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May 9, 2021 | Chris Baselice
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“Can a person do anything to help God? Can even a wise person be helpful to him? Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect? Is it because you're so pious that he accuses you and brings judgment against you? No, it's because of your wickedness! There's no limit to your sins.”—Job 22:2–5 (NLT)
You know . . . the more I read about Job’s pals, the more they remind me of the Pharisees. They were self-righteous, fancied themselves wise, believed they understood God and were representing Him and His heart correctly, and—as hard as this may be to believe—actually thought they were helping Job by getting him to repent of his obvious wickedness. I imagine they believed they were giving him tough love to make him realize the error of his ways. Sadly, though, like the Pharisees, they were way off.
In today’s passage, we see Eliphaz say something so right, and then follow it up with something so wrong. By saying that man’s “righteousness” and “wisdom” doesn’t benefit God or make Him owe us anything, Eliphaz was right! God’s salvation, grace, and mercy are free gifts through the blood of Jesus. In claiming that God was afflicting Job because of his wickedness, he was wrong!
This is where we see the Pharisee come out. He wrongly assumed sinfulness in Job and propped himself up as extremely wise and knowing the heart of God. This way of thinking—that affliction, sickness, and suffering are the result of sin—is explained in the Talmud (extra-biblical laws/traditions of the Pharisees), and even impacted the philosophy of the Jewish people of Jesus’ day, including His disciples (John 9:2).
But the truth is, like the Pharisees, Job’s friends misrepresented the heart of God. They showed themselves to have an extremely poor understanding of who God is and how He works. You see, these guys argued with Job using humanist philosophy . . . a position based on human tradition, human logic, human experience, and human merit. Their conclusions; however, were flawed. Again, like the Pharisees, they believed that man had to earn God’s favor (a common humanist misconception), therefore suffering was a sign of God’s displeasure.
So, they accused him of all manner of evil, none of which he was guilty for. Here’s what I want you to see today: As a Christ-follower, you will be accused of all manner of things—bigotry, narrow-mindedness, hatred, ignorance, etc. Jesus was also accused. The early Christians were even accused of incest (because they referred to one another and brothers and sisters), cannibalism (because of communion), disloyalty, and a lack of patriotism (not celebrating pagan festivals and believing they were citizens of another land).
But here’s the thing . . . When you encounter opposition and accusation from the world for following Jesus and living as He did, consider it confirmation that you’re doing the right thing. When you encounter trials, don’t listen to the outside voices, listen for the still, small voice of God as He works in your life.
DIG: What accusations did people bring against Jesus, the apostles, and the early Church?
DISCOVER: Have you ever been accused of anything based on your faith and on living in the light of the gospel? How did you respond?
DO: Don’t be like Job’s friends or the Pharisees . . . Don’t make accusations and hand out judgment or condemnation. Pray and discern. If you see a fellow brother or sister living in sin, approach them with care, speak the truth IN LOVE, and be there for them to help them walk in the ways of the Lord.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.