The DEEP

Job 6:14-30 – Job Loses His Bearings

He takes the bait and starts arguing details with Eliphaz.

Job 6:14-30 (NIV)

“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow, but that stop flowing in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels. Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go off into the wasteland and perish. The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope. They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed. Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid. Have I ever said, ‘Give something on my behalf, pay a ransom for me from your wealth, deliver me from the hand of the enemy, rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless’?

“Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove? Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat my desperate words as wind?  You would even cast lots for the fatherless and barter away your friend.

“But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face? Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake. Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice?”

Job can’t let this go unchallenged. Eliphaz has accused Job of wrongdoing. Job’s refutation is a simple appeal to the evidence. “How painful are honest words! But what do your arguments prove? … But now be so kind as to look at me. Would I lie to your face? Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake. Is there any wickedness on my lips?

But Job also says that Eliphaz has crossed a line. “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty. But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams.

He’s not only claiming that they’re wrong; he’s saying they’re lousy friends 


Job is starting to lose ground. While his criticism of Eliphaz is justified, it shows that this is getting under his skin in a way the other trials didn’t. Attacking Job physically is one thing; attacking his integrity is something else entirely. Job handled every attack the enemy could muster, but he can’t handle an attack from his friends. Ironically, with Satan out of the loop Job’s Achilles heel has been found.

Job has slipped into secular reasoning. When the great tragedies befell him, he saw them as God’s will and something to be endured stoically. But when his friends started making false accusations, he just saw that as his friends making false accusations. He forgot that God is the first cause of everything.

We all do this. We memorize the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, but in the heat of the moment we forget.

This spiritual ADD is a lifelong struggle.


To download a study guide with this week's devotionals, plus some discussion questions, see:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/item/9928-job-week-3-a-tale-of-two-perspectives

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.