Commit Suffering To The Lord
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We have begun a study of the book of Job. In our last lesson, we talked about Job's being in Satan's sieve—losing his family, property and health. Today we want to turn to Job, chapter 4, and notice Job's three friends have come to visit.

These three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, came to mourn and to comfort him. However, when they saw how very ill he was, they kept silent for seven days and seven nights. Then Job told them of his misery and despair. When he had finished talking, Eliphaz the Temanite began to talk.

There is a certain amount of truth in what he says. The Bible reports accurately what is said. Therefore the Bible reports the lies of the devil as well as the lies of others. The Bible gives a true report although some things that are said are not true. What Eliphaz says here is true by virtue of fact, but false because it does not apply to Job's particular situation. Notice in verses 1-5:

Job 4:

1Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
2If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?
3Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.
4Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
5But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

In effect, Eliphaz said, “Job, do you mind if I speak? I can't keep from speaking.” Then he evaluates the situation, and his evaluation is correct. He assures Job that he had spent his life teaching and helping and encouraging other people. Then he adds, “You have been a comfort to many, but now trouble has come to you, and you faint. You are discouraged.”

This is often what happens. We help others. We encourage others, but when we have troubles, we faint. It is easier to prescribe the medicine than it is to take it. If we faint in the day of adversity, our strength is small and our faith is weak. When we encourage another to stand fast, we should be strong when trouble comes to us, but sometimes, we fail. We become troubled ourselves. So Eliphaz tells Job that this is his problem. Eliphaz is trying to solve Job's problem. Don't ever think that you can solve the problem of another. Notice verse 6:

Job 4:

6Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?

Eliphaz is saying here, “Job, you have had confidence in your own ways and now you can't understand what has come to you.” Eliphaz was traveling along the right road when he made this suggestion. As he continues, however, he delineated from this conclusion. Look at verse 7:

Job 4:

7Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?

Eliphaz is embarking upon a disastrous journey, for all illness and emotional disturbances are not related to sin or to disobedience to God. This is a false teaching. Suffering can come for other reasons. There is no way to escape suffering in this life. Suffering is more bearable if we know the true cause for it because we are prone to question, “Why?”

Note, Eliphaz is determined to show Job that he had sinned and that things could only be made right when he turned again to God. This is good advice, and it is applicable to the person who is suffering because he has sinned. However, Eliphaz is basing his advice upon the wrong assumption. Job had not sinned. God was permitting him to be tried because Satan had accused him of living for God only because of the blessings which God had bestowed upon him.

Eliphaz had questioned, “Who ever perished, being innocent? or where are the righteous cut off?” We need to look a little deeper into these words, for this suggestion is based upon a false assumption and is not true of Job. If a man is dwelling in his own innocency and self-righteousness, this is true because we must possess the innocency and righteousness which comes through our Lord. Jesus Christ, Who said, “…except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:20).

There Is A Cure

What, then, can be done? Turn to Christ. Receive Him as your personal Savior, and He will give you His righteousness. Please turn to I Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 30-31:

I Corinthians 1:

30But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ has provided wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption—all this through His finished work upon Calvary. For this reason, we are to glory in the Lord, not in self. Righteousness did not come by the law of the prophets, but was witnessed to by them. The Pharisees all came short of this righteousness, for they trusted in their own goodness. Turn to Romans, chapter 3, verses 20-26:

Romans 3:

20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

These verses answer Eliphaz's question: “Who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?” The innocent and the righteous in Christ are never cut off, nor do they perish; those who depend upon self do not have the blessing of God in this respect. Go back to Job, chapter 4, and notice verse 8:

Eliphaz Continues To Accuse Him Of Sin

Job 4:

8Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Notice that Eliphaz persists in accusing Job. He says, in effect, “Job, you are suffering because of your sin. If you plough iniquity and sow wickedness , you will reap suffering. This is a true principle. Sowing wickedness is always followed by reaping suffering. But Job had not sinned. Turn to Galatians, chapter 6, verse 7:

Galatians 6:

7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

God reminds us of this. We reap what we sow. Even after a person has been saved, he may reap the sowing of his unsaved years. By way of illustration, a man who is drunk and lies down too near a railroad track and has his arm cut off, when he is saved is forgiven of God, but his arm is not restored. He goes through life with one arm. Maybe he is faithful and devout, but his arm is not restored. Christians may do their best, but what they sow, they will reap for “God is not mocked.” Rarely, if ever, does God stop the harvest.

It is a serious thing for a Christian to sin. God warns concerning sin in the life of a Christian. Turn, please to II Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 10:

II Corinthians 5:

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Keep this in mind and be careful that your life is well-pleasing to God. The principle that Eliphaz states is absolutely true, for man will reap what he sows and will also stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ some day. No Christian will escape this.

