The Book of Job-Chapter Thirty-Two:
"Youth, Energy, and Anger"
Elihu now gets his say. We haven't heard from him at all, but as he will explain, he has been listening to Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar the entire time right along with us. We should hope to glean some good stuff from this young man for he will try to dominate the conversation for the next 6 chapters! At least initially it looks like his energy may be coming from anger:
Verses 1-5: "So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled."
Let's summarize. Job is still mad at God. Job's three friends are still mad a Job. And Elihu is mad at, well, everybody in the room. The fact that everyone is so angry in a religious setting is usually an indication that God is not being understood or heeded very well. The place for anger in religion, I believe, is a very limited one. I can testify that argument, self assurance, and strife have brought me very little spiritual progress over the past 36 years as a believer. That's why I smell a rat here. But let's attempt to proceed with an open mind:
Verses 6-8: "And 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 shew you mine opinion. I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."
Sounds good, eh? But this turns out to be only flattery (even though Elihu denies it down in verse 21). Then the attack begins:
Verse 9: "Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment."
Elihu doesn't need any more clarifications from them. They'll have to listen to him now:
Verse 10: "Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion."
What a head of steam he has built up!
Verses 11-14: "Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say. Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words: Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man. Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.
He has actually flabbergasted them all:
Verse 15: "They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking."
He grabs a gulp of air and spews. But this time it seems to me that he's trying to build up his courage and maybe gather some thoughts. It's going to be "show time."
Verses 16-21: "When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion. For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer. Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man."
He may think he has the answers Job needs to hear, but I doubt it. Look at this final statement. Isn't Elihu infected with the same wrong-minded and self-serving terror of God as Job and his other friends?
Verse 22: "For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away."
No, youth, energy, and anger aren't going to be enough, beloved. But, to be fair, Job's elder friends haven't been of much help either. And Job still needs help.