APPEALING THE DECISION
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.
‘Oh Sinnerman where you gonna run to? / I run to the Lord.’1
In verse 8 we have a wonderful piece of Hebrew alliteration. Seven out of the nine words that make up this verse begin with the silent letter aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This emphasizes in Hebrew how central this verse is to Eliphaz’s message. Eliphaz takes us back to the language of the courtroom in this verse, stating that the best thing Job can do at this point is to appeal to God. God is over all things, the great Creator and Provider, and therefore Job should petition him for deliverance from his troubles.
Eliphaz gets the principle right. In times of trouble, we need to bring our suffering, our frustrations, our pain and our grief before God. His comforting words reflect the song of Mary in the Magnificat,2 since we believe in a God who lifts the lowly (v 11) and brings hope to the poor (v 16). We need to run to the Lord.
Despite getting the principle right, Eliphaz applies it too rigidly. His certainty is displayed in verse 27, where he declares ‘We have examined this, and it is true.’ He implies that Job must be suffering for a legitimate reason. At this point, Eliphaz is reluctant to accuse Job of a hidden misdemeanor, so he suggests in verse 17 that Job is being corrected: Job is suffering so that he learns a lesson. In chapter 2, however, we have already been told that this is not so: the reason for Job’s suffering is not to correct him. Instead, Job is the evidence that faith is not dependent on prosperity. We must be very careful not to give simplistic, formulaic answers to those who are suffering.
Pray for those who offer support to those suffering in our society: medically, emotionally, and spiritually. Pray they will have the right words to say.
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.
1 African spiritual 2 Luke 1:46–55
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