Four other men are involved in this drama--all of them friends of Job. Keep in mind that the events of this book cover several months, and that friends and neighbors discussed Job's case.
Eliphaz, from Teman, was the first speaker, and he based all his ideas on a spiritual experience he had one night (see chapter 4:12-16). Bildad was a traditionalist who knew some wise sayings and tried to build a case on them. Like Eliphaz, he was certain Job was a hypocrite. Zophar was very dogmatic, and certain that he knew more about God than anyone else. Each of these men argued with Job, and Job argued with them. At the very end of the argument Elihu speaks. He was younger than the others and had waited until his elders had finished before he expressed his ideas. While the three older men insisted that God blessed the righteous and judged the wicked, Elihu said that God sometimes chastened--not punished--the righteous in His own will. He asked Job to submit to God and trust Him, but his attitude was still that of a judge and critic. When God did appear, He made no reference to Elihu's great speech.
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all follow the same line of thought in their discussions with Job. They believe that all suffering is the result of the justice of God and therefore is punitive. So they preached to Job that whenever a Christian suffers, it is because of sin. A careful study of the Word of God proves their opinions to be definitely wrong. Many of God's greatest servants have suffered all through life. Even Paul had a thorn in the flesh which he carried to his grave.
We do not need to understand why troubles come to us. We simply need to understand that all troubles to the Christian come from the hand of God for his own good. We also need to learn how to rejoice in tribulation, and how to serve God faithfully, in spite of our circumstances. There is no place for a quitter in the family of God. Job is unquestionably one of God's greatest giants in the Old Testament era.
Index of Daily Devotions