“If you lay gold in the dust… then the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver. For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God” (Job 22:24).
In the midst of Job’s suffering and pain, Eliphaz, one of his friends, uttered the words quoted above. Strange words for someone in the most intense pain of his life, don’t you think? Yet on careful examination, Eliphaz’s words are just what we all need to hear during trying times.
If you’re like most people, you’ll readily admit that it’s easy to feel good about life when things are going well. Now don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing inappropriate about feeling good about life when life is good. Yet at the time these words were spoken, Job’s life was anything but good. He had lost his wealth, his family, his health and the closeness of friends. Even his wife encouraged him to “curse God and die.”
Then came the counsel of Eliphaz. His words were intended to point Job to the only lasting source of goodness - God. He wanted to be certain that Job knew that God was good even if life wasn’t. There’s an important lesson for us in these words. It comes in the form of a question: “Where is your gold?”
You see, if your “gold” comes in the form of a trouble-free life, then you’re looking to the wrong source. A trouble-free life is more difficult to find than the tiny specks of gold a prospector seeks in a mountain stream. Life comes destined for trouble; you won’t have to find it because it will find you.
Eliphaz is telling Job that the entire universe exists to display the greatness of the glory of God, even pain and suffering. The glory of God shines most brightly, most fully, most beautifully in the manifestation of the glory of His grace in the midst of pain. When do we need grace? Job needed grace (gold) in the midst of suffering. Job came to the point where he defined gold and precious silver as God, and God alone.
One of my favorite authors, John Piper, in his book “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God” puts it this way: “The ultimate reason that suffering exists in the universe is so that Christ might display the greatness of the glory of the grace of God.” The “greatness of the glory of the grace of God” is the “gold” Eliphaz was speaking about. So my earlier question stands. “Where is your gold?”
God’s grace is manifested in a person, Jesus Christ. It is Christ who will be our “gold” during the dark days of life. It is Jesus who will be our “precious silver” when the gold of this life becomes scarce and hard to find. The message to Job was simple. Turn to a Person, not external things, as the source of gold.
The lesson for us is just as clear. Jesus Christ promises to be our “gold and precious silver” at all times. Our responsibility is to pursue wealth in Him and not other things. Delight yourself in gold. Become wealthy in precious silver, all found in Christ.