Eliphaz Says Job Presumes Much
15 Then Eliphaz the Temanite [a]responded,
2 “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge
And fill [b]himself with the east wind?
3 “Should he argue with useless talk,
Or with words which are not profitable?
4 “Indeed, you do away with [c]reverence
And hinder meditation before God.
5 “For your guilt teaches your mouth,
And you choose the language of the crafty.
6 “Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;
And your own lips testify against you.
7 “Were you the first man to be born,
Or were you brought forth before the hills?
8 “Do you hear the secret counsel of God,
And limit wisdom to yourself?
9 “What do you know that we do not know?
What do you understand that [d]we do not?
10 “Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us,
Older than your father.
11 “Are the consolations of God too small for you,
Even the word spoken gently with you?
12 “Why does your heart carry you away?
And why do your eyes flash,
13 That you should turn your spirit against God
And allow such words to go out of your mouth?
14 “What is man, that he should be pure,
Or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
15 “Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones,
And the heavens are not pure in His sight;
16 How much less one who is detestable and corrupt,
Man, who drinks iniquity like water!
For one who asks why Job is so windy (think “full of hot air”), Eliphaz sure blows a lot of wind. Unfortunately, Eliphaz has some knowledge of God, but stands a bit too much on ceremony, as if God would be offended by Job’s questions. His “word spoken gently” reads more like “how NOT to comfort your friends when they are hurting”.
According to Eliphaz, when someone close to you is in distress, assure them that their denial is evidence of sin (because they must have forgotten that everyone has sinned), tell them not to bother God with their doubts, and remind them that they should be very prim and proper before God if they want to have any chance of pleasing Him.
Alright, so his advice stinks like so many rotten eggs. If anyone can handle a grief-stricken outburst, it would be God. He loves you too much to let you push Him away, and His loving arms will always be ready to comfort you, even if you can’t understand it.
And for those of us in the “peanut gallery”, we would do well to simply be present in the moment. If anyone ought to be extra sensitive, it is the one who tries to comfort a friend. Make yourself available, and seek to find what you can do to help your friend who is struggling without preaching them a sermon. Make a meal, lend a shoulder to cry on, and pray without ceasing–that God would give you wisdom to know what to say, what to do, and when to just be silent and “mourn with those who mourn”.