“EMPTY NOTHINGS?” Thoughts from Today’readings – Dec. 18th
At the end of the Book of Job we will read how God rebukes Eliphaz and his two friends who have argued with Job. God tells them “you have not spoken of me what is right [40 v.11] Today we read Ch. 22, the third speech of Eliphaz who is reacting to Job’s complaint that the ‘friends’ – “comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood” [21 v.34]
Consider the response of Eliphaz; can we see how wrong he is? “Can a man be profitable to God?” he asks, “Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right, or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?” [22 v.2,3]
There is a half-truth in his implication that we cannot be profitable to God, but it is to God’s glory if we behave wisely with the wisdom that comes down from above. Let us remember our reading in James 3 v.13-18 earlier this month – and that there is joy in heaven over every sinner who repents [Luke 15 v.7]
It is clear that Eliphaz and his 2 friends have a total mindset that when things go wrong in the life of a human being – then this is a punishment for some sin. Even the disciples thought this way [John 9 v.2] when they asked Jesus concerning a blind man, “who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus had to correct them.
The ways that God thinks are far beyond the way we think [Isaiah 55 v.8,9] yet the more we read God’s word day after day, year after year, the more we can tune in to his wavelength. Those who do not do this so often utter “empty nothings”, like saying God is purely a God of love.
“Love” has been a key word in John’s epistles, as we have seen. Is it significant that the word “love” does not occur in the book of Job? Yet God “blessed the latter days of Job” [40 v.12] and showed his love toward him by the blessings he then received. By the same principle he will bless us if we speak of God that which is right, as Job did, and also, of course, do that which is right. The ‘foundation’ for this is laid when we read God’s word every day.