fable

REPETITIVE LIES TRY TO BE BELIEVABLE?

Lies are being told about Job so often now that even he may begin to consider them possible.  He may wonder if he has sinned.  If we see this happening in the world around us today, consider his endurance.  We are only half way through his ordeal now.

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,  Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?  Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?  Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?  Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?  Job 22:1-5

Eliphaz challenges Job by asking if God cares about his righteousness.  Would God be afraid to punish you because you are so good?  Or is your evil beyond measure?

For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.  Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.  But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.  Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.  Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;  Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.  Job 22:6-11

Job is accused of oppressing the poor and robbing widows.  Therfore Eliphaz supposes this misfortune of Job is God’s punishment.

Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!  And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?  Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.  Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?  Job 22:12-16

Eliphaz suggests that Job thinks that God cannot see from so far as the heavens, or through the clouds.  He accuses Job of following the way of evil men.

Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?  Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.  The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.  Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.  Job 22:17-20

Those evil men tell God to leave them alone while good men (like himself) are confident and prosperous in God’s goodness.

Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.  Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.  If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.  Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.  Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. Job 22:21-25

Eliphaz goes on to tell Job to get right with God.  He tells Job to repent of his sins so God can bless him.

For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.  Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.  Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.  When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.  He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands. Job 22:26-30

Eliphaz goes on and on about how Job could be healed and prosper by getting right with God.  But through all of this Job has been right with God all along.  Eliphaz is calling good evil, and believes that he is good for doing so.

The photo of Hitler with a little girl shows a propaganda image that hides the horrors of the reality that we know about him now.  But at the same time that right wing extremism was destroying millions, left wing Communism was doing much the same thing in Russia.  Men use different colors to paint the same lies.  Never rest in the assumption that you are getting the true story.

NOTION REJECTED

Job could see a different side of this vile story, but he had some hesitation.

Then Job answered and said,  Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.  Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!  I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.  I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.  Job 23:1-5

Job knows that he is hurting, bt wonders where to find God in his need.  He wants the words that make prayer that God will answer.

Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.  There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.  Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:  On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:  But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.  Job 23:6-10

Job knows that God would not reject him, but rather he would heal him.  But he doesn’t know where to find God now.  Still he recognizes that this is a trial that he will pass as gold.

My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.  Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.  But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.  For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.  Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.  For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:  Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.  Job 23:11-17

Job knows that he has stayed on the path.  He is not tempted to believe the voice of his accusers.  They hear the voice of the accuser of the brethren, Satan, and are deceived.  Jesus prayed that God would forgive his persecutors because “they know not what they do”.  God has allowed a trial and Job is troubled by this.  But he has faith to wait for understanding and deliverance.

Our world continues to tell the church that they are weak and superstitious.  They may even have help from those who claim to share our belief.  Your faith and doctrine will be subjected to endless disrespect.  There may be temptation to join in accusing others or to believe a lie.  Are you enduring a seemingly endless assault on your faith?  God will have an answer for your critics in his time.

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