Today we read the conclusion of Elihu’s lengthy diatribe. Elihu has a few good points, but he delivers them in an extraordinarily insensitive way. He assumes Job needs to repent of some hidden sin (34:34-37; 35:14-16) and mistakenly describes God as unapproachable (37:19-24). We have to consider Elihu’s contribution in light of the whole context of Job…
In the history of God’s dealings with his people, the question of the apparently undeserved suffering of faithful individuals recurs again and again. The book of Job reminds God’s people that they have an enemy who will denounce them (Satan), and, through the ignorance of Job’s friends, it helps the faithful to remember at all times how small a part of any situation is the fragment that they see (ESV Study Bible, Introduction to Job, History of Salvation Summary, Crossway, 2008).
Elihu lashes out at Job with logic devoid of compassion and kindness. His concern is his own desire to talk and to advocate on “God’s behalf” (36:2). In so doing, Elihu reveals that he cares more about speaking his mind than comforting Job. And in light of Job 1-3 and the rest of revealed Scripture, we see how little Elihu actually understood of the reasons for Job’s suffering.
When we approach the suffering in our midst, we need to lay aside any temptation to judge or correct. We are not privy to the inner-workings of the heart or the hidden purposes of God. We should stick to encouragement in love.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:12-14).
Tomorrow we read the climax of Job…when God finally speaks!! “Brace yourself like a man!” Are you ready?