Today Eliphaz continues with more words of discouragement to Job. Eliphaz wrongly believes that Job’s suffering is directly related to his sin. He says to Job, “For wrath kills a foolish man, and envy slays a simple one. I have seen the foolish taking root.” Eliphaz is trying to reason Job’s suffering based on his own understanding and what he has seen. Then he says to Job, “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.”
Eliphaz, who lacks understanding of the spiritual world, inflicts more pain on the already suffering Job by giving him terrible counsel. Therefore, Job responds, “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friends…But what does your arguing prove?” Job is discovering that his friends can not provide the release from his pain that he is seeking.
Not all suffering is directly related to our own personal sin, as we see here with Job. There is always way more going on behind the scenes that our finite minds cannot interpret. Although Eliphaz is speaking the truth — God does correct His children (Hebrews 12:10-11) — this truth is not helpful to suffering Job.
Sometimes it is hard to understand God’s good plans and purposes for us in the midst of our suffering, but it doesn’t mean that He is not working for our good and His glory. However, Job can’t see that right now. So Job cries out to the Lord desiring death over pain – “So that my soul chooses strangling and death rather than my body. I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, for my days are but a breath.”
Job doesn’t know that his afflictions are from Satan and that the Lord is allowing it to accomplish His higher purposes. Job will have to trust God in the midst of his pain and wait on the Lord to act on his behalf. And He will! So keep reading. (Job 5:1-7:21)