Receiving The Benefits Of God's Goodness
February 8, 2019
The Bible plainly teaches that the benefits of the Lord come to those who seek to know the Lord. Many people seek the good things God does from the Lord, but are never really concerned about Him. Many people want God’s stuff, but don’t want God involved in their lives. This is not how God works. He is gracious, but the essence of His goodness is made available to those who seek to know Him according to the revelation He provides through the Word. Jesus Himself taught that the essence of eternal life is to know the One True Living God through His own testimony (John 17:3). This shows that eternal life isn’t all about getting a bunch of stuff that seems good to us for this life. Eternal life is about having the opportunity and privilege to witness the glory of God and to know Him as intimately as He knows us. This is not a privilege that is limited to death. We are able to learn of God now according to His Word, and thereby receive the benefits of God’s goodness if we seek Him this way.
The testimony of Job 5:17-27 explains that this is a truth that has been tested and verified – even so long ago as in the times of Job. Though Job’s friend Eliphaz spoke incorrectly about the cause of Job’s suffering, he made profound statements of truth about the Lord. Eliphaz didn’t know everything that God was doing in Job’s life, but he most certainly knew God! The testimony of Job 5:17-27 show God described in four major ways. Eliphaz refers to God as the Teacher, the Healer, the Redeemer, and the Protector. Those who seek to know God in these ways are the ones that get to receive the benefits of God’s instruction, healing, redemption, and protection.
Here, it is important to recognize that Eliphaz referred to God as the Teacher first. Though Eliphaz was wrong about the application of his own instruction, he was correct about God’s nature. Eliphaz felt that Job’s suffering was on account of God’s punishment to teach Job a lesson. Therefore, he encouraged Job to receive God’s correction instead of fight against it or wallow in it. Eliphaz stated that those who embrace God’s correction are the ones who are happy and blessed. Eliphaz was wrong to think that God was correcting Job for certain sins. Job’s suffering was not on account of any particular wrongdoing. Still, the principle that Eliphaz stated about God is true. In Psalm 94:12-13, the Bible says:
“Blessed [is] the man whom You instruct, O LORD, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked.”
This Psalm teaches the same principle that Eliphaz spoke to Job. Those who receive God’s instruction are blessed. The Lord teaches, but the benefits of God’s instruction only comes to those who receive it. This means that we need to trust in the superior goodness and wisdom of God’s Word. When God says we are wrong, we need to agree at all times. When God teaches us what is right, we need to submit to that manner of thinking. According to the Bible, those who embrace and submit to the difficulties associated with God’s teaching are actually the ones who are happy. It is often thought that God’s instruction is oppressive and difficult. However, the paradox is that, those who submit to the instruction and correction of God are the only ones who enjoy true happiness, contentment, and rest. Without accepting and embracing the difficulties associated with God’s teaching, we are not able to enjoy the other benefits of His character and nature, nor the goodness that comes from Him.
Eliphaz then referred to God as the Healer. One of the Old Testament “names of God” is Jehovah Rapha,” which translates to “The Lord Who Heals You.” God indeed is Healer. However, it is important to recognize the context of Eliphaz’s statement. He encouraged Job about God’s identity as Healer in the context of God’s correction, because God’s correction sometimes hurts and causes pain. The cause of Job’s pain was not God’s correction, but God is healer nonetheless. Still, it is important to consider the reality of God’s instruction. Eliphaz noted that God indeed bruises – the ego, and the body. The Bible says of itself that the Word of God is sharper that any two-edged sword for the purpose of piercing and dividing the soul and the spirit from the flesh. The Bible teaches that God chastens those whom He loves. The Bible teaches that God’s chastening is a lot like pruning a tree, requiring the cutting away of certain things, but for more fruitful growth. Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is narrow and difficult, referring to the process of turning grapes into wine. In other words, the difficulty associated with entry into the kingdom of God requires squeezing and crushing so as to extract the valuable substance underneath the skin.
