LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE
Mighty One, your power is great and your love never fails. I lift my praise to you as I come before you now.
Read JOB 5
“Call if you will, but who will answer you?
To which of the holy ones will you turn?
2 Resentment kills a fool,
and envy slays the simple.
3 I myself have seen a fool taking root,
but suddenly his house was cursed.
4 His children are far from safety,
crushed in court without a defender.
5 The hungry consume his harvest,
taking it even from among thorns,
and the thirsty pant after his wealth.
6 For hardship does not spring from the soil,
nor does trouble sprout from the ground.
7 Yet man is born to trouble
as surely as sparks fly upward.
8 “But if I were you, I would appeal to God;
I would lay my cause before him.
9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
10 He provides rain for the earth;
he sends water on the countryside.
11 The lowly he sets on high,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty,
so that their hands achieve no success.
13 He catches the wise in their craftiness,
and the schemes of the wily are swept away.
14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime;
at noon they grope as in the night.
15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth;
he saves them from the clutches of the powerful.
16 So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts its mouth.
17 “Blessed is the one whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.[a]
18 For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal.
19 From six calamities he will rescue you;
in seven no harm will touch you.
20 In famine he will deliver you from death,
and in battle from the stroke of the sword.
21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue,
and need not fear when destruction comes.
22 You will laugh at destruction and famine,
and need not fear the wild animals.
23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field,
and the wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 You will know that your tent is secure;
you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing.
25 You will know that your children will be many,
and your descendants like the grass of the earth.
26 You will come to the grave in full vigor,
like sheaves gathered in season.
27 “We have examined this, and it is true.
So hear it and apply it to yourself.”
- Job 5:17 Hebrew Shaddai; here and throughout Job
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectO Lord, hear my prayer / O Lord, hear my prayer / When I call answer me. / ... O Lord, hear my prayer /.../ Come and listen to me.*
Although Eliphaz has not shown much sympathy for Job’s plight, he does have a useful piece of advice: ‘If I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him’ (v 8). Eliphaz might oversimplify some things, but he believes in a powerful God who answers prayer and who reaches out to the needy. Do you ever need to be reminded of this?
Eliphaz assumes that God must be teaching Job a lesson (v 17). He is partly correct, in that through his experiences, Job (and we) will eventually learn a great deal about trusting God’s justice. However, God is not correcting Job for the things that he has done wrong.
I remember an elderly lady in my first church who was housebound due to a number of long-standing health problems, and whose love for the Lord was legendary. She smiled and prayed through all her difficulties. Can you think of people like her, who have learned of God’s faithfulness in times of trouble?
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews echoes verse 17 when, quoting Proverbs 3:11, he describes discipline as a mark of God’s fatherly love for his children (Hebrews 12:4–11). We can learn from difficult times.
Is God trying to teach you anything through your circumstances? Are there things you need to bring to God in prayer?
Dear God, be in my mind and heart today, forming me in wisdom and grace. May I point others to you and the reality of your kingdom and grace.