Read Exodus 5, Job 22, and Hebrews 11 today.
This devotional is about Job 22.
Eliphaz, the speaker in this chapter of scripture (v. 1), was the first of Job’s friends to speak back in chapter 4. His word to Job back in that chapter was that Job used to be a good man, but now he was under discipline by God. So, Eliphaz continued, Job should repent and get right with God.
Eliphaz also spoke in Job 15. There he rebuked Job for defending himself and, again, argued that it is the wicked who suffer, not the godly.
Here in Job 22, Eliphaz took his third crack at Job. He begins by asking, rhetorically, if any of us human beings have anything to offer to God (vv. 2-3). Eliphaz said that because Job continued to insist that his suffering was not the result of any wickedness and was, therefore, unjust.
Then, in verses 4-10, Eliphaz made direct, specific charges of sin against Job. He accused Job of oppressing people (v. 6), of refusing to help people in need (vv. 7-9). These sins, Eliphaz confidently asserted, caused Job’s suffering. His charges this time around against Job were more specific and caustic than before.
In verses 12-17, Eliphaz accused Job of believing that God was so far away that he can’t know or see what we do. This, according to Eliphaz, was why Job was so willing to mistreat people (v. 17b), because Job did not recognize all the good things God does for us (v. 18).
In verses 21-30, Eliphaz turned to the conclusion of his argument. His conclusion was that Job needed to “submit to God” (v. 21) and “return to the Almighty” (v. 23). Again, this is another call to repent. The benefits of repenting would be:
- prosperity (v. 21).
- restoration (v. 23)
- the ability to treasure God and his relationship with God (vv. 25-26).
- answered prayer (v. 27)
- and success in every way (vv. 28-30).
Eliphaz’s message is very similar to the “gospel” delivered by prosperity preachers today. The assumption is that God can be controlled and manipulated into giving us whatever we want through our prayers and our obedience.
Not only are these ideas untrue, they are completely inadequate to generate and sustain true faith in the true God. As soon as God allows something into your life that is painful, this kind of prosperity theology will fail.
You may not believe in the prosperity gospel per se, but do you believe that faith in God entitles you to get your prayers answers, your bills paid, obedient children and a long life? While we may not expect to become rich, as the prosperity gospel preaches, if we serve God in order to get something from him, we have not understood that God is sovereign and that his will is not bound by or manipulated by anything we do or say.
In verses 25-26, Eliphaz said, “…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.” This is the closest thing Eliphaz said to describing a true relationship with God. God saved you so that you will treasure him and delight in him. These are not incentives for us to seek by turning from sin; instead, they are the result of God’s saving grace to us. They are the things that should compel us to turn from sin. And, they are one reason why God allows trials into our lives. God strips away, sometimes, the good things about our lives in order to reveal whether or not we really love God for who God himself is or if we love him because we think it is a pathway to a better, more prosperous life.