READING: Job 5-7
Sometimes a friend just isn’t very helpful — like Eliphaz in his response to Job’s calamities. He assumed that Job was suffering because of his sin — which is indeed often the case when we carry the consequences of our wrong choices — but we have already learned that Job was a righteous man who feared God and turned away from evil. Eliphaz’s words may have had a ring of truth, but they didn’t fit Job’s particular case; his teaching was right, but his application in Job’s life was wrong.
Nevertheless, we can pick up some truths from Eliphaz’s words in today’s readings. First, it is the right move to turn to God when we face calamities: “But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him” (Job 5:8). What is most right here is the recognition that God is the one to whom we must run regardless of what we face. He is the Creator and Sustainer of life, the one who providentially cares for the world. He really does “perform wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted” (Job 5:9). If you are struggling today, flee to Him.
Second, Eliphaz is right in saying, “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty” (Job 5:17). Again, he wrongly assumes that Job is being punished for his sin, but he is right to understand God’s correction as instructive and loving. He binds up those whom He wounds, and He heals those whom He strikes (Job 5:18).
Those words don’t always make trusting God easy, though. When we do suffer His discipline for our sin, we wrestle with the overwhelming sense of shame and guilt. When His correction seems to come when we’re walking in righteousness, we struggle with faith and questions. Turning from God might, in some cases, wrongly seem to be the logical next move.
That’s when we must appeal to God again, laying our life before Him, recognizing with Simon Peter that only He has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Running to Him, not away from Him, is always right.
- If life is hard today, flee to God. Fight every urge to turn away from Him.
- If you are in a position to speak into somebody’s life today, do so with prayerful wisdom. Seek God before you speak.
PRAYER: “God, I appeal to You for life today. I appeal to You for help today. I appeal to You for grace and mercy today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Job 8-10