Job has lost everything and is in despair. His three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, come to him and sit with him in silence for seven days (Job 2:11-13). But then they speak. Here Eliphaz offers his perspective.
“Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed? My experience shows that those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same.”
Although God later rebuked Eliphaz for being wrong in his advice to Job (Job 42:7), not all Eliphaz said was in error. It is true that those who promote sin and trouble will eventually be punished. It is false that anyone who is good and innocent will never suffer.
Although Eliphaz had many good and true comments, he made three wrong assumptions: A good and innocent person never suffers; those who suffer are being punished for their past sins; and Job, because he was suffering, had done something wrong in God’s eyes.
What about you? Do you assume that everyone gets what they deserve? Do you see other people’s suffering and wonder what they did to deserve it? Do you experience your own suffering and wonder what God is punishing you for?
Be careful in assigning blame when you see someone suffering or when you experience it in your own life. We can come up with explanations as Eliphaz did, but maybe God has something he wants to do in us or through us.