"Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?" Job 5:1
Have you ever had someone come up to you and tell you that God told him something about you? Has anyone ever turned to you and professed great wisdom that you should obey or wise counsel that you must adhere to?
Have you ever been the one to urge another to listen to your warning, to change the path they are taking, to listen to you declare the wickedness you see in their lives?
I squeeze my eyes shut in shame at these last questions, because quite honestly, been there done that.
Job's friends claimed to have great spiritual insight. For whatever reason, they believed that if they could convince Job of his sin, everything would be all right.
I mean, really. Has that ever worked? Well, I do think when the prophet Nathan approached David about his sin with Bathsheba, it worked. David did take it to heart and changed. But then, David actually knew he'd sinned. Nathan wasn't telling him anything he didn't already know.
And what I find interesting here is that Eliphaz seemed to believe there was no one who would help Job. Did he really think that Job was so far gone that any person of faith wouldn't reach out to help him? So....what does that say about Eliphaz?
To be kind, I do think it possible that Eliphaz genuinely wanted to help Job. But for the hidden things of his heart. We are complex people and Eliphaz is no different than us. Rarely do we have singular motives. In fact, often we deceive ourselves into believing we are singularly motivated for good. Only to discover later, that we were not.
Wisdom tells us to hold our tongue. Only the Holy Spirit can do a true work of conviction. That's part of His job description (John 16:7-12). Yes, there are times when our words are used by the Holy Spirit to convict...but there again, the work is that of the Holy Spirit not us.
The prophet Nathan went to David under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I'm not thinking that Eliphaz went to Job under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Although, I do believe God used Eliphaz's words to prove Job.
I've been mulling over the following verses:
Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:17-18)
Perhaps in Eliphaz' mind he was doing just this: loving Job by telling him he had sinned. But I'm not thinking his words actually bear this out. I think that Eliphaz bore a grudge against Job and was taking this occasion to try to convict Job of the perceived sin.
I know I've mentioned this in a previous post, but I think it bears reviewing. Two things we should be conscious of before we confront another person:
- Our Motive
- Our Love (or lack thereof)