Job 5: Make Sure We Have Our Facts Straight
In Job 5, we continue to hear from Job’s friend Eliphaz the Temanite. Obviously, he has a lot to tell Job, but there’s one thing that I think fits very well with what I wrote yesterday. If you recall, Eliphaz had been telling Job that he essentially needed to get his act together. He knew what to tell other people when times got tough, but he was having a hard time dealing with it himself.
Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
Job 5:18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
Now, although it is probably not what Job wanted to hear from his friend, Eliphaz is now telling him that he really shouldn’t worry about punishment because it must simply be correction from God.
On one level, we know that this is true. God does indeed use problems to get us back on track. Look at the story of Jonah. God brought a major storm because of him as a way to make him realize that he was wrong. On that level, it makes sense that Eliphaz would say this kind of thing. We know that is something within the character of God.
However, factually, we know that his statement was inaccurate. We know that Satan and God were having kind of a debate regarding whether or not Job could endure. It wasn’t necessarily that Job had done anything wrong, but of course his friend would not have known about this heavenly description that we have already read.
Also, while I do believe that the premise was accurate and that God does indeed use problems to get us back on track, we need to remember that our judgment is not always helpful. Again, he was factually inaccurate. Maybe we should be careful about passing judgment on any situation before we understand the details. Eliphaz automatically assumed the worst in this situation by thinking that Job must have done something bad and was being reprimanded.
Looking back over this first speech from Job’s friend, I think that on some level he was trying to help. However, he made some assumptions that were clearly problematic and should cause us to think a little bit more before we approach our friends who might be suffering or going through a really difficult time.