God does not need us. He does not depend on our praise, or our holiness, or our service. These gifts do not gain him anything. They are not his source of satisfaction, or even a partial source of benefit.

Job’s friend Eliphaz understood this. Eliphaz is generally painted as a club-fingered “friend” or even a “frenemy.” Eliphaz definitely brings a strong rebuke to Job, but consider his actions. When he heard of Job’s agony he booked an expensive camel ride to Uz, then upon seeing Job he wept and tore his clothes. He sat on the ground with Job, saying nothing, for seven days and nights. 168 hours of silent support. With frenemies like that who needs friends?

Eliphaz explains God’s eternal blessedness in a way that helps us recognize the scandal of the gospel. The scandal is that God, already infinitely fulfilled and glorified, is pleased to die for ungrateful, hate-spewing blasphemers who can do nothing to benefit him.

Eliphaz reminds us that our obedience is not boosting God’s self-esteem. He is not impressed with our effectiveness in ministry or our insightful reflection. The Lord delights in our worship, but even our ability to worship is itself a gift he gives to us, not we to him.

“Can a man be profitable to God? Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right, or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?” Job 22: 2, 3

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Posted by Jeremy Mann

One Comment

  1. This topic always reminds me of a passage from “The Magician’s Nephew.” In chapter 12, Aslan is about to send Digory on a journey, and he says to Digory, who grieves for his mother: “My son, my son . . . . I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet. Let us be good to one another.”

    I’ve always wondered why Aslan thinks it’s possible for them to do good to one another. Does Aslan benefit from some good Digory can do for him?

    Reply

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