Job’s friends receive our scorn, and to a certain extent, rightly so.
Perhaps they did their best work by going to be with Job after they heard about what had happened to him. They sat in silence for seven days. On the eighth day, they began to speak and offer their advice to Job. That’s where most of us get off the bus – we’re under the impression that everything they said was wrong. But it wasn’t, at least not all of it. Their advice was correct, but it didn’t apply to Job and his situation.
Therefore, as you read through the book of Job, don’t skip or skim over the words of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu. They have some good things to say – things that may not have applied to Job, but do apply to you and me. A case in point is Eliphaz in 5:17-19:
“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
For He inflicts pain, and gives relief;
He wounds, and His hands also heal.
From six troubles He will deliver you,
Even in seven evil will not touch you.”
The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it like this:
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (12:4-11)
God disciplines, or chastises, His children for our good and in order that we might share in His holiness (in other words, become more holy as time goes by). He’s not punishing us by means of our trials, suffering, and pain, because Jesus Christ was punished for our sins once for all when He died on the cross. According to Eliphaz and the writer of Hebrews, we shouldn’t despise it.