Job has proclaimed himself upright in heart to his friends. And he has said that God was being mean to him. Elihu rebukes Job and sets him straight.
Elihu starts with recounting all Job’s words. He starts with Job’s initial complaint, “I am pure, without transgression; I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me” (verse 9). This is the point that Job has taken all along. He is innocent and therefore something else is going on with the suffering he has been enduring.
The next words that Elihu emphasizes are Job’s complaints against God. “Behold, He finds occasion against me, He counts me as His enemy, He puts my feet in the stocks and watches all my paths” (verses 10-11). Job’s words stir Elihu’s spirit and NOT in a good way!
Elihu is going to teach Job ‘a thing of two’. The first “two” things Elihu wants to address with Job are the “two” ways God speaks to man. The first is the easiest and is probably God’s preferable choice. That way is through dreams and visions. Men have long known that dreams can be important and we have heard MANY stories of God speaking to men in this way. I have no doubt that He spoke to Noah in this form when giving him instructions to build the ark. God spoke to both Joseph’s through dreams; Joseph, the son of Isaac and Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.
God is not limited to only speaking to those who follow Him in this way. We read that He spoke to Pharaoh in dreams that Joseph later interpreted for him. He also spoke to the wise men who visited Jesus as a young child and told them not to return to Hared.
I have had dreams that I’m certain were from God. Those dreams helped me make sense of things that were going on in my life at the time. My therapist certainly agreed with my assessment.
The second way Elihu said that God speaks is through pain. This is probably after we ignored the easier method. When God is determined to get your attention, He ALLOWS pain to come into Your life. Satan means for it to destroy and distract you while God intends for it to focus your attention on Him as your hope in it.
Regardless of how ‘righteous’ you are, there WILL be some pain in your life. Jesus Himself said that would be so and that’s why He prepared His disciples to expect mistreatment on His behalf. “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20b). This is a different kind of pain than what Job is suffering but it tells us that, no matter what, we will ALL have to deal with pain in our lives, in one form or another.
These are corrective and instructive measures that Elihu is talking to Job about. Elihu agrees with Job’s friends that, God IS trying to get Job’s attention and he will fully spell it out to Job a little later. Job is about to discover that his ‘hands’ are not as clean as he thought they were.
Father God, thank You for friends and teachers who are no afraid to lay it out for you. They don’t ‘pull their punches’ to make me feel better. I, unfortunately, do that more often than I care to imagine. I don’t want to ‘scare’ people away from You. I suppose I also want them to like me, or at least think kindly of me. But sometimes it’s IMPORTANT to hold the line and make people think. I pray that every time I do that, that whoever reads what I wrote will see You in it. I pray Your Spirit speaks through me, right into their world where You can reach them.
I think it is hilarious how Satan thinks he is getting one over on one of Your children when he brings us pain. I can see You covering Your mouth so Satan can’t see the smile behind Your hand. You KNOW what is on the other side of the pain. If Satan knew the growth that waited on the other side of the pain, I bet he would give up trying. Remember how he thought he had won when he had Jesus killed? SURPRISE! “10, 9, 8, 7…” “You’re doing it wrong” … “One!” “Satan is defeated and Jesus is the CHAMPION!”