Elihu continues to answer Job. Today he reveals another sin that Job carries in his heart. He also extols God’s greatness to ALL men.
When looking at the subtitle in my bible for today’s reading I expected to see Elihu concentrate on how great God is. His focus on that is only a little portion of the wisdom he shares with Job. I know I could go on forever talking about God’s power, might, majesty, and wonder. I could also probably fill volumes with talking about all the little things He does on a daily basis for this world, including the wonders of all He has created. I’m pretty sure Elihu could have too but he took a little different path.
Elihu first focuses on GOD’s righteousness. NONE of what has happened to Job falls outside His righteousness. Job may believe he has a case against God because he counts himself righteous but it is NOTHING in comparison to God’s righteousness. God sees ALL that is in man’s hearts. He easily distinguishes the godless from the godly. He knows what it will take to bring those who love Him back into line.
God LOVES ALL mankind. If it were up to Him, NONE would perish. But He created man with free will and many exercise that will in rejecting Him. Nothing He does will change the minds of some people. For those people He lets their own schemes destroy them, with help from their father, Satan. For those who love Him or are open to Him, He ‘uses’ Satan to turn them just as He is using Satan to bring Job his lessons.
Do you honestly think that God didn’t know what would happen to Job when He held him up as an example to Satan? Believe it or not, God had a plan in mind when He brought up Job in the first place. He knew Job’s heart’s need as surely as He knew what needed to happen to bring about salvation when Caiaphas said, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:49b-50). Both statements set something in motion that baffled the minds of men.
“How could God let this happen?!” Because God could see the results on the other side. And He knew what it would take to get there.
In Elihu’s words today I see something I didn’t see, even the last time I read ahead. I saw it before in the passage about those whom Job scoffed at now scoffing at him, but it didn’t register. Or maybe it did and I just don’t remember. The Holy Spirit through Elihu plainly states Job’s sin. “But you are full of judgment on the wicked; judgment and justice seize you. Beware lest wrath entice you into scoffing, and let not the greatness of the ransom turn you aside” (verses 17-18).
Job had been counseling people for years when they fell into like situations as his own. He had also been sitting as judge in the city gates. His heart had become judgmental of the people who came before him. He was no longer judging the merits of the case but the hearts of the men. He began looking down on certain men. We are told earlier that he wouldn’t even have anything to do with the fathers of the men who now spit on him. He saw their station in life and judged their character and hearts by it. Now others were doing the same to him. The most shocking thing was that he didn’t see this in himself. He counted himself as righteous. His friends didn’t see it either. They never named Job’s sin and this is why Elihu was angry with them. I wonder if Elihu’s spirit burned within him when Job made the statements about his contempt. He kept silent, expecting one of the older men to bring up the issue.
This scoffing wasn’t limited to simply seeing others as “deserving of their fates” but it led Job to the sin of pride; seeing himself above them. Job didn’t know these men’s hearts as God did. He didn’t know the stories behind how they came to be in their circumstances. And he couldn’t see what God was working on the other side of their situations.
I have examined my own heart and found that I too have not always looked beyond the situation and saw the person. I have at times wondered what brought certain people to their ‘stations in life’ but I have not sat down and talked with many such people. I do try not to judge the hearts of others. I am to watch their fruits and not throw my lot in with those who are behaving wickedly. But I have to leave their heats to God.
Elihu goes on to warn Job to recognize his sin and deal with it. For God KNOWS what He is doing and His plans are wonderful! “Behold, God is great, and we know Him not” (verse 26a).
We cannot fully KNOW God but we can certainly appreciate His wonders! When we see Him face to Face we will know even more. I believe there will probably be things I will never fully understand EVERYTHING about God, and I’m okay with that. The most important thing I do know is that He loves me. He will do whatever it takes to keep me close to Him.
Father God, forgive me for ‘walking in Job’s shoes’ and judging others. Help me stop this from happening in my life anymore. I KNOW it is a work in progress and a lifetime of reminders here but it is my heart’s desire to do this Father. I cringe when I find myself judging others by their circumstances. Forgive me for any of those times I haven’t brought this sin to You. Help me also judge rightly by a person’s fruits whether I should stay back or approach. I do NOT feel qualified to sit in judgment on anyone but I KNOW I am to protect my heart too from attacks of the enemy. Help me find that balance Lord between loving people, faults and all, and protecting the precious pieces You placed in me. I have NO DOUBT that You can walk this line and illuminate it for me. That too is part of Your greatness!