Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
"Can a person's actions be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person be helpful to him?
Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?
Is it because of your reverence for him that he accuses and judges you?
Not at all! It is because of your wickedness! Your guilt has no limit!
"For example, you must have lent money to your friend and then kept the clothing he gave you as a pledge. Yes, you stripped him to the bone.
You must have refused water for the thirsty and food for the hungry.
After all, you think the land belongs to the powerful and that those who are privileged have a right to it!
You must have sent widows away without helping them and crushed the strength of orphans.
That is why you are surrounded by traps and sudden fears.
That is why you cannot see in the darkness, and waves of water cover you.
"God is so great -- higher than the heavens, higher than the farthest stars.
But you reply, 'That's why God can't see what I am doing! How can he judge through the thick darkness?
For thick clouds swirl about him, and he cannot see us. He is way up there, walking on the vault of heaven.'
"Will you continue on the old paths where evil people have walked?
They were snatched away in the prime of life, and the foundations of their lives were washed away forever.
For they said to God, 'Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do for us?'
But they forgot that he had filled their homes with good things, so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.
"Now the righteous will be happy to see the wicked destroyed, and the innocent will laugh them to scorn.
They will say, 'Surely our enemies have been destroyed. The last of them have been consumed in the fire.'
"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.
Give up your lust for money, and throw your precious gold into the river.
Then the Almighty himself will be your treasure. He will be your precious silver!
"Then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and look up to God.
You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him.
Whatever you decide to do will be accomplished, and light will shine on the road ahead of you.
If someone is brought low and you say, 'Help him up,' God will save the downcast.
Then even sinners will be rescued by your pure hands."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)