“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent Job 22:21-23
Eliphaz continues his attack. If Job is so righteous, why does God reprove him? Eliphaz insists that deep in Job’s heart sin must always have been hidden. Perhaps men could not see Job’s wickedness. But God saw! ~ ends with an appeal. Turn and be saved. Hidden sins too can be forgiven.
Eliphaz intensifies the pressure on Job, whose arguments seem incomprehensible. How can any man’s meaningless life benefit God? (22:1-3). The question implies that God is not personally involved with individuals – that He stands back, impartial, and metes out punishment and reward simply because it’s His role as moral judge of humanity. Eliphaz thus can move from general statements about the wicked being punished to accuse Job of society’s great sins (vv. 4-20) and be totally consistent when he concludes with an impassioned plea to repent. Surely then the impartial, almost mechanical God Eliphaz believes in will deliver (vv. 21-30).
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied: 2 “Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person benefit him? 3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless? 4 “Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you?
Benefiting God (22:1-3). Eliphaz’s God is impersonal, uninvolved, self-contained. His God does not need man or take personal pleasure in man’s actions. This we know is wrong. In Job 1-2 God expresses His pleasure in Job, as “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (1:8). And through Satan’s defeat Job did glorify God and so benefit the Lord.
When we live for Him, the Lord is both pleased and glorified.
Crime and punishment (22:1-20) In the OT, guilt was established by witnesses and punishment followed. Here, Eliphaz is reasoning backward. Job is being punished, therefore, God must have witnessed Israel’s sinful acts. But how can Eliphaz accuse Job of specific sins, since neither he nor his friends have witnessed Job sinning? Carrying his reverse reasoning a step further, the sins God witnessed must be the worst conceived of in that society – oppression of the weak and contempt for God.
21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. 22 Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent 24 and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, 25 then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. 26 Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. 27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. 28 What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. 29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. 30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”
→ There is one problem with Eliphaz’s logic. He was completely wrong! Never accuse or condemn your brothers and sisters on circumstantial evidence. You’re almost certain to be wrong – and cause as much hurt – as Eliphaz.
Eliphaz’s words in this chapter sound so right, that many people are quoting him out of context! We should all be careful! We must not try people by public opinion or media but only in court where facts are carefully examined.