This does not mean that God bruises for the sake of bruising. God does not cause wounds for the sake of pain. The Bible plainly teaches that God does not delight in the destruction of His people (Ezekiel 18:23-24). When God has to bruise and wound for instruction and correction, it is for the purposes of building up. He’s not afraid to bruise and wound because He’s confident in His power as Healer! It is critical that we remember this truth. Eliphaz reminded Job about the pain often associated in the correction that God administrates, but also reminded Job about God’s power to restore from a beat down. God does bruise, but also binds up. God does wound, but also make whole. The words that Eliphaz used to describe the nature of God as Healer are important to know. The bruising and wounding that might come as a result of God’s instruction are temporary. The binding and wholeness that God causes as Healer are permanent. Since God is eternal, the quality of binding and wholeness that God causes is also eternal. The body and the ego might get stung and hurt, but the soul is preserved and improved.
Eliphaz explained that the results of God’s healing manifest His identity as Redeemer. When God heals, He takes the healed person unto Himself. He purchases them and makes them His own possession in order to share the eternal goodness and inheritance He has set aside for those who would receive His instruction. Eliphaz specifically stated that God redeems us from death. God might not remove us from the pain of our physical circumstances, but those circumstances will not suffice to destroy our souls. Our physical condition has no bearing on our spiritual position because of the quality of healing God is able to provide. When God heals the soul, we become His. The Gospel explains that God offered ultimate healing of the soul through forgiveness of sins, made possible by the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ blood is sufficient to cleanse the soul from the consequences of sin, death, and hell. Therefore, those who receive the forgiveness the Father offers by faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, are not only forgiven, but redeemed – becoming children of God, and heirs of His eternally unconditional promises! Our physical circumstances have absolutely no bearing on the integrity of this promise since our physical circumstances don’t affect God’s nature in any way, shape, or form.
Lastly, Eliphaz said that God is our Protector. God will do the work that needs to be done in order to ensure that we remain His. Those who receive His instruction are able to receive the benefits of His healing. Those who are healed by God are then made children of God. The Lord will then exercise His supreme control and power and wisdom over all things to ensure we remain His children. No matter the circumstances or spiritual forces that oppose us, God will protect the salvation He gives to ensure we receive the benefits of His goodness. Although Eliphaz was wrong in his application, this sentiment was absolutely true of Job. Job was a living example of this truth that Eliphaz spoke. Though the devil waged war on Job and caused intense pain, God protected the spiritual integrity of Job’s heart, keeping Job from uttering curses out loud or within, ensuring that Job remained His faithful child. No matter where the attack was coming from, God did the work that needed to be done to ensure Job’s relationship with the Lord remained unharmed.
Eliphaz then went on to describe the tangible benefits that come to those who submit to God’s instruction, receive His healing, embrace His redemption, and partake in His protection. Eliphaz taught that God’s children are able to have confidence in life on account of the surety God gives concerning the next life. When God’s people remember who God is, the difficulties of this life pale in comparison to the magnitude of gifts that await us. The remembrance of God’s majesty causes us to remember the magnitude of God’s blessings. If we didn’t understand the glory and majesty of God and His nature, we would not understand the true nature of His goodness, nor appreciate the truly transcendent value of His promises. Eliphaz explained that the children of God are also satisfied with joy. The knowledge of God produces satisfaction and joy to the soul as that knowledge makes us one with God by the work of His Spirit to bring us understanding. It is this oneness that causes us to consider God’s eternal nature, appreciate His transcendent glory, and value the spiritual nature of His promises. This makes other affections of this life pale in comparison.
When Eliphaz concluded his encouragement to Job, he reminded Job that these were validated truths. Eliphaz himself had experience in this area. He searched these things out on his own. This means that Eliphaz received the correction of God and all of the benefits that come with that. Though Eliphaz was wrong about the reason for Job’s suffering, he was right about who God is. Eliphaz didn’t need to be right about Job to also be right about God. Eliphaz sought out the Lord himself to confirm that God is who He reveals Himself to be. As he encouraged Job to remember these truths, the Bible encourages all of God’s people to do the same.