When Elihu finally got his turn to speak, he had stern words to say to Job and his friends. After listening to all they had to say, he had these conclusions to make:
- Job was guilty of justifying himself, rather than God (Job 35:1-2)
- His friends had no answer for Job and his afflictions, yet chose to condemn him in their self-righteousness (Job 35:3)
- None of them gave God His due.
Toward the end of his speech, Elihu drew some insightful conclusions about God and His relationship to man. God is unaffected by our wickedness or our righteousness:
(6) If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?
(7) If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?
God chooses to lean into our lives. He chooses to involve Himself in our affairs. He chooses to let us know of Him. He chooses to save us, and toward that end, He chooses to bring us to the end of ourselves in order for us to find Him standing there, arms open, to take us in. He would have been just as justified to let us die in our ignorance but He chooses to make Himself known to us and what a marvelous God He is! Elihu conveys his overflowing reverence for this God toward the end of his speech.
Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. (Job 37:23)
The words in italics are added by our translation to smooth out the reading, but if they are omitted, they convey Elihu’s excitement:
The Almighty! We cannot find Him out!
Excellent in power and in judgment, and in plenty of justice!
He will not afflict!
Our God excels in power beyond our comprehension and is overflowing in the fullness of righteousness. Where it says “He will not afflict,” the meaning is “He will not crush.” He does bring affliction into our lives. Job is a clear example of that, but for all of His mighty power, He does not crush us. When He does bring affliction our way it is to arrest our attention and to sharpen our focus because left to ourselves, we cannot comprehend even the smallest aspects of God:
For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. (Job 33:14)
God has to open our understanding and sometimes that comes through affliction but the goal is so that we can come to some understanding of our incomprehensible Creator! What can we do then but agree with Elihu when he says:
Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart. (Job 37:24)
We should fear (reverence) Him and yield to His way because God pursues His own way. No man can give Him counsel. He is not dependent upon us or our opinion of Him, but praise God He is a good God and good to us!