Friday, August 11, 2023

Job: An Evil Presence or Just My Flesh?

 "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:" Job 4:14-15

Many people can feel an evil presence. Here Eliphaz, one of Job's friends, confesses to feeling such a

I've often wondered what presence he actually felt. Did Satan send a demon to him to whisper things in his ear to convince him of Job's sin? He did seem to think that Job was suffering because of his sinful life.

Have you ever wondered why some people make horrible accusations that either are completely untrue or hold just enough truth to cause you to speculate that maybe there was something to it? 

I do think human nature causes us to see the worst in others. Afterall, if that other person did the horrible thing we think, then maybe we won't look bad? Silly reasoning, isn't it? But how often have I chosen to believe a lie simply because doing so might make me look not quite so bad?

I wonder if Eliphaz felt in competition with Job. I wonder if, when the friends all got together, they'd slap Job on the back and tell him what a goody-two shoes he was, sacrificing to God for his whole family. How he worried too much about being good. And secretly, Eliphaz wanted that backhanded praise. I wonder if Satan knew that was the very thing he could convince Eliphaz so that he would accuse Job of being a terrible sinner.

I wonder if Eliphaz felt that men held Job in too high esteem, secretly wanting that esteem himself. He was trying to be the wiser one. Afterall, the Temanites were known for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7; Obediah 1:8). Eliphaz had to live up to that reputation.

Whether Satan whispered in his ear or Eliphaz came up with the accusation himself, we don't know. But I think we can safely say that each of us has been willing to listen to gossip against someone of whom we are jealous. Something about learning of the failings of someone we think everyone else holds up on a pedestal makes us feel a little elated. And we can so often hide that by feigning true concern with catch phrases like "telling the truth in love, sister" or, as those in the south say, "Bless you're heart" (when they really mean don't mean anything like that).

Some wise person once said that he always thought the best of everyone so that he wouldn't think the worst. I wonder if the judgment Eliphaz would experience in the last chapter of Job would not have happened if he didn't give in to the whispering accusations or the temptation to see Job in a bad light.

"Where no wood is there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
He that hateth dissembleth with his lips and layeth up deceipt within him;" Proverbs 26:20-24

And the Chase Is On

  Years ago, I set my iPad on the treadmill, started up a movie   and pressed 2 for a warmup. I had just begun to punch the button to speed ...