In answer to Eliphaz Job stresses two things. 1) He doesn’t know what God is doing; and 2) God appoints the times for all things.
Job’s answer to Eliphaz starts out with him saying that he would like to have a face to Face with God so he could argue his case, but he can’t see God from where he is right now. He keeps looking but God is beyond his reach.
REGARDLESS of Job’s inability to see God and understand what He is doing, Job refuses to forsake Him. Job knows that when God has finished His work that he will be better off IF he holds fast. “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandments of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food. But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, that He does. For He will complete what He appoints for me, and many such things are in His mind” (verses 10-14). In other words, “God KNOWS what He is doing, even if He hasn’t told me what it is, yet. I will hold on and see where He takes me.”
Job is not happy with the process and it terrifies him when he thinks about it. He is also not going to quit complaining about the process either. He feels he has a right to voice his discomfort, so long as it isn’t done in a sinful way.
The second part of Job’s answer to Eliphaz throws back in Eliphaz’s face that, yes, there are wicked people but Job is NOT one of them. Also, the wicked don’t seem to get cut off as quickly as his friends would have him believe.
God doesn’t keep a strict ‘judgment schedule’ where you can truly say, “If you commit _______ you will receive punishment of ______ for ______ long. Some wicked people never seem to get punished. They go right on doing whatever it is they want to and God doesn’t say “Boo!”
There is also great suffering in this world that God doesn’t lay at the feet of specific individuals. Some of the examples given SHOULD be laid at specific men’s feet but others are the result of systemic problems. If God truly punished IMMEDIATELY as Job’s friends contend He does, then what about all these problems? There would be none. But the mere fact that these situations exist lends credence to Job’s argument that he has done nothing to deserve the punishment he is under.
Job freely admits that God has something brewing in his life but adamantly denies that it has anything to do with sin or being wicked. Job refuses to be labeled as wicked and points out that, just because he is in distress it doesn’t mean that he is wicked.
I wonder what kind of ‘fair’ set-up Job would make if it were left up to him. Would he assign certain punishments and sentence lengths for specific sins? Would he take into account the circumstances surrounding the sin? Would he ever consider sending someone on a difficult path if there were no sin? Would he strike innediatly and with aughority if allowed to do so?
I can say that I am GLAD Job isn’t God. There would be no mercy or chance for forgiveness in such a system. There might be fewer ‘wicked’ people because of fear of getting caught, but they wouldn’t be serving God out of love. They would be serving out of fear alone. And it wouldn’t be a reverent fear but a terrified one. One where they expected to be struck by lightning at any moment.
Father God, thank You that You are patient! I would be a crispy critter by now if You weren’t. Thank You also that You DO finish what You start in me. You never get me part way and give up. You see the task through to the end. Thank You that I KNOW You will have ultimate justice in the end. Even if I don’t see the wicked get their ‘just deserts’ here on earth, I KNOW they will receive justice in the end.
No matter how it looks, I will CONTINUE to put my faith in YOU. I will CONTINUE to walk in Your ways. And I will CONTINUE to praise Your name! YOU know when the ‘right time’ is for ALL things.