Job 35 Commentary
We don’t know where Elihu is getting these quotes from. We know Job hasn’t charged God with any wrongdoing. What we know is that Job is struggling to reconcile the two conflicting facts: Job’s righteousness against what his friends think is a punishment from the LORD, and God’s love and perfect justice against what Job feels is injustice.
Job is a special kind but we are not. Elihu is therefore unpacking the saint’s wider thoughts when faced with Job-like conflicts.
“Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people.” Man’s righteousness, or the lack of it, doesn’t affect God at all. This kind of thought directly contradicts John 3 verse 16. To think that righteousness only affects the recipients and not the giver of it can be as deadly to religion as unbelief itself.
As we have seen in the scripture, Genesis 3 is God’s response to man’s wickedness. Calvary is God’s response to man’s pain and suffering. Resurrection and eternity in God’s loving presence is God’s response to man’s righteousness. In between are countless responses such as the famous Exodus. God sees; God hears; God responds. What is Elihu talking about?
Job’s wickedness affects only a man like Job. His righteousness, on the other hand, affects others. Righteousness should count in my favor but it doesn’t; it only helps others. Wickedness, on the other hand, counts against me. The conflict deepens.
Let the saint remember that there once stood a hedge of protection around their lives. The LORD God was once a shield of protection for the saint. And satan knew it was a no-fly zone. The Book of Job is written to emphasize to the saint that nothing has changed. The LORD is still the same shield of protection. And there has been no security breach – the impossible hasn’t happened. For reasons that we may never understand this side of creation, the LORD allows what the LORD allows.
“He does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance.” And when you read the following: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray,” then you know Elihu has a point here.
If God won’t listen because of arrogance, how much less, then, will He listen when we claim we do not see him? Now, this is faith, without which it is impossible to please God.
God is omnipresent. Let not the saint’s prayers suggest that the LORD isn’t listening or that the LORD is too far away to listen or even pay attention. For that will subtract from the character and structure of the LORD. Elihu is speaking very directly and very strongly. Let’s hear more tomorrow.
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