Job 22:21

 

Eliphaz continues speaking and says in Job 22:21-30, “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.[22] Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.[23] If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.[24] Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.[25] Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.[26] For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.[27] Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.[28] Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.[29] When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.[30] He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.Eliphaz says some things that are true in general, but the way that Eliphaz applies them to Job makes Eliphaz arrogant and self-righteous. Job was right with God all through this, and Job was seeking from the Lord more information about why Job was given such sufferings. Of course, the “friends” were sure that Job was not right with God, and that is why Job was suffering. And so Eliphaz decides to lecture Job on why and how to turn to God. And so Eliphaz says to Job in verse 21, “Acquaint now thyself with him…” In other words Eliphaz is saying, “You need to know God because you do not know Him.” In verse 23 Eliphaz says, “If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up…” In other words according to Eliphaz, all of Job’s sufferings are because Job does not know God. Of course, that is not true. There are quite a few people in our day and age who say the same thing that Eliphaz said in verse 24: “Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.” Turn to God and He will prosper you: that is the gospel of prosperity, and it is not true. In verse 28 when Eliphaz says, “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee,” it show that Eliphaz does not understand God or prayer at all. Believers cannot tell the mighty God what to do. We cannot decree a thing, and demand that God do it. We must always pray, “Not my will, but thine be done.”

 

The Bible says in Job 23:1-7, “Then Job answered and said,[2] Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.[3] Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat![4] I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.[5] I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.[6] Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.[7] There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.” Job is making it clear that he seeks an answer from God as to why all these sufferings happened to Job. Job knows that God always has the answer no matter what might plague us. That is why Jesus is called the Truth. And so Job says in verses 4 and 5, “I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.[5] I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.” Do what Job did: take everything on your heart to God and seek an answer from Him. Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find.”

 

Notice what Job says in verse 6: “Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.” And we see that Job has confidence in God and in God’s gracious attitude toward Job. Job knows that God is not “against” Job. As Jesus said, “If God be for us, then who can be against us?” Job said that God will “put strength in me.” I hope you know that God is your strength. The more that you learn to rely upon the Lord, the stronger that you will be. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”  

 

Job also made a great statement in verse 7, “There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.” If you are “righteous,” it is because of faith in the Lord Jesus. “Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.” To believe means to trust in or rely on. God keeps an account of who is righteous and who is not righteous. We are all sinners, but righteousness becomes credited to our account freely once we believe on Jesus. In God’s eyes our sinfulness becomes replaces by righteousness. Because we trust in Jesus, the righteousness of Christ gets credited to our account, even though we do not deserve it. That is grace.

 

Once you are one of God’s righteous children through faith in Christ, you have access to the power of God through prayer. When Job said, “There the righteous might dispute with him,” it means that you can discuss all of your problems with the Lord and seek an answer from Him. The Lord gives understanding. The Lord is the source of wisdom. Avail yourself of His open door. It says in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

Notice the last phrase of Job 23:7, “so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.” That is eternal security. Once you are accounted a righteous person by God through faith in Christ, that accounting is always there. You did not earn it. Jesus earned it for you. You are eternally secure in the arms of God and of Christ. What a Savior!

 

The Bible says in Job 23:8-9, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:[9] On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:” Job was exactly right: God is a God who hides Himself. The Bible says in John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time.” We live in a time of faith when we believe that which we do not see. That is God’s will for now. But that does not mean that we believe blindly. We can look at God’s creation and know that the Creator exists. The Holy Spirit touches our heart and reveals to us the truth. God speaks to us through His written Word when the Spirit enlightens us. Jesus reveals Himself spiritually speaking to the repentant sinner so that the sinner can believe on the risen Christ and enjoy the forgiveness of sins and be happy about his or her future in heaven. God also hides Himself in the sense that He sometimes speaks in a still small voice, so that only those who want to be touched by Jesus will know the truth of His salvation. God hides Himself in the sense that He gives to everyone a free will, and God is very polite. God allows you to use your freedom as you will. God will not force Himself upon you. We can believe without seeing because God can put faith in our hearts. Even faith is a gift from God. Jesus said to Thomas in John 20:29, “…because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

 

Even thou we cannot see God now, we will see Him one day. It will be glorious to gaze at the Savior. It will be wonderful to see the Father. Believers will first see Jesus at the Rapture. That is one of the reasons that we look forward to that event that can happen at any moment of any day. We are told in First John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.   

 

Job said in Job 23:10, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” This verse would be good to use as the theme of the entire book of Job. This is exactly what was happening in Job’s life. Be faithful in trusting in God even in the difficult times, and when everything is over, you will come out of it all a better person and a better follower of Christ. Once you are saved through faith in Christ and on your way to heaven, now God wants to make something out of your life. God wants to take the unfinished product and turn it into gold. It takes fire to purify gold. It takes fiery trials to purify your life. The New Testament says in First Peter 1:7, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

 

What does it take to go through a fiery trial and still be following the Lord and serving the Lord? For one thing it takes a great desire to serve God. You must have the attitude that no matter what happens to you, you are still going to follow the Lord Jesus the best that you can. Things will happen that you cannot anticipate, and that is one of the reasons that they hurt so much. Without the great desire to serve the Lord no matter what, you will be easily crushed and turned out of the straight and narrow way. But you must also have faith. You must have faith that no matter what happens to you, and even though you can see no good at all in what happened to you, you still have faith in God. God knows what He is doing even when I do not, and I will continue to trust in Him no matter what He has allowed to happen. A thousand things could go wrong every day, but most of those things God keeps from happening. So why did God allow this bad thing to happen? Job’s statement in verse ten is a statement of faith in God, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” It is similar to the faith expressed in the New Testament in Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them that love God and to them that are the called according to His purpose.” 

 

Job said in Job 23:11-12, “My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.[12] Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” We saw earlier in the book of Job that Job had been condemned by his wife. Job was also being constantly condemned by his “friends.” How did Job stand up to all this criticism and judging from others? Job was able to stand up to it because he knew who he was: a follower of God. That is what Job is saying in verses 11 and the first part of verse 12. Now that I am in Jesus, other people can condemn me all that they want, but I know that there is no condemnation of me from God, and that is what counts. Other people can condemn me all that they want, but I know that I am following Jesus the best that I know how, and I am in fellowship with the Lord, and all the promises of the Bible apply to me. If there is an area in my life where I need improvement, then I will gladly take constructive criticism and by God’s grace will make improvements, but I reject condemnations of me. It says in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.”

 

How can a person get to the place where he can ignore the criticisms of others? We must have faith in the Lord and not in people. Our faith gets strengthened by the Word of God. God speaks to us through His written Word, and we believe what we have read as it is applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and the result is that our faith is strengthened. The Bible says in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Job said at the end of Job 23:12, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” Job had his priorities right. Organize your life so that the Word of God has its proper place, and your faith will grow. Why do some Christians drift away from the Lord, and end up in a place where they do not live by faith like they once did? Somewhere along the line, they got their priorities wrong and they stopped being in the Bible as much as they needed. Jesus quoted from the book of Deuteronomy Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  

 

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Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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