Job 22:1-3 (NIV) 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?
On verses 1-3: I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Eliphaz’s words in verses 2-3: 2 “Are any of us strong enough to give God a hand, or smart enough to give him advice? 3 So what if you were righteous—would God Almighty even notice? Even if you gave a perfect performance, do you think he’d applaud?” (Job 22:2-3 (MSG))
Job 22:5 (NIV) 5 Is not your wickedness great? Are not your sins endless?
On verses 4-11: After suggesting that Job’s wickedness is great and that his sins are endless (v4-5), Eliphaz finally gets more specific about the sins he believes Job has committed which he thinks have led to Job’s suffering:
– Eliphaz accuses Job of demanding security from his brothers. Instead of lending money and not asking for anything in return, Job stripped his neighbours bare of what they had, according to Eliphaz (v6);
– Eliphaz accuses Job of withholding water and food from the poor (v7) despite being a wealthy landowner (v8);
– Eliphaz accuses Job of not taking care of widows and discouraging orphans (v9);
Eliphaz claims that it is because of these sins that Job is now suffering – “That is why snares are all around you, why sudden peril terrifies you, why it is so dark you cannot see and why a flood of water covers you” (v10-11).
Did Job actually commit these sins? If he did, for some reason God did not count them against Job, since God calls Job blameless in Job 1:8 and 2:3.
What can we learn from this? What God says about you is far more important than what any other person says about you. God knows your situation fully, whereas people only see partially. Amazingly, though God is aware of every sin we commit, He still shows us more mercy than people who don’t know the half of it. So do not allow other people’s opinions to hold you hostage. Live in and for the opinion of the God who loves you the most and who has washed your sins in the blood of His Son Jesus.
Job 22:18-20 (NIV) 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.’
On verses 12-20: To paraphrase Eliphaz, “Job, stop thinking that God can’t see all the evil you have been doing (v12-14). You’re traveling the same path all other evil doers have traveled before you (v15). All of them perished before their time, to the delight of the righteous (v16-20).”
By the way, what does Eliphaz mean when he says in verse 18, “so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked”? He means that his hope is not in wicked people. Job in fact uses the exact same words earlier in Job 21:16. Job and Eliphaz are in agreement that wicked people are not worth depending on since their prosperity is ultimately not their own doing, but God’s.
What can we learn from this? Realize that every good thing we have in life is not simply the result of our own hard work or clever planning. Rather, as James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” So give God the praise that He is due.
Heavenly Father, thank You that it is Your opinion that counts far more than anyone else’s. Thank You that through the blood of Jesus Christ I am clean, forgiven and acceptable in Your sight, no matter what the enemy tries to convince me of otherwise. Thank You that You have filled our houses with good things, even when You knew how wicked we could be. That is Your grace and mercy on our lives, expressed most of all when You sent Your Son Jesus to knock on our door and to be with us. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!