Today’s Reading: Job 4-7
I guess I can relate to Eliphaz. How do you talk to someone who has experienced such a disaster as this about their disaster? Isn’t that rather insensitive? But what do you say? Probably not by pointing out their faltering courage in facing their circumstances? But to be fair to Eliphaz with his Old Testament point of view that if you do good things, God blesses and protects you and if you do bad, then God will pay you back for your wicked deeds! With that kind of thinking what other conclusion could you come to but that your HOLINESS is your confidence!? And although there is such a thing as God’s Fatherly discipline for doing wrong, still Psalm 103: 10 tells me that God has not dealt with me according to my sins! – good to know, but still not the answer to Job’s questions!
Then Eliphaz passes on to talk about the question of how can a human be more righteous than God! But then he passes on to his conclusion that if something bad happened, surely something bad must have been done to cause it! Then he passes on to “If it were I…” he would ask God why! But he also warns that if there is some hidden wrong, God will certainly find it out! Like the verse always quoted to me when young, “Be sure your sin will find you out!” So the inference in the background is, “So what did you do wrong?”! Helpful?
And he ends up with stating that God disciplines, but He always gives a good result in the end for the truly righteous! If I were Job, probably this answer wouldn’t help much as I am struggling with “WHY me?” So how easy is it to talk to someone who is experiencing trouble? – NOT EASY! Tears are probably more effective and also the honesty to confess that I don’t have a good answer to give, but I do feel the hurt of the person I am talking to!
It seems to me that Job takes up his answer by trying to explain how painful his pain is! Therefore perhaps his rash words! And it seems to me, that he passes on to a normal conclusion that if he could just end everything NOW, then perhaps he would be ahead because he had still not denied God’s words yet! He felt deeply the lack of strength and courage to still keep going! Ever been there?
A pain Job expresses is that his friends are undependable! Why? Perhaps because what he is looking for in his friends is sympathy, not rebuke and misunderstanding! And Job struggles with how short life is, and does not everyone expect trouble in life? But if you drift in this direction of thinking, then you drift towards God (good perhaps!) but with the realization that God is ultimately in control of life and death. And another thing which quickly comes is how short life actually is! But drifting in this direction, perhaps leads a person to ask the Why question again, and feel that God is making a target out of them!
I remember a story of a pastor being called to the hospital by a family who in the end lost their son (because of a car accident!) When some time later, he met them, he apologized that on the night at the hospital he had no words to console them, but only tears of weariness and frustration and they replied, “That you cried with us, meant everything to us! We didn’t need words of advice, but your tears told us that you were there with us in our hurt!” Maybe this is a good thing for me to remember so that I don’t become like one of Job’s friends?