Again Eliphaz presented two arguments:
1. appeal to God and lay your cause before Him
2. but anyway if God is on your side everything will go well with you.
And he ends with the perfect line;
“We have examined this and it is true. So hear it and apply it to yourself.” (verse 27)
Oh how many times I have heard this sentiment. “But this is the truth” “Everyone knows…”
The only truthful part of Eliphaz’s monologue is that the only person Job can turn to for answers is God.
I suppose we are at an advantage in this story because we know from God’s mouth that Job is blameless. We know that this is not God’s discipline or the consequences of Job being stupid – like upsetting his neighbours so they raided his animals or something equally disruptive to society. This is almost nothing to do with Job, and yet it is everything to do with Job. Job’s constancy in his faith and integrity are key to this story.
I also wonder at the writing of this book and the other Wisdom books. Although the Bible books are not completely in chronological order we have seen a world view presented of God rewarding those who love Him and punishing those who turn away from Him. And here in Job is a challenge to that neat presentation of life on earth.
But it is only a superficial reading that can simply pick the cause and effect – obey God and be rewarded Vs ignore God and be punished. God was endlessly patient with the wicked kings like Ahab and Jezebel and he allowed his prophets to be killed. Even David who loved God and sought him out, did not live a blameless life and whilst God did bless him (and he was not pursued for the murder of Uriah) David also had to live with his children’s rather wild lives.
If we reflect on the previous books of the Bible we have to acknowledge that Eliphaz has picked what he wants and created his own little religion and called it “truth”. We can look around and see similar distortions of faith in the world, but we can also question our own approach to life and God. When have we approached life with the belief that we deserve everything to go our way because we love Him and not say “God willing” when we make our plans?