Change of View
I, Will Hardin, want to be a part of the illumination that seeks to make known the true character of God. And the first thing I will say, Eliphaz, is that God is not like a fire-breathing dragon by Whose breath of his nostrils are they consumed (Job 4:9).
Eliphaz sets his purpose straight―"You don’t need comfort, Job. You need correction. And I’m going to stay right here and provide that correction for you whether you want it or not.” Furthermore, Eliphaz will add―”Job, you have messed up views of God’s character, and I’m going to set you straight. I am out to defend God. I am going to defend God’s honor, integrity and character.”
And it is Eliphaz who has the messed up views of God, and he is out to change the world. Again, how true of the last days. It is the people with messed up views of God who are out to kill the very ones who do have the correct views. Sounds like Revelation-stuff to me.
Eliphaz Believes Himself to be Capable
Eliphaz is ready to provide the instruction he believes Job needs. Eliphaz taunts Job (whom he claims has pronounced himself a teacher). Eliphaz is saying to Job, "You are not a teacher, you are a pupil yourself. I am here to teach you...
            It is now you who needs to be strengthened.
            It is now you who needs to be held up.
            It is now you who needs the rudimentsthe fundamentals.
            It is now you who needs milk and not meat.
The Apostle Paul had to deal with such attitudes in the Church at Corinth: I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able (1 Cor 3:2). Paul had to deal with these issues in his letter to the Hebrews: 11 Ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For everyone that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb 5:11-14).
And Eliphaz believes himself to be that good and just teacher. He is of full age (probably the eldest of the three friends who came to visit Job). And Eliphaz believes himself to have had his senses sharpened enough to discern both good and evil.
To Eliphaz and the thinking of his day—trouble is trouble—the amount of it doesn’t matter. It is all a sign of God’s displeasure. But since Job’s trouble is great, his sin must be great. Eliphaz says, "If affliction is abnormal and extraordinary, then the sins must be of the most horrible and heinous kind. If affliction falls on a 'good' man, then that man’s 'goodness' cannot be 'real goodness.' Therefore, Job, you can’t be a good man."
Second Trait of the Last Days
The ones who are wrong call the ones who are right―”wrong.” The ones who are not good call the ones who are good―”bad.”  Such set themselves against God. God Himself had pronounced Job to be a good mana right man. Said God, There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil (Job 1:1). That’s how the Book of Job begins. But Eliphaz has a different view of Job. Eliphaz has no doubt in his mind that Job suffers because he has sinned greatly.
The Taunting Continues
■ Where is your fear and reverence now, Job?
■ Where is your confidence and hope now?
■ Where is your faith and religion now?
■ What good is your religion doing you now?
■ What good is your faith if it can’t save you?
■ What good is your integrity if it does nothing for you?
■ Isn’t
         your faith
         your fear
         your confidence
         your hope
         your uprightness
         your integrity
         your perfection
   supposed to bear you through these times?
■ Isn’t your faith sufficient in the hour of trial?
■ Isn’t this what religion is all about?
■ Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence?
■ Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope? 
Third Trait of the Last Days
Eliphaz throws another dart into Job’s heart. Eliphaz plays upon Job’s reputation for reverence, integrity and piety. Where are they now? Where is all your good stuff now, Job? Sarcasm hurts most when it comes under the guise of a compliment from a friend. 
In the last days, when the people of God are distressed over the state of their affairsbeing imprisoned, tormented, hunted, threatened, and persecutedsupposed friends will say the same things to them. If you were right with God all of this stuff wouldn’t be happening to you.
Therefore, to commend the people of God for their reverence, integrity and piety (all the while believing they are a lie) is the dirtiest of dirty tricks played by the enemies of God. Surely, Eliphaz is playing with manipulation. All is calculated to put Job down. 
Eliphaz Changes His Tactics
From God as a fire-breathing deity, Eliphaz abruptly changes his imagery to lions. [Or does he change his line of manipulation so abruptly?] Let’s see if his subtle manipulations do not continue: 
    The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion,
    and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. 
    The old lion perisheth for lack of prey,
    and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad (Job 4:10,11).
Verses 10 and 11 describe the lion from birth to old agefrom whelp to the old, helpless beast. The lion is a symbol of fierce strengththe “king of the jungle.” It growls and roars and sounds mean. Its prey flees in fear for safety. Everything a lion is and does is dependent on its teeth. But a lion without teeth is not so dangerousit cannot rip and tear. Such a den of lions (all without teeth) would quickly disperse. They would perish for lack of ability to kill and eat prey. They would scatter in search of food.
The mightiest creature on (physical) earth is the lion. Yet God brings down even the mighty den of lions. The mightiest creature on (spiritual) earth was Job. And God blasts Job down. Eliphaz says, “And God has even had to bring you down, Job. If you were really innocent―if you were really really upright―then all this wouldn’t be happening to you!”
In the last days, those who know us will call our faith and our practice of religion a sham as well. We will be able to stand only as we stand by faith in Christ “though the heavens fall.” To stand then we must stand now. I want that faith in Christ. Don’t you?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359 or use the comments via Google section below.

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