Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Living Through "Job's Life" Part 8 - February 4, 2014

Job 4:1-8,17;5:17(New Living Translation)
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied to Job:
2 “Will you be patient and let me say a word?
For who could keep from speaking out?

3 “In the past you have encouraged many people;
you have strengthened those who were weak.
4 Your words have supported those who were falling;
you encouraged those with shaky knees.
5 But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart.
You are terrified when it touches you.
6 Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence?
Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?

7 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed?
8 My experience shows that those who plant trouble
and cultivate evil will harvest the same
...
17 ‘Can a mortal be innocent before God?
Can anyone be pure before the Creator?’
...
Job 5:17

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!
Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.

If things couldn't get much worse for Job, along came his friends. At first they were quite and sat with him for seven days while he grieved, but after he began complaining and hoped for death, then they really showed their "true colors". In this passage we read the first of comments from his friend Eliphaz, and in them we read an accusation that is all to familiar when a Christian goes through difficulty.

The notion here is that one is guilty before he can be proven innocent. Eliphaz was making the point that in God's world(as the Old Testament writers saw it), "righteousness leads to blessing, but wickedness results in punishment"*. Therefore Job must have done something bad to have received such wrath from God, and by the looks of it was really bad. Does that sound familiar? How often when you are going through difficult times do the people closest to you wonder what you may have done wrong?

Unfortunately this has been a prevailing opinion in many Christian households, and many Christian churches in the past and today as well. If you have been around church circles for any time, you know what I am talking about. Truth is though, that just because a follower of Christ is having a difficult time doesn't mean that they are hiding a secret sin. As we have learned from the Book of Job, sometimes the innocent are tested and have trouble for reasons only known by God.

As we read further, we will see how Job's friends begin to "pile on", making Job's situation much worse. There is nothing more discouraging while you are having a hard time, than to have your friends think it is all your own fault. Stick with me as we see how God ultimately helps Job through this.

(*)Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms, By Daniel J. Estes

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