The Vision Of Eliphaz

I remind you here that we are looking at the book of Job to consider the lessons taught—not the verse by verse content. In that day, visions were a means of communication with God. Today, we have the full revelation of God given to us in the Bible, and we do not need visions. Eliphaz had a vision in Job, chapter 4, verses 13-17:

Job 4:

13In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,
14Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.
15Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:
16It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,
17Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

This vision relates to trances, mystery, secrets, deep sleep, fear, trembling, and shaking. When Eliphaz saw this spirit, his hair stood up. He could not discern the form of it. He saw an image. All this tells us that Eliphaz's vision was not based upon the Word of God; rather, it was given to him by demonic power—the occult.

As Eliphaz continues, he asks another question—the question which the Spirit asked in his vision: “Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?” Then he continued to show how absolutely impossible it would be for a man to be more just or more pure than God. The answer to his question is, “No.” This is the answer because God has no sin and cannot sin. God has never countenanced sin in His people and has taught in His Word that even the believer who sins must come to Him for forgiveness. Forgiveness is freely given when sin is confessed as in I John, chapter 1, verse 9:

I John 1:

8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

What a merciful God we have! He does not demand retribution, but forgives us because our Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross to redeem us from all iniquity. Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 3-4, says:

Ephesians 1:

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

According to these verses, God chose us to be holy and without blame before Him in love. This choosing was done before the foundation of the world. Even as God chose us to be holy and without blame, He also intended that we should live lives that would testify to others that we are holy. I Peter, chapter 1, verses 15-16, say:

I Peter 1:

15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Notice also Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 5-6:

Ephesians 1:

5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

The Answer To The Second Question Of Eliphaz

Thank God for the New Testament which puts a light at the end of Job, chapter 4, verse 4, and gives us the answer to Job, chapter 4, verse 17, which asks: “Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?”

Eliphaz said that God could not permit man to be absolutely just and pure in himself, and that is true. It is also true that when God looks on us before we have accepted Christ as Savior, He sees nothing but sin and failure; but God has made perfect provision for us in this matter. This, He makes clear in His Word in Colossians, chapter 1, verses 13-14:

Colossians 1:

13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Therefore, after we have accepted Christ as Savior, God does not look on us as He did before we accepted Christ as Savior. God sees those who have believed on His Son and received Him through Christ. Therefore, God sees us as pure. God could not permit man to be absolutely just and pure in himself, but through the Lord Jesus Christ, he is made just and pure. Man cannot be more just and pure than his Maker, but he can be just as just and pure. This is a startling thought.

God Dealt With The Sin Of The Angels

Eliphaz again directs his remarks to Job—remarks based on the assumption that Job is suffering chastisement from God because of personal sin, not how wrong he was, even though he spoke many truths. Job was not disobedient to God, but the argument that Eliphaz now presents is certainly worth our consideration. Go back to Job, chapter 4, verse 18:

Job 4:

18Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

Eliphaz is saying, “If God would not overlook the sin of His angels, how can we expect Him to overlook the sin of man?” This is a truth that Eliphaz puts to Job. Now, this verse refers to the sin of the angels. What did Eliphaz mean when he said, “God charged His angels with sin?” Look at Genesis, chapter 6, verses 1-4:

Genesis 6:

1And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

As far as the Bible is concerned, this is the first mention of angels sinning, but angels sinned long before this time. This is recorded later in the Bible, not in relation to time, but in relation to the placement in the Bible. God would not permit the sin of angels to go unpunished.

Perhaps someone is saying, “But Jesus said that the angels were sexless.” No, that is not what Jesus said. He said in Matthew, chapter 22, verse 30:

Matthew 22:

30For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Note, Jesus compared those in the resurrection to the angels in Heaven. These are the angels that kept their first estate—the angels of God who did not sin, but remained holy and still serve God. Notice Jude, verses 6-7:

Jude:

6And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
7Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

These angels did not “keep their first estate.” They left “their own habitation.” This means that they did not keep themselves as they were created, but left their own sphere of activity and departed from God's plan for them. Verse 7 explains exactly the sin that the angels committed. They committed fornication—something they were not supposed to do, and their actions are compared to the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Eliphaz is pointing out to Job here that God did not overlook the sin of these angels, but punished them, reserving them “in everlasting chains under darkness unto judgment of the great day.”

