Job’s Summary Defense (Job 29 – 32)

Job begins by recounting how well-respected he was before the time he now suffers through.  He speaks of his influence and his benevolent acts.  He sat in the presence of kings, and comforted mourners.  But now he is mocked by the very people that he once served.  They even work against him, rejecting his needs.  He knows that he will die someday, perhaps soon.  He mourns his life.  He then turns to a discussion of sin and the covenant he has made with his eyes, to not look upon a young woman.  Sin is wickedness, and sin leads to death and destruction.  God sees every step we take.  He measures us.  So, Job says, if I have sinned, let me be measured.  He makes some extreme statements to demonstrate his contention that he has not sinned.  But if he has, he will gladly take his punishment.  He mentions a litany of sins that he knows he has not committed, and then declares his innocence once again, and “The words of Job are ended.”

At this point, a new character appears, who seems to have been present for much of the dialogue between Job and his friends.  His name is Elihu.  Elihu contradicts the three friends of Job, while at the same time calling Job out.  He accuses Job of justifying himself instead of God, and his friends because they had no true evidence to convict Job of guilt, yet did so anyway.  Elihu says that no wisdom has come forth in this discussion, and he feels his belly is full of wisdom.  He then purposes to speak forth, compelled by the spirit within him.  And his speech will begin in the next passage.

Job makes one last speech to defend his honor and righteousness, and basically throws himself at the feet of God to judge him.  Elihu has seen all he can stand and must speak his peace.  Job has said all he intends to say.  Sometimes we are drawn into a discussion that turns into a debate, and ends up being an argument.  When that happens, you have to know when to stop and let your words stand on their own merit.  This is the place to which Job has come.  He says all he has to say, and ends his words.  His friends decide to follow suit, but then Elihu sees an opening and decides to fill it.  Sometimes, well-meaning people can butt in where they have no business.  When you are hurting, you don’t need one more critic, but Job got one anyway.  When you get one more critic than you really wanted, do not rail back, but be gracious, as God has been gracious to you.  It is not natural, but it is supernatural.

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