Suffering Due to Obedience (Job 4:17) - Radical

Suffering Due to Obedience (Job 4:17)

Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his maker?
-Job 4:17

So, here’s Eliphaz coming to Job as one of his counselors. And he’s basically saying to him, listen, the upright don’t suffer. Clearly, what you are experiencing is a result of some sin in your life and thus begins unhelpful counsel that Job will receive throughout this book. And part of that counsel, part of the core of it is this idea that the upright don’t suffer.

There’s no question the Bible teaches there are consequences of sin and sin leads to suffering in our lives, but that does not necessarily mean that suffering we experience is a direct result of some specific sin in our lives.

If you trust God and follow God, then things go well for you. Clearly, if things are not going well for you, then that means you’re not trusting God. You’re not following God. You’re not pleasing to God. And yet Job one and two, this book goes out of the way to show this has nothing to do with sin in Job’s life.

Job 4:17 Teaches Us that Not All Suffering is a Direct Result of Our Sin

It’s actually the opposite. This has everything to do with righteousness in Job’s life. And so, we see from the very beginning of the book of Job from the story in Job one and two and now this counsel in Job 4 that’s suffering while sometimes follow sin in our life.

There’s no question the Bible teaches there are consequences of sin and sin leads to suffering in our lives, but that does not necessarily mean that suffering we experience is a direct result of some specific sin in our lives. And so it’s good. It’s good when we walk through difficulty, it’s good when we walk through suffering, just stop and examine our hearts. But in the same way, we should examine our hearts every day. God is there anything in me that is not pleasing before you? Cleanse me, make me holy. But that’s a daily prayer in good times and in hard times.

Job 4:17 Leads Us to Examine Our Hearts

And then when we walk through suffering, let’s not be quick to think, we must have done something wrong. When the reality is we might be doing something right. We might be living in righteousness and suffering follows. And so we pray, God, help us to continually examine our hearts in our lives, no matter what’s happening in our lives.

Yes, when we are walking through tragedy and suffering, help us not to sin just like we read in Job one and two, he didn’t sin in his suffering. God, we pray for that in our lives. And we pray for that in our lives in our good days when we’re on mountaintops, when everything’s going great, God, we pray that You would keep us from sin there. God help us not to think or buy into a lie, that if we do that, which is good, everything will go wonderful for us in this world.

Job 4:17 Reminds Us to Look to Jesus

When you’ve actually told us the opposite that following you, Jesus, will lead to all sorts of suffering in this world. Oh God, keep us. We pray when we walk through suffering from sin and from errant thinking, from thinking that goes outside of your good design, like we see here from Eliphaz to Job in Job 4. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

View the 2022 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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