Here we are in Job 22, and Job is under fire again from his friend Eliphaz. Even though in the past Job had admitted that he had sinned and might be being punished for some reason he was not aware of, Eliphaz apparently thought that it was his duty to remind Job of a variety of sins that he had committed.
Job 22:5 Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
Job 22:6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.
Job 22:7 Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.
Job 22:8 But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.
Job 22:9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
This is a very similar feel to something that Jesus had said a little bit later.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Mat 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
I do not believe in works-based salvation. I just wanted to get that out there. That being said, I do think that if we are truly saved, we will see great works as a result of that commitment rather than as the cause of it. As we mature and develop the fruits of the spirit, these good effects will be the natural outgrowth of our new perspective.
It seems that as Christians, we do have an obligation to help those around us, so if we don’t help people, I guess it could possibly be a sin. I haven’t quite played out the entire set of theological implications from that concept, but it does seem like if we don’t help people we would be breaking a commitment that we had made to follow God.
Again, I do believe that salvation comes through faith. However, as most of these passages indicate, there are certain things that we should be doing as followers of God. We should be caring for those who need assistance, and we should be looking out to help our fellow people. If we don’t do it, we are not following something that Jesus himself said that we ought to do. It is hard to follow Him if you don’t do what He says.
In Job 15, it sounds like we are beginning round two. We are back to a response from Eliphaz the Temanite, and it seems as if his criticism had gotten even harsher.
Job 15:7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?
Job 15:8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?
Job 15:9 What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
As we have been hearing Job talk for the past few chapters, he has made some claims that were different from his companions. However, I don’t believe that he ever claimed to have some type of extra knowledge. He never appeared to claim that he had some type of secret channel to God.
We find out a little bit more about what Eliphaz was upset about.
Job 15:13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
We now find what was probably the most controversial thing that Job said. He argued that he did not know what he did wrong. It makes sense that that would irritate Eliphaz since he was the first one to say that God brings trials on people who had done evil things.
However, it is obvious that he did not listen to everything that Job said. Job still maintained that he did not know what he did wrong, but he said that he must have done something wrong that God was not willing to forgive. Perhaps he did do something that was so evil that he brought this on himself.
Job 10:14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
I still think that this entire book is built around misunderstanding. His friends made assumptions that were not accurate. They were misrepresenting what was going on. Now we see that growing. They were becoming more and more angry about a situation that didn’t really know anything about. Their charges then grew stronger and stronger.
Again, even though this seems to be my application for most of these chapters, I have to think that we need to understand situations before we go charging into them and bring heavy criticism. Sometimes that is necessary, but it should be done after we have an understanding of the situation rather than before.
I don’t know about all of you, but it is a lot easier for me to write philosophical things about overcoming problems on this website than it is to actually go through them. It is easier for me to tell all of you what the Bible says about persevering through problems than it is to actually conquer them.
Job seems to have had this issue as well, and in chapter 4, his friend Eliphaz the Temanite called him on that contradiction.
Job 4:2 “If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? Yet who can keep from speaking?
Job 4:3 Behold, you have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands.
Job 4:4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees.
Job 4:5 But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed.
Job 4:6 Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?
He is essentially saying what I laid out for you above. Job had done all of these great things to help other people who had been working through difficult times, but now that he was in that same situation, he was definitely not happy about being there as we saw yesterday.
Now, it is important to remember that we learned back in chapter 1 that Job did not sin during this process. Consequently, from that kind of perspective, it was not wrong for him to complain for the entire chapter that we read yesterday. The Bible says that that was not a sin.
However, this is where the application hits home for you and me. People are watching what we do, and, as Christians, we need to remember that we are supposed to be representing of Jesus Christ here on earth. It might not be wrong to mourn like Job did, and I know that we all do that from time to time, but we also need to remember that people will watch us.
Gandhi was famous for saying that he liked Christ but not Christians. People want to know what is so great about Christianity and if it really does make a difference. When we hit hard times, people will be watching that too. They will notice how we handle that. Are we patient? Are we kind to others despite our own situation? Do we complain too much?
I guess this is just a reminder for all of us that this mourning is not wrong, but we also need to make sure that we are able to practice what we preach. We preach about God bringing comfort in tough times, so we need to believe that and live it out.
I don’t mean to be overly critical of Job because he actually is one of my favorite Bible characters. However, I do think that he could have handled the situation a little bit differently.