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When Friends Are Miserable Comforters (Job 4:1-7:21)

Robert E. Bell, 03/03/2019
Part of the Job series, presented at a Sunday Morning service

Today's scripture is Job 4-7. The fourth sermon in Pastor Bell's "Job" series.

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Job 4:1-7:21

1Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, 2If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking? 3Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. 4Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees. 5But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled. 6Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways? 7Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? 8Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. 9By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. 10The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. 11The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad. 12Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. 13In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, 14Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. 15Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 16It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 17Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? 18Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: 19How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? 20They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it. 21Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom. 5:1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? 2For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. 3I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. 4His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them. 5Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance. 6Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; 7Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. 8I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: 9Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: 10Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: 11To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. 12He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. 13He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. 14They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night. 15But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. 16So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth. 17Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 18For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 19He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 20In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. 21Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. 22At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 23For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. 24And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. 25Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. 26Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. 27Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good. 6:1 But Job answered and said, 2Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! 3For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. 4For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. 5Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? 6Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? 7The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat. 8Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! 9Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! 10Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. 11What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? 12Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? 13Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me? 14To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. 15My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; 16Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: 17What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. 18The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish. 19The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them. 20They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed. 21For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid. 22Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? 23Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty? 24Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. 25How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? 26Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? 27Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. 28Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie. 29Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. 30Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things? 7:1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? 2As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: 3So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. 4When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. 5My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome. 6My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope. 7O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good. 8The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. 9As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. 10He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more. 11Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me? 13When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; 14Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: 15So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. 16I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity. 17What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? 18And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? 19How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? 20I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? 21And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be. (KJV)

Robert E. Bell
About Robert E. Bell: Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bob grew up in Rhode Island where his father pastored the same church for almost 50 years. The oldest of five sons, Bob attended Philadelphia College of Bible and graduated with a B.S. degree in Bible and Christian Education in 1973. He earned his M.A. in Christian Ministry from Wheaton College Graduate School in 1974. After marrying, Bob and his wife Melody moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His first full-time church ministry was at Westminster Presbyterian Church where he served as the assistant-to-the-pastor and later as an elder. Daughter Alison arrived in July 1977 and son Andrew in March of 1981. In August of 1981 the family moved to St. Louis, Missouri where Bob enrolled in Covenant Theological Seminary and graduated with his M.Div. degree in 1984. While in seminary he served as the Church Administrator while their church was without a pastor and then worked as an Admissions Counselor for the Seminary. Their son Aaron was born soon after graduation. Bob has since served churches in Ruston, Louisiana and St. Peters, Missouri. He has been the pastor of Aisquith since December 1994. His two oldest children are married and live in the Baltimore area. He and Melody have seven grandchildren.
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