“Now 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….” (4:12-16)
In his effort to convince Job of his sin, Eliphaz shared a vision which came to him in the night. It may be that Eliphaz had this vision after he came to spend time with Job. Perhaps God gave this vision to him earlier when he was going through a difficult time himself and was not at rest in the Lord. The Bible does not say when this event occurred. However, Eliphaz believed this vision had come from God, and he used this word from God to try to convince Job that he had sinned.
During the days that Eliphaz and Job lived on earth, God often spoke to people through visions and dreams. The difficulty was that visions and dreams did not always come from God. Sometimes they were false revelations (See Jeremiah 14:14)
Today we have a more sure word of prophecy, the written word of God, which was given to us. (See II Peter 1:19) It never changes. God breathed out the words through His Holy Spirit and commanded men to write them down. We never have to wonder if these words came from God. They are His words, and they are always true.
In the vision that Eliphaz saw, a spirit passed before him. It had no distinct form, but it was surely there. The spirit stopped moving and then there was silence. After the silence, the spirit spoke, 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?” (Job 4:17-19)
“Job,” Eliphaz seemed to be saying, “You cannot be right with God. How can you say you are pure? You cannot be more pure than God. Even God’s angels were punished when they sinned. (See Jude 1:6). Do you think that you, a mortal man in a house of clay, are better than the angels? Your foundation is dust, and when you die, you will be food for the moth.”
Repeating the words of the spirit that had brought the vision to him, Eliphaz went on to describe the end of mortal man, “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.” (Job 4:20,21)
In this conversation, Eliphaz is inferring that Job had said that he was more just than God and that he had not sinned. Was this true? Did Job say these things? Look through chapter three. Job did not say this. He simply wondered why God allowed him to be born and grow up only to see all this sorrow. He wished he had never existed and that his day of birth could be erased from history. Job even wished that God would forget the day Job had been born. (3:4) Why did he have to live each day in such misery, he wanted to know. But, Job did not say God was wrong. Not once did Job claim he could have made better decisions than God. Also, Job made no claims to be sinless. He knew he was a sinner. However, he also knew he was not a hypocrite. He had looked well to his spiritual state and his heart was right with God. All these dreadful trials might be sent to him by God, but they were not sent in punishment for sin. It was not that Job was without sin, but Job knew that he was not a hypocrite. He was right with God, and God knew his heart.
This same confidence that Job had can be ours as well. Sometimes we sin against God, but that does not mean that we have to be out of fellowship with him. In I John 1:9, God tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Although it is impossible in our own strength to live a life free from sin, we can have a heart that is right by confessing those sins to God and allowing Him to cleanse them away. If we know that our heart is right, we should not allow the accusations of the devil or the misunderstandings of others to make us discouraged.
If our heart is right, we can have confidence before God. God assures us of this in I John 3:21, “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” The devil does not know our heart. Our enemies do not know our heart. Even our friends do not know our heart. But God knows our heart. If our heart is right with God, we can have confidence in him and do not need to be afraid of the accusations of the devil or of anyone else. Even if our friends try to use Scripture to convince us that we are hypocrites and are sinning, we still do not need to be discouraged. If we know that we have confessed our sin and that we do not have anything between us breaking our fellowship with God, then these verses can be an encouragement to us rather than a discouragement because we have confidence in God.
It is important not to blame our friends. Job did not blame his friends. They may sincerely be trying to help us. But they do not know our hearts. Only we ourselves and God can be certain that there is nothing between us to break our fellowship. This is our confidence and joy.