Job 34:21-37: Nailed There for You
December 14, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
John 18:19-27, Revelation 11, Job 34:21-37, Micah 1-3
What can we say about this? Elihu now seems to turn his passionate resolve to focus on Job and criticize him sternly. Job, you will remember, is suffering through no fault of his own. Job’s friends have insisted that Job has done something wrong to deserve his suffering—for if he had not done something wrong to deserve his suffering, then God would have been unjust to allow him to suffer. But Job replies with insistence that he does not deserve what is happening to him. And while Job maintains his faith in God, he questions what God is doing and loudly complains about his plight and difficulties.
Enter Elihu who both criticizes Job’s so-called “comforters” for failing to argue Job down from his position, and also criticizes Job for complaining to God. Here in this second part of this chapter, Elihu’s criticism of Job becomes quite severe.
“Men of understanding declare, wise men who hear me say to me, ‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.’ Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God” (34:34-37).
The lessons of the Book of Job are certainly repetitive—perhaps because we repeatedly need to hear them before we can take them on board and let them become a part of our characters.
- Do not assume that just because someone is suffering, that it is because they have done something to deserve that suffering. We live in a moral universe with God as the moral King of that universe. But at the same time, we also live in a universe which is fallen. Sometimes bad things happen to people who have not done things to deserve those bad things.
- Do not, therefore, launch extensive inquisitions seeking to condemn the suffering. Do not be like the Job’s “comforters” who offer no real comfort or strength to Job—in fact, quite the reverse.
- Also do not be like Elihu who wades in “where angels fear to tread,” and while he attempts to answer these complicated questions in a different way, only ends up making things, if not worse, at least no better.
- If you are suffering, take courage in the truth that Job suffered too. And not only Job: Jesus the Christ suffered. He was entirely righteous, knew no sin, and yet suffered for you and your sins that you might live forever in a world of no suffering and pain. If you sense you are being “nailed to a cross,” look at the One who was nailed there for you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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