Sunday, April 8, 2018

Year 8, Day 98: Job 4

Theological Commentary: Click Here

As with most of the things that we will hear from the friends of Job, we’ll need to search for the truth hidden among the dangerous wisdom of the world.  This is great training, however, and it is one of the reasons that I love the book of Job.  Many people in the world have advice to give.  The trick is sorting out the godly advice from the worldly advice.

Eliphaz begins his talk of righteousness.  He is correct in a few things that he says.  Who can stand righteous before God?  Who among us deserve the trust of God?  We are all sinners. We all make mistakes.  We all have bad judgment from time to time.  No one among us is perfect and pure in everything they do.  On this point, Eliphaz is sound.

It isn’t Eliphaz’s beginning that is troublesome, it is how Eliphaz applies this to thinking to Job.  Eliphaz concludes that since Job is suffering greatly he must have sinned greatly.  Eliphaz believes that trouble and turmoil are a sure sign of sin and deceit in a person’s life.  This is the old line of karma coming out.  This is the thinking that gives us platitudes such as “What goes around comes around.”

This conclusion is sometimes true.  Sometimes people who do incredibly heinous things have incredibly heinous things done to them in return because of what they’ve done.  The error isn’t in saying that it happens.  The error is thinking that it always happens.  One cannot assume that a victim of a heinous act is guilty and being justly punished.  Sometimes really bad things happen.  As we see in Job, really bad things happen to person that God Himself lifted up as an icon of righteousness.

We must be careful.  It is good to teach people that we often reap what we sow.  That advice helps keep us on the path of the straight and narrow because our desire to reap good things helps us learn to sow good things.  But when we teach such logic we must equally teach to be careful and not judge from this proverb.  Not everything we reap is because we have sown it.  There is truth in the proverb, just not universal truth.  This is the mistake of Eliphaz in this chapter.