Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope? Job 4:3-6 (NIV)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
The story of Job may be familiar to you. Job lost everything and his friends came to try to support him, but instead of providing him with encouragement their words failed to hit the mark. Why?
Job knew he was suffering, his friends knew he was suffering. Despite this his friends didn’t seem to help.
Eliphaz was the first to speak to Job and try to turn him around. He reminded Job that in the past he had been a great help to others. Job had obviously been a help to others who were going through difficult times. Eliphaz reminds Job that he has been a good person and that this should give Job confidence now that he himself is going through hard times.
Eliphaz did what many people do and appealed to the fact that Job was a pious and good person and because of this goodness he should be encouraged. Eliphaz’ argument was that bad things don’t happen to good people and that as Job was a good person, all would be well. Eliphaz obviously put his confidence in himself and good deeds.
The verse quoted above from Romans 8 gives us confidence that even in the midst of trouble God is at work. What we have to guard against is the idea supported by Eliphaz that somehow good people should be protected from any trouble. Instead of being protected from trouble, God is with us in our troubles. His plans will work out through the good and bad times. So don’t despair when trouble comes, look for the good that God wants you to get from it.
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