Lent Devotional: Job 15
by Jonathan Haefs
Job 15 (click here)
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 2 “Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind? 3 Should he argue in unprofitable talk, or in words with which he can do no good? (Job 15:1-3)
Eliphaz begins round two of this debate over Job’s condition by throwing caution to the wind and outright questioning Job’s character. It’s almost as if he has not even been listening to Job. As soon as Job claimed to be innocent of any wrongdoing, Eliphaz’s ears closed and his mind kicked into gear formulating a response. This type of “listening” is not rooted in a desire to offer comfort, but in a cockiness that desires to prove its own correctness!
Job’s words are “windy knowledge” and “unprofitable talk” to Eliphaz! And this assessment is not based on actually thinking Job’s words through, but on the simple fact that they are at odd’s with Eliphaz’s own words.
How often do we “listen” to people this way. We come into their situation knowing all the answers to what they should do, how they should react, or the way in which they should go forward…and as a result, we do not listen to anything they have to say unless they are agreeing with what we have already decided is right. Such an approach cannot ultimately bring comfort.
Job needs friends that will listen to him, sit with him, cry with him, and wrestle through difficult questions with him. Many things they have to say are true, but misapplied. Many things they have to say are true, but inappropriate to speak to the bereaved man as he sits in ashes scraping his boils. Job is not in need of solutions right now (which is what they are offering)… he is in need of a safe place to speak and be heard.
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.