- The Pride of Youth
“But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him.” -Job 32:2-3
Elihu is an interesting character in the story of Job. While Job has spent the majority of the book arguing with his three friends about why such tragedies have happened to him, Elihu finds himself in the lonely place of disagreeing with both parties. Out of respect (he is quite a bit younger than the rest), he attempts to keep his opinions to himself, but eventually becomes too overwhelmed with emotion to hold back.
As the classic, angry young man, Elihu burst into his argument; generally making an argument that is partly correct but deeply flawed. Even with Elihu most likely being an educated individual (the listing of his genealogy gives us a clue to this), his argument at times gets bogged down by raw emotion, which distracts and obscures his message.
This is a problem many young individuals face today. Many have a wealth of knowledge on subjects that are very relevant. However, many of them become so emotionally invested, they take away from their own message. Wisdom is not only knowledge and facts. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge in an effective manner.
- Half-Truths, Part 2
Last week, we pointed out the half-truths of the arguments the individuals were making. This week, we can point out the same issue with Elihu. While Elihu continues his long lecture (it ends up being five chapters of the book) at Job, he makes the following statement about God.
“If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand?” -Job 35:7
This is an interesting statement because in one sense, there is nothing we, as humans, can give God that He doesn’t already have. He created us. He created the world. The heavens surround Him. Anything we could possibly come up with would have already been made by His hand.
However, there is also a line of thinking in which this comment is false. We, as humans, are not irrelevant to God. Scripture tells us over and over again that God loves us. God is angered when we act in defiance and disrespect, and He is honored when we are “blameless and upright”, just as Job was. So, we can give God our praise and devotion; things he finds joy in.
- But God is LOVE
So far, we’ve covered Elihu’s flaws in his emotional response and murky arguments. However, this should not persuade us to ignore everything he has to say. Just because a person is wrong on one topic (or half-wrong like we covered above), does not mean the rest of their words hold no weight. Elihu was still a very intelligent individual who was educated enough to even consider bringing his perspective into this argument. One moment that demonstrates his pure wisdom and knowledge comes in Job 36:5.
“God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.”
God is powerful enough to destroy the earth. He has wiped the Earth out (aside from Noah’s family) before and tells of a time when it will happen again (Revelations). He has destroyed cities, led Israel to massacre entire civilizations, and plagued communities with disease as punishment for their sins. However, God desires to be with us. He desires for us to be faithful to him. He loves us.
God punished Israel numerous times, but they never stopped being his chosen people. He is the same with us today. God hates sin. He HATES it! But sin does not define us. Sin does not cut us off from God (because of Jesus). And because of this, God loves every person who has ever walked the earth. He detests choices we have all made (for all have sinned) but love is still there.
This statement reminded me of a song from Gungor:
So what did you think about this week’s readings? What stood out to you? Let us know.