The book of Job has many valuable lessons to teach us. Over the course of the next year, several min-series will be published in the Nugget, focussing on each of these lessons. Please click here for Study #1 -- Managing Troubles. The next 3 devotionals from Job will focus on the lessons that Job has to teach us about discernment ...
Our third and last lesson in discernment from the book of Job comes
from Eliphaz' second discourse. As with his first, this one is far from
"Should a wise man answer with empty knowledge, And fill himself with the east wind? Should he reason with unprofitable talk, Or by speeches with which he can do no good? ... Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; Yes, your own lips testify against you." (Job 15:2-6 NKJV)
"Why does your heart carry you away, And what do your eyes wink at, That you turn your spirit against God, And let such words go out of your mouth?" (Job 15:11-13 NKJV)
So where does Eliphaz get off telling Job all of this? Is he not setting himself up as wiser than Job? As perhaps a champion of all wisdom?
It would appear that this is the case:
"I will tell you, hear me; What I have seen I will declare, What wise men have told, Not hiding anything received from their father...The wicked man writhes with pain all his days, And the number of years is hidden from the oppressor...For he stretches out his hand against God, And acts defiantly against the Almighty, Running stubbornly against Him With his strong, embossed shield." (Job 15:17-26 NKJV)
It is clear here that Eliphaz considers himself an expert, and he establishes himself as an expert witness by relying on his own experiences and observations of truth.
But when you read through the list of "proofs" that Eliphaz lists, we know from our own experiences that these accusations are not true. For example, we have all experienced the fact that the filthy rich are often the ones who don't even acknowledge God’s existence. We see around us how our unsaved coworkers get the promotions that we deserve, and we all know that God's rain falls on the unsaved farmers' fields as well as on the fields of the saved farmers! So where does Eliphaz get off saying, "Let me tell you what I have seen..." (vs. 17)?
But wait a minute. History and culture tell us that this belief was the mentality of the time. We can even see this in glimpses we get from other parts of the Old Testament: If God didn't prevent it, then He brought it to be! So can we really fault Eliphaz for what he believed? He was simply holding on to the traditions and wisdom of his day!
The problem was this: Eliphaz' vision of the world was discolored by the false truth he clung to!
We must be careful, because often we, too, cling to beliefs that are not Truth! We may be sure that our neighbor hates us, or that our mother doesn't care. And every time we observe anything that they do, we are sure that their intent was malicious and it serves to feed the anger that we hold towards them! But what if it isn’t that way at all? What if we aren't privy to all the facts? What if we don't know behind the scenes just what motivates our neighbors, our coworkers, our families? Are we not in danger of seeing the world through Eliphaz' eyes? Aren't our perceptions, just like Eliphaz', based on misconception?
And what about in our definition of Biblical Truth?
I went for many years of my life clinging to what I had been taught as Biblical truth. I let my belief discolor and discredit every proof that what I had learned was false. Only many years later did God open my eyes to Truth, and I was able to see that I had been clinging to a falsehood!
Friends, it is important to test even the most traditional of beliefs in our churches to see if they are truly founded in Biblical Truth! If we don't, then we are seeing the world through Eliphaz' eyes! And that is the lesson on discernment that we can learn from Eliphaz' second speech to Job: Let's be careful that our perception of truth is really based on Truth itself, and not on tradition or culture or mentality. It will help to resolve a lot of the conflict in our lives!
And this, friends, wraps up the lessons on discernment from Job's "friends". Let's remember the following:
1. Truth is not defined by tradition or culture, the wisdom of the day, or even by supernatural occurrences. Truth is defined by God’s Word!
2. Truth often comes wrapped up with a few misconceptions, and these misconceptions will miscolour truth! And finally,
3. Our perception of truth must be based on Truth, and not simply on
our own perceptions.
If you have missed any of the lessons from this second study on the book of Job, you will find them published online by clicking here.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the rest of "Lessons on Discernment From Job", please click here.)