Monday, November 22, 2004

Close Encounters of the Scary Kind: Job 4:12-21

In the sited verses, Eliphaz recounts an encounter he had with a spirit. He also recalls the message he received from the spirit. Every time I read this scripture, I think to myself, "what kind of spirit was it?" Was it a spirit from God? Was it the Holy Spirit? Or was it something else? I am convinced that this was not a spirit sent from God. There are two basic reasons why I believe this. First is the way the spirit presents himself. Eliphaz recalls, "Dread came upon me, and trembling, and made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed by my face; the hair of my flesh bristled up." (Job 4:14-15) For sure, people in the scripture who meet an angle often express fear. However, in most cases, there was also a pronouncement of peace from the angle. Second is the message itself. While there is a thread of truth in what the spirit said; "Can mankind be just before God?" (vs 17), the spirit misrepresents God's care for mankind; "unobserved, they perish forever." (vs 20). The truth of the matter is that we are all precious to God. We are not insignificant and our lives are not spent hidden from the loving eyes of God. Not even a sparrow falls without God noticing, how much more us? Eliphaz may have received a message from a spirit, but that spirit, and his message, was not from God.

What people in pain need is hope and substance. By substance I do not mean material substance, but a hope and truth that they can hold onto. Something that they can trust in and place their hope in. People who are suffering do not need empty platitudes, meaningless cliche, or cute sayings. They need something that is real. Even our supposed spiritual insight is useless unless it is grounded in something that is known to be true. Peter said that "we have the prophetic word made more sure." (2 Peter 1:19) People who are hurting do not want to know what we think, they what to know what God thinks. They need the word of truth to which they can anchor their souls during their times of trouble. Let us be people who minister God's truth and not just our own ideas.

David Robison

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:28 PM

    I agree with your interpretation that the spirit of Job 4:12-21 was not a spirit of God, and I also agree with your assessment of God's concern for mankind, in contrast with what the evil spirit had proposed to Eliphaz. Thanks again for publishing your blog.