In Job 22, Eliphaz charges in with harsh words of accusation – “Aren’t you really very wicked? Is there no end to your wrongdoing?” (Job 22:5). He persists with his probing, heartless questions – “Are you following the old path that wicked people have taken?” (Job 22:15). In general terms, the words of Eliphaz were good words – “Be in harmony and at peace with God” (Job 22:21); “Keep his words in your heart” (Job 22:22). “Return to the Almighty” (Job 22:23); “Put wrongdoing out of your tent” (Job 22:24). The problem with his words is that they are bound up, in such a watertight way, with the promise of prosperity – ‘Do these things and you will prosper.” This leads to the assumption: Because Job is not prospering, he must have sinned. This is not what God says about Job (Job 1:8).
There is real sadness in the words, spoken by Job, in Job 23 – 24. There is no hint of a light at the end of the tunnel, as there was in Job 19:25 – “I know that my Redeemer lives.” That glimpse of glory has dimmed, and Job must continue in the battle for faith, without much to give him any encouragement. His words about God – “He does whatever what He wants” – are not words of complaint. They are words of faith. Job is holding on to God in the darkness of suffering – “He will carry out His orders concerning me, as He does with so many other things” (Job 23:13-14). This is a statement of faith in the sovereignty of God. It is not a cheap confession, mouthed in times of ease. These words do not come easily. They are words that have power because they are words that refuse to lose sight of God, even when suffering obscures Job’s view of Him.