Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Elihu 2

Biblegems #27
Question: “Does God not mention Elihu in the last chapter for the same reason that the author did not mention him (because he was too young to be worth mentioning)?” (see Biblegems #24)
The reference to this question is Job 42:7: After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.
Where Scripture is silent, we can only surmise so much. That being said, there are some things we can know for certain that will help answers the reader’s question.
First, there is the nature of God Himself. God is not petty, nor is He confined to the changing tides of cultural norms. The fact that Jewish men in biblical times carried no real status as adults with authority until they reached their thirtieth birthday doe not mean that God was restricted by such expectations. He is omnipotent, and no human restrictions pertain to Him. Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him (Ps. 115:3).
Second, the nature of the book of Job also tells us that it was not intended to give us a biography of the characters involved, but to relate to mankind the lesson Job learned in his experience. In much the same way as the book of Acts does not give us the closing story on the lives of the apostles—because that is not important to the purpose of the book—so too the book of Job relates only what is important, from God’s point of view, for advancing the message of the book.
A third consideration is the very fact of Elihu’s odd appearance and disappearance from the account. It would seem that he did not stick it out to the end with Job and the other three. Whatever else might be said about the counsel Job received from his other three friends, they apparently cared enough about Job to visit with him throughout his ordeal. Elihu seems to have been more concerned with expressing his opinions than showing genuine compassion for Job himself. It appears that Elihu was not around long enough to benefit with the others from what God wanted to accomplish. It is important to keep in view that God used the relationship between Job and his three friends to bring reconciliation—not only with God but with each other:
So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to
my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for
yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I
will accept his prayer and not deal with you according
to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right,
as my servant Job has. (Job 42:8)
That reconciliation would not have been available to Elihu if he had left the scene after expressing his opinion.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate your Biblegems and the opportunity to "dig deeper" into scripture.
    I puzzle a lot about how to be a good steward and know that I am not alone in that. It is not that I could not buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks — but knowing that that money is a day's income for many people in the world makes that a difficult decision. We all do have a selfish nature, yet some natural enjoyment is likely permitted. So many Christians do live comfortably, and much of the world is hungry.
    Could you suggest some scripture or principles that I could study - or perhaps address in Biblegems — on how we who have been blessed can best be good stewards?