Read Job 5
5 “Call if you will, but who will answer you?
To which of the holy ones will you turn?
2 Resentment kills a fool,
and envy slays the simple.
3 I myself have seen a fool taking root,
but suddenly his house was cursed.
4 His children are far from safety,
crushed in court without a defender.
5 The hungry consume his harvest,
taking it even from among thorns,
and the thirsty pant after his wealth.
6 For hardship does not spring from the soil,
nor does trouble sprout from the ground.
7 Yet man is born to trouble
as surely as sparks fly upward.
8 “But if I were you, I would appeal to God;
I would lay my cause before him.
9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
10 He provides rain for the earth;
he sends water on the countryside.
11 The lowly he sets on high,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty,
so that their hands achieve no success.
13 He catches the wise in their craftiness,
and the schemes of the wily are swept away.
14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime;
at noon they grope as in the night.
15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth;
he saves them from the clutches of the powerful.
16 So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts its mouth.
17 “Blessed is the one whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.a]”>[a]
18 For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal.
19 From six calamities he will rescue you;
in seven no harm will touch you.
20 In famine he will deliver you from death,
and in battle from the stroke of the sword.
21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue,
and need not fear when destruction comes.
22 You will laugh at destruction and famine,
and need not fear the wild animals.
23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field,
and the wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 You will know that your tent is secure;
you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing.
25 You will know that your children will be many,
and your descendants like the grass of the earth.
26 You will come to the grave in full vigor,
like sheaves gathered in season.
27 “We have examined this, and it is true.
So hear it and apply it to yourself.”
Eloquent. Poetic. These words describe the twenty-seven verses that make up the close of Eliphaz’s first response to Job. Eliphaz’s initial thoughts on Job’s lament begin in chapter four, where Eliphaz hypothesizes that Job must have sin in his life because “the Upright do not suffer.” In today’s reading, Eliphaz’s thoughts are continued.
As readers, we know that Job is not being punished for his sin, so we also know there is nothing he needs to repent for, but his friends do not know that; neither are they able to grasp God’s greater purpose in all of this. They are doing their best to reason with Job to get him to acknowledge God and beg for repentance.
Story is an effective teaching medium, and Eliphaz uses it to cut to the quick and explain his point. Eliphaz claims to have witnessed the life of a Foolish Man whose house was cursed, whose children suffered injustice, and whose harvest was robbed from him. Sound familiar? If not, this story is eerily like Job’s predicament. One could imagine the hurt Job felt after those words. He might have been so discouraged to the extent that the powerful truths ofEliphaz’s following words might have fallen on deaf ears.
Eliphaz goes into a magnificent monologue declaring God’s glory and wonder, and lays out a pattern to follow for moments when God feels distant. He first challenges Job to appeal to God. Then he goes on to validate God’s nature by listing some examples of God’s Work; how he performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, how his miracles cannot be counted, how he sets the lowly on high and gives hope to the poor. How great our God is! When we are faced with an impossible situation, our perspective can be radically changed when we look at the record of accomplishment of the Lord Almighty and reflect on his radical and miraculous acts. What he has done before, he is more than able to do again. He is faithful to see ALL his promises through to the end. There is no end to his goodness or his greatness.
The second point that Eliphaz makes is that those who God corrects are blessed. He takes the next few verses and declares God’s goodness to Job. Eliphaz reminds Job that even though God may wound, he also heals (v. 18); that he will continually rescue in times of hardship; that God protects and provides.
All that Eliphaz relates to Job regarding God’s nature is abundantly true. His intentions were also good. But unfortunately, the application was lost on Job because it brought no comfort to his afflicted soul. Eliphaz was not aware of the mystery of God’s purpose in allowing all these calamities to befall Job. An important insight to take from this passage is this: Always take time to recognize God’s sovereignty in the confusing moments of life. When we allow ourselves the margin to look at our lives through God’s sovereign plan, we are reminded that we exist for God’s glory, not our own. His plan is perfect and although we may not be able to recognize how our hardship fits into his plan, it does not mean that God is any less close, or does not see us in our pain. If our faith is in him, he promises an expected end, a peace that surpasses all understanding. He is our reward. Life is in Him.
- Is there a hardship you’re going through now? Read v. 18-26 of this passage again for a reminder of God’s nature and promises.
- Think back on the past few weeks of your life and identify some of the blessings of God that you’ve experienced in that time. They can be big or small! Often, the enemy works by quickly blinding us to God’s goodness and we forget what he’s done or how he’s worked in our lives.
- Based on what we’ve learned in today’s reading, think about how you can best serve a friend or loved one who might be going through a hard season right now.
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