Elihu speaks to Job as one who is an ambassador of the Almighty. He is not God Himself. He is from the dust of the earth, just as Job is. He is not necessarily a man of great physical power who would force Job to admit anything or to say a word against his own will. Elihu is just a man, and he promises Job that his message will not be too heavy upon the Lord’s servant.
Elihu has been listening to Job’s words. Does Job really want to press a case against God based on his own purity? Yes, Job is pure in the company of men, but will he contend for his own blamelessness in the presence of the only wise God? Does Job actually want to go on to point out God’s faults, contending that God is his enemy? Will this line of defense help Job in some way?
God is greater than man. He does not ever need to give an answer to even the most righteous man on the earth. There is no good reason to contend against Him. Does anyone expect that God will lower Himself to answer Job’s charges? It is the glory of a king to conceal a matter. How much more with God? God can reveal as well as conceal as He chooses. He shows forth the truth in all kinds of ways among the sons of men. We are not without His excellent testimony in nature. Does the God who created the brain cells of a man need to answer the charge that was formed within the brain of a man?
God reveals Himself in many ways. What He chooses to say, He can hint at in a dream, bringing some measure of peace to a man according to His own mercy. He can also give that same man a warning in a nightmare, producing a fright that turns him from a pathway of transgression that would have only led to trouble and pain. The way of pride may be hidden from him at a critical moment, averting an untimely death.
God’s arm is not so short that He cannot rescue a man in as much misery even as Job. A man may be brought low on his bed, wasting away with no hope of which he is aware. He may stop eating because he has no appetite either for food or for life. Yet God may find a mediator for him at the last moment, according to His mysterious plan. There may be one who somehow intercedes with power, who brings just the right word, or who even takes a man’s place as his substitute in some discipline, and the man who had been given up for dead will live again.
This is not a message accusing Job. It is a word about God. These prophetic words redirect our attention away from trouble to some new hope from the Lord through His storehouse of power and mercy. God has not forgotten how to rescue. God knows how to make a man sing again, even in the presence of angels. That is how great God is. Think of Him for a moment, and then say with all His saints, “God has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.”
The Lord can do this even for a bad man. He can do it more than once for a man of very little merit. He has His reasons, and He is not required to explain Himself to anyone. When all hope seems lost as a man slips away into the darkness of the grave, the Lord brings the man’s soul back from the pit, and the light of heaven returns to the eyes of a mortal man.
This is a good thing for Job to listen to. The Lord’s prophet, Elihu, is preparing this man, Job, deeply loved by God, to hear from His Maker who is able to restore him and to bless him more than He ever had in the past. His new life does not need to be less than His old life. Call off the doctors! Send home the undertakers and the mourners. Job may yet have a life left on this earth since there is a God in heaven who still does wonders. Elihu does not want to condemn Job, but to justify him, and he speaks words of wisdom before the suffering man, words from on high, words of life.
If someone is to speak this way to the Lord’s suffering servant, he must do so in the power of the Holy Spirit. The message is a good one. It is a message of a Redeemer, a Mediator with God, a Ransom that is found for us, a Jesus pleading before the throne of God above for the Lord’s beloved Job. It is a message of the mercy and power of God through His own appointed methods, and not through man making God look bad. That message cannot come by human wisdom or power. It must come from on high, from the place where Jesus lived before He came to save us. We cannot muster it up. It is a prophetic message. It is a gift of God’s grace by the Holy Spirit. Let us receive it eagerly and look up to God. Let us find a breath of life in a difficult world of death.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, may the servants who bring Your Word to Your people do so with boldness. May they rightly listen to Your suffering servants and may they be made to know our needs. Above all we need You. You are greater than our problems and greater than us. May Your servants continually point to You. Even in the worst pain or trouble, we need to think about Your character and Your works. May our Mediator plead for us, and may He be our eternal Ransom before You. Use Your teachers to show us the wonders of Jesus Christ. Help us to hear true wisdom by the power of One who is the very Spirit of Truth.