Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar are silent. They cannot convince Job that his woes are the result of his own sin. And then another voice is heard from, a young man named Elihu. Elihu is thought to be a nephew of Abraham and a citizen of the city of Buz (Genesis 22:20-21). This dating lends additional support to the thought that Job is the oldest book in the Bible coming from a time near Abraham's presence in what will one day be Israel.
Elihu is younger than Job's other friends and takes a more humble approach to Job in his comments. He references is deference to the age of the others and reckons his previous silence to his respect for his elders, but the "Spirit within" now compels him to speak and he does. His dialogue is a defense of God which may be sin itself since God needs no defense by his creation.
The basic premise of Elihu's remarks is that God does no wickedness and never perverts justice. Whatever happens is in God's will and is exactly what is right since God can do no wrong. "will you condemn him who is most just?" Since God is, by definition, just, all of his actions are righteous. Whatever befalls man, in this case Job, is what is deserved. God is always right. God's omniscience guarantees that all of his actions are, he never makes mistakes.
There is more to the story than any of Job's friends understand, even Elihu who is convicted by the Holy Spirit to speak. One of the things that I am most grateful for is that I am not any man's judge. I am fully aware that I am not God and am quite satisfied to leave all judging to the one who has all the wisdom and knows the motives of every heart. Each of Job's friends fail in their arguments to understand that God is God and needs no defense for his actions. We must be content to know that God has a plan and he may very well never expose that plan to us in its totality. That is why we must be a people of faith in good times and bad.
Unrelated to our Bible reading, I am in the process of asking the church council and our finance committee to allow next Sunday's offering (May 29) to be used for tornado relief. God has been very good to us and we are ahead of budget. I believe that we would be acting in faith and love to use our 5th Sunday offering to assist in the relief efforts. Please let me know if you have strong feelings about this plan (either agreement or disagreement)
Yours in Christian love.