“For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7) Why do things go wrong? Why doesn’t God give us a life free from hardship, conflict, and pain?
When everything goes wrong for Job, Eliphaz the Temanite says to him, “According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it.” (Job 4:8) The imagery is amazing, but its implication—that Job’s troubles are a result of his own actions—isn’t at all comforting or helpful.
Eliphaz goes on to ask, “Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” (Job 4:17) Why do these questions echo through the halls of the world’s philosophers, writers, judges, and educators? I think it’s because they mirror our continual inner battle between right and wrong.
“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” (Job 5:17) Implying that Job is suffering as a consequence of wrongdoing, Eliphaz builds a case against him in Job 5:18-27, from which I lifted the verbs clauses. Eliphaz says that God: inflicts pain, gives relief, delivers from trouble, redeems from death. Eliphaz says that Job: will be hidden from vicious words, will not be afraid of violence, will laugh at famine, will not be afraid of wild beasts, will know that his tent is secure, will fear no loss, will know that his descendants will be many, will come to the grave in full vigor.
Is it true that God is punishing Job, or is this only Eliphaz’s distorted conclusion about why Job is suffering? What difference does it make?
In mankind’s darkest hour, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 2:12)
From November readings for Days 3, 4, and 5
Ezekiel 9-12, 13-15, and 16
Job 3, 4, and 5
John 8:1-11, 8:12-20, and 8:21-30
II Peter 2:1-9, 2:10-16, and 2:17-22