Verse 7 contains the heart of what Eliphaz believes – good happens to good people, bad to bad. Eliphaz can say such wonderful words eg 5:17, yet heap false guilt upon his friend. Eliphaz sees God disciplining Job for sin, not Job suffering because he lives in a world broken by sin.
“Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off?”
Eliphaz, the first of Job’s friends to speak, speaks with passion and power.
Imagine that for at least seven days you have been formulating the ideas and opinions in your head – And now the debate begins.
Why did these terrible things happen to Job?
For Eliphaz, at the core of his response (which is very flowery, and also has some good wisdom in it) is that bad things only happen to those who do bad things. If you are righteous, you will be free.
“As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.”
This is a very destructive theology, one that ends in sorrow and loss.
What does Eliphaz, what does this thinking, do with truths such as the psalmist wrestles with in Psalm 73,
“For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked,”
“Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.”
How does this prosperity doctrine hold up with the suffering and persecution of the saints?
Eliphaz is forgetting the spiritual realities, those that we cannot see, but that are true and real.
The psalmist knows the truth of the matter, and we read further down in Psalm 73,
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
We have this hope, founded in our King Jesus, God the Son who won us an inheritance like no other, an eternal hope beyond what we see!
* Father God,
You are our strength and portion forever – Thank You!
You work for the good of Your people, us – Thank You!
And You work good through bad, that we see most clearly at the crux of all of time and creation – At the cross, where You in the person of the Son bore the full just wrath for Your people.
Thank You gracious Lord and Saviour – Hallelujah!