You’re observing a debate. Maybe it’s between two family members at a holiday get-together. Maybe it’s two co-workers at your lunch break. Maybe you’re scrolling through the comments section on a divisive Facebook post.
You see the arguments of both sides. You notice that both make good points. And they both make mistakes. You’ve got an opinion. You feel like you could solve this debate. At first you bite your tongue. Then the debate continues on and escalates. You think about speaking. And finally – you just can’t stop yourself. If you don’t say something you feel like you’ll explode!
Meet Elihu – a character in the book of Job, chapters 32-37. He has been watching a Job and his 3 friends debate the “why” behind Job’s suffering.
Elihu thinks that he understands God better than Job and the 3 friends. He’s angry that the friends haven’t been able to bring a solid case against Job. And he’s angry at Job that Job has spoken out against God instead of just accepting his suffering.
Elihu has to speak!! He can’t help himself!
In his long-winded speeches, sometimes Elihu speaks truths. But then, even though he speaks truth, he misapplies those truths to Job’s situation. Elihu is kind of a comedy of errors, and the irony is rich as he accuses Job of speaking without wisdom and knowledge of God, all the while claiming to be filled with wisdom and knowledge of how God works!
We can learn some things from Elihu.
- Speak the truth in love. Just because you have the truth, doesn’t mean that speaking it will always be the right idea.
- Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut.
- God has spoken to us most clearly through His Son, our Savior Jesus. If you need to know something about God, look to Jesus.