Once again Eliphaz the Temanite took up his theme:
"Are any of us strong enough to give God a hand, or smart enough to give him advice?
So what if you were righteous - would God Almighty even notice? Even if you gave a perfect performance, do you think he'd applaud?
Do you think it's because he cares about your purity that he's disciplining you, putting you on the spot?
Hardly! It's because you're a first-class moral failure, because there's no end to your sins.
When people came to you for help, you took the shirts off their backs, exploited their helplessness.
You wouldn't so much as give a drink to the thirsty, or food, not even a scrap, to the hungry.
And there you sat, strong and honored by everyone, surrounded by immense wealth!
You turned poor widows away from your door; heartless, you crushed orphans.
Now you're the one trapped in terror, paralyzed by fear. Suddenly the tables have turned!
How do you like living in the dark, sightless, up to your neck in flood waters?
"You agree, don't you, that God is in charge? He runs the universe - just look at the stars!
Yet you dare raise questions: 'What does God know? From that distance and darkness, how can he judge?
He roams the heavens wrapped in clouds, so how can he see us?'
"Are you going to persist in that tired old line that wicked men and women have always used?
Where did it get them? They died young, flash floods sweeping them off to their doom.
They told God, 'Get lost! What good is God Almighty to us?'
And yet it was God who gave them everything they had. It's beyond me how they can carry on like this!
"Good people see bad people crash, and call for a celebration. Relieved, they crow,
'At last! Our enemies - wiped out. Everything they had and stood for is up in smoke!'
"Give in to God, come to terms with him and everything will turn out just fine.
Let him tell you what to do; take his words to heart.
Come back to God Almighty and he'll rebuild your life. Clean house of everything evil.
Relax your grip on your money and abandon your gold-plated luxury.
God Almighty will be your treasure, more wealth than you can imagine.
"You'll take delight in God, the Mighty One, and look to him joyfully, boldly.
You'll pray to him and he'll listen; he'll help you do what you've promised.
You'll decide what you want and it will happen; your life will be bathed in light.
To those who feel low you'll say, 'Chin up! Be brave!' and God will save them.
Yes, even the guilty will escape, escape through God's grace in your life."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)