Elihu's Speech (Part 4)
Elihu's speech in this chapter is designed to answer the questions he asks in Job 35:2 - "Do you think this is right? Do you say, 'My righteousness is more than God's'?" Elihu is asking the great patriarch if he really thinks it is proper and just to affirm that he is more righteous than the Almighty. The problem with this question is that Job has never claimed such! He knows he is not sinless. Elihu has misunderstood him, it seems. Elihu also charges Job with stating that there is no advantage in living righteously. This too is a false claim. Job believes that living righteously is the best way to live, as he has demonstrated for decades. Job knows that the righteous and wicked ultimately meet the same end physically (i.e., death), but that is certainly not to say that living righteously is no more profitable than living wickedly.

Elihu continues:

"I will answer you, and your companions with you. Look to the heavens and see; and behold the clouds--they are higher than you. If you sin, what do you accomplish against Him? Or, if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him? If you are righteous, what do you give Him? Or what does He receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects a man such as you, and your righteousness a son of man" (Job 35:4-8).

Elihu believes he is wise enough to answer all the arguments. He begins to talk about the greatness of God again. The problem is that neither Job nor the friends have questioned God's greatness! It is certainly true that there is nothing man can "give" to God (to truly benefit Him). However, living righteously pleases Him.

Elihu now proceeds to answer one of Job's main arguments: "Why does God not answer my prayers?" Listen carefully and you will see that Elihu thinks the answer is human pride:

"Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out; they cry out for help because of the arm of the mighty. But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, and makes us wiser than the birds of heaven?' There they cry out, but He does not answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to empty talk, nor will the Almighty regard it" (35:9-13).

In other words, Elihu believes Job's cry to God is empty or lacking repentance (cf. 36:8-12), and that is the real problem. Of course, this implies that Job has sinned and is not willing to face up to it, which is simply not true.

This chapter closes with Elihu suggesting that God has not punished Job to the degree he deserves - "Although you say you do not see Him, yet justice is before Him, and you must wait for Him. And now, because He has not punished in His anger, nor taken much notice of folly, therefore Job opens his mouth in vain; he multiplies words without knowledge" (35:14,15).

We will continue studying Elihu's speech in our next lesson.