What does it say?
Read 32:1-3 slowly and carefully. Next, a younger man named Elihu speaks up. Out of respect he has waited patiently, listening to this acrimonious exchange. He now dares to express his own thoughts and will continue to the end of Job 37. He’s frustrated that his elders have not given better answers. The heart of his thesis is simply that God is sovereign and does what he wants (33:12).
Some speculate that Elihu himself may be the author of the Book of Job. While certainly possible, that is merely one of several possibilities, as we are not told who wrote this book.
Elihu gets right to the point of expressing his disgust for all four of these elder men, including Job. Consider Elihu’s judgment in 34:21-37 and ask yourself what is really different, if anything, from Elihu’s opinions and those of his elders who previously accused Job.
What does it mean?
Sin erodes and destroys relationships, even between believers. Sin also clouds relationships between generations. What we observed about Job and his attackers, we can also see in Elihu’s comments. They all miss the mark by applying God’s truth out of proper context. They all are obsessed with slapping each other instead of advancing God’s mission.
What is ultimately God’s mission for us? Is it to save the lost? No, though that is certainly a piece of the whole. The Reformers got it right in the Westminster Shorter Catechism of Faith – Q: What is the chief end of man? A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
When we attack each other or loudly proclaim our own righteousness, the results are usually not very good. Only by sticking to the mission of bringing God glory in humble submission to him and his purposes, can we overcome our natural tendency to complicate and corrupt relationships. From what we see in Job, there is evidently a lot more than words involved in order for God to be glorified in our lives.
How will I respond?
How will God be glorified in my life today? What one thing can I do and/or say in order for a neutral observer to see tangible evidence of God glorified in my life? Examples: Can God be glorified through my giving, serving, random acts of kindness, unconditional friendship to the hurting, or praying for an unreached group of people?