"For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.Job 5:18(NASB)
Job was a righteous man, who was seriously afflicted by the destructive hand of Satan, causing him deep distress and pain.
Although he kept silence for a time, Job finally cried out to the Lord in anguish, compelling his three friends to respond with a series of long, self-righteous speeches, in which they used human logic, rather than Biblical truth to explain the shocking chain of events in Job’s life.
Eliphaz reasoned that all suffering is a result of sin, and because his friend was afflicted, he questioned Job’s integrity and concluded that his friend had sinned against the Lord, which Job strongly refuted.
Certain arguments his friends used against Job are biblically sound while others are not. Eliphaz reasoned that the innocent never suffer while the guilty are always afflicted. However, this is unbiblical, for throughout God’s word it is the righteous that often suffer, while the guilty remain unscathed.
Although Eliphaz was an exemplary orator, an authoritative theologian and an accomplished philosopher, much of his doctrine was flawed. His counsel was frequently founded on human opinion rather godly wisdom, and his advice often sprang from human reasoning rather than being established on the truth of God’s word.
There is, however, much truth in this particular verse, and Eliphaz is reminding Job, and us, not to despise the chastening hand of the LORD, which comes from the loving heart of our heavenly Father. For He crushes but also binds up. He strikes, but His hands also heal.
We are reminded by the LORD Jesus, that in this world we will suffer trials and pain, but we also know that those who fellowship in His suffering will receive a wonderful, heavenly reward.
Paul encourages us to be patient in affliction and to share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, while James instructs us to consider the trials and suffering we go through as a great joy, knowing the testing of our faith produces endurance, which in turn brings our hope and trust in the Lord to its completion.
Every evil in this world is a result of sin, and although suffering may result from our own sinfulness, we can also be afflicted through the sins of others or by an assault from the enemy of our soul. God in His grace, however, uses all things together, for the good of those that love Him and are fitting into His plan.
God’s chastening hand may be both corrective, when we are at fault, but it can also be a refining fire, which strengthens our faith in the Lord and establishes our hope in Him.
Although his entire argument contains many flaws and identifies Eliphaz as a carnal believer, with certain legalistic leanings and a flawed doctrinal statement, his directive to submit willingly to the chastening hand of the LORD, in the mists of trials and tribulation, is something we should all take to heart.
We may not understand why we experience certain problems and pain in our lives, but if we are willing to submit to His chastening hand and trust in the LORD with all our heart, even when we don’t understand, we will discover that when he has tried us, we will come forth as pure gold – for our eternal benefit and His greater praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, as we face increasingly problematic circumstances in the world, and in our own private lives, I pray that I will trust Your plan for my life, knowing when I am crushed You will always bind up my wounds, and when we have received many strikes, Your healing hand is ready to bring us forth as gold, for Your greater praise and glory. Thank You for the beautiful example of the LORD Jesus, Who when He suffered, did not threaten, but committed Himself to the One Who judges justly. It is in His name I pray and for His greater glory, AMEN.