Each of Job’s 3 counselors displayed characteristics of our human nature which need to be examined. There are many lessons that can be learned through the analysis of their response to Job’s suffering. I believe some of our own attitudes will be revealed as we study their behaviors. We all have “baggage” which lessens our ability to properly assess and respond to the needs of someone who needs help. Much can be learned in this case study of Job’s “Comforters” as they are called. Before we analyze this story, remember Job had lost his children and his wealth and will soon lose his health. What had gone wrong? In our conditioned subjective thinking, we immediately conclude that Job is suffering the consequences of his actions. But in chapter 1, verse 1, it is said of Job “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” How does this fit in with our prejudicial thinking and theology?
A. Eliphaz - Read Job, chapter 4, verses 1-11.
1. Do you notice a pronounced shift in emphasis from verses 1- 4 to verses 5-11? What evidence of Job wrongdoing does Eliphaz have to conclude that Job’s actions caused his demise? (Finish reading chapter 4 and try to figure out for yourself why Eliphaz is responding this way to Job before you continue on to the analysis
Analysis: There is much conjecture that the dream Eliphaz relates starting in verse 13 causes him to associate what happened in the dream with Job. He must have believed that God “gave” him the dream and this was God’s word to Job. It is possible that God can reveal knowledge to people as He wills, but is this the case here? There is no indication of wrongdoing on Job’s behalf and the dream seems to be absent of the presence of God. Probably, Eliphaz’s response to Job is fashioned by verses 17-19. It appears that his “baggage” is his view of God and his mistrust of Job. It seems he views God as a God of discipline, who lacks mercy. He appears to be legalistic as the dream fed his already ripened view of God as a hard taskmaster. He also challenges Job’s righteousness and refuses to believe Job has not brought on his own misfortune. Discussion!
Questions: What “baggage” in our lives has caused us to assess others wrongly? What issues in our past have skewed our attitudes and impacted our “pure” approach to others? What types of people are we easily put off by? Does it impact our ability to minister to them?
B. Bildad – Read Chapter 8, verses 1-13
1. What is Bildad’s preconceived notion of Job? Is Bildad’s assessment of God right? Is he God’s spokesman? What is meant by verse 11?
Analysis: If you were Job, how would you respond to the words of Bildad? Is Bildad wrong in what he is saying? Is there any mercy in his statements? Bildad appears to be a “cause and effect” person, i.e. people have caused there own distress and the effect of wrongdoing is clearly seen. He seems to have God all figured out and adamantly proclaims that people get what they deserve. Have you ever met someone who adamantly points out what the Scripture says in spite of the sensitivity of the situation? One can seemingly win the battle, but lose the war! Bildad may be a traditionalist who lived by the letter but not the Spirit. Are there people and even churches that know the Scripture but are not intimate with the heart of the Author?
Questions: Do we handle others with the rules of God but not the heart of God? Does this imply compromise in applying the word of God to a situation? How does our religious background with its denominational slants impact our assessment of others? Are we rigid in our viewpoints and can that be “baggage”?
C. Zophar – Read Chapter 11, verses 1-16
1. Why is Zophar so unfeeling to the plight of Job? After reading these verses, write a list of issues Zophar might have that would cause him to evaluate Job as he has. He appears to be God’s prosecutor. Is that a role any man should take on?…