14”What are mortals, that they could be pure,
or those born of woman, that they could be righteous?
15If God places no trust in his holy ones,
if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,
16how much less mortals, who are vile and corrupt,
who drink up evil like water!” (Job 15:14)
Happy Saturday Friends! The verses above come from Job’s friend Eliphaz, the Temanite. Eliphaz is one of Job’s three friends (Bildad and Zophar complete the trio), who come to argue that Job is at fault for all the calamity that has befallen his life. In Chapter 2:11, the author of Job writes that when the three “heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.” Well, if they had just done that, they would have been much better companions, but the Book of Job would not have been so entertaining. Instead of sympathizing, they each take a turn at attacking Job and attempting to get him to admit that he is at fault for all the misfortune satan brought upon him.
This is the second set of dialog from Eliphaz. We first read Eliphaz’s opening argument in chapter 4. In Chapter 4, Eliphaz makes the infamous lines “If I were you…” I have tried to stop using that line with people, or if I do, I always correct myself with the line, “but I am not you, so all I can do is suggest.” I do this because I have come to the realization that we never truly know or understand all the layers of a person’s life. Saying “if I were you” never helps, because we are all made different, you are you and they are they. The only one who knows our every thought and experience is God, and all God says is to follow and trust in Him.
If you learn anything from the Book of Job, it’s how to be a good friend, by not doing what Job’s friends do. Job’s friends are not there to sympathize, they only mostly seek to put the blame on him for all his misfortune. In the time of great loss, sometimes we need to just be there for people, be there to listen, be there to comfort. There is nothing we can say to bring those suffering any relief. Comfort only comes through peace that can only be found within. Good friends realize that and offer comfort in the presence, not in the preaching.
In the lines I sought to highlight today, we see Eliphaz offering words that bring little solace, but highlight a truth that has remained consistent throughout humanities history: there are mortals that seem to drink up evil like water. But it is not the majority of people. It is actually just a small percentage of the population. There are still those that enjoy the darkness over the light.
The other lines in this passage are quite pessimistic and represent an age before hope came to humanity through Jesus Christ. Although even before Christ came to dwell among us, there had been righteous men. None were perfect, all had their flaws, but all the heroes of the Bible lived righteous lives. King David, King Solomon, Noah, Moses, Samuel, Joseph, Jacob, all devoted their lives to God and following God’s commands.
So why did I choose to highlight this passage? Well, because I love verses like these because it shows that the Bible is a complex collection of stories that all point to one single person and principle: Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life. While Jesus proved to be immortal, He walked among us as a mortal, died a mortal’s death after living the only truly righteous life of all those in the Bible. God placed all His trust and hope into His beloved Son. And Jesus taught us all that He is the living water, and those who drink of His wisdom and teachings will never thirst again. That’s why I love verses like the one above, because when I read them and think “that’s pretty harsh,” I look at the verses through the lens of Jesus and see the beauty in all things.
I did not mean to bring such discussion to what should have been a light, inspiring quote for the weekend, but these verses jumped out at me from today’s reading, and have proven to be an entry into a much deeper discussion. As I present these devotions from the Book of Job, I am quickly discovering that I love this book much more than I originally thought. I hope it is bringing you the same amount of joy while you read it. Have a blessed day.
Tomorrow, I’ll be discussing all the amazing new tracks that were released yesterday, until then, here is a great one from Austin French, a track that can help bring you that peace I have spoke of above and help you find “Rest For Your Soul.”
Reading plan: Acts 21
Deeper reading plan: Job 13, 14, 15