1 So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 But Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. 3 He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. 4 Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. 5 But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused.
6 So Elihu son of Barakel the Buzite said:
“I am young in years,
and you are old;
that is why I was fearful,
not daring to tell you what I know.
7 I thought, ‘Age should speak;
advanced years should teach wisdom.’
8 But it is the spirit in a person,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
9 It is not only the old who are wise,
not only the aged who understand what is right.
10 “Therefore I say: Listen to me;
I too will tell you what I know.
When I was a bit younger I was a classic angry young man. The world was a mess and I knew why. The older generations had failed but I knew if people only listened to my ideas which surely no one had ever thought of before they’d solve everything. Sorry about that.
Towards the end of Job a guy called Elihu appears seemingly out of nowhere. He’s a classic angry young man. He’s listened to the old fellas gas bag on and get nowhere, now he impatiently and indignantly steps in with his self-proclaimed understanding from God himself to clear things up.
The first problem is that Elihu seems to be mainly taken with the sound of his own voice. He spends two and a half chapters talking about how he’s going to talk about something before he starts talking about it. Once he finally gets going, he tends to ramble.
The second problem is that he takes a lot of time to talk and by the end hasn’t really said anything at all. Nothing that no one else hasn’t said already.
Elihu seems convinced that his understanding of the world is wisdom from God himself. His main argument seems to be that it’s just self evident. It seems to him to obviously be wisdom so it must be.
Wisdom is understanding how best to live in this world. Our world thinks that wisdom is based in our own insight and ability. But the Bible turns that thinking upside down. Pride is foolishness. Wisdom is found in humility before God, in listening to his insight, not getting others to listen to our own. In 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 Paul tells us that the cross is God’s wisdom, and it is what looks foolish and ridiculous to us. We should be very careful about trusting our own insight, especially when that ‘insight’ leads us to feel proud towards other people. Wisdom comes when we let go of all that and trust in what God has done to make the world right – something we never would have conceived of.
Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from this passage? What have you learnt about yourself?
Heart: What have you been finding wisdom for life in? What attitude towards God and others has it produced and how does the cross speak to it?
Hands: Write out what you would do if you related to someone who was suffering from humility before the cross rather than from your own insight and answers.
Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you that you are the wise one, who has dealt with the brokenness of this world through Jesus. Please forgive me for thinking I had my own insight, for being proud and saying hurtful things to others. Please give me the wisdom to trust in your Son alone and to express that trust by loving others in his Name. In Jesus Name, Amen.
A song to listen to: No Other Name