Eliphaz elegantly continues the fake wisdom in Chapter 22. He uses Psalm 16:2 and 1 Chronicles 29:14 to conclude that all Job’s calamities must be because of his own sin; there cannot be any other explanation. Instead of dealing with the facts of Job’s life, he argues why innocence is impossible given the results. Eliphaz then launches a verbal assault, no longer nuanced, but “in-your-face”:
“Is not your evil abundant? There is no end to your iniquities” (22:5).
Then without proof of any kind, Eliphaz uses the rest of the chapter to list an incredible series of evils that Job must have done to receive such extreme judgment from God. Eliphaz is not only playing God, he is inventing God. Today he would be served with a libel lawsuit.
In verses 21 to 30, Eliphaz concludes that Job does not even know God, and offers syrupy pastoral counseling that Job should turn to God, clean up his act, and God will forgive him.
I note here that throughout this entire debate, fake wisdom has never detected the presence of Satan, roaming like a lion, slithering as the snake of Eden. Of course, neither does Job know that God has given Satan permission to test him to the limits.
So this entire encounter is about who God is: distant and vague with overwhelming judgment; or personal with never-ending love and restoration in response to repentance?
While Job cannot know Jesus, he has inklings of a Savior in Chapter 23. He responds to the “counseling” of Eliphaz:
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food” (23:10-12).
Read this passage a couple more times. Take it as your personal response to suffering. Pray God and come out as gold! Don’t play God and question why.
In Chapter 24, Job asks rhetorically why the wicked always seem to be sustained in power and wealth, while the innocent seem to suffer. He then answers, saying all is not as it seems:
“[Yes,] They are exalted a little while, and then are gone; they are brought low and gathered up like all others; they are cut off like the heads of grain” (24:24).
Job is saying that we should not play God by trying to explain his timing or his motives. The wicked may appear to thrive, but in the end, they are cut off from God like unripe heads of grain – forever.
Rather we should pray God, even pleading our case before his mighty presence. On our own, we might come out as ashes. But with Jesus as our advocate – read that as defense attorney – we will come out as gold, shining in the Son of Heaven!