Friday, April 14, 2006

Never Assume

Day 51: Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar
Job 4-7

- these are 3 of Job's "friends". I put friends in quotations because they don't really seem like friends once they start spewing out accusations against Job.
- Eliphaz, in ch 4-5, points out that sin begets suffering. He rhetorically asks "when have the innocent or upright been oppressed?" Really, he's suggesting that Job must be doing something wrong because suffering is clearly a consequence of sin. In most cases this is correct, but God doesn't work according to a rigid set of rules. It's very clear in the bible that God often draws away from His people and hides Himself from us. Many psalms of David talk about this fact and David had one of the closest friendships with God. He remarked, "Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" "Why have you forsaken me?" "Why have you rejected me?" As Rick Warren pointed out in his book The Purpose Driven Life, God promised He would never forsake us but He never promised that we would feel Him all the time. Anyway, this seems to be the fundamental flaw of the conclusion drawn by Eliphaz.
- In the end, he urges Job to appeal to God and confess his sins.
- Job responds with a disappointment in his friends. They have come but have not been of any consolation to Job. If I had more time, it would be interesting to break down the verses in an attempt to understand exactly what Job is trying to say. He seems to be confused, and rightly so. He doesn't understand why he has been made to suffer like this because he knows that he has not wronged God. I don't think it's a sin to ask God when we don't understand circumstances in the way Job does.

I think I need to be careful when I judge others. Here is a prime example of where assumptions go wrong. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar incorrectly assume that Job must have done something wrong and all make this clear to Job (the latter two even more harshly than Eliphaz). Like Job says, this is not what friends should be doing. Rather than accusing Job, they should be praying with Job and should know Job better. They should know that Job has not anything wrong and should not have to even question his integrity. For them to make such accusations is an insult to their friendship.



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