We are in the Wisdom Stream hearing the final speech from Elihu in the book of Job. We are reaching the finale with the beginning of the 64 questions of God from the whirlwind. We are reading from the New English Translation this week.
A week ago, we said that Elihu spoke for five chapters straight – correction: he speaks for six chapters straight. Yes Elihu just keeps talking. Today’s reading includes his final two chapters. Some of what he says is right though unnecessary to say to someone who is in a tough season of life. Some of what he says is obvious. I mean do we need to be reminded, “look at the sky, it be ye blue, and the green trees drink their water as the Lord brings wet water to water what he watereth.” OK, Elihu. This isn’t spiritual or helpful. So he may be right. He may say things that are obvious and true. (So why say it?) The problem is that some of what Elihu says is just plain mean. This is not helping anything nor anyone, especially not Job. It’s generally a good maxim to “be a blessing or be quiet.” Someone needed to tell this to Elihu somewhere along the line.
Be that as it may, in chapter-
36 – Elihu says he will instruct Job, he will speak for God, he is comprehensively knowledgeable, … just ask him. And Elihu will tell you if you don’t already know. Well, he is young – let’s put it that way. Vv. 17-21 he is sternly warning against Job becoming evil. But back to Job 1:1 it states that Job was pure and upright, revered God and shunned evil. So Elihu seems redundant here. There is some truth, but the necessity of this being said is peculiar. Elihu goes on for the rest of this and chapter 37 with a colossal description of nature showing God at work. Truly it is phenomenal what God does on a regular basis.
It is interesting that God rebuked Zophar, Bildad and Eliphhaz for being less than comforting to Job earlier in the book. Elihu however receives no such correction. His finale~ in ch. 37 about God’s terrible power displayed in nature is perhaps preparation for when God enters this perplexing theater of suffering and bellows 64 questions upon Job. These questions can bless our souls if we let them . . .
38 – God launches His awe-inspiring monologue out of a whirlwind and this poetry is “up there” with the best of Scriptures most gripping passages. Contrary to Elihu’s self-declaration of having knowledge, God starts out asking who has been counseling without knowledge. God seems to be saying, “quiet down now, kiddo!” And then the questions begin! It’s intriguing that Job has been suffering yet God does the asking. Some might think Job deserved to have his questions answered but God asks the questions here. And Job has no answer. They can’t be answered ‘yes or no’. Just be in awe and listen. 38 is the beginning of 64 questions that are bent on proving to Job and to all of us that our lives are in His hands and we must learn from what we are dealt. If we have questions for God that is fine for we are human. But we mustn’t demand or try to command God. He is God, we are His creation. Jesus was familiar with suffering, and it will be no stranger to us. Job can help us interpret suffering properly.
“Lord, may we be humbled by your immensity and power and greater so by the fact you love us immensely and powerfully. Amen.”