Job rests his case. He’s innocent and suffering and that chips away at the shared Story of a just world.
Elihu’s mad. He’s mad at Job’s three friends because for condemning Job even though they couldn’t answer his legitimate concern. He’s mad at Job because of his self-justifying, God-condemning reasonings. So he takes his turn, despite his youth, and nails it so hard that Yahweh shows up.
Watching Elihu argue is useful for any of us who talk about hard things. Here’s a list of ways he kicks conversational butt:
- Job 32:11-12; Elihu listens more than he speaks, which gives him the ability to meet the real questions in new, useful ways.
- Job 32:14, 33:7; Elihu is not adversarial toward Job like the three stooges. Also, his contribution to the conversation will be different from theirs–otherwise why would he even be talking? Notice, also, how often Elihu uses Job’s name; he refuses to forget that Job is a person, not a theological problem.
- Job 33:8ff; Elihu repeats Job’s argument to shows that he understands it.
- Job 33:12-13; Elihu does not flinch in his own argument. Since he’s demonstrated he is not against Job, there’s no need to flinch.
- Job 33:31ff; He’s still listening and he checks in to see how his words are taken.
- Job 37:1; He’s emotionally invested. He doesn’t pretend that it’s not personal. He doesn’t detach.
- Job 38:1; His arguments prompt revelation; God appears and blows everyone’s minds.
There’s a sermon here, and way more in the last ten chapters of Job than a weekday blog post can fit.