The Book of Job-Chapter Thirty-Five:
"Elihu's Delusion"

Now we will see Elihu attacking Job quite viciously.

 

Verses 1-2: "Elihu spake moreover, and said, Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's?"

Again we could ask, is this from a personal hatred of Job?


Verse 3: "For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?"


Vicious, yes. But personal--probably not. Elihu has been overtaken by frustration. He can't reconcile Job's reactions to tribulation to his own beliefs about God and the proper rewards and punishments of life. His frustration is blinding and even spills over to Job's friends: 

Verse 4: "I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee."

He's taking everybody on, all at once! This is what frustration can do, if we let it. And, boy, is he letting it:

Verse 5: "Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou."

Elihu is preaching a God that is impersonal and distant. He can punish and reward us from a safe distance, but we cannot affect Him at all--not in Elihu's universe!

Verses 6-8: "If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man."

Have you ever felt this way? I have, and probably will again. Regrettably, like Elihu, I get deluded also. Deluded into accepting an image of God as distant and untouchable. It may begin by thinking of how I would act if I were God. How I would insulate myself from the harms that Man can cause and how I might use punishments and rewards to manipulate all beneath me. I know this may sound absurd or shocking, but beware, Satan is pushing this view, this version of God, on all of us today.  This is, I think, part of the perils we are warned about by James in the New Testament (see James 3:15). 

It all seems so logical. It appeals to my flesh to try to get God all figure out the way I would try to figure my own life or that of a neighbor or friend. But that doesn't work with the Lord and has led me to deep frustrations. The Lord is above my thinking and above Man's natural instincts. Also, He is not in hiding. Not at all.

Elihu's message bears the familiar hallmarks of fear and pessimism:

Verses 9-12: "By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men."

I can feel for Elihu. This is Satan's logic and, like me at times, Elihu is borrowing it and leaning on it. And now, sadly, comes Elihu's rendition of God as an almost mindless, and very mechanical, instrument of judgement:

Verses 13-15: "Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it. Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:"

He urges Job to "trust thou in Him." But Job is already a believer in God. He has, however, wavered in believing in THIS image of God. And that has Elihu very unsettled. Abandoning the rewards and punishments lifestyle still unsettles many in our day, beloved.

But Job's questions and lessons have come at such a high price. I don't think Elihu can talk him into moving backwards now. But he will continue to try and it may be just as well. I see Job as probably being too weak and saddened to jump in any time soon. But I wish he could speak up. For Job, unlike Elihu, has had a glimpse of the Living God. The One Who is worthy of His great power. Who is as loving as He is gifted. The One Who we now know would forgo His own safety for an opportunity to touch us all (I speak of the Cross of Christ).

But as we close and on into the next chapter it is Elihu who, in his delusion, will continue speaking:

Verse 16: "Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge."

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