Job knows that God does not always punish the wicked and reward the godly. Since that is true, what motive would we have for obeying God? Eliphaz realizes that Job’s stance will put his own future in jeopardy, because Eliphaz enjoys rewards, which he thinks stem from his own godliness. If people serve God only for what they get out of it, then they are not really serving God at all, they are truly serving themselves by making out that their practice of godliness is demanding God serve them with rewards. Jesus stated that people which have a faith in religion like that, already have their reward. Mat. 6:1-5. The best motivation for practicing our faith is love, which Job knew from Dt. 6:4-5. God didn’t need to promise Job more blessings for more faithfulness. Job knew that the fulfillment of God’s law in his own life was loving God no matter how bad God let us down. Paul expresses this clearly, Romans 13:8-10.
Eliphaz has harsh words for Job, which charge Job with hypocrisy, 15:34-35. Job denied the charge of hypocrisy in 13:16, 17:8 & 27:8. Job knew that his friends couldn’t prove it true. The suffering Job feels is proof to Eliphas that Job is hiding a past sin and is not owning up to it, but Job knows that his suffering in this life ends in this life, and in heaven there will be no pain or tears. Job’s suffering was working for Job to lead to glory. Job was hoping that his suffering would lead to vindication, and that his honest relationship with God would be justified in staying faithful till death. This surely is the only way Christian martyrs could face piety in the face of persecution to death, 1st Pt. 1:6-8, 5:10 & 2nd Cor. 4:16-18 & Rom. 8:18.
In Job’s reply we have three requests, 16:1-14, Sympathy from Friends. 16:15-22, Justice from God. 17:1-16, Relief in Death. Job does feel like God painted a target on his back and gave everyone bows & arrows. His suffering was so great that he longed to die, but he didn’t want to die before he could vindicate himself or see God vindicate him, which explains his cry in 16:18. Ancient people did believe that the blood of innocent victims cried out to God for justice (Gen. 4:8-15) and that the spirits of the dead were restless until the corpses were properly buried, Isa. 26:21. So even if Job died, he would be restless till he had been proved righteous by the Lord. The reason Job cries for a fair trial before God is because he has no advocate or mediator before God to represent him in his sufferings. None of his friends would defend him, so his only hope was that God in heaven would defend him and bear witness to his integrity (16:19). As a Christian we have Jesus as our Advocate, 1st Jn. 2:1-2. He intercedes as our High Priest mediating for sinful priests and priestesses like ourselves, Heb. 2:17-18, 4:14-16. So confession to Christ is essential, 1st Jn. 1:5. If in this life only we have hope, we are miserable, but since Christ Himself is our hope, we may sorrow in suffering, but not without hope, 1st Cor. 15:19-20.
God looked beyond Job’s hopeless depression and bitterness and saw that he still had faith. Sometimes in life we must learn to be thankful for unanswered prayer. Because in the darkness of despair (we like Job) sometimes say things to God, we later regret, but God understands all about it and lovingly turns a deaf ear to our words but a tender eye to our wounds. C.S. Lewis says of suffering, “Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly, Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively, but don’t come talking to me about the consolation of religion, or I will suspect you don’t understand”. If we inside religion want to be a true comforter, there is a price to pay and not everyone in religion is willing to pay it. But the God of all comfort, comforts us to make us comforters to others, not to just make us merely comfortable. God expects us to share His comfort with others. 2nd Cor. 1:3-7.