I don’t have any friends named Eliphaz, but if I did I’d probably ‘de-friend’ them. Guilt by association.
Job had a friend by that name (Job 4) and he turned out to be a finger pointer, a denouncer, a fault finder where none existed. He specialized in criticism cloaked in false concern.
He revealed his theology in his first diatribe. He implied that Job’s grievous condition must be the result of sin in his life. “After all,” he postulates, “the righteous don’t get this kind of treatment from God. But the wicked get a full dose of God’s judgment.”
And how was this faulty theology revealed to him? Listen to his own words here:
“A spirit swept past my face, and my hair stood on end. The spirit stopped, but I couldn’t see its shape. There was a form before my eyes. In the silence I heard a voice say, ‘Can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone be pure before the Creator?’” Job 4:15-17 New Living Translation
That sinister voice has been casting doubt about God’s ability to wipe away sin and restore innocence since the Garden of Eden. That message has the same effect on us as it did on Job. It robs us of hope. It casts mistrust over our Redeemer. It’s a courage destroyer … a confidence shaker. It’s the voice of condemnation and it can and does come from all quarters.
But there is another voice and even when it corrects it dispenses hope. Even when we have a poor record and prior convictions, that voice offers an unclouded future. Listen as it states the truth that Satan doesn’t want any of us to receive: “But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:15 New Living Translation
This week, be very careful to whom you listen. It you receive a word that troubles your spirit, germinates hopelessness and raises a cloud over your future … it’s not God talking to you. Because greater than your sin and your past is God’s wonderful grace and his unfathomable gift of forgiveness.
May boundless joy accompany you on your journey!