17 ¶ Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. 21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. 22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee. 24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin. 25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth. 26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season. 27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.
Verse 17 reveals a great truth, if we can handle it. First, when a person is happy in the Lord they are blessed.
Genesis 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.
We are happy or blessed when God deals with us through answered prayer or changing us by speaking to us through His words.
God corrects those who are His children, who belong to Him.
Deuteronomy 8:5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Paul, in speaking to the Corinthian church about taking the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper commemorating Christ’s sacrifice, reveals that some chastening of the Lord can even result in our physical death.
1Corinthians 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
This is an important point for Christians because, as God has saved you and, like Israel, even when dealing with your rebellion will not turn His back on you, your willful disobedience may result in your physical death. You are saved once and you are saved forever but He can first deal with your willful sin with conviction, then, if that is ignored, chastising you through some earthly pain or loss, and finally, if you are that hardhearted, a coffin awaits your flesh. This is necessary because of your eternal security in salvation. You cannot lose your salvation if you believe, He has given you faith, and you are saved. But, you can lose your life.
Eliphaz here is talking about the chastening that affects a man or woman’s family, their possessions, and their health but stops short at the loss of their life, which is exactly what has happened to Job although Eliphaz is in great error in attributing this loss to the consequence of sin on Job’s part. Remember that God has already told Satan that Job suffered, “without cause.”
When we are wounded because of God’s chastening, we should not hold that judgment in contempt, but learn from it. God will allow calamity to come to a believer’s life but He will also heal and restore that person when repentance is manifest.
Deuteronomy 32:39 ¶ See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
1Samuel 2:6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Don’t forget that God is absolute sovereign of the universe. There is no war between God and Satan. Satan can do nothing without God permitting him through God’s permissive will or unleashing him in Satan’s blind fury against mankind through God’s directive will. Satan is the author of rebellion and his fate is fixed by his pride. He hates us. But he cannot act independently of God’s will or in opposition to God’s will.
Note that Christians who were unrepentant could be turned over to Satan for the, “destruction of the flesh.” Christians are too quick to afford Satan more power than he has and to give themselves power over him which they do not possess.
God is sovereign and in absolute control of the universe, physical and spiritual. What He allows to happen for a reason we may not know disturbs us greatly, at times.
Isaiah 45:5 ¶ I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Satan, when dealing with us, mixes truth, half-truth, and outright lies to deceive us. Here, in his argument, he uses many true premises to draw a false conclusion. Correlation is not causation. Just because Job has suffered and Eliphaz assumes that good people cannot suffer like Job has he draws the conclusion that Job has done great evil to deserve this and if he had been truly submissive to God and not sinned his life would have been hunky-dory and none of the bad things that befell him would have happened.
Eliphaz’s “Pollyanna” view of the life of God’s man or woman is common among American Christians who live in a country where they have been so blessed with abundance and social safety nets. Eliphaz represents the Christian who says to other Christians who might be suffering through no fault of their own that he knows something about their situation that it is impossible for him to know. And his self-righteous and mean-spirited pronouncement does more to harm than to heal.
Eliphaz concludes through verse 27, and I am going to apply this to the Christian today, that if you, Christian, had done no wrong, then your life would have been a bed of roses and you would die very old surrounded by your many children and within the security of your prosperity because bad things don’t happen to good people. Have you ever heard that before? I have. Not being a good person and having had great calamity happen to me because of my sin I have the perspective of being shocked at seeing people who tried to do right and to live their lives in the right way get crushed by circumstance. Then, I have heard self-righteous, sanctimonious Christians imply that they must have done something really bad to deserve it, even if they don’t have the bad manners to say it to that suffering person.