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Chapter 22

Eliphazs last speech

God gains nothing from a mans behaviour
v1 Eliphaz, who belonged to the people called Temanites, answered. He said: v2 Nobody can assist God. Even a wise man cannot advise God. v3 God does not benefit if you are a good man. God does not gain anything if you are perfect. Chapter 22 Verses 1-3 In Job 21:14-15, Job spoke about the attitudes of wicked people. Such people will not serve God because there is no benefit for them. But Job would not behave like them. Even when Job lost all his possessions, he praised God (Job 1:21). Job was still loyal to God when his children died. And when Job became ill, he still trusted God (Job 2:10). Job was a good man because he respected God. So Job did not expect to benefit from God (Job 21:23-26). But Eliphaz had made a list of many benefits that God gives (Job 5:20-26). And Eliphaz believed that prayer has real value (Job 15:4). They were both right. God gives many good things to us (Matthew 5:3-9). But we should not serve God merely for the benefits that we receive (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Whatever happens, we should still trust God (Matthew 5:10-12). Job thought that good behaviour brought no benefits for the good man (Job 21:23-26). Eliphaz thought that this was nonsense. Eliphaz thought that our good behaviour cannot benefit God. Eliphaz thought that God is too great to care about anyones behaviour. But Eliphaz was wrong. God knew Job personally. God was proud of Jobs good behaviour (Job 2:3). In fact, Satan opposed Job because Satan wanted a reason to accuse God (Job 1:9-11; Job 2:4-5).

Eliphaz decides that Job is really an evil man

v4 God does not accuse a holy man. v5 God accuses you, Job, because you are very evil. You have done so many evil deeds. v6 When you lent even a small loan, you forced your brothers to hand over their property. You even took their clothes, so that they were naked. v7 You did not provide water for people who were weak. You did not provide food for hungry people. v8 But you were a powerful man, who owned much land. You were a man whom people respected. v9 You gave nothing to widows. You caused children to suffer. And those children had no fathers to protect them. v10 This is why you have so many troubles. This is why you are suddenly afraid. v11 You are like a man who cannot see in the darkness. Then a flood drowns that man. v12 But God is in the highest heavens. His home is even higher than the stars. v13 But you say, God does not know about me. He cannot see me because of the darkness. v14 Thick clouds surround God, so that he does not see us. He belongs in heaven. v15 These are ancient ideas, but they are the ideas of evil men. v16 Such men died when they were still young. The flood killed them. v17 They said to God, Go away! God does nothing that affects us. v18 But God filled their houses with good things. This is why I refuse to obey a wicked mans advice.

v19 A good man is glad when evil men suffer. An innocent man laughs. v20 He says, God has punished our enemies. So, fire burns their possessions. Verses 4-5 At last, Eliphaz accused Job clearly. He said that God was punishing Job for his evil deeds. But Eliphaz was wrong. Job was a good, honest man (Job 1:1). Verses 6-9 Eliphaz began his list of Jobs evil deeds. Job did not really do any such things. Eliphaz had no evidence, so he was guessing. Many people today would say that such deeds are not evil. These people would agree that it is wrong to steal. Or to murder. Or even to lie. But they think that a businessman should be clever. And they think that a wealthy person does not need to be generous. And that an important person does not need to use his power to help other people. Verses 10-11 Jobs friends realised that such behaviour is evil. They thought that such behaviour was the reason for Jobs troubles. Verse 12 God is in heaven, so he sees all our actions (Psalm 139). And his knowledge is perfect. So he knows our errors. Verses 13-14 Evil people imagine that God cannot see their evil deeds (Psalm 14:1). Verse 15 The three friends told Job to learn from ancient advice (Job 8:8-9; Job 15:10; Job 20:4). But Eliphaz knew that some ancient advice is wrong. Verses 16-17 Perhaps this refers to Noahs flood (Genesis chapters 6-8). God destroyed the ancient world by a flood, because its people were very evil. Verse 18 Eliphaz agreed that God gave good things to these evil people. But they would not serve God, so God punished them. In the second line, Eliphaz repeated Jobs words in Job 21:16. Eliphaz refused to obey the advice of wicked men because they do not appreciate Gods good gifts. But Job refused to obey their advice because he respected God. Verses 19-20 Job was afraid when he thought about the lives of wicked people (Job 21:6). But Eliphaz was glad to think about their troubles. He was sure that God would soon punish them.

Eliphaz tells Job to stop his evil behaviour

v21 Learn from God! Do not oppose him! Then you will be successful again. v22 Allow God to teach you! Learn his words! v23 Trust God again! He will help you. Stop your evil behaviour! v24 Do not trust in money! Return your gold to the rocks where you found it! v25 If you do this, God will defend you. And he is better than gold or fine silver. v26 Then you will be pleased with God. You will be glad that God sees you. v27 When you pray, God will hear you. And you will give the gifts that you promised to God. v28 You will achieve the things that you decide to do. You will be successful.

v29 When someone is sad, you will pray, God, help that person! And God will help that person. v30 You will even pray for someone who is guilty. And God will rescue that person. God will answer your prayer because you will be innocent. Verses 21-23 Eliphaz did not accuse Job in order to upset him. Eliphaz wanted to help his friend. So Eliphaz hoped that Job would confess his evil deeds to God. Then God would forgive Job. And Job would have a successful life again. But Eliphaz was still wrong. Job was an innocent man. And Job already was a true servant of God. Verses 24-25 These are good words. Eliphaz realised that real success is not money. Nobody should trust their wealth. We should trust God. Eliphaz emphasised his ideas with humour. Men used to find gold in the rocks (Job 28:6; Job 28:10). So Eliphaz told Job that his gold belonged in the rocks. Job should return his gold and trust God instead. Verses 26-28 Job wished that God did not watch him (Job 7:19). But Job hoped for the day when he could speak with God (Job 14:15). Eliphaz promised a good life to Job, if only Job would confess his evil deeds. And Eliphazs advice would be good advice if Job were an evil man. But Job was a good man. Job already trusted God. Verses 29-30 Eliphazs words were sincere. But they had a meaning that Eliphaz did not expect. Job was already a good man (Job 1:8). And Jobs prayers mattered to God (Job 40:1-5), although Job did not yet realise this. In fact, Jobs troubles would end when Job prayed for his friends (Job 42:7-8). In the end, God told the three friends that he was angry about their unfair words. God told them to ask Job to pray for them. And God forgave them when Job prayed. God forgave them because Job was a true servant of God.