Your Argument is Invalid

The LORD said to Eliphaz:

What my servant Job has said about me is true, but I am angry at you and your two friends for not telling the truth. So I want you to go over to Job and offer seven bulls and seven goats on an altar as a sacrifice to please me. After this, Job will pray, and I will agree not to punish you for your foolishness.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar obeyed the LORD, and he answered Job’s prayer.

After Job had prayed for his three friends, the LORD made Job twice as rich as he had been before. Then Job gave a feast for his brothers and sisters and for his old friends. They expressed their sorrow for the suffering the LORD had brought on him, and they each gave Job some silver and a gold ring.

The LORD now blessed Job more than ever; he gave him fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand pair of oxen, and a thousand donkeys.

In addition to seven sons, Job had three daughters, whose names were Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren Happuch. They were the most beautiful women in that part of the world, and Job gave them shares of his property, along with their brothers.

Job lived for another one hundred forty years—long enough to see his great-grandchildren have children of their own— and when he finally died, he was very old. (Job 42:7-16)

You can’t buy love. For all his complaining to God, Job was right and his friends were wrong. After all, as God himself admitted to Satan, Job’s suffering really was without cause (Job 2:3). Job’s friends had falsely accused him of some gross and secret sin. Worse, they had accused God of having a performance based relationship with people. They insisted that the reason for being good was to get God’s blessing. Why had they argued that way? If Job had actually suffered without cause, as Job was claiming, and if good things could happen to the evil and bad to the good, then that meant bad things might happen to Job’s three friends: they couldn’t control the outcome of their lives. They accused Job of undermining piety and hindering devotion to God. (Job 15:4) Job’s friends wondered what the point of being good would be if there was no payout in it.

If we’re good because we think God will then be obligated to bless us—then we’re not being good at all and, even worse, we’re accusing God of not being good. We’re telling him that the only reason he is nice to us is because he’s getting something out of it. We’re buying him off, earning his favor. That’s why God so harshly criticizes Job’s friends.

Why do we help out around our homes or bring gifts to our loved ones? Is it only because we hope to get something out of them? If so, that’s not really love, is it? The same sort of behavior, no matter how we might try to pretty it up with spiritual verbiage, is certainly not loving God.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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