Outline for Job 22 -
Does Man’s Goodness Affect God? (verses 1-4)
Job Is Accused (verses 5-11)
Troubles For The Wicked (verses 12-20)
The Benefits Of Turning To God (verses 21-30)
Eliphaz will speak again.
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 2 "Can a man be profitable to God, Though he who is wise may be profitable to himself? 3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous? Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless? 4 "Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you, And enters into judgment with you? Job 22:1-4 (NKJV)
DOES MAN’S GOODNESS AFFECT GOD?
Does our righteousness affect God? What a great question. Our purity does not affect His purity nor does our sinfulness affect His holiness. God retains His holiness no matter what we do. We do not alter His pure nature by our impurity. Man’s goodness does not add to, or man’s badness take from, the purity and holiness of God; therefore it cannot be that God sends prosperity to some and calamities on others for His own advantage; the cause of the goods and ills sent must lie in the actions of men themselves. Job’s calamities must arise from his guilt. (At least that is the argument.)
In one of our Bible study sessions at church I asked the question: “What motivates you to try to live a good life?” Some of the answers were typical; such as gratitude and love but I was surprised by some of the other answers. I heard the words; greed and fear. I think that if we are honest many of our actions are motivated by greed and fear – it is our fallen human nature that motivates us to do much of what we do.
Eliphaz asks several questions in these first four verses concerning how man affects God:
1. Does God gain any profit from the goodness of man?
2. Is it pleasing to God if a man is righteous?
3. What has God gained by you making your way blameless?
4. Is it because you are right with Him that He corrects you?
To this last question let me comment. Why fix that which not broken? This seems to be the implication of Eliphaz. God would not fix you if you weren’t broken. He does not correct children who are doing what pleases Him. Which of us would spank our children for doing good – that does not make sense. Eliphaz believes that since Job is proclaiming his innocence – and still being punished – either Job is lying or God in not just. Since he does not perceive that God is unjust – Job is lying.
5 Is not your wickedness great, And your iniquity without end? 6 For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason, And stripped the naked of their clothing. 7 You have not given the weary water to drink, And you have withheld bread from the hungry. 8 But the mighty man possessed the land, And the honorable man dwelt in it. 9 You have sent widows away empty, And the strength of the fatherless was crushed. 10 Therefore snares are all around you, And sudden fear troubles you, 11 Or darkness so that you cannot see; And an abundance of water covers you. Job 22:5-11 (NKJV)
JOB IS ACCUSED
Now come the accusations:
1. Your wickedness is great.
2. Your sin is without end.
3. You have put people in debt for no reason.
4. You have abused the down-trodden.
5. You have not given a drink to the thirsty.
6. You have not fed the hungry.
7. You sat back snug and secure.
8. You ignored the widows.
9. You oppressed the orphans.
Eliphaz does not just tell Job that he is a sinner but that he is a great sinner. Eliphaz says that Job’s sins are “without end”. These accusations are not what we find early in Job. For we have found: “There was a man in the country of Uz named Job. He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil.” Job 1:1 (HCSB) God says of Job: “No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.” Job 1:8 (HCSB) And again: “No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you (Satan) incited Me against him, to destroy him without just cause.” Job 2:3 (HCSB)
It is easy for others to point fingers and to accuse us of our faults (even if they are unfounded). Let us be careful not to fall into that trap – all of us will stand before God some day. Let us make sure that the accuser does not stand before the judge accused. Remember the teaching of Jesus:
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 (HCSB)
It is interesting to note that many of the accusations are similar to what is found in Matthew:
“Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me." Matthew 25:41-43 (NKJV)
In verses ten and eleven Eliphaz warns Job:
1. Traps are all around you.
2. Fear will be sudden and trouble you.
3. It will be so dark that you can not see.
4. You will drown in all your troubles.
12 "Is not God in the height of heaven? And see the highest stars, how lofty they are! 13 And you say, ’What does God know? Can He judge through the deep darkness? 14 Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see, And He walks above the circle of heaven.’ 15 Will you keep to the old way Which wicked men have trod, 16 Who were cut down before their time, Whose foundations were swept away by a flood? 17 They said to God, ’Depart from us! What can the Almighty do to them?’ 18 Yet He filled their houses with good things; But the counsel of the wicked is far from me. 19 "The righteous see it and are glad, And the innocent laugh at them: 20 ’Surely our adversaries are cut down, And the fire consumes their remnant.’ Job 22:12-20 (NKJV)
TROUBLES FOR THE WICKED
A series of questions are now asked:
1. Is not God in the height of heaven? (verse 12)
2. What does God know? (verse 13)
3. Can God judge through the darkness? (verse 13)
4. Will you continue to be wicked? (verse 15-16)
Is God so high that He can not see? Are there to many clouds blocking His view? Can God see in the dark? The foolish man would believe that somehow God does not see their actions. The logic of the wicked would assume that either God is blind or that He just can’t see what is going on. They do not consider that there will be a day of accountability. Why would you be concerned if the judge has no understanding and has seen nothing? It is only your word against their word. How can God judge through distance and darkness? Beside, “What can the Almighty do to us?” Job 22:17b (HCSB)
Much (if not all) of our sin is due to faulty thinking. We think that no one sees. We think that we can get away with something. We think that it’s the best thing for us. We think that no one will ever find out. We think that God has no power over us. But God does! Can we keep anything hidden from Him? A proper understanding of God is the first step to holiness.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (HCSB)
“Live in the fear of God—be most careful, for God hates dishonesty, partiality, and bribery." 2 Chronicles 19:7 (MSG)
“He said to mankind, “Look! The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to turn from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 (HCSB)
“Knowing, then, the fear of the Lord, we persuade people. We are completely open before God, and I hope we are completely open to your consciences as well.”
