As I have had on a number of occasions I also contribute to the blog Sixty-Six Books in a Year. It’s a group of us who are reading through the Bible together. Below is my post for today. It’s from the Book of Job, chapters 34-37.
Job 34:35-37, ‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words are without insight.’
36Would that Job were tried to the end, because he answers like wicked men.
37For he adds rebellion to his sin; he claps his hands among us
and multiplies his words against God.” (English Standard Version)
Elihu assumes Job has sinned. He has a hard time listening — although he does give Job the courtesy — to him going on and really being honest with God. There is no way that a man who talks the way Job talks can be without sin. Elihu makes the mistake of first, thinking that Job must have sinned because he is suffering. And second because Job seems to talk in a very direct confrontational manner with God, that is part of his sin. In a very real sense — Elihu thinks — Job is adding sin on top of sin for his blunt way of talking to the God of the universe.
I remember a day in October of 1983 when I stood in my living room telling God he’d have to find someone else to preach that Sunday. I was done. I had done everything He had asked me to do and He hadn’t shown up. I was as blunt and abrasive as I knew how to be with God. I don’t think I sinned — maybe I did — but I was pouring out my disappointment and anger with Him. I had my back against the wall. I haven’t done that but only a couple of times in my life. Perhaps I should have verbalized it more when I have been angry or disappointed. For some reason it’s hard to be forthright with God. I don’t know why, He knows our very thoughts. As I heard this weekend, it’s never about faithfulness or love. That means even when I’m disappointed and angry.
Father God, thank you for not striking us down when we speak bluntly with us. Thank you for developing a relationship with us that makes it possible. Thank you for never forsaking us or ceasing to love us. You are the fathful loving Father who cares for us even when our back is against the wall and we are wondering where we are. I pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.