Where we ended in chapter 31, Job has responded to each and every accusation levied by his three friends all the while declaring his innocence, and having apparently frustrated them to the point of exhaustion they refuse to talk to him anymore. However, at the moment where his friends would begin to walk away, Elihu speaks up, We only know a few facts about him, but what we hear of his speech to the three friends and Job, it can be assumed that he is at least acting in good faith and has a better than average understanding of Godly theology for his time. We also know that he is younger than the other actors in this story, and it is for that reason that he has kept quiet up until this point. He had deferred the argument against Job to those that were older, and thus assumed to be wiser. However, having seen Job’s arguments continuously go unaddressed, he decides to step in.
However, where Eliphaz, Bildad, & Zophar spoke out against Job blindly without consideration for his position, Elihu has apparently sat listening closely to these arguments and is rightly angered by statements made by all parties. He is first and foremost angry with Job, not because he agreed with Job’s friends, but because in refuting his friends, Job had shown more concern for clearing his own name than he had for justifying God. But he was also mad at Job’s friends because they had not at all considered the words that Job had actually said. They had made up their mind before the conversation had started, and any push back from Job only hardened their hearts against him. They never refuted any points that Job made, and could provide no evidence to back up what it is that they so clearly believed, yet they still condemned Job of a myriad of sins.
But after Elihu has spoken against Job’s friends, he turns his attention to Job. While doing so, he carefully refutes the troubling statements that Job has made up until this point. I think it is important to remember, that Job, as confirmed by God, was righteous, and had done nothing to deserve the hardship that he received at the hand of Satan. And Elihu, likely knowing Job’s character, and hearing his testimony previously, does not refute that, instead he reminds Job of the gap between God and man’s understanding.
I want to focus on one of the specific arguments he refutes. Job has claimed that there is a gap between he and God, saying that He cannot perceive God, implying that God has left him. And often during times of personal trials it can certainly feel that way. But Elihu rightly reminds Job that far too often, God does speak to us through various methods, but we either fail to hear, or fail to obey.
For God speaks time and time again, but a person may not notice it.
I can personally affirm that as a church we have prayed for, ministered to, and served the Irish hill neighborhood for at least a decade, and the church was serving long before I came into membership. On a human timeline, it could be easy to be discouraged by what often times can feel like a lack of movement. But where we could see a decade with fruit few and far between, God could be preparing the hearts of our neighborhood to welcome him in. I pray today that God would speak to us, and reveal his path for Baxter Avenue Church. I pray also that we would open our ears, eyes, and hearts to perceive that path so that we might walk down it when he does.