Job 5:17-18 “Blessed is the man whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal.
We are back to the paradox of the Book of Job. Eliphaz is here speaking truth that is repeated multiple times in the Bible, notably in Hebrews 12, yet 42:7 is specifically addressed to him, saying that he has not spoken of God what is right. I think the problem was that he was speaking truisms from an attitude of holier-than-thou, rather than being humble before God and coming alongside Job in his suffering. It’s pretty easy to spout truth, quoting either the Bible or any of a number of wise people, but speaking God’s truth in the specific situation is a different matter. This should be a huge cautionary note for any “professional Christian,” someone who is academically trained but may or may not be in right relationship with God himself. The irony is that God can speak even through such people. After all, He spoke through Caiaphas, who was actively involved in getting Jesus crucified! (John 11:49-52) We can speak truth and have it do us no good, if we fail to allow it to pass through and change our own heart.
This is something I’m sharply aware of for myself. I first read through the Bible by the time I was 10, but I’m still convicted by it 63 years later. I continue to feel that James 1:22 was written expressly for me! I am often in situations of speaking truth to others in various contexts, but I must always do so in full humility, never talking down to them as Eliphaz did to Job. I am to be grateful for all that God has taught me and not discount it in any way, but at the same time not think that knowing those things makes me better than others. As Paul so accurately said, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1) He famously expanded on that later in that same letter, saying that everything is meaningless without love. (1 Corinthians 13) I’ve got to be careful that I’m motivated by the love of God, and not by a prideful desire to “set people right.” That last can be a real temptation, particularly when people spout off politically correct foolishness. As C. S. Lewis so wisely said, one thing we can be sure of about heaven is that when we get there, we will discover we were all wrong about something. I need to operate in love and humility, while still keeping hold of the truth that God has written on my heart.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Yesterday I was asked to write an article for a national prayer newsletter, and I feel very inadequate. I ask for Your clear guidance and anointing, because the last thing I want to do is write out of my own head. May the words I record be what You want to say to the believers in this nation, drawing them into line with Your perfect plan and opening the door for Your Spirit to sweep over us all, for the salvation of multitudes and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!