Summary: Elihu shows that Job has allowed himself to start sinning because he has not responded to the suffering the way God expected. Through his actions Job acts in a hypocritical way.
“The Answer of Elihu – Job You Are A Hypocrite”
The conversation has been going for 31 chapters. It is only then that we discover that another person has been sitting in the dust and the ashes with Job and his three friends. His name is Elihu the son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram.
Elihu is much younger than Job, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Out of respect for these elders Elihu has sat quietly and said nothing. But he isn’t willing to be silent anymore.
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.
Angry Elihu. What has brought that about?
A reporter was interviewing a 104-year-old woman:
"And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?", the reporter asked.
She simply replied, "No peer pressure."
That’s the thing about getting older isn’t it. You basically get to a point where you become comfortable with your life. You settle into a routine. You make judgements about how life should work. You don’t really care as much about what other people think. And it can stifle your thinking.
That is what has made Elihu so angry. All these old guys have been sitting around talking about Job’s problem. Under the guise of old age they have been sharing their wisdom on the subject.
Eliphaz thinks Job has done something really evil.
Bildad thinks Job has fallen into one of God’s traps.
Zophar thinks Job needs to pick up his performance.
Job thinks no-one is listening to him and that they don’t care.
No-one is listening to anyone else. With the result that the whole discussion has gone in circles.
They say that insanity is constantly doing the same action but expecting a different outcome.
The same points. The same arguments. The same outcomes. It’s insane. Not only is it insane there is something hypocritical going on here.
Job and his friends profess to know God.
Job and his friends have a spiritual foundation.
Job and his friends are examples in the community.
Job and his friends are respected and revered.
Yet, here they are, arguing about God, throwing accusations all over the place, treating each other with distain, and basically behaving in an ungodly manner.
And Elihu is angry – he is angry at the hypocrisy of the whole situation.
You can’t say that you are one sort of person - then act in a totally different way - without expecting consequences. That’s why Elihu takes Job to task.
Elihu’s First Concern
8 “But you have said in my hearing—I heard the very words
9 ‘I am pure and without sin; I am clean and free from guilt.
10 Yet God has found fault with me; He considers me his enemy.
11 He fastens my feet in shackles; He keeps close watch on all my paths.’
Now we know that Job is not being punished for sin – the opening chapters of Job make that clear. But because of this insane discussion Job has now talked himself into a corner.
I am pure.
God finds fault.
Do you see the hypocrisy? Effective Job is saying, “God you are wrong”.
Many years ago I was involved in a discussion. A first year theological study was arguing about the meaning of a Greek word in John’s Gospel. Which isn’t that unusual, we used to have strong discussions all the time. Except that this time the student was telling a professor who got his PHD in Johannine Studies that he was wrong.
You can’t argue in those circumstances when you know so little, and your opponent knows so much. Job knew this. Earlier in Job 9 Job says
The Lord’s wisdom is profound, his power is vast. He moves mountains without their knowing it. He shakes the earth from its place. He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
Job knows just how powerful and knowledgeable God is. Yet he still moves from arguing with his friends – to arguing with God.
All his life Job has experienced the blessings of God.
All his life Job has built his household on the fact that God is the mighty creator worthy of praise and adoration.
All his life Job has sought to be an example of justice because God is just.
But now – now that God is not working exactly as Job expected – now God is wrong. And Elihu calls it for what it is … hypocrisy.