When Elihu, Job’s youngest friend, found that Job was justifying himself before God and man, and that his three other friends declared him guilty without giving him valid reasons to prove that Job was indeed a guilty sinner, Elihu got very angry.
He thought that they being older would be wiser than him and so he waited long before he finally began sharing his views. However, when neither party could speak up any longer, he realised that just being older in age did not necessarily mean that one is wiser, and so he decided to explain what he knew, without showing partiality to anyone, *Job 32!
Elihu tells Job to listen carefully to his counsel, because he is, infact eager to justify, *Job 33:32. He sought to make Job understand, that it is impossible to find fault with God, as Job had done, no matter how one may feel about their circumstances, because God makes no mistake, being perfect in all His ways, vs 9-12! Further, he tells Job that it is not right to say that God does not speak or answer us, for even when God seems silent, He does speak to us in different ways, perhaps in a dream or a night vision etc., though we may not perceive it, vs 14,15, and all this is done so that the person repents and is restored back to righteousness, vs 26. Elihu flatly states that it is not right for Job to say that it does not profit a man when he makes his delight with God, *Job 34: 9. Infact, he affirms that God judges righteously and without partiality, vs 17-19. He discerns that men of understanding say that Job is wicked because he adds transgression to his sin by multiplying his words against God, vs 34,37.
He says that it is very wrong of Job to say that God doesn’t answer, because the only person that God doesn’t answer is one who is arrogant and wicked, Job 35:12. Thus we see that Elihu is determined to ascribe righteousness to His Creator, Job 36:3. For though God is Mighty, he does not despise anyone, vs 5, and gives all those who err a fair chance to repent, and only if they don’t repent, will they eventually perish, vs 8-12! He says that God also uses suffering to reveal Himself to some, vs 15, so that they don’t perish ultimately! Yes, God works marvelous wonders on the earth and His acts are that of precision and perfection, vs 26-33; Job 37. And although God is great in power, yet He is righteous too, and will never thwart justice to oppress anyone, and so it is right for mankind to fear Him, vs 23,24!
At this point, we don’t find Job justifying himself before Elihu and his friends anymore! One must notice that the Lord began to answer Job only after he came to stillness, *Job 38, showing that God’s voice is heard best when we come to stillness in our spirits and cease from all complaint and self justification! God makes Job realise how little he knew by asking him various questions concerning the creation of the universe, with regard to the laying down of the earth’s foundation, the setting up of the innumerable stars, the storm clouds, the thick darkness, the proud waves, the gates of death, the dwelling of light and darkness, the storehouse of the snow, the hail, the dewdrops, the lightning, the constellations, preparing prey for the raven or hunting prey for the lioness, Job 38!
He asked Job whether he had ever seen mountain goats or the wild deer giving birth or whether he could make the wild ox his slave, or had he known the peculiarities of the ostrich or whether he gave the horse its strength or beauty and whether he ever commanded the hawk and the eagle to obey his bidding, Job 39!
God heard minutely the contentious statements that Job made about Him, and now God was demanding an answer from Job with regard to His creation, since Job behaved as if he was all knowing, *Job 40:2!
At this point Job realised his unworthiness and thought it best to be silent, but he didn’t come to repentance yet, vs 4,5! So God spoke once again, telling Job that since he thought himself to be smarter and more righteous than God, that he should be in a position to be as powerful as God too, so as to make every proud man low, and crush the wicked on the spot vs 11,12! Then God gave Job the example of the Behemoth and the Leviathan and asked Job whether he was in a position to create and control such powerful creatures as these, *Job 40,41!
As God takes Job through this journey of realising his nothingness, Job moves on from being silent, to repenting in dust and ashes, *Job 40:4,5- Job 42:6. That is exactly the place that God wanted to bring Job to, through this fiery trial! This was because earlier he heard of God, but now he actually saw who God really was, vs 5!
He now realised his folly and acknowledged with heartfelt repentance that what he had spoken earlier was without accurate understanding and knowledge, vs 3,6. It was only after this that God confronted Job’s three friends and rebuked them for not representing Him correctly, vs 7. God instructed them to go to Job and offer sacrifices on behalf of their sin, so that after Job prayed for them, God would forgive them too, vs 8. It was only after Job prayed for them, that God accepted Job and turned around his captivity and restored Job with twice as much as he had before, vs 9,10!
Job then lived on till a hundred and forty years of age, and saw four generations of his children after that, vs 16! So why did God permit Job to go through such fiery trials? It was because although Job was so righteous, more than any other man that lived at that time, including his 4 friends, yet, he had not yet seen the glory of God to the point where he would never dare to question God’s ways, such that he would be confident to believe that God would never do anything unrighteous or unjust, even when things thrown at him seemed to suggest so! His self righteousness had hindered him from having this revelation and he needed to understand this and repent of the same.
When this was accomplished, he was now ready to be reinstated by God and blessed doubly in the end! It was only with this good plan in mind that God permitted Satan to attack Job and all that he possessed!
May this story give us the confidence to trust God in every fiery trial, knowing full well that God is intending to change us first, (particularly from our self righteous mentality), before He can change our circumstances, so that we can experience the blessing of the Lord in all its fullness, without having any sorrow attached to it, Proverbs 10:22.