Job 5:3-4 (NIV) 3 I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed. 4 His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender.
On verses 1-7: In chapter 4 Eliphaz broke the silence by calling Job a weak hypocrite, a sinner who deserved the trouble he got (verses 7-11), and a prideful person that God has crushed (v12-21). Now here in chapter 5 Eliphaz calls Job a fool. Eliphaz suggests that Job is like a fool who prospered for a short while, but because of resentment and envy (v2), Job ended up suddenly being “cursed” (v3), his children endangered (v4), his reputation “crushed” (v4) and his wealth consumed by others (v5). Eliphaz is saying that this kind of trouble doesn’t just happen or come from nowhere (v6). Rather, just as sparks fly upward, human beings are inevitably destined to experience trouble because of their sin (“man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (v7). Job 5:8 (NIV) 8 “But if it were I, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him.
On verses 8-16: Eliphaz counsels Job to “appeal to God” (v8). The Hebrew word for “appeal” is the term for where a person is looking to a higher authority to guide them on an issue and to show them where they went wrong. It’s as if Eliphaz is saying, “Job, if you doubt that what I’m saying is true, if you doubt that God is disciplining you for being a hypocrite, a sinner and a fool, then go to God yourself and ask Him to guide your thoughts on this, since God is far greater than we are (v9-10), He protects the weak (v11), He thwarts the crafty (v12-14), He saves the needy (v15), and upholds justice (v16).”
Eliphaz has already made up his mind that Job’s sin is the reason why Job is experiencing all this trouble. Eliphaz should have taken his own advice in verses 8-16 and sought God’s guidance before jumping to the conclusion that Job is suffering because of Job’s sin. As Proverbs 18:13 says, “What a shame – yes, how stupid – to decide before knowing the facts!”
What can we learn from all this? Don’t be quick to jump to conclusions. Make sure you have your facts straight and seek God’s perspective before you make a judgment about a situation or a person.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would not be foolish and jump to conclusions, especially about other people, but that I would be wise and self-controlled, examining all the facts available to me, understanding my own limitations and seeking Your guidance before reaching a conclusion. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!