October 26, 2023
We always look at Job's three counselors and wonder about their words. Some of what they say is correct, but at other points, it seems incorrect.
The foundation of Eliphaz's error can be seen in one of his opening remarks to Job.
Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright destroyed? According to what I have seen those who plow iniquity And those who sow trouble harvest it. By the breath of God they perish, And by the blast of His anger they come to an end. (Job 4:7-9)
This is the foundation of his wrong theology: sinful people suffer; righteous people never suffer. Many people believe this, and Satan loves to foster this condemning philosophy.
This is the basis of a whole line of teaching in OUR day, i.e., “If you have enough faith or are godly enough, you will be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous.” God does make incredible promises throughout the Bible. But He does NOT promise that we will be spared from tribulation. There are a myriad of godly men and women who have suffered. Just read Hebrews 11 and finish by studying Jesus Himself, who endured the most.
If we embrace the wrong theology (“suffering is always caused by our sin or a lack of faith"), it leads to all kinds of false conclusions. Any suffering will be viewed as a punishment. We will never see the vital role of suffering in the life of a believer. We may become angry at God when we walk with Him if the pain or problem lingers. We may think that prayer does not work or that God is impotent. We will find ourselves at odds with so many Scriptures, and we will put an unnecessary burden on many well-meaning, faithful believers. “If you just had enough faith, you wouldn’t be sick.”
But Christ does heal, he does prosper, he does provide, and--in the midst of all kinds of suffering He gives grace that is always sufficient! (You can ask Paul about that one!) But He also allows suffering for specific, God-glorifying, soul-developing purposes. He takes a Joni Eareckson Tada, paralyzed since 17, and uses her crippled body but vibrant, even joyful faith to magnificently show that God’s grace is sufficient. Her life of suffering and grace is a stunning and encouraging testimony to millions.
Praise God for a sufficient and faithful God and grace in all things! “In this world you will have tribulation,” our Elder Brother said, “But, be of good cheer! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
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