A daily devotion for December 15th
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 "Can a man be of benefit to God?
Can even a wise man benefit him?
3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous?
What would he gain if your ways were blameless?
4 "Is it for your piety that he rebukes you
and brings charges against you?
5 Is not your wickedness great?
Are not your sins endless?
6 You demanded security from your brothers for no reason;
you stripped men of their clothing, leaving them naked.
7 You gave no water to the weary
and you withheld food from the hungry,
8 though you were a powerful man, owning land—
an honored man, living on it.
9 And you sent widows away empty-handed
and broke the strength of the fatherless.
10 That is why snares are all around you,
why sudden peril terrifies you,
11 why it is so dark you cannot see,
and why a flood of water covers you.
12 "Is not God in the heights of heaven?
And see how lofty are the highest stars!
13 Yet you say, 'What does God know?
Does he judge through such darkness?
14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us
as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.'
15 Will you keep to the old path
that evil men have trod?
16 They were carried off before their time,
their foundations washed away by a flood.
17 They said to God, 'Leave us alone!
What can the Almighty do to us?'
18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with good things,
so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.
19 "The righteous see their ruin and rejoice;
the innocent mock them, saying,
20 'Surely our foes are destroyed,
and fire devours their wealth.'
21 "Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored:
If you remove wickedness far from your tent
24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
the choicest silver for you.
26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
and will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways.
29 When men are brought low and you say, 'Lift them up!'
then he will save the downcast.
30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent,
who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands."
1 Then Job replied:
2 "Even today my complaint is bitter;
his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
3 If only I knew where to find him;
if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say.
6 Would he oppose me with great power?
No, he would not press charges against me.
7 There an upright man could present his case before him,
and I would be delivered forever from my judge.
8 "But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
13 "But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.
1 "Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
2 Men move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan's donkey
and take the widow's ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
the wasteland provides food for their children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
8 They are drenched by mountain rains
and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces ;
they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 "There are those who rebel against the light,
who do not know its ways
or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up
and kills the poor and needy;
in the night he steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, 'No eye will see me,'
and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, men break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, deep darkness is their morning ;
they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
18 "Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
their portion of the land is cursed,
so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
the worm feasts on them;
evil men are no longer remembered
but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
and to the widow show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.
25 "If this is not so, who can prove me false
and reduce my words to nothing?"
Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you? (Job 22:4).
Here Eliphaz misunderstands what Job has said. He thinks that Job is accusing God of unfairly punishing him, but, once again, Job never said that. If Job were guilty of this he would be doing what Satan wanted him to do—he would be accusing and blaspheming God. It is true that Job asks God questions about His motives, but never once does he say,
You're at fault, and charge God with unrighteousness, as Eliphaz suggests. I think this is one of the most helpful things we can learn from the book of Job, because in our testings, our pressures, and our times of torment, Satan is trying to get us to do the very thing he tried to get Job to do—he is trying to get us to blame God and accuse Him of being an unfair and unjust God. If that is where Satan drives us, we have fallen. We have gone over the brink and become guilty of an accusation against the God of righteousness. Job never does that. He comes very close, but he refuses to do that. So because he is upset and angry with Job's resistance against his charges, Eliphaz goes on to invent unsupported, untruthful accusations against him (Job 22:5-11).
Today there is a kind of pharisaism that seeks to get you to agree with its limited theology, and if you refuse to do so, some may insult you and pour out charges against you. In my wife's early Christian life, she began listening to a radio broadcast that taught her the truth from the Scriptures, and the pastor of her church became very angry and upset at her. He brought her before him and tried to straighten her out, using insults instead of the Scriptures. When she would not be persuaded because she was learning the truth from the Word of God, he did the very thing that Eliphaz did. He railed against her and charged her with all kinds of things that she had not done, threatening to expose her to the church as a heretic. She endured a great deal of mental torment and suffering through that time.
There is nothing worse than this kind of unfounded, murderous, slanderous attack that Job has to face from his so-called friends. Eliphaz goes on, in chapter 22:12-14, to accuse Job of having wrong perceptions about God:
The trouble with you, Job, is you think God is such a limited being that He can't even see what you're doing. He's up high in heaven, and the clouds come in-between and shut you off, and you think you're getting by with hiding your sin because God can't see through the clouds! This is a ridiculous accusation, for Job has already demonstrated that he has a consciousness of the mightiness, the greatness, the majesty, and the mystery of God—far beyond what these friends hold. But they cannot live with that, and they will not accept it, so they charge him with these childish concepts.
Thank You, Lord, that You know me better than anyone else. You know my heart; and I trust that You will reveal to me that which I need to know.
Life Application: Human judgment can be helpful, yet damaging. Can we choose the grace-filled option, inviting the God who loves us to search and know our hearts, and lead us?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.