March 19, 2015.
Daily Reading: Job 22.
Background: Job 20-21.
Concepts and Connections.
1. A false witness: It seems that the frustration of Eliphaz is leading him to make some bold claims about Job for which he has little, if any, evidence. Eliphaz stops beating around the bush and finally directly accuses Job of transgression, even listing things that he has surly done in order to anger the Lord. He accuses him of robbing the poor, exacting from his brethren, not having compassion on those who are in need, etc. He even states that there is no end to Job’s iniquities! These are indeed bold statements made against Job, especially in light of the divine witness. Remember what God said to Satan about Job at the beginning of the story: “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8) One major problem with Eliphaz’s stance (though not the only one) was he had nothing with which to back it up. The accusations that he makes seem to be completely made up. We know that Job didn’t participate in any of these transgressions on a regular basis, for God would not have called him blameless and upright if he did. It seems that Eliphaz was appealing to a certain type of rhetoric to make his point, listing a conglomeration of things that sound really bad and then attributing them to Job, when in reality, Job had nothing to do with these things. Then Eliphaz quotes something that he thinks Job has said, using it against him to win the argument, that we have no record of Job saying. It is a sad thing to see one who has become more determined to win an argument that to take compassion on the other side, or even consider what the other side has to say. It is even worse when he or she gets so involved in proving the other party right than he or she makes up facts to prove them wrong. Job had told these friends time and again that he had done nothing wrong to deserve this punishment, but they wouldn’t even consider that as a possibility. They were right in their own minds, and there was nothing that Job could say to change their minds. Now they were even resorting to bearing false witness against Job. Let us not allow our hearts to get so calloused that we follow in the footsteps of the friends of Job. It is not good in the sight of the Lord (see Job 42:7-9).
2. Faulty logic: Before he starts into his accusations, notice the first tactic he uses to try to convince Job of his wrongdoing: philosophy. It may not seem like much, but Eliphaz beings with “Can a man be profitable to God?” and then continues by asking what profit is it if Job did what was right? What does God gain from man being righteous? This seems to be the premise he beings his argument on before he goes on to accuse Job directly of wrong doing. But then, notice the claims he makes at the end. “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.” (v. 21) It is the same answer they have been giving Job the whole time: Repent and get yourself right with God, and things will be good. But can you see the contradiction in Eliphaz’s statement? At first he says, “It doesn’t matter to God whether man is righteous or not,” and then he tells Job, “Get right with God, and He will bless you.” If it didn’t matter to God whether man was righteous or not, then becoming more righteous would not change one’s situation in life via an attitude shift from the Almighty. Too often it is the case that our logic an reasoning suffers when we are focused on being right. Again, Eliphaz give us a wonderful example of how not to comfort a friend in their time of distress.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 56-61.
Comfort the weary.