Job 15 Attacked by a Friend

Your own mouth condemns you, not mine; your own lips testify against you….  because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty,  Job 15:6, 25

Eliphaz rebukes Job

Job’s self-defense has forced his friends into a difficult position. He has challenged their whole concept of god and their basis for understanding God’s actions. Eliphaz now attacks Job, reminding him of truths they both accept. It is the wicked who suffer. It is the proud whom God brings low. The implication is clear. To suffer as Job has, he simply must be wicked!

“Undermine piety” (15:4). Some today are also shocked that anyone would ask questions about matters of faith, To express doubts or uncertainties, or to struggle with difficult questions, is viewed as an attack on belief in God. But God is great enough to survive our questions and doubts. Anyone who is honest in his or her struggle to understand God is far more likely to come to faith than lose it. The person who truly undermines piety is the one who insists others be satisfied with superficial or pat answers, is unwilling to face difficulties, and is afraid to ask questions. Remember again, it is Job who is the man of faith and the 3 friends that God condemns at the end of this book.

4  But you even undermine piety and hinder devotion to God.

The whole truth (15:14-35). The witness in court is asked to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God.” The problem with the superficial solutions offered by Job’s friends is not that what they say is untrue. It is that what they say is not the whole truth. We are to share what we know and believe, but not with the cruel dogmatism of an Eliphaz.

14  “What are mortals, that they could be pure, or those born of woman, that they could be righteous? 15  If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, 16  how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt, who drink up evil like water!

17  “Listen to me and I will explain to you; let me tell you what I have seen, 18  what the wise have declared, hiding nothing received from their ancestors 19  (to whom alone the land was given when no foreigners moved among them): 20  All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless man through all the years stored up for him. 21  Terrifying sounds fill his ears; when all seems well, marauders attack him. 22  He despairs of escaping the realm of darkness; he is marked for the sword. 23  He wanders about for food like a vulture; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. 24  Distress and anguish fill him with terror; troubles overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack, 25  because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty, 26  defiantly charging against him with a thick, strong shield. 27  “Though his face is covered with fat and his waist bulges with flesh, 28  he will inhabit ruined towns and houses where no one lives, houses crumbling to rubble. 29  He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure, nor will his possessions spread over the land. 30  He will not escape the darkness; a flame will wither his shoots, and the breath of God’s mouth will carry him away. 31  Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return. 32  Before his time he will wither, and his branches will not flourish. 33  He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes, like an olive tree shedding its blossoms. 34  For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes. 35  They conceive trouble and give birth to evil; their womb fashions deceit.”

–>  When we found ourselves in difficult situations — illness, job loss, divorce etc. — we cannot really count on friends of the world for comfort.  I think God wants us to learn not only from Job, but also from his friends by reading the painful words spoken by his friends.  It is so easy to think and talk like them against our fellow humans e.g. the poor, the homeless etc.