READ: Job 22-24
THINK: You don't have to get personal! Maybe not, but if you argue with someone long enough, it's bound to get to that point. People who can't make their case based on good reasoning may tend to get nasty, often resorting to false personal attacks. Job's friends had reached that point. They felt they had to prove how bad Job must have been to be in this much trouble. If only Job would turn from his sin-so they thought-God would cause him to prosper. After all, they reasoned, people who are right with God don't have to endure such adversity. There are people today who will tell you the same thing. But they don't speak for God. (See article on The Suffering of the Righteous, p. 638 in the FBSE.)
RESPOND: What misguided assumptions did Eliphaz make about Job's character, actions and the reason for his troubles (22:4-10)? What did Eliphaz tell Job he needed to do to experience peace with God (22:21)? Was he correct? Why or why not? (See 22:21-30 note.) Does repentance automatically lead to prosperity (22:21)? Why or why not? (See 22:21-30 note, subpoints 1 & 3.) In what way was Eliphaz unknowingly siding with Satan in his accusations against Job? (See 22:21-30 note, subpoint 2.) Through Job's extreme loss and suffering, what was his greatest desire? (See 23:3 note.) Though Job felt isolated from God (23:3,8,9), what confidence did he have if he actually encountered God (23:3-7)? What does this reveal about Job's confidence in God's character and justice? What do you think Job meant about God testing him (23:10), and what confidence did he have when this was over? (See 23:1-10 note.) In what way was Job beginning to see his situation a little more accurately? (See 23:1-10 note, subpoint 1.) Why was Job confident of his conduct toward God (23:11-12)? (See 23:1-10 note, subpoint 3.)
PRAY: Pray for a strong faith in the face of accusations from the devil and other people. Ask God for a powerful sense of His presence, and thank Him for the strength He will provide through times of spiritual testing.
ACT: Is there a possibility you've misjudged someone's actions, character or motives? Have you had wrong motives in how you've treated anyone? Do your best to get the truth directly from the individual, and give him or her the benefit of the doubt. If you've misjudged the person or situation, sincerely apologize. Also, if you feel you're going through a spiritual test, ask God to reveal what you can learn and how you can show love for Him through this time.
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