The Word Made Fresh
1Eliphaz continued, “Call out and see who answers. To what heavenly being will you turn? 2It is true that a fool can die of frustration and a simple-minded person can die of jealousy. 3I have personally seen fools in the making, and know their home was cursed. 4Their children were not safe. They were publicly humiliated, and there was no one to rescue them. 5The hungry eat the fool’s harvest, even going so far as to pull it away from briers, and the thirsty watch for the opportunity to drink up his wealth. 6Misery doesn’t just pop up from the ground. Troubles don’t grow from the dirt. 7Instead, some people are doomed to have trouble as sure as smoke rises.
8“If I were you, I would lay my case before God. 9God does great things that cannot be understood, and wonderful things that can’t be counted. 10God sends rain on the earth to water the fields; 11lifts up those who are looked down on; protects those who are in mourning. 12God frustrates the plans of tricksters and prevents them from being successful. 13God catches the clever in their own schemes and brings their plans to a quick end, 14and they can find no direction in the daytime; they fumble around in the middle of the day like it is the middle of the night. 15God rescues the poor from the hands of the wealthy, 16and they have hope. Injustice is thwarted.
17“Those whom God corrects rejoice; there is no need to hate the discipline of the Almighty. 18God may wound, but then bandages the wounds. God may strike, but then restores with healing hands. 19God will rescue you from six troubles, then protect you from the seventh as well. 20God will restore you from famines and save you from the sword in times of war. 21Curses spoken by your enemies will never harm you, and when destruction comes you need not be afraid. 22You’ll be able to laugh at these things. Furthermore, you will have nothing to fear from wild animals 23because you will be as safe as the stones in the fields, and the wild animals will be peaceful with you. 24Your tent will always be safe, and nothing will be missing from your folds. 25You can be confident that you will have many children; they will spring up like grass from the ground. 26You will live to a ripe old age, like sheaves of grain brought to the threshing floor in the proper season. 27Look – I have examined all of this, and it is true, so listen and believe it for your own benefit.”
1-7: Eliphaz continues reporting God’s word that came to him in the vision. “Human beings are born to trouble, just as sparks fly upward.” In other words, stuff happens. It is as natural and as unavoidable as heat rising.
8-16: He advises Job to simply surrender to God. Nature also witnesses that God does marvelous things, after all, and God does indeed seem to favor the poor and needy in this world.
17-27: His argument here seems to be that suffering at God’s hand is itself a sign of God’s favor, and that once having endured such trials one can be sure that God’s protection will not fail. The future, in other words, is in no way defined by the troubles that have befallen you. Trust that God can still redeem your life.
Everyone suffers loss and troubles in life. It doesn’t mean God has turned away from you. Self-pity has no value. It does not take away our suffering nor does it improve our lot. But God can.