Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. —Job 5:17

            Wow!  Truth is truth, but truth misapplied isn’t true!  Now that is something to think about!

            Eliphaz the Temanite is “counseling” Job when this truth is mentioned.  And yet Job is not being reproved by God for wrong-doing.  Nor was Job being disciplined for some sinfulness in his life.  What was happening in Job’s life was a “scheme” of Satan’s (II Corinthians 2:11) and Eliphaz was being used as his mouthpiece.  This was also true of Job’s wife when she said, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).  She said the very thing that Satan said Job would do if God allowed Job’s health to decline —“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life.  But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 2:4-5).  But that is not how Job responded.  Instead he said, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10).  Ultimately God is in control of all things.  Even though it was Satan that was bringing this “trouble” upon Job, it was God that allowed Satan to do this.

            Now, God does the same thing today and so we must be careful when we counsel any believer that is going through difficulty.  Even the apostle Paul “was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment (him)” (II Corinthians 12:7).  In his situation we are told why this was happening—

Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (II Corinthians 12:8-10).

            Why was this thorn, this messenger of Satan allowed by God in Paul’s life?  Paul had asked three times for it to be taken away, but he came to know that this was allowed to keep him from becoming conceited, to understand God’s grace was sufficient for him, to understand that God’s power is made perfect in weakness and to know that it is “when (he) was weak, then (he) was strong.”  Paul could have had the same type counselors around him as Job did, thinking he must have been involved in sinful activity and so this is why he had this “thorn in the flesh.”  Those who would have counseled him this way would have been absolute wrong as well!

            So, let us be careful with our counsel to believers going through difficulty.  Yes, if there is known sin in their lives is one thing, but to assume there is because of difficult circumstances in their lives, well, that is quite another thing.  Let us give godly wisdom when it is needed (Proverbs 37:30).

Dear Father may I speak to people as You would have me speak to people according to Your Word and not my own ideas.  May this be so in Your Holy Spirit’s power and in the authority of Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *