Eliphaz Speaks: The Innocent Prosper

Job 4

1 Then Eliphaz from Teman spoke up:
"Would you mind if I said something to you? Under the circumstances it's hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words
that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet,
put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you're the one in trouble - you're hurting!
You've been hit hard and you're reeling from the blow.
But shouldn't your devout life give you confidence now?
Shouldn't your exemplary life give you hope?

7 "Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up on the scrap heap?
Do genuinely upright people ever lose out in the end?
It's my observation that those who plow evil
and sow trouble reap evil and trouble.
One breath from God and they fall apart,
one blast of his anger and there's nothing left of them.
The mighty lion, king of the beasts, roars mightily,
but when he's toothless he's useless -
No teeth, no prey - and the cubs
wander off to fend for themselves.

12 "A word came to me in secret -
a mere whisper of a word, but I heard it clearly.
It came in a scary dream one night,
after I had fallen into a deep, deep sleep.
Dread stared me in the face, and Terror.
I was scared to death - I shook from head to foot.
A spirit glided right in front of me -
the hair on my head stood on end.
I couldn't tell what it was that appeared there -
a blur...and then I heard a muffled voice:
17 "'How can mere mortals be more righteous than God?
How can humans be purer than their Creator?
Why, God doesn't even trust his own servants,
doesn't even cheer his angels,
So how much less these bodies composed of mud,
fragile as moths?
These bodies of ours are here today and gone tomorrow,
and no one even notices - gone without a trace.
When the tent stakes are ripped up, the tent collapses -
we die and are never the wiser for having lived.'"

Job 5

1 "Call for help, Job, if you think anyone will answer! To which of the holy angels will you turn?
The hot temper of a fool eventually kills him,
the jealous anger of a simpleton does her in.
I've seen it myself - seen fools putting down roots,
and then, suddenly, their houses are cursed.
Their children out in the cold, abused and exploited,
with no one to stick up for them.
Hungry people off the street plunder their harvests,
cleaning them out completely, taking thorns and all,
insatiable for everything they have.
Don't blame fate when things go wrong -
trouble doesn't come from nowhere.
It's human! Mortals are born and bred for trouble,
as certainly as sparks fly upward.

8 "If I were in your shoes, I'd go straight to God,
I'd throw myself on the mercy of God.
After all, he's famous for great and unexpected acts;
there's no end to his surprises.
He gives rain, for instance, across the wide earth,
sends water to irrigate the fields.
He raises up the down-and-out,
gives firm footing to those sinking in grief.
He aborts the schemes of conniving crooks,
so that none of their plots come to term.
He catches the know-it-alls in their conspiracies -
all that intricate intrigue swept out with the trash!
Suddenly they're disoriented, plunged into darkness;
they can't see to put one foot in front of the other.
But the downtrodden are saved by God,
saved from the murderous plots, saved from the iron fist.
And so the poor continue to hope,
while injustice is bound and gagged.

17 "So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!
Mind you, don't despise the discipline of Almighty God!
True, he wounds, but he also dresses the wound;
the same hand that hurts you, heals you.
From one disaster after another he delivers you;
no matter what the calamity, the evil can't touch you -
20 "In famine, he'll keep you from starving,
in war, from being gutted by the sword.
You'll be protected from vicious gossip
and live fearless through any catastrophe.
You'll shrug off disaster and famine,
and stroll fearlessly among wild animals.
You'll be on good terms with rocks and mountains;
wild animals will become your good friends.
You'll know that your place on earth is safe,
you'll look over your goods and find nothing amiss.
You'll see your children grow up,
your family lovely and lissome as orchard grass.
You'll arrive at your grave ripe with many good years,
like sheaves of golden grain at harvest.
27 "Yes, this is the way things are - my word of honor!
Take it to heart and you won't go wrong."

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by NavPress and Eugene H. Peterson
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