Let us look at the record given of another time when the angels sinned and God punished them in Isaiah, chapter 13, verses 12-17:

Isaiah 14:

12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning. how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations.
13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
16They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
17That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

Satan sinned. He was God's prime minister and enjoyed the adulation of the other angels. He was beautiful. He wanted the other angels to worship him even as God was worshipped. He wanted to take God's place. Therefore, God cast him and one-third of the angels out of Heaven because they followed Satan in his wickedness. Note also that God said that Satan would be “brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit” (Verse 15).

Eliphaz knew that Satan and the angels who followed him had been cast out of Heaven, so he said to Job, “What makes you think that you can sin and not be punished? God even punished the angels who were willing to join Satan in his rebellion.” Please turn to John, chapter 5, and notice verses 1-7:

The Advice Of Eliphaz

Job 5:

1Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?
2For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.
3I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.
4His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them.
5Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.
6Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;
7Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

The last two verses here are the basis for the discussion of the advice given by Eliphaz. In other words, Eliphaz says here, “No matter what we do or who we are, we are in trouble all the time. There are so many troubles that it seems they come from the dust of the ground. I think that man is born just to be in trouble.” Many of us could give a similar testimony. Every time we turn around, we get into trouble. We sigh, “Why does everything happen to me? All I see is trouble.”

Now notice the heart of the advice of Eliphaz. Regardless of the reason for our trouble or what the trouble is, his advice is excellent, and we need to heed his advice in Job, chapter 5. Notice verse 8:

Job 5:

8I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:

So often, we try to bear our own burdens. We keep all the sorrow and hurt within ourselves. We keep all the heartbreak inside. So often, we break down, wear out, give up—all because we are bottling up our troubles within ourselves. Then there are those who do the opposite. They constantly unload their troubles on someone else. They get relief. Some may say, “I don't want to bother you with my troubles.” It should be no bother to a believer to listen to the troubles of another believing brother and to be interested in his problems that he might help him even though he does infringe upon his time. So many give up because they can find no one to help. Some become ill. It seems that there is no one to whom they can tell their troubles. No one wants to listen.

It is wrong to keep troubles bottled up within us. Better than telling another, take the advice of Eliphaz: “I would seek God, and unto God would I commit my cause.” The believers in all ages have had the same kind of troubles that we have today. Again, remember that although Eliphaz was wrong in his assumption that Job's trouble came because he had sinned, the advice he gave was good. Turn to I Peter, chapter 4, verses 17-19:

I Peter 4:

17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Peter is suggesting here that some of our suffering is our own fault and is related to the things we do and the kind of people that we are. But if we truly commit our suffering to the Lord and then go about our business, we will find relief. No commitments are worthwhile unless you do go about your business after you have comitted it to Him. “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him: and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).

When you commit all to God, your mind and heart will be at peace. You will be established and be able to go on for Him. Commit your way and your works unto the Lord. Proverbs, chapter 3, verses 5-6 says:

Proverbs 3:

5Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Too often, we pray words of commitment, but they are not from our hearts, so they are not effective. We chew our fingernails and worry. That is not commitment. When we turn it over completely to the Lord, that is commitment. Then, and then only, will our hearts be settled and our minds at peace. Heed the words of Eliphaz, who said, “Job, if I were in trouble like you, I would seek God and commit my cause to Him.”

Eliphaz Describes God

Let's notice what Eliphaz has to say about God. Most people are prone to forget what a great God we serve. We forget that He is able to do the impossible, and that He will do so if he sees fit. We forget His love and power, His tender kindness and watchful care. When we are having a difficult time, we say, “I've done all I can do.” That may be true, but have we turned it over to God Who can do much more than we can do? Notice Job, chapter 5, verse 9:

Job 5:

9Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

Think of that. God does great things. He can and He will do great things for you, if you let Him. God does unsearchable things. God does marvelous things, and those without number. Oh, may we yield ourselves so completely to Him so that He can do great unsearchable and marvelous things for us even when it seems impossible. Look at verse 10:

Job 5:

10Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:

Here, Eliphaz is encouraging Job to turn his heart to God. Job had not turned away from God. However, most of us are living below our potential and privileges in Him because we whittle God down to our size. We can't go on because we fail to realize what a great God we serve and we fail to yield everything to Him. He is a great God, and He is interested in us and in our difficulties. Why do we try to do our work alone? Verses 11-12:

Job 5:

11To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.
12He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.

In other words, Eliphaz is saying, “Job, it looks like everything is against you.” That answer is found in the advice of Eliphaz: “Seek God and commit your cause to Him.” Why? Because God is able to meet the need of the believer for “He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.”

Conclusion

We need to confess to God that we are helpless and ask God to do the very things that we need done. We have seen Him make the enterprises of the crafty absolutely impossible. Just turn everything over to God.


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