Chapter 4:12-21 (ESV) - “Now a word was brought to me stealthily;
my ear received the whisper of it.
Amid thoughts from visions of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
dread came upon me, and trembling,
which made all my bones shake.
A spirit glided past my face;
the hair of my flesh stood up.
It stood still,
but I could not discern its appearance.
A form was before my eyes;
there was silence, then I heard a voice:
‘Can mortal man be in the right before God?
Can a man be pure before his Maker?
Even in his servants he puts no trust,
and his angels he charges with error;
how much more those who dwell in houses of clay,
whose foundation is in the dust,
who are crushed like the moth.
Between morning and evening they are beaten to pieces;
they perish forever without anyone regarding it.
Is not their tent-cord plucked up within them,
do they not die, and that without wisdom?’
Question to consider: What kind of spirit seemed to visit Eliphaz?
I believe that the canon of scripture was closed by the time the apostle John was given his revelatory vision, and I hold to the idea of Sola Scriptura— that God speaks to us through the written word alone. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of demonstrating this through my studies of books like Zechariah, Acts, and Hebrews if you want to read through them. Therefore, I take refuge in the fact that when someone tells me he has received a whisper from God or a night vision, I can safely dismiss anything said after that as false. He has either lied about his experience or received a demonic word that he interpreted as being something from the Lord.
If Eliphaz had an actual encounter with a holy angel, it would not be a mysterious, hair-raising experience. He would have fallen on his face in fear like Ezekiel, Daniel, and the apostle John who had to be revived after their encounter with the LORD or His holy angels.
Eliphaz rightly questions whether man can be made right or pure before his maker, and he rightly points out that those who have been considered servants of God have failed and even some of the angels had fallen. So how much more would a man who was made from dust and whose life is temporary fail to live up to God’s righteous standards.
Even though Eliphaz had a right understanding of our plight before God, he was wrong in associating Job’s current circumstances with his sin. Jesus said in His sermon on the mount, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
The world may hold fast to the idea that people receive good and bad in this life based on their actions, but our lives are not in a constant state of trying to appease pagan gods. The true God who made heaven and earth desires mercy, not sacrifice. He allows things to happen in a way that brings about His will of reconciliation across time and space, and in our short-sighted view, we may temporarily see the unjust prosper and the faithful suffer. If we are honest with ourselves, we would recognize that our own prosperity is undeserving and that we’ve received way more mercy than we deserve.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us Your unchanging word that clearly reveals You to us. Please help us to know and understand it so that we are not fooled by the false spirits that try to misrepresent You. Amen.