So, I’m reading the amazing Book of Job again. As you remember, after Job’s grievous calamities, three of his friends came to offer him comfort. In chapters 3 through 31 we read the back-and-forth dialogue between Job and these friends. They all show astounding wisdom and make great claims about God, life and the human condition. All of what is recorded in Job is Scripture and inspired by God. The words were faithfully and truthfully written and copied. As I read Job, however, I am a little “guarded” in my heart. Even though we have the words of Job and his friends divinely preserved, this doesn’t mean their perception and insights were right. Take Eliphaz for example. Here is what he said to Job: “Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it” (Job 4:7-8). As I read this, I thought to myself, This is true as a general observation. Eliphaz reminds Job (and us) of the truth of the innocent not perishing as those who do evil, and those who do evil reaping trouble. However, what happens in life does not always fit neatly into this observation. Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense in the moment. A quick look at history, as well as considering the suffering of persecuted Christians in the world right now, shows us that God’s people sometimes pay a great price for their faith. And it seems that those who do evil sometimes prosper greatly in their endeavors. Eliphaz was right in his general observation but wrong in his application of this to Job. When he said, “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it” (verse 8), he misapplies this truth to Job. In other words, he assumed that Job was evil because of his trials and tests. Let’s take this to heart and be careful. God’s Word is true, but let’s rely on the Holy Spirit and God’s wisdom to apply His truth to particular situations. Sometimes, it’s better to pray for someone and use our words sparingly than to pretend we know everything that is going on. Don’t be one of those who is right…but wrong.
Pastor Mark Boucher