God Is Just
5 “Call now, is there anyone who will answer you?
And to which of the holy ones will you turn?
2 “For anger slays the foolish man,
And jealousy kills the simple.
3 “I have seen the foolish taking root,
And I cursed his abode immediately.
4 “His sons are far from safety,
They are even [a]oppressed in the gate,
And there is no deliverer.
5 “[b]His harvest the hungry devour
And take it to a place of thorns,
And the [c]schemer is eager for their wealth.
6 “For affliction does not come from the dust,
Nor does trouble sprout from the ground,
7 For man is born for trouble,
As sparks fly upward.
8 “But as for me, I would seek God,
And I would place my cause before God;
9 Who does great and unsearchable things,
[d]Wonders without number.
10 “He gives rain on the earth
And sends water on the fields,
11 So that He sets on high those who are lowly,
And those who mourn are lifted to safety.
12 “He frustrates the plotting of the shrewd,
So that their hands cannot attain success.
13 “He captures the wise by their own shrewdness,
And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.
14 “By day they meet with darkness,
And grope at noon as in the night.
15 “But He saves from the sword of their mouth,
And the poor from the hand of the mighty.
16 “So the helpless has hope,
And unrighteousness must shut its mouth.
17 “Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise the discipline of [e]the Almighty.
18 “For He inflicts pain, and [f]gives relief;
He wounds, and His hands also heal.
19 “[g]From six troubles He will deliver you,
Even in seven evil will not touch you.
20 “In famine He will redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
21 “You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue,
And you will not be afraid of violence when it comes.
22 “You will laugh at violence and famine,
And you will not be afraid of [h]wild beasts.
23 “For you will be in league with the stones of the field,
And the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.
24 “You will know that your tent is secure,
For you will visit your abode and fear no loss.
25 “You will know also that your [i]descendants will be many,
And your offspring as the grass of the earth.
26 “You will come to the grave in full vigor,
Like the stacking of grain in its season.
27 “Behold this; we have investigated it, and so it is.
Hear it, and know for yourself.”
Eliphaz continues, and has a few more gems, and a few more duds. He start off with the sad plight of fools, but the next passage is all about shrewd folks being thwarted. Indeed, God is “hope for the helpless” as Eliphaz notes in verse 16. And per verse 17, God disciplines those he loves, so we should not despise His correction in our lives.
But to think that nothing bad will happen just because we follow God is a bit foolish. Certainly, we should not fear any of the things Eliphaz mentions in the final passage, but not because such things would never happen to one who trusts in God. Rather, we should not fear anyone or anything except God, and not the sort of fear that makes one hide away from the world. But instead, we fear and respect God because He is the one who is in control of the destiny of our souls.
Yet He is our hope as well, and our hope is so great that we need fear no earthly evil. For what can man do? Even in this day, many are persecuted for their faith and even give their lives for Christ, but our eternity is secure in Him. It reminds me of a passage in Habakuk, that even when all seems lost, God is our strength. There is none like Him, who holds us in His mighty hands. Yes, God will bring storms in life, but they are not the end. He is the beginning and the end, and also our peace in the middle of the storm.
Our Savior will not cheat the storm that is needed to make us stronger, but He will walk with us every step of the way, and see that we make it through to the other side.