Who can know the heart?
Elihu continues in his interpretation of Job's suffering with a mix of both true and false statements. There is much that he says that can be proven to be true. Elihu exalts the justice of God. He shows that God is impartial in all that he judges; God knows all things at all times about every aspect of our lives. God's perfect knowledge, united with His perfect holiness, renders what He does always perfectly just (34:16-25). It is true that God's chastening will never be subject to the terms that fallen humanity would place upon God or His will (34:31-33).
Where Elihu falls into trouble in applying these truths about God to Job's situation is in his attempt to judge the heart of Job and God's purpose in allowing his tremendous suffering. Elihu began his misguided effort by making a false assumption about Job's view of himself and of God. The way Job lived for years under the divine blessing of God had not been altered by a present life of sin. But Elihu was completely convinced that Job was reaping the consequences of his sins. When God does finally give His own assessment of Job's weaknesses, He will accuse Job of speaking without knowledge, which is true (38:1-3). Job did not know God had allowed the devil to attack him to test his character. This ignorance fueled much of Job's frustration and despair.
Elihu's false premise was that the things befalling Job had to be punishment for his sins. As Elihu said, God is always just in what he judges. But Elihu was wrong in thinking that suffering brought upon a child of God like Job was solely the result of sin.
This same false conclusion about suffering has affected countless people with an unwarranted sense of rejection and punishment from God. These people have been blamed for secret sins and wrong attitudes by those who feel compelled to pass judgment upon them.
There will always be those who feel compelled to follow the approach of Job's friends. Therefore, beware. You and I unknowingly can make the same mistake Job's friends made.
-Calvary Church Boise
Created about 1 year ago