Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, is the first one to reply to Job’s downcast speech.
He tells him, “You’ve encouraged so many, strengthened and helped so many people. But now that trouble has come to you, you’re discouraged.”
It’s almost like he’s challenging Job. Like, “You’ve told so many others to trust God, told them to keep looking up, told them it’ll all work out according to God’s will. But now–now that you’re in their shoes, in trouble, having lost the things you loved, and experiencing grief wrapped around you like a crushing cloak–now you’re losing your faith. Did you really believe the things you said to those hurting people, or were you just spouting words? Is your confidence in God that shallow, that weak?”
I don’t think this was said in a mocking, cruel way. I think Eliphaz was trying to push Job to become better, to draw even closer to God, to grow in his faith.
He goes on to tell him:
You respect God and live right, so don’t lose hope!Job 4:6 (CEV)
“Job, you’re respecting God, living right, so He’s not mad at you; He’s not punishing you, trying to kill you. Don’t lost hope, friend!” Eliphaz reminds him that it’s the wicked who are punished, who are destroyed by God.
And then he relates a vision, a dream, he had. He was filled with great fear, and his hairs (like on the back of his neck) stood up; a “spirit” stood before him, although he couldn’t see it clearly–it was just a form. The spirit said to him:
Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?Job 4:17 (KJV)
Humans are not better than God. We can’t be more just, more pure, more holy than our Maker. I think Eliphaz was saying this to show Job, “You shouldn’t be questioning God, demanding to know why He gave you life, begging for death.” It’s okay to question God, to wonder why He’s doing something, but it shouldn’t be done in a prideful way. We shouldn’t have the attitude of “I know better than You, God; this is the way it should be. Do this; fix it.”
I could be wrong–Eliphaz could be judging Job, implying that Job has some sin in his life and that’s why all these things happened; maybe he’s saying Job is proud of his righteousness, and needs to get off his high horse. But this is how it appeared to me. What do you think?