Job 22 has the volley continuing between Job and his buddies. Eliphaz takes the baton now and begins the third round of debate with Job. The first round was generalities about their view of God and His ways. They didn’t directly apply them to Job but made sweeping statements of what they believed to be truths. In the second round of interaction, it began to get personal and they focused on what happens to the wicked and there quickly becomes a contradiction between the ways the two sides see things.
Now in the third round of debate, everything is brought into the open and they are on complete opposite sides of their view of what God is doing. Eliphaz starts out questioning whether or not Job even matters to God. “Can a man be profitable to God?” He challenges Job around whether or not God even cares. God does not need man at all – which is true. He lacks nothing, and we add nothing to all that God is. All true, but only one side of God’s reality for mankind. God loves each of us and that is the part of the reality the three amigos miss.
Eliphaz rehashes his view of Job’s wickedness. “Is not your evil abundant?” Surely, the catastrophe that came upon Job (which Eliphaz called “reproof”), did not come because Job feared God; it came because of Job’s evil life. He was getting what he deserved. Eliphaz no longer believes that Job really fears God. Here’s the simple answer Eliphaz provides: “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you”. Just get your act together Job and all this ends. But their understanding of what is happening is still incorrect.
The answer according to Eliphaz is to get right with God. And normally, that is pretty good advice. It was off the mark here with Job because the assumption of why the challenges were coming was wrong, but for our lives these words are sound. “Receive instruction from his mouth….lay up his words in your heart….return to the Almighty….remove injustice far from your tents….then the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver”. It is all about our relationship with God. He desires it. He wants us to “delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God”. This is guidance all of us can learn and benefit from if we apply it in our own lives. It isn’t for us to run around pointing fingers at others. We need to look in the mirror and ask God to help us walk this way with Him ourselves each day!