This devotional is about Job 37.
The Bible makes a distinction between Job’s three friends and Elihu, the speaker in this chapter of Job. Compare Job 2:11 to Job 32:1 and Job 42:7:
- In Job 2:11 we were told that “Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite…” came to see him after they heard about his trouble. There was no mention of Elihu in this text.
- In Job 32:1, Scripture says, “these three men stopped answering Job….” That statement was in preparation for Elihu’s speeches which began in that chapter.
- In Job 42:7 God confronts Eliphaz and says, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” Again, no mention was made of Elihu by God. Elihu was not charged with failing to speak the truth about God like the three friends were, but he also wasn’t commended for speaking truth like Job was.
Also, Job did not respond to Elihu’s speeches, but he did respond each time to the words of the other three men. What is the meaning of Job’s silence toward Elihu?
Because of these issues, interpreting Elihu’s speeches is a point of contention among scholars. Some think Elihu spoke the truth and prepared the way for God’s speeches which began in Job 38. Others think Elihu is a fool, so Job and God just ignored him as Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him,” recommends.
I tend to agree with the interpretation that says Elihu was a fool, although it is still curious to me that God didn’t claim to be angry with him like he was with the other three friends. But, Job 42:7 vindicates Job and God explicitly said that Job “spoke truth about me.” Given that, how could Elihu rebuke Job and yet be speaking the truth?
In our reading for today, Job 37, Elihu expounded on the greatness of God. In verses 1-13, he described God’s sovereign rule over the weather. Then, he pointed, in verses 14-18, to Job, asking rhetorically, how God does all this? Finally, in verses 19-24, Elihu concluded that God’s greatness precludes us from ever speaking to him. He said:
- “…we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness” (v. 19b).
- “The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power” (v. 23a).
Elihu does suggest that God will listen to “all the wise in heart” (v. 24b), but he does not seem to think that Job is one of them. Elihu’s theology is that God is too great, too detached to notice, listen to, or care about anyone except the elite believer–“the wise in heart” as he described them in verse 24b.
That is wrong.
Yes, God is great. His power and being are beyond our understanding. He is greater than we can comprehend and our being is insignificant in every way compared to him. But, that does not mean that God fails to notice or care about us. Just the opposite is true; God is so great, so wise, so powerful that he knows each of us better than we can imagine and he cares about us more than we can possibly realize.
If you feel insignificant, unimportant, and unnoticed, please realize that God sees you and knows you perfectly. He is never too busy to listen or too big to care. As majestic and powerful as God is, he is equally loving and knows everything there is to know about us.
Don’t be afraid, then, to pray, even if your request seems small and unimportant to anyone but you. Don’t believe the lies that God doesn’t know who you are or doesn’t care about your needs. It is not your righteousness or wisdom that gives you a voice before the Lord; it is his grace and love for you that guarantees his attention.