If one ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?
Yet who can keep from speaking?
I can relate to Elipaz’s opening statement, responding to his friend’s rant of questions, distraught as they are. I have never sat with a friend who was suffering for seven days in silence, and then receiving the burst of pain’s expression. I think I would be a little timid myself – how would I would be received?
And yet, I would be filled with my own thoughts, just as Elipaz was as he sat the seven days, trying to make sense of Job’s suffering. Now that the door is open to conversation, and it would be hard to be quiet.
Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope?
Elipaz had listened to Job’s life throughout the years and knew 2 things: Job had confidence in his relationship with God and Job had lived a good life.
In Elipaz’s simple way of reasoning, one of those two things must be off. Either Job’s relationship with God was not what he thought it was, or his blameless life held blame.
So he held out to Job a lifeline:
Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves;
therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty,
For he wounds, but he binds up;
he shatters, but his hands heal.
He reminds Job who God is, the one who loves us enough to discipline us, and the one who loves us enough to heal.
I haven’t lived a “blameless and upright” life. Somehow, this verse is a comfort to me. In the midst of feeling God’s discipline or the natural results of sin, I need the picture of him binding my wounds, his hand healing my life shattered in pain.
Elipaz painted the picture for Job, hoping he would admit his wrongs and turn to the God who loves him, just as we try to paint that picture to prodigal sons and daughters or those who wander. God receives no joy in discipline, just as we receive no joy in disciplining our children or seeing them disciplined with the pain of life. We want to woo them back into the healing power of God.
But the healing depends on the response…