On verses 17-27: Eliphaz concludes his speech with words that sound like they could come from the book of Psalms, Proverbs or the Old Testament prophets. Eliphaz’s message to Job is not to despise the Lord’s discipline (v17), but to treat his discipline as a blessing. Eliphaz’s encouragement to Job is that if Job will have the right attitude toward the hardship he is going through, he will ultimately be restored, healed (v18), rescued (v19), delivered (v20), protected (v21), enjoy great peace (v22-24) and be very fruitful (v25-26).
Eliphaz’s message dovetails with other passages in the Bible like:
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV) 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Hebrews 12:7, 11 (NIV) 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
What can we learn from this? This is the one part of Eliphaz’s speech that might be helpful to Job. Though Eliphaz still wrongly assumed that Job was suffering because of Job’s sin, Eliphaz was right to encourage Job to persevere and to believe that God’s help and healing are on the way. What I learn from this is that sometimes when listening to others, we need to the pick out the good from the bad. When a person comes to you with words that are difficult to hear, where much of what they are saying may be wrong or ill-founded, try to find something that is helpful from what they are saying instead of throwing everything out immediately. Remember that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
When you choose to pick what is helpful and true from a difficult conversation, you maximize the opportunity to learn and grow from that experience.
Of course, it would be foolish and wrong to take that approach with God. We can’t pick and choose what we want to listen to and obey from God’s Word. But when it comes to people, sometimes we need to do just that, since none of us is perfect. Heavenly Father, when people are saying things that seem very wrong, inaccurate or foolish to me, please give me discernment to pick out the good from the bad. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!