"Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God's wonders.
Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?" (Elihu, in Job 37:14-16 NIV)
Waiting in the wings while Job's three friends dialogued with Job over whether or not Job was in sin, wickedness and the like, was a younger man named Elihu.
He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused. (Job 32:3-5 NIV)
I suppose Elihu finally had enough of all of the nonsense and could hold his tongue no longer, huh? Have you ever been in the same situation? I know I have. I can relate to Elihu as I think about how many times I've sat in business or ministry meetings listening and gathering information before I offer my two cents. I always find myself being the one to synthesize all of the information and come up with what could be the underlying problem rather than just a symptom of the real problem. But, I digress. Let's just say, I relate to Elihu. :)
Elihu attempted to address what the other friends did not (see Job 32-37). He attempted to rightly rebuke Job for his attitude while reminding us of the nature of God's sovereignty and majesty - and he also managed to show us of his own humility as well. I wonder if that is why God did not chastise him at the end of the book like he did the others (Job 42:7-9). Whether or not, Elihu was accurate in his accusations of Job, I took away three applications from Elihu's presence. I close with these:
1) Discernment is Desirable. Elihu had the discernment to wait until the right moment to speak his mind. He waited on his elders and maybe waited for Job to be ready to hear.
How often do I wait before I speak?
2) Rebuke is Risky. Elihu felt that he needed to speak out. Should he have? Perhaps. His words definitely put him at risk for attack about his own character. The bottom line is that if we feel that God is calling us to speak out, we must not hold our tongues.
When God calls, how do I respond?
3) Humility is Honorable. Elihu at least put himself down some to Job's level in his speeches, unlike some of the other friends. He recognized his place as an imperfect person as he exalted God.
Do I respond to others with a prideful spirit or a humble spirit?
Life application principles abound in God's Word, don't they? In my next post we'll see what God had to say about all of that talking going on.