WHOSE FAULT IS IT?
Lord of the ups and downs of life, God for all seasons, challenge me today as I read your Word.
Read Job 4
4 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?
But who can keep from speaking?
3 Think how you have instructed many,
how you have strengthened feeble hands.
4 Your words have supported those who stumbled;
you have strengthened faltering knees.
5 But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;
it strikes you, and you are dismayed.
6 Should not your piety be your confidence
and your blameless ways your hope?
7 “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
Where were the upright ever destroyed?
8 As I have observed, those who plow evil
and those who sow trouble reap it.
9 At the breath of God they perish;
at the blast of his anger they are no more.
10 The lions may roar and growl,
yet the teeth of the great lions are broken.
11 The lion perishes for lack of prey,
and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
12 “A word was secretly brought to me,
my ears caught a whisper of it.
13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
when deep sleep falls on people,
14 fear and trembling seized me
and made all my bones shake.
15 A spirit glided past my face,
and the hair on my body stood on end.
16 It stopped,
but I could not tell what it was.
A form stood before my eyes,
and I heard a hushed voice:
17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?
18 If God places no trust in his servants,
if he charges his angels with error,
19 how much more those who live in houses of clay,
whose foundations are in the dust,
who are crushed more readily than a moth!
20 Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces;
unnoticed, they perish forever.
21 Are not the cords of their tent pulled up,
so that they die without wisdom?’
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.
Reflect‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ (1 Samuel 3:9).
When Jesus met a man who had been blind from birth, his disciples asked, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ (John 9:2). Jesus responded that neither the man nor his parents had sinned. It’s not that simple. The disciples’ understanding of sin and divine retribution is similar to that of Eliphaz. He is sure that Job must have done something to deserve the trouble that has befallen him.
Eliphaz has observed that, in general, ‘those who plough evil and those who sow trouble reap it’ (v 8). This is a general principle of Old Testament wisdom (e.g., Proverbs 11:18, 22:8); surely a wise teacher like Job would be familiar with it (Job 4:3). Eliphaz’s mistake is to pervert this principle to assume that suffering must always be deserved. He does not know, as we know, that God has already declared Job to be ‘blameless and upright’ (Job 1:8).
Eliphaz was sure that his advice to Job was from the Lord (v 12) because it came to him in a dream. How would you assess and deliver to another person something that you thought was a word from God? What would you say to someone suffering from a misfortune or illness who says, ‘What have I done to deserve this?’
Is there someone in your life for whom you can offer support and strength? Do you need courage to say something difficult?
Merciful Father, grant me a loving heart, a supportive word, and a gracious disposition. When others are down, may I lift them up.
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