Week 4, Day 7
READ: Job 4
BACKGROUND: This is the first of the speeches from Job’s friends in the book and there will be more to follow. His friends are well-intentioned and their words always have some elements of truth to them, but in the end they are misguided because none of them truly understand what God is doing in Job’s life.
2 – Eliphaz is genuinely concerned for Job, and he begins by encouraging him.
6-7 – Eliphaz tells Job that, though he is now obviously being punished for some sin, his good works beforehand count for something with God. The idea is that his good deeds earned him some points with God or something.
17 – All humans are sinful, so God has a right to punish them.
19 – The reference to clay symbolizes the fragile nature of our existence.
20 – “Between dawn & dusk” provides another word picture of the shortness and transient nature of life.
THINK: My elementary school was located on a very busy street, and, in order to keep kids safe, the city built a crosswalk so that nobody had to walk in the street and risk getting hit by a car in order to get to the other side. And the rule at our school was that you had to use the crosswalk in order to get to the other side. Crossing on the street was against the rules. But one day my friend Jason suggested that we just run across the street to get to the parking lot where his mom was waiting for us instead of walking all the way up the crosswalk. Being the total moron that I am sometimes, I said, “Okay!” and we ran across.
We didn’t get hit by any cars, but we did get caught by a teacher who was standing watch. By the time I got home only a few minutes later, my mom had already received a phone call from the school and I could tell by the look on her face that I was in huge trouble. I got punished at home, and I got punished at school. There were certainly consequences that I had to pay because of my stupid choice.
The overall thrust of Eliphaz’s words to Job is that he’s being made to suffer the consequences of his own stupid choice – which is clearly not the case in the book of Job. However it really is the case so often in our lives. We suffer and go through hard times as a result of the choices we’ve made to disobey God, to turn from his path, and to settle for less than his best. And then we get frustrated with the suffering and the fact that we have to pay the price for our actions. But if Eliphaz is right about anything it’s this: we can’t be more righteous or pure than God and so he is absolutely justified when he punishes our sins or allows us to suffer their natural consequences.
And when I think about that, I’m just overwhelmed on this Easter weekend. I’ve done so many dumb things and I have suffered consequences for many of them. But the ultimate consequence is death. And I know I’ve earned it. And God in his righteousness and purity would be totally justified in giving it to me. But instead he sent Jesus to die on the cross to take the punishment for me. And for you. For all of us. I pray that you’d be overwhelmed this Easter by the massive weight of what Jesus accomplished for you on the cross.
ASK: How comforting is it to know that, though life is short and fleeting, we don’t have to fear death because of the cross and resurrection? How do I need to respond to God in view of his great mercy and love shown to me through the sacrifice of Jesus?