NO more thinly veiled references. Job’s friend Eliphaz straight out says “YOU are wicked!” And he has a list of FALSE accusations he charges Job with.
Up to this point, Job’s friends have been telling him he must have done something wrong in order to receive the ‘judgment of God’ that he is suffering under. Bildad was the first to list the calamities that would ‘befall a wicked man’ and throw some examples out that mirrored Job’s life. Zophar threw out more ‘events’ that happen to ‘a wicked man’. They apparently were hoping that Job would get their point without actually naming him directly as a ‘wicked man.’
Eliphaz pulls no punches. He points directly at Job and says “You …” in several places. These accusations are so FAR out of character from the Job we know that it is almost laughable. “Is not your evil abundant? There is no end to your iniquities. For you have exacted pledges of you brothers for nothing and stripped the naked of their clothing. You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry…You have sent widows away empty and the arms of the fatherless were crushed” (verses 5-7, 9).
NOT actions that a man who was highly regarded by God would do. Not the actions of one God would hold up to Satan as His gold standard. This now lays the sin of bearing false witness at the door of Eliphaz.
A couple of his accusations against Job have me wondering if he might be even a little bit right in his statements. The first is in verse 4 where he says “Is it for your fear of Him that He reproves you and enters into judgment with you?” Was it Job’s constant fear that brought him to the point of this lesson? Job was always afraid that his children might sin in their hearts so he offered sacrifices for them repeatedly. Did he do the same for himself?
The second statement that has me wondering is in verse 29. It comes in the middle of the section where Job is told to turn back to God and all these good things will happen. “It is because of pride” is his statement. Is Job’s ‘pride’ in his innocence a problem for him? Was this what brought on his lesson? He still seems to be holding fast to that pride if it is. Or that could be me making a judgment call against him.
I do have to agree with Eliphaz on his assessment of Job questioning God and thinking that he can argue his case before Him. God KNOWS what He is doing in our lives. We may not see the reasons behind the things we are going through but He does. The ‘distance’ between Heaven and earth are nothing to Him. He sees clearly and He brings to us what we need in our lives, even for correction. I wouldn’t presume to tell God that I wanted to argue my case. I would probably wind up with more trouble than I had in the first place. Reminds me of a defendant in a court case being offered a deal before the trial starts but being convinced he will win the jury over and refusing the deal. He may wind up in a LOT more trouble that way as ALL his ‘sins’ are exposed.
What I certainly don’t like is that he tells Job that if he just “agrees with God” all his troubles will melt away. As I have said before, bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people too. I will agree that ‘agreeing with God’ will make your life easier because He will sustain you through the difficult times. But there WILL be difficult times. Of that there is NO doubt. Even Moses had difficult times and he ‘agreed with God’ most of the time. There were times he wanted to throw up his hands and quit, but he didn’t. He leaned into God a little more and walked on.
To Job’s friends I say, “Just because you are in the middle of trying times it does NOT mean that you are wicked or being punished. It means you are human and living in a fallen world.” It could mean that God is trying to get your attention and has a lesson for you too. I think his friends might be due for a lesson too.
Father God, I KNOW that You love me and have good plans for me. You are NOT out to destroy me or beat me into submission. But there are times when I’m going to come up against problems. I will have (and already have had on multiple occasions) difficulties that I have to walk through. I NEVER walk through these alone unless I REFUSE to take You hand. Even those times, You walk behind me keeping me from falling too hard. There are lessons I need to learn and there is correction I have to heed. NONE of these are done in malice or because You have decided I’m ‘wicked’ and don’t love me anymore. I am disciplined because You love me.
Bad things also happen that are a result of this world I live in. They can be used in bringing about good changes in my life but I do NOT believe You use them as punishment against me. Thank You for loving me in spite of myself and for molding me into the woman You have designed me to be. I still have a long way to go but I KNOW You will get me there in due time. Even in spite of the times I stumble along the way. And I trust You to NEVER abandon me to whatever may come. I am clinging to Your hand Father. Carry me through the turbulence that lies ahead.