2 Corinthians 5:11 (HCSB)
Be on your toes. God is not mocked. He is not blind. God has never – never ignored sin. He sent Jesus to deal with sin – but sin has never been overlooked.
In verse eighteen it says that God has filled the house of the wicked with good things – even though they are far from Him. The wicked are far from His understanding – far from honoring Him – far from acknowledging Him – far from following Him. Yet He still gives them “good” things. Jesus said it this way:
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:44-45 (HCSB)
Verses nineteen and twenty show us an unhealthy attitude of those who are called “righteous”. They are happy when the wicked fail. They laugh at them. They hope they will be cut down and that fire will consume them. Let us not be ones who are shouting on the sidelines, “Go get ‘um God.”
21 "Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; Thereby good will come to you. 22 Receive, please, instruction from His mouth, And lay up His words in your heart. 23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up; You will remove iniquity far from your tents. 24 Then you will lay your gold in the dust, And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks. 25 Yes, the Almighty will be your gold And your precious silver; 26 For then you will have your delight in the Almighty, And lift up your face to God. 27 You will make your prayer to Him, He will hear you, And you will pay your vows. 28 You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. 29 When they cast you down, and you say, ’Exaltation will come!’ Then He will save the humble person. 30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands." Job 22:21-30 (NKJV)
THE BENEFITS OF TURNING TO GOD
There can be no peace as long as one is at war with God. Much of the world is at war with God though they may not realize it. Because they do not know Him – they do not have a right understanding of Him. Some think He is harsh, stern and a tyrant. Because of this they view His laws seem to be severe and His punishment unjust. Therefore they fight against Him.
Another view of God is that He is too holy to be approached. If you love sin – how can you love Him who is sinless? How can a sinner approach the One who hates sin? God does hate sin – but He also has dealt with it through His son – that is how we can approach God. That is how those who are not pure can walk in the presence of pure holiness. We have peace through the one who is called – the Prince of Peace.
From verse twenty one to the end of the chapter Eliphaz will explain to Job the benefits of turning to God.
Turning to God includes:
1. Following His instructions.
2. Meditating on His word.
3. Staying away from evil.
4. Changing your view of material things.
5. Delighting in the Lord.
6. An increased prayer life.
Here is a list of the benefits:
1. You will be at peace.
2. Good will come to you.
3. You will be built up.
4. Evil will move far away from you.
5. God becomes the most valuable object of life.
6. God will hear you.
7. You will be able to pay your debts.
8. You will make plans and they will be fulfilled.
9. God’s light will lead you.
10. You will have hope even though things look bleak.
11. God will save the humble.
12. God will forgive those who are guilty.
13. God will deliver the guilty because of your actions.
In God’s economy He is always willing to give us good. God always looks out for our good and the good of others. We think that in following God we must give up so much – but the truth is we gain much more than we can imagine. God always works for our good.
“Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.” James 1:17 (HCSB)
Look at the ways the first phrase of verse twenty one has been translated:
(ASV) Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace:
(BBE) Put yourself now in a right relation with him and be at peace:
(CEV) Surrender to God All-Powerful! You will find peace and prosperity.
(Darby) Reconcile thyself now with him, and be at peace:
(DRB) Submit thyself then to him, and be at peace:
(ESV) "Agree with God, and be at peace;
(GNB) Now, Job, make peace with God and stop treating him like an enemy;
(GW) "Be in harmony and at peace with God.
(LITV) Now be of service with Him, and be at peace;
(MSG) "Give in to God, come to terms with him…
(NAS) "Yield now and be at peace with Him; Thereby good will come to you.
No Hebrew words have changed. The original text has not been altered – but look at the various ways the translators have tried to express the Hebrew thoughts into English. It is of great benefit to look at various translations to try to get to the real meaning of the text. One other option before I move on is - “become a companion of God.”
In verse twenty two we are instructed to “store up” God’s law in our hearts. A couple ways of doing that is to meditate on God’s word and to memorize portions of scripture. This is of great benefit.
“I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” Psalms 119:11 (HCSB)
The things we value are the things we really worship. Job is instructed to consider gold as nothing more than dust. God is to be most valued. The Message Bible says it this way: “Relax your grip on your money and abandon your gold-plated luxury. God Almighty will be your treasure, more wealth than you can imagine.” Job 22:24-25 (MSG)
Verse twenty nine lets us know that the attitude in which we approach God is vital to our relationship with Him. “God will save the humble.”
"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." James 4:6 (NKJV)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3 (HCSB)
In verse thirty we are reminded that it is God who saves. He is able to save those who are not innocent. That would be all of us. For all of us have fallen short of His glory. All of us have sinned. It is a fact that is not up for debate. It is God who saves those who are NOT innocent.
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (HCSB)
Throughout the scripture we are taught (instructed) that we are to have an active part in maintaining our relationship with God. Eliphaz is correct in that instruction. This fact has never changed. We are as close to God as we choose to be.