“Stop quarreling with God! If you agree with him, you will have peace at last, and things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty and clean up your life, you will be restored.” - Job 22:21-23
Job’s friend Eliphaz was remarkably good at jumping to conclusions—and landing in the wrong place. For example, when he witnessed Job’s sufferings, he assumed that his friend must have been doing some terrible things to warrant such catastrophe (22:6-7). “You must have” done this and “you must have” done that, he reasoned, despite that there was no basis upon which to construct such an indictment. For it appears that Job was innocent of everything of which he was accused.
Eliphaz didn’t get everything wrong, though. If Job had indeed been guilty of the things of which he was accused, he should have taken Eliphaz’s words to heart, because these instructions provide the right direction for a guilty man to take. “Stop quarreling with God! If you agree with him, you will have peace at last, and things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty and clean up your life, you will be restored” (22:21-23). Good advice, especially for those at odds with God.
I doubt very much that Job needed this advice, but I am certain that many men do need it. Many a man is at odds with himself and the world because he’s at odds with God. Nothing goes right for him. He’s out of sorts and bent out of shape, and he doesn’t even know what bothers him. He experiences inner turmoil, his relationships are tenuous, and he derives little or no satisfaction from all that he does. He may interpret the problem as a physical issue and determine to take more time off and get some rest. Or he may decide the roots of his restlessness are relational, so, accordingly, he changes his job or his wife or both. But such a man needs to recognize that his lack of outer order arises from a lack of inner peace. And that is evidence that he has a broken relationship with the Lord, from whom he came, to whom he will go, and through whom and for whom he exists. Without the Lord, there is little left, and the inner vacuum produces a lack of peace.
A decision to “agree with” God (22:21), the source of all truth and wisdom, is common sense; and to “stop quarreling with God” is obviously the smart thing to do. You cannot win an argument against God. Ceasing to try leads to the inner peace from which a deep-rooted sense of order takes hold. Then contentment and satisfaction are not far behind. Paul called it “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1).
For Further Study: Job 22:1-30
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