Friday, January 12, 2007

I love Elihu!!

Job 37:21"And now no one looks on the light when it is bright in the skies, when the wind has passed and cleared them. 22Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty. 23The Almighty--we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. 24Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit."

One of my favourite books of the Bible is the book of Job. It has it all: drama, pain, sorrow, betrayal, Satan's workings, God's Sovereignty, Miserable Comforters, Elihu's burning response, and God's Judgment and adamant statement of Who HE is at the end.

I guess I relate to Job so well because in a small way I understand his pain. I have never lost all of my worldly goods and my entire family in one fell swoop. However, our family has gone through grinding financial pressures that never seemed to end. We lost a baby to miscarriage, and watched our dear daughters go through the loss of their precious babies. We know what it is to suffer financially, and in a limited way(compared to Job), we know what it is to suffer the loss of loved ones.

We have experienced false accusations and betrayal from friends who misunderstood and gave unwise counsel. I read Job's responses, and I am right there with him, understanding his frustration. I know what it is like to wish that God would just leave me alone (but I thank Him that He didn't) and I know what it is like to long for Him to just come and sit down with me at my kitchen table, to explain away all of my confusion, and to make all things right.

I read Job's description of himself: he really WAS a righteous man. He was wise and kind; he served his fellow man; he prayed for his family; he was well-respected. People hung on his every word. What a guy!

I think because of his godly living, he was so confused by the tragedy that befell him. He was angry at his friends' ignorant accusations that it must have been his sin that caused all of this to happen. His three "friends" just added to his pain.

He justified himself before his friends. He fell into the trap of thinking that God was blessing him because he was so good. He was angry with God. He wanted to die.

Then, along comes Elihu, burning with anger, passionate to uphold the reputation of Almighty God! I can picture the scene in my mind. He sits there, listening to his elders, boiling inside, waiting for the opportunity to speak. When he does, the words tumble out. I imagine him pacing back and forth, arms flailing as he declares WHO God is, and how He has the power and the right to do ANYTHING He wants to do, and how it is all right and good - because God is Good!

It all goes back to the fact that God is the Creator. He can do what He wants to with all that He created. He controls the wind, the clouds, the rain, the lightning. He set the stars in place. He holds all things together by the power of His might.

Who are we to question God?

Elihu is a guy I can relate to. He burns with passion. He acknowledges that the breath of the Almighty gave him life, then goes on to say that God ordains trials for our good. When we respond in repentance and faith, God restores us (in His good time). God never does wickedness. He always does righteousness.

Elihu is so passionate that he even rebukes Job, a man he respects. Elihu has the courage to point out Job's errors in thinking.

It all comes back to who God really is:

Job 36:22Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? 23Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, 'You have done wrong'?

24"Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung. 25All mankind has looked on it; man beholds it from afar. 26Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. 27For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, 28which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. 29Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? 30Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. 31For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. 32He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. 33Its crashing declares his presence;
the cattle also declare that he rises.

He is the CREATOR!

Job 37:14"Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. 15Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? 16Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, 17you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind? 18Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror?

He controls all things!

I hope and pray that I will be passionate about God, like Elihu. I hope my children and grandchildren will understand and know Him, and learn to bow to His will and accept all things as coming from His gracious, omnipotent hand.

What a mighty God we serve!