S (Scripture): Job 4:4
Your words have raised up the falling;
you’ve steadied failing knees.
But now it comes to you, and you are dismayed;
it has struck you, and you are frightened.
Isn’t your religion the source of your confidence;
the integrity of your conduct, the source of your hope?
Think! What innocent person has ever perished?
When have those who do the right thing been destroyed?
As I’ve observed, those who plow sin
and sow trouble will harvest it.
When God breathes deeply, they perish;
by a breath of his nostril they are annihilated.
O (Observation): Eliphaz is one of Job’s friends. He is trying to speak from a perspective of logic to help explain to Job the reason for what is going on. At this point, Job’s livestock and family have been killed. Job himself has had boils / lesions all over his body. Job is in mourning.
Eliphaz reminds Job that Job’s faith has been a witness to many who have suffered loss. And yet, Eliphaz is confused to see that Job has not taken on his own council for himself.
To explain things, Eliphaz conflates some ideas in a less than helpful manner. He thinks bad things only happen to sinners. He can’t see bad things happening to good people. Job is good. But bad things around him have happened. Therefore (according to Eliphaz) something bad must have been going on.
A (Application): Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. We see it all the time. And we get upset or jealous.
We think God should reward us for the good we do, and correct us when we do bad. This is kind of how most of us raise our kids. Reward the good. Punish the bad.
Perhaps we can think in this way: God doesn’t tempt or taunt or expose us. God meets us where we are and doesn’t control us or our actions. Instead, God gives us grace and the space to do what we will with that grace.
Sometimes that grace is exactly what we will need when our world comes crashing down around us. And when we have something go right in our lives, we can rejoice in that moment.
P (Prayer): God, help us to sense your presence in our lives in the good and the bad. Amen.