These three friends reveal an idea that still exists in today's society; Suffering must be an indication of sin, however the Christian life is a call to glory through a life of suffering. We often treat suffering as if it's to be avoided at all costs, yet it's often the best display of a life transformed by Christ.
Some flowers must be broken or bruised before they emit any fragrance. What do you smell like? Have you allowed God to produce that sweet fragrance through you in your suffering that would be attractive to others who are going through, or are you too busy not claiming it and not speaking it because you think you can undo the will of God?
Eliphaz believed that suffering is a sign that you are getting what you deserve. That spirit still exists in the church. Lost your job, wife left, children in jail, just getting what you deserve. Bildad is the forerunner of the prosperity theology movement found on many television ministries.
If you obey you will be blessed, those in God's will enjoy great prosperity and good health but if you suffer you are out of God's will because God wants everyone well. This is bad theology. God does not want everyone well. Paul asked three times for God to remove his "thorn" and God said No, my grace is sufficient. Jesus asked, "Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me, but nevertheless not my will but yours be done.
Zophar's entire argument throughout this discussion turned debate into a dispute can be summed up like this, "What did you do? Whatcha do? You had to do something! Tell me! What happened? Sounds like church peopele I know, not Macedonia, just ones I know. They don't come around to be a blessing, they come to try and find out the business so they can broadcast the news.
In spite of this prevailing belief that suffering is a result of sin and God's judgment on your life. Job lifts a right response in the middle of such bad advice on suffering. Dr. Quinton E. Hammonds, Pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama suggests that we miss great daily living because we reserve some passages in the Bible just for the dying.
Job 14 is an all-time favorite for Old Testament readings at funeral services. It ranks up there with the 23rd Psalm, and the 90th Psalm, but Job 14 gives us daily insight for practical living today as well as hope for tomorrow.
b. When-at birth
c. How Long- few days
II. Suffering is Natural vs. 2-6
a. The Flower Testifies
b. The Shadow leaves a Trace
c. The Hired Hand shows his Toil
III. Suffering is Needful vs. 7-13
a. Hope of Revival
b. Hope of Reproduction
c. Hope of Resurrection
IV. Suffering is Numbered vs. 14
a. appointed- it is temporary
b. anticipated- it is transforming