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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Job’s Three Friends - Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar by Zac Poonen

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Joined: 2002/12/11
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Job’s Three Friends - Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar by Zac Poonen

When Job’s three friends - Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar - heard of his adversity, they came to visit him, saying they wanted to comfort him (Job 2:11). But they didn’t actually comfort him at all, when we see the way they spoke to him later on. They only criticised and accused him. All three of them were in fellowship with the devil, the accuser of the brethren.

These three men were jealous of Job, because Job was a godly man and a rich man and everything was going well for him and for his family.

Many believers are jealous of godly men, when they see their influence and ministry - and are often waiting for some calamity to hit them. We know that the devil is eager for some calamity to befall godly people. But there are believers who wait for that too, and who are secretly happy when it happens.

These three men pretended that they were very sorry for Job. They wept when they saw Job and tore their robes and threw dust over their heads. They were really good actors. But secretly they were delighted, because they were jealous of him. These three preachers only knew about God. They didn’t know God personally. That’s why God couldn’t point out any of them to Satan.

Godly men suffer attacks from the devil, sometimes from their wives, sometimes physically, and at times financially too as God takes them through many trials to sanctify them. But perhaps their greatest trials are from their friends and brothers who are jealous of them! Unfortunately there is a lot of this in Christian work, where Christian workers hope that something bad will happen to a more anointed worker, so that that his ministry will be destroyed. When God’s blessing and anointing are on a godly man, and someone else is jealous of him, God may allow some physical calamity to come to that man, in order to expose the other person’s wicked jealousy. Once the other man’s evil has been exposed, God will heal the sickness and restore the godly man to health.

All three of these men could not truly understand why Job suffered as he did. They could only find fault with him. That is because they were religious people like the Pharisees later on, in Jesus’ time. There is a difference between a spiritual man and a religious man. Spiritual people have been misunderstood by religious people in every generation. The Bible says that “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Tim.3:12). There are no exceptions to this rule. So, if you don’t want to be misunderstood by other people, then don’t be godly!

1Corinthians 2:15 says that “a spiritual man cannot be discerned by those who are not spiritual”. A godly man is therefore a very lonely man - because very few can understand him. His actions are misunderstood and his words are misunderstood, even by those who know the Scriptures well. Religious people know only facts about God. They don’t know God Himself. In the midst of many religious people, one will find only a few who know God Himself. Job was one of those rare individuals. If you are a person who knows God, you will be misunderstood by people who only know about God.

Remember that religious people could not recognise Jesus and thought He was the prince of devils. How can they recognise a godly man today? There were two religious groups in Jesus’ time, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees were the fundamentalists, and the Sadducees were the liberals. But of these two, the Pharisees opposed Jesus more than the Sadducees. In the same way, today, it won’t be the liberals who criticise a godly man as much as the fundamentalists.

But even though a godly man may be a lonely person in this world, God does not forsake him. God allows the trials he faces to give him an education. James says, “We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome or the end of the Lord’s dealings that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (Jas.5:11). The testimony of every godly man will be: “The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. Even though I could not understand the difficult ways He led me through, it was to fulfill a glorious purpose in my life, and above all, to glorify God in heaven where the conflict was going on between God and Satan.”

In the very first book of the Bible, we see the beginning of the modern “health and wealth gospel”. Three preachers there told Job that he had lost his health and his wealth because he had lost the blessing of God. Their message was that the blessing of God always brings prosperity and health. Note that this health and wealth gospel was first preached by people who did not know God. It is the same today. Remember that. Job who lost all his wealth and his health was in the perfect will of God. But the three preachers who preached the “health and wealth” gospel were completely out of the will of God. This is clear from God’s words to them: “I am angry with all of you. Ask Job to pray for you, lest I punish you”(Job.42:8).

The book of Job is a great encouragement to us because he faced what we face today.

The three preachers are not a picture of our enemies or even of unbelievers. They are a picture of believers who trouble us, misunderstand us and criticise us. It is always more painful when a believer attacks us and accuses us than when an unbeliever does the same things. In the last 40 years, I have faced a thousand times more criticism from believers than I have faced from unbelievers. That is also the history of every servant of God in the history of the church. Jesus faced more opposition from the Pharisees than from the Greeks and the Romans. Pilate wanted to release Him, but Annas and Caiaphas wanted to kill Him. So don’t be surprised when you find your maximum opposition coming from believers who spread false tales about you. They are the followers of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/11/27 11:29Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7472

 Re: Job’s Three Friends - Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar by Zac Poonen

Job is a difficult book to read, IMHO. I weary of long-winded philosophers waxing eloquent!

Anyhow, one day back in August (I think) 1994 the Holy Spirit led me to read Job - and I was fascinated! I, also noticed that the health and wealth doctrine is nothing new. After reading this I came to the conclusion these health and wealth folks must have gotten their inspiration from reading [parts of] Job.

Later that fall, our daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer. Then I could look back and see how God was leading me in reading this book - He opened its truths to me unlike in previous times. This was an awesome revelation to me that God is in total control of this situation! PTL!

Actually, I learned that these three friends were physicians
: Job 13:4: "But you smear with lies;You are all worthless physicians." NASB If they are like moderns, they came to treat Job and finding their potions, treatments worthless they were speechless for a week until they decided Job must be guilty of sin instead.

Some things never change - and therein lies some of the the beauty of the WORD. It is so current even though it was written so many years ago. This should tell us something...


Sandra Miller

 2010/11/27 12:55Profile

Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 482

 Re: Job’s Three Friends - Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar by Zac Poonen

Thank you for this message, Greg. It was timely. Not that I have any righteousness of my own, but the grace of God has been poured out onto me. Why does God deal with me with such mercy and compassion, I do not know... except His divine love in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 55 goes along the same lines:
For it is not an enemy who taunts me-- then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me-- then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God's house we walked in the throng. Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart. But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah because they do not change and do not fear God. My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.
(Psalms 55:12-23)

 2010/11/27 12:59Profile


Job was a mighty man of faith. He teaches us that no matter what happens in our lives, it is absolutely worth it to serve God.

 2010/11/28 0:07

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