Be careful Job

Dr. Kim Riddlebarger comments on Job 35:

In the opening words of chapter 35, Elihu continues to speak to Job, asking him to think about his charge that God has not vindicated him.

Then Elihu said: `Do you think this is just? You say, ‘I will be cleared by God.’ Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me, and what do I gain by not sinning?’ `I would like to reply to you and to your friends with you. Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him? If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself, and your righteousness only the sons of men. `Men cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches more to us than to the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the air?’ He does not answer when men cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked. Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it. How much less, then, will he listen when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him and you must wait for him, and further, that his anger never punishes and he does not take the least notice of wickedness. So Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words.

Job’s problem is not that God is indifferent to his people, but that his people are indifferent to him. They do not seek God because of who he is, but they only turn to him in times of trial, when they want or need something. With these words, Elihu summons Job back to his original words of faith, recorded in Job 1:21, “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Yes, Job has suffered much, but he needs to be careful and not allow himself to be carried away with self-righteousness.


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