All three of Job’s friends have taken a turn at rebuking him and trying to bring him to correction. Eliphaz takes a second turn as his first didn’t do the job.
Job has moved beyond complaining to his friends and professing his innocence. He is now calling out to God Himself and asking why. Eliphaz has heard enough! “Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you” (verse 6). “No one would talk so boldly to God! This PROVES your guilt.”
NO ONE can be that bold, or stupid. Talking like this proves to Eliphaz that Job is certainly wicked. NOTHING is perfect, even the angels themselves. If God can find fault with them He certainly can find fault with man. Who does Job think he is anyway? Certainly NOT above the angels!
I can see Eliphaz’s point of view. I would probably be taking it too if we had not heard from God in the beginning of Job’s story. Protesting your innocence to God sounds like risky business. But Eliphaz is cruel in how he goes about admonishing Job.
In the trio’s earlier answers to Job they talked about how he must have done something to bring about God’s judgment. From what they were saying, I surmised that they were referring to a current sin that had ruined all Job had. Eliphaz’s words seen to say that Job has not only sinned but was always wicked, and finally got caught. “The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless. Dreadful sounds are in his ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him.” (verses 20-21).
Job has been Eliphaz’s friend for years. Eliphaz has seen Job’s character lived out in front of him. Now he assigns Job as a wicked man because Job refuses to admit that he has sinned and brought about his own down fall AND because Job dared to ask God ‘WHY’ all this was happening. Eliphaz has become Job’s judge instead of friend.
Eliphaz continues to ruthlessly tell Job that EVERYTHING that has happened to him, including the death of his children, is his own fault. Talk about twisting the knife! And he uses Job’s inability to FULLY know the counsel of God as his reason. Guess what. Eliphaz didn’t know the counsel of God either or he would never have pronounced guilt upon Job.
This makes me think of how we judge other people. How the homeless are looked at springs to my mind. The man or woman standing on the street corner with the cardboard sign. The person going through the garbage can with a shopping cart holding all their worldly belongings right beside them. The person sleeping in a cardboard box or a tent along the roadside. The person moving through the parking lot asking strangers for a few dollars. The dirty person shuffling down the sidewalk.
ALL these people have a story to tell that we seldom take the time to listen to. It could be as simple as having lost a job that kept them living pay check to pay check that brought them to where they are. It could be an addiction that propelled them to the brink of society. Or they may be a survivor of abuse and this is the only place they had to turn. It could also be someone who believes there is more wealth in begging than working.
The point is, we don’t know their story. We may know some of it but we can never truly know their heart. Only God knows that. So how can I judge them? I CANNOT say that their business failed or their child died because of some sin they committed. I WILL NOT condemn them as ‘wicked’ because of their circumstances.
What I CAN do is ask God to touch their lives and be willing to answer when He touches my heart to help. I can’t cure all the world’s ills but I can stop heaping pain upon those who are already in pain. Eliphaz’s words were NOT words of comfort or even support. They were words of judgment and condemnation. Words that offered no help, only deepened the wounds.
Bad things DO happen to good people. As well as, good things happen to some bad people. You cannot judge by circumstances the heart of the man. NOT in this world ruled by sin. Let God be the judge. Their judge AND yours.
Father God, I have never thought to pray for the man or woman on the street that I see hurting. I have felt led, at times, to give to some. Thank You for making my heart tender enough to take a chance. It’s not my place to ‘pronounce sentence’ upon ANYONE. Remind me to pray when I am tempted to judge.