From Job 5-7
In the start of today’s reading Eliphaz is still speaking to Job. He talks about how the wicked are punished and the poor are hopeful. He acknowledges that the LORD disciplines his people and in doing so encourages Job to accept the LORD’s discipline.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
4 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
5.17 “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.
18 For he wounds, but he binds up;
he shatters, but his hands heal.
19 He will deliver you from six troubles;
in seven no evil shall touch you.
20 In famine he will redeem you from death,
and in war from the power of the sword.
21 You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue,
and shall not fear destruction when it comes.
22 At destruction and famine you shall laugh,
and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.
23 For you shall be in league with the stones of the field,
and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.
24 You shall know that your tent is at peace,
and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing.
25 You shall know also that your offspring shall be many,
and your descendants as the grass of the earth.
26 You shall come to your grave in ripe old age,
like a sheaf gathered up in its season.
27 Behold, this we have searched out; it is true.
Hear, and know it for your good.” (Job 5.17-27)
There is some good advice in here. The LORD does discipline those he loves and he does so for their good. Eliphaz logic also understands the LORD to be the righteous king. He looks after his people whom he has redeemed. This is how the people in the Old Testament thought (we will see more of it in Psalms). The LORD is always active and cares for his people. This is one of the reasons why suffering and disaster were thought of to be signs of the LORD’s displeasure. Eliphaz is implicitly exhorting Job to accept the LORD’s discipline with the hope he will restore him.
6 Then Job answered and said:
2 “Oh that my vexation were weighed,
and all my calamity laid in the balances!
3 For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
therefore my words have been rash.
4 For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
my spirit drinks their poison;
the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
5 Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,
or the ox low over his fodder?
6 Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?
7 My appetite refuses to touch them;
they are as food that is loathsome to me. (Job 6.1-7)
Job seems beyond the point where he will accept advice like this. He begins to question the justice in his suffering. How could the LORD be just and allow this to happen to him? Even more, the arrows of the LORD are in him. The suffering he is experiencing is from the LORD. As Job continues speaking into chapter 7 he starts to lament the insignificance of life and consider death.
Story of Jesus
Jesus predicted the suffering and discipline of those who abide in him.
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (Jn 15:1–11)
The text is clear, those who abide in Jesus will be pruned so they may bear fruit (Jn 15.2). This is painful discipline. Job may not have sinned, but he is being disciplined and pruned by the LORD.
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