Elihu

Chapters Covered: Job 11:1 – 42:16

I decided that it was better to read the entire Book of Job and then write a reflection, than to read it in fragments. It was a bit tiring to read the arguments coming from Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, knowing that they were falsely accusing Job of wickedness (though their words were not entirely wrong). It was also hard to sympathize with Job’s laments, because though his grief was justified, and actually very natural, it seemed that he didn’t know where he stood with God. (Truth is, I’ve felt like this several times in my life already, and reading the very words of my heart made me realize how ungrateful and faithless I’d become.) But then Elihu came in the picture.

At first I thought that Elihu would just be another Eliphaz/Bildad/Zophar. But when he spoke these words (Job 33:14-30), I realized how different he was from the other three:

For God does speak–now one way, now another–though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when the deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds, he may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings, to turn them from wrongdoing and keep them from pride, to preserve them from the pit, their lives from perishing by the sword.

Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain with constant distress in their bones, so that their body finds food repulsive and their soul loathes the choicest meal. Their flesh wastes away to nothing, and their bones, once hidden, now stick out. They draw near to the pit and their life to the messengers of death. Yet if there is an angel on their side, a messenger, one out of a thousand, sent to tell them how to be upright, and he is gracious to that person and says to God, ‘Spare them from going down to the pit; I have found ransom for them–let their flesh be renewed like a child’s; let them be restored as in the days of their youth’–then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God’s face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being. And they will go to others and say, I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved. God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.’

God does all these things to a person–twice, even three times–to turn them back from the pit, that the light of life may shine on them.

Elihu had shed light to one of the truths about suffering. That sometimes, God allows suffering to humble, mold, and strengthen us. To save us from destruction. So we may not fall deeper down the pit. As written at the end of the book, after Job had repented of speaking things he “did not understand,” the Lord has restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10). And in verse 12, it was written that the latter part of Job’s life was more blessed than the former part. He was even blessed with three very beautiful daughters, in exchange for what he lost.

We see here that trials and sufferings are usually life’s turning points. What comes after it depends on how you respond to it–with hopelessness or with faith?

After re-reading this book, I realized that I liked Elihu better than Job. I’m actually wondering why he wasn’t mentioned in the Epilogue.

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