Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,
2 Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?
3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?
4 Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?
5 Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.
7 Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.
8 But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.
9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.
10 Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;
11 Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.
12 Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
13 And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?
14 Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.
15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?
16 Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:
17 Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?
18 Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
19 The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.
20 Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.
21 Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.
22 Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.
23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.
24 Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.
25 Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.
26 For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.
27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.
28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.
29 When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.
30 He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.
The book of Job reads like the transcript of a trial or a debate. Job attempts to defend God as his friends (motivated by Satan) pose the ageless questions of the skeptics. In chapter 22, Eliphaz asks the question that deists are still asking today, “Can a man be profitable unto God?” (verse 2). In other words, “Why would God even bother to interact with humans on a personal level as humans have nothing to offer God?” Eliphaz does not doubt God’s existence, just his personal involvement. He buys into the idea that there has to be something in it for God in order for God to have any motivation to be involved. This is putting human motivations on God. This is the essence of selfishness.
In contrast, Jesus demonstrates the true character of God by asking us to love our neighbor as ourselves and then goes on to define our neighbor as anyone who needs our help (See Luke 15). Jesus teaches us not to stop as ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” but to ask, “What would you want done if you were in the same need?” In this way we can also exhibit the character of God to a selfish, dying world. Perhaps this is what is Peter meant when he wrote, “[He] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature,” 2 Peter 1:4 NIV. How are you participating?
Hermiston SDA Church Chorister