Reposting, as is, some thoughts I put together back in 2010. Reading Job 4 this morning, as I was then. Pondering over some interesting verses, as I was then. But today it’s in the context of a prolonged period of awareness of doing battle “not with flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12). A reminder that one of the enemies tactics is to distort truth. Reposting for your consideration.
So, I came across something that felt kind of creepy as I was reading in Job this morning. To be honest, I don’t think I ever really noticed it before . . . or paused to reflect on it . . . and, not even sure I really understand it. So why am I writing about it? Maybe just to work it over in my mind a bit.
So here’s the deal . . . the conversation has started. Job’s at the center of a cosmic struggle between God and Satan (actually . . . not really a struggle . . . God wins . . . Satan’s only power is that which God had allowed). Job is God’s divine object lesson modeling a man of integrity who, despite great personal loss and tragedy, remains faithful . . . still blesses the Lord . . . refuses to sin with his lips and curse God. But, Job is just a man. And so, as he suffers he laments the day he was born (ch. 3) . . . gives word to his crushed spirit and brokenness . . . can’t help but articulate that he doesn’t think what’s happened to him makes any sense . . . or is “fair”. And with him are three friends (sorta’) . . . who have come to comfort him (not so much) . . . but instead challenge and debate him.
I’m reading Job 4 . . . the response of one of these friends, Eliphaz, to Job’s lament . . . and essentially he says to Job, “Obviously you’re suffering because you have sinned.” Some comforter, huh? Thanks bud for those “pick me up” words. Kick a guy when he’s down . . . as if my heart isn’t crushed enough . . . tell me I deserve it . . . convince me that if I had been a better guy that my kids would still be alive today . . . that if I were more faithful to God . . . if I was more blameless . . . more upright . . . feared God more . . . shunned evil more . . then my flesh wouldn’t be rotting off my bones right now.
The words of a friend? Or of an enemy? . . . THE ENEMY . . . the enemy of God . . . of men’s souls . . . the destroyer? Here’s the creepy part . . .
Eliphaz relates a reason for his confidence in speaking these words of “wisdom” . . . it was a vision he had . . . a “word secretly brought” to him (4:12-21). His ear “received a whisper” . . . “disquieting thoughts” from visions in the night . . . fear coming upon him, causing him to tremble and his bones to shake . . . a spirit passing before his face . . . the hair standing on end. This fear-invoking spirit of his dreams in the darkness of night stands before him silently . . . he’s unable to discern its appearance . . . and then the spirit speaks, “Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges His angels with error, how much more those who dwell in houses of clay . . .” (Job. 4:17-19).
Kinda eerie, huh?
At first the words seem to sound like truth . . . of course a mortal can’t be more righteous than God . . . there’s none righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10) . . . no brainer that the creation cannot be more pure than the Creator. But, though the words sound somewhat familiar . . . there’s a hiss behind them . . . a sense of twisting and distorting . . . by this masked spirit of the night that brings fear. Does God really not trust His servants? And what angles did He charge with error, save those who rebelled? Is there a tone of a personal root of bitterness detected here within this spirit? And is the conclusion of suffering really that because God dealt such with the angels how much more will He be the destroyer of those who are merely houses of clay? Sounds like bad “truth” to me.
I don’t know if I’m being clear, but as I pause over this passage I think I’m seeing something of the subtle deception and influence of the enemy’s forces. Bad truth makes for a bad comforter. Did Satan’s attacks upon Job conclude with the destroying of his wealth, the killing of his children, and the destroying of his flesh? . . . or, does he continue with the mind games? I’m thinkin’ . . .
We are not unaware of the enemy’s desires to devour us (1Peter 5:7) . . . not ignorant of his devices (2Cor. 2:11). He is a distorter of truth . . . the father of lies (John 8:44) . . . the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10) . . . the destroyer (Rev. 9:11). Oh, that, through the Spirit indwelling us, we would be discerners of his lying “words of wisdom” . . . standing fast in grace . . . by the authority of our King . . . resisting the enemy, such that he flees from us (James 4:7) . . . knowing that greater is He who is in us, then he who is in the world (1John 4:4) . . . for the glory of God, our power and strength . . . amen!