Job 4 has the tables turned as Job’s friends begin to counsel him. They speak to him in more or less three different rounds of exhortation, followed by his response. Eliphaz begins and reminds Job that he is usually on the end giving advice and encouragement, not receiving it. “You have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands. Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees.” This is a rather new place for Job to be, and his friends wonder how he’ll take their words.
Eliphaz begins chastising Job for the way he is responding to the circumstances. “But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope”? Sort of the ‘how come you can dish out advice to others but can’t see it for yourself”? Eliphaz and the other friends have somewhat gained the right to speak into Job’s life because of sitting with him silently the past week, so he continues.
Eliphaz came to the heart of his argument. “Who that was innocent ever perished”. He boldly said that Job was guilty of some sin because the innocent do not suffer the way he was, and the upright are not apart from God as he felt. We find out later that while the friend’s motives were good, their advice was completely wrong. It may have been common sense and based on their previous experience, it was still wrong. They believe Job’s issues are caused by sin. “Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.”
Eliphaz claims to have been given his insight by God. And the foundation of it was that all men are sinners and Job’s plight was a direct result of Job’s sin. “‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker “? He basically tells Job ‘we all sin. Just admit it and realize you’re like the rest of us and this punishment should be no surprise to anyone. It certainly isn’t to me’. Another logical human response, but definitely not God’s plan here. Eliphaz has no understanding of the interaction between God and Satan, the enemy. So he just passes on what seems right to a man. Scripture tells us often that can lead to a bad outcome!