The log in your own eye…
The friend and commentator on Job’s situation Eliphaz speaks a third time.
Fairly or unfairly he lists a bunch of things Job has done wrong.
The crimes are ones that could be levelled against many prosperous people. Turning away some of the poor and hungry, cautiously demanding security on loans to relatives. Lacking generosity to the vulnerable.
They match rather well the behaviours that separate the sheep from the goats when Jesus teaches (when did I see you hungry, naked, homeless, Lord?) They echo the strong practical compassion theme that runs through the Torah.
Then he has a section on ‘who are you to question God?’ he gives him ironic advice, telling Job to put away his wealth, study God’s words and accept his instruction.
Well God has already seen to the wealth, and job has been pleading for God to speak to him, alternating with, it must be admitted, requests to be left alone by God, which Eliphaz has seized on as a sin.
But Eliphaz’s advice seems more relevant to himself. He is still prosperous, yet he and his friends appear to have hardened their heart to Job. Would they not also victim blame the poor and hungry if they encountered them?
Instead of chastising Job for the wealth he no longer has, perhaps they should look at their own. Rather than Job’s fate making them wonder what he did wrong, they should treat it as warning from God to humble themselves lest the same happen to them.
The moralising is not wrong. Many of his points are like things Jesus would say. But his moralising is getting in the way of his ability to accept the truth in what Job is saying, and his self reflection.
There’s lots of talking, but little dialogue because no one is actually listening to each other in their haste to make points in support of their own point of view. It’s very familiar.
If the friends accepted the injustice of Job’s situation, they could start to become as Christ to him, helping him instead of attacking him.
Using God truth to avoid doing his will in the present moment, what a classic!
I pray for wisdom today in my job interview, all I can do is give a full account of myself and hope there isn’t a better candidate (for my sake… Not a problem for them!)
Either way, it brings a little more clarity to my situation.