Summary: We have many in the church who don't move forward after a loss and fail to take the path of even greater relevance that God has set out for us.
I looked at Bible characters for examples of faithful husbands and fathers. While there are many commendable men in scripture it was hard to find ones that excelled at being a husband and a father. One that comes to mind is Job who had a large family that thrived on each other’s company. He was successful in accumulating wealth. But I ask in the book of Job does he betray a weakness of character nonetheless? My wife recently referred me to Job’s dialogue with Elihu.
Ever wonder why Job was admonished at the end of this story? We all know his three friends were admonished also. But what about the fourth man Elihu? And why did God interrupt him but did not admonish him? Or maybe God followed on with Elihu's initial summation?
I’ve often thought about Job differently than most people. In fact I've thought of Job as a complainer. And I’ll say patience and endurance is not what God rewards the most but a malleable spirit that grows from adversity.
I’ve often heard that God doesn’t always help us carry our burden, He sometimes gives us a stronger back. And He does this not just for our own benefit but for our witness to others that have burdens to carry also. And either way we are to be thankful to God. This is aptly summarized in
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 WEB) 16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Most of us know about Job but who remembers the name of Elihu? He gives his own profile in
(Job 32:6-10 WEB) 6And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I [am] young, and ye [are] very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not show you my opinion. 7I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. 8But [there is] a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. 9Great men are not [always] wise: neither do the aged understand judgment. 10Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will show my opinion.
Elihu points out that age alone doesn’t produce a wise judge. But Elihu himself shows wise judgement in deference to his elders before he speaks. Elihu finishes his profile with the following conviction:
(Job 32:21-22 WEB) 21Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles to man. 22For I know not to give flattering titles; [in so doing], my Maker would soon take me away.
When we start to defer to men’s opinions rather than God alone we will inevitably stumble no matter how good we look to the world.
Elihui then goes on to quote Job in
(Job 33:8-11 WEB) 8Surely thou hast spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the voice of [thy] words, [saying], 9I am clean without transgression, I [am] innocent; neither [is there] iniquity in me. 10Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy, 11He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.
Job pleads his absolute innocence and then accuses God of unfairness.
After quoting Job’s pleas of total innocence Elihu says Job is unjust.
(Job 33:12-13, 16-18 WEB) 12Behold, [in] this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. 13Why dost thou strive against Him? for he giveth not account of any of His matters. ... 16Then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, 17That He may withdraw man [from his] purpose, and hide pride from man. 18He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and His life from perishing by the sword.
Elihu points out that God tries to divert the plans of men lest he become prideful, thus keeping him from ending up in Hell. We focus so much on this life we neglect the more important blessings God seeks to store up for us with Him. And prIde is the greatest sIn to God. Notice the “I’s”?
Elihu points out that goodness alone does not suffice if we’re not sharing with others outside of our safe circle of family, friends, and church members.
Elihu details Job’s complaining about God in
(Job 34:5-7 WEB) 5For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. 6Should I lie against my right? my wound [is] incurable without transgression. 7What man [is] like Job, [who] drinketh up scorning like water? Would we dare to be this bold in speaking about God?
But our ancestor Adam did also when he said in
(Genesis 3:11-12 WEB) 11And He said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman, whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate. And men have often deflected their responsibility